THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE

Posted by Perry

Session #4: The Greatest of These is Love
6:30pm Adult Bible Study 9/22/10
623 E. 3rd St. South, Prescott, AR

Ice Breaker:

Describe the most outrageously sappy romantic scene from any movie you can think of. What does this teach us about love? How real, true or honest is this scene?

Opener:

What is your favorite love song? Why?

Read:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1Co 13:1 What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1Co 13:2 What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others.
1Co 13:3 What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.
1Co 13:4 Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or
1Co 13:5 rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do.
1Co 13:6 Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.
1Co 13:7 Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten.
1Co 13:9 We don't know everything, and our prophecies are not complete.
1Co 13:10 But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear.
1Co 13:11 When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.
1Co 13:12 Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.
1Co 13:13 For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.

Explore:

1. When in your life have you felt most loved?
When someone gives up something in their life for me…(sacrifice)
a. when Linda left her Dad & Mom to live with me
b. when the church gives Me & Linda a salary increase during tough economic times
c. when someone invades my space, throws caution to the wind & gives me a hug
2. How did that love affect your life?
a. humbled me, then scared me because of the responsibility of taking care of her and knowing her parents were expecting me to do as good or better than they had done the last 18 years.
b. motivates me to work more 20 hour days b/c I’m not worth what the church is paying me
c. makes me stand a little taller b/c somebody actually shows some concern and cares about me

3. What does this passage say “love is”?
a. kind
b. patient
c. rejoices in the truth
d. supportive
e. loyal
f. hopeful
g. trusting

4. What does it say “love is not”?
a. jealous
b. boastful
c. proud
d. rude
e. selfish
f. quick tempered
g. keeps no record of wrong
h. doesn’t rejoice in evil

5. How does love as described in this chapter compare to love as experienced in our culture?
In our culture love is equated with:
a. lust
b. infatuation
c. romance
d. sex
Reflect:

1. Looking at the descriptions of perfect love in verses 4-7, in which one of these are you most weak? Which one is your strongest?
a. personal response
2. What will endure forever? Why?
a. Love…because “God is Love” 1 John 4:8
Live:

Which of these aspects of love could you express this week to someone to effectively show your love for them? [all of them, none is beyond our capability if we try]

THE FRUIT OF LOVE

Posted by Perry

Session #3: The Fruit of Love
6:30pm Adult Bible Study
Ice Breaker: 16 PRESENT

Give a different piece of fruit to everyone in your group as they come in (they can eat it if they choose to). Have everybody share about their fruit (name, flavor, color, where it’s from, uses, etc.). The leader needs to reveal a cluster of grapes, or a bunch of bananas. Tonight we’re talking about the fruit of love. We’re going to look at a list of various expressions of love but not different kinds of love. Its more like the individual grapes in this cluster (or bananas in the bunch).

Opener:

What grows up in your yard or around the outside of your apartment without any assistance from you? Weeds
What do you help grow? Grass, vegetables, flowers

Read:

Galatians 5:16-26
Gal 5:16 If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires.
Gal 5:17 The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.
Gal 5:18 But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.
Gal 5:19 People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds.
Gal 5:20 They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are
Gal 5:21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.
Gal 5:22 God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful,
Gal 5:23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.
Gal 5:24 And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires.
Gal 5:25 God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Note: The fruit of the spirit is LOVE! That is the definitive statement. Each expression after that is a vehicle of love, such as love expressed in joy, through peace, by patience, etc.

Explore:

1. What motivates you to live a loving life?
a. God loved us first & set the example
b. Response from people you show love to
c. Self-esteem boost/fulfillment
d. Worship- it pleases God
e. Conviction of the Holy Spirit

2. What two dynamics are in conflict within us? v17
a. Holy Spirit
b. Fleshly desires

3. If we are alive by the spirit, why do we still struggle with sin?
a. Our flesh retains the “sin nature” that we were conceived with

4. What does the author mean by “living in” and “keeping in step with” the Spirit?
Live under the influences of the Holy Spirit;
admit those influences fully into your hearts.
Do not resist him, but yield to all his suggestions; see the note at Rom_8:1.
What the Holy Spirit would produce, Paul states in Gal_5:22-23.
If a man would yield his heart to those influences, he would be able to overcome all his carnal propensities;
and it is because he resists that Spirit, that he is ever overcome by the corrupt passions of his nature.
Never was a better, a safer, or a more easy rule given to overcome our corrupt and sensual desires than that here furnished; compare notes, Rom_8:1-13.

5. What can be wrong about indulging our sinful nature once in a while?
People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds.
Gal 5:20 They worship [TO PLEASE] idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are
Gal 5:21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.
We are not depending on God when we give in to a temptation
Our fleshly desire would be greater than what God wants & that’s like having another god before Him which breaks the 1st of the 10 Commandments.
Reflect:

1. How then do we grow in the spiritual fruit of love?
a. Fertilize- positive peer pressure ( read how Jesus did it, be around others who practice loving others)
b. Exercise- the “act” of loving others

2. Which vehicle of love is most healthy in your life (joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)? PUT IN ORDER…
a. Kindness, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, peace, self-control, patience

3. Which vehicle of love needs to grow more in your life?
a. Self-control & patience

Live:

1. What is the biggest change Jesus has made in your life and relationships?
a. Relationships being about others instead of what I can get out of it

2. Is there anything in your lifestyle you need to change to help the fruit of love grow even more?
a. yes

LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Posted by Perry

Session #2: Love One Another!
6:30pm Adult Bible Study
Ice Breaker:

1. Handout 3x5 cards to everyone.

2. Ask them to write out a complete definition of love.
1. A deep, tender, indescribable feeling of affection and care and concern toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
4. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
6. An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
2. To have a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward (a person).
Synonyms: love, affection, devotion, fondness, infatuation
These nouns denote feelings of warm personal attachment or strong attraction to another person. Love is the most intense: marrying for love.
Affection is a less ardent and more unvarying feeling of tender regard: parental affection.
Devotion is earnest, affectionate dedication and implies selflessness: teachers admired for their devotion to children.
Fondness is strong liking or affection: a fondness for small animals.
Infatuation is foolish or extravagant attraction, often of short duration: lovers blinded to their differences by their mutual infatuation.
1Co 13:4 Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or
1Co 13:5 rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do.
1Co 13:6 Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.
1Co 13:7 Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails!

3. Now, boil your understanding of love down to only one word.
CHOICE
4. Have each person share their definition and single word.

Opener:

1. Who was your first “true love” growing up?
Linda Dickerson
2. What was your most romantically fulfilling moment?
Wedding Ceremony – when she accepted me for who I was
I sang her this song during the ceremony
If by Bread
If a picture paints a thousand words,
Then why can't I paint you?
The words will never show the you I've come to know.
If a face could launch a thousand ships,
Then where am I to go?
There's no one home but you,
You're all that's left me too.
And when my love for life is running dry,
You come and pour yourself on me.

If a man could be two places at one time,
I'd be with you.
Tomorrow and today, beside you all the way.
If the world should stop revolving spinning slowly down to die,
I'd spend the end with you.
And when the world was through,
Then one by one the stars would all go out,
Then you and I would simply fly away
Read:
1 John 3:11-21
1Jn 3:11 From the beginning you were told that we must love each other.
1Jn 3:12 Don't be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his own brother. Why did he murder him? He did it because his brother was good, and he was evil.
1Jn 3:13 My friends, don't be surprised if the people of this world hate you.
1Jn 3:14 Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life. But if you don't love each other, you are still under the power of death.
1Jn 3:15 If you hate each other, you are murderers, and we know that murderers do not have eternal life.
1Jn 3:16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That's why we must give our lives for each other.
1Jn 3:17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God.
1Jn 3:18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.
1Jn 3:19 When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God.
1Jn 3:20 But even if we don't feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
1Jn 3:21 Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him.
Explore:

1. How do most people define love?
Intense feelings for someone
2. What is John’s definition of love?
Give our lives for each other
3. What are the results when followers of Jesus truly love others?
We will truly help them in their time of need & not just talk about it
4. How does the cross of Jesus illustrate love?
Jn. 3:16…God so loved that He GAVE…that we as sinners in need might have eternal life
5. What stands out to you about His love?
Unmotivated & universal to all.
Nothing in me was attractive to Him, & He loved me first anyway.
Reflect:

1. What is the best example of love in action you have ever experienced?
Linda lay in the living room floor on a twin size mattress for 6 weeks while I lay in a recliner and recovered from a motorcycle accident. I couldn’t do anything for myself, so she did what was necessary for me.
2. How does it make you feel as you realize that God knows everything about you?
Humble/embarrassed…thankful that He knows “how” to love me (meet the needs I have that nobody else knows about & I would never tell)
Live:

1. How can you consciously practice Jesus-like love this week?
With your friends?
Seek God & study His Word to give my friends insight in how to have a better life.
Your family?
Don’t wait to be told by Linda what needs to be done, keep my eyes open, recognize the needs and be self-motivated enough to do the work to meet those needs.
A person in need?
Determine if it’s real or a scam & meet their need…whether a cup of cold water (fig.) or a swift kick in the pants (fig.)

2. How will this action impact your own need for love?
We are never more like God than when we are “doing” for others. I think God is very satisfied with His life, therefore I will be too.

WHAT IS LOVE?

Posted by Perry

Session #1: What is Love?
6:30pm Adult Bible Study
Ice Breaker:

“The Five Love Languages” is Gary Chapman’s compelling book that poses that every human being receives and expresses love through a particular love language. This is his linguistical love list:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

What do you think about this concept? Which one or two love language(s) might you be fluent in? Which language do you most typically utilize to communicate love to the special person or people in your life?

Opener:

What personality trait or strengths did you pick up from your father? Your mother?
Dad – adaptability
Mom- creativity

Read:

1 John 4:7-21
1Jn 4:7 My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him.
1Jn 4:8 God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him.
1Jn 4:9 God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life.
1Jn 4:10 Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.
1Jn 4:11 Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.
1Jn 4:12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.
1Jn 4:13 God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us.
1Jn 4:14 God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him.
1Jn 4:15 God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay one with God
1Jn 4:16 and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us.
1Jn 4:17 If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment.
1Jn 4:18 A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love.
1Jn 4:19 We love because God loved us first.
1Jn 4:20 But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see?
1Jn 4:21 The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!"

Explore:

1. “Love” is mentioned 27 times in this passage; so what is love?
An attribute of God
2. What models of love do you see here?
a. know God through love
b. see God through love
c. no Fear in Love
d. obedience in Love
3. How can love be suppressed?
a. Don’t know God
b. Not loving one another
c. Be Fearful
d. Hate your brother
4. How can it be made complete or perfect?
a. Love one another
b. let God abide in us
c. have boldness in the day of judgment
5. How has God shown that He is love to you?
Sent His only begotten Son to be the substitute for our sins
Reflect:

1. How in your life has personal fear suppressed God’s love?
When I’m fearful I’m “snappy” and “short” with people instead of loving
2. When has God’s perfect love conquered your fears?
4th grade 1969 in my bed I feared going to Hell and God’s love saved me!
3. What is the connection between God’s love for us and the love we are to have for others?
Verse 11 if God so loved us (sacrificially), we ought to love others the same way
4. Is the love discussed here a feeling or action?
action
5. What does that say about true love?
It is a choice to do action
Live:

1. If you want to become more effective in loving others, what should you do?
Actions speak louder than words. Don’t worry about the “end times”, abide in
Christ.
2. How can you love more sacrificially this week? At home? At school or work? In a difficult relationship? Spell love T-I-M-E

FOR THE LOVE OF ABIGAIL

Posted by Perry


1 SAMUEL 25:23-42
CBC 9/19/10 SM (FAMILY DAY)
Phone rings/friend says/got someone for you to meet/be @ my house 30 min./going to football game/you hesitantly show up/friend & their date pick up your date/ & WHAM!/
Your dream come true/
Combination of posters on your bedroom wall/
Embodiment of all your fantasies/
Fulfillment of all your hopes/
And you knew like never before/
You were in love/
Here is the person you would marry/
You just met your “destiny”!

- Sounds good
- Way it’s supposed to be, right?
- How people fall in love
- NOT!
It would be nice but don’t plan on it.
- God designed us to love and be loved
- Got to be careful
- Lots of room for error
People try lots of ways to discover “True Love”
- Love that’s strong & deep
- Love that lasts forever
- They get heartache & pain
- Become broken & bitter
HOW ABOUT SOME HELP FROM THE BIBLE?
LET’S START WITH WHAT LOVE ISN’T
• Real love isn’t same as “Lust”
o Jon Bon Jovi “Today’s songs are about lust, not love.”
o Media in general has blurred the lines between love & lust
o Love values/lust uses
o Love endures/lust subsides
• Real love isn’t same as “romance”
o Emotional fireworks when couple holds hands, kisses etc.
o Special moments:
 Candlelight
 Mood music
 Slow dance
 Starry skies
o Romance is a feeling
 Love is much more
• Real love isn’t infatuation
o Fascination w/ an intense interest in someone of opposite sex
 Symptoms:
 Breathless
 Lightheaded
 Starry-eyed
 Addle-brained
 Loss of appetite
Joyce Hugget – “…usually thoroughly ‘me centered’ rather than ‘other centered.’ You fall for someone, you beguile yourself into believing yourself deeply in love w/ this person round whom your dreams revolve, you believe yourself ready to renounce your absorption with self for the sake of the well-being of this other person. Then, one morning, you wake up to discover that the euphoria has evaporated in the night. What’s more, you find yourself held captive by identical feelings for another person. When people talk about “falling in love” or “love at first sight” they are usually talking about infatuation. It can be an overwhelming “feeling”, but it’s not real love.
• Real love not same as sex
o Intensity of sex & intimacy of love not same
o Love is process
 Sex is an act
o Love is learned
 Sex is instinct
o Love requires constant attention
 Sex takes no effort
o Love takes time to develop and mature
 Sex doesn’t need time
o Love requires emotional and spiritual interaction
 Sex requires only physical interaction
o Love deepens a relationship
 Sex (operation independently of love) dulls a relationship & will eventually kill it
HERE’S WHAT REAL LOVE IS
Our example is Abigail & David
@ first meeting Abigail is married
Her husband dies and…vs 39
1Sa 25:39 David heard that Nabal had died. "I praise the LORD!" David said. "He has judged Nabal guilty for insulting me. The LORD kept me from doing anything wrong, and he made sure that Nabal hurt only himself with his own evil." Abigail was still at Carmel. So David sent messengers to ask her if she would marry him.
1Sa 25:40 (SEE 25:39)
1Sa 25:41 She bowed down and said, "I would willingly be David's slave and wash his servants' feet."
1Sa 25:42 Abigail quickly got ready and went back with David's messengers. She rode on her donkey, while five of her servant women walked alongside. She and David were married as soon as she arrived.
David knew he found “real love”
- Never says Abigail was “hot”
- Or David “fell in love”
- Does give us clues to real love
BACKGROUND:
David & ragtag army in exile/running from King Saul/asked Nabal, Abigail’s husband for food/(Mid-Eastern culture you never turned down someone hungry)/Nabal refused/ David had earlier been kind to Nabal’s ranch hands/David decided to kill Nabal & his household/Abigail finds out/goes out to meet David v23
1Sa 25:23 Abigail quickly got off her donkey and bowed down in front of David.
1Sa 25:24 Then she said: Sir, please let me explain!
CLUE #1: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
True love always includes respect
- Physical respect
- Intellectual respect
- Emotional respect
- Social respect
David respected her for single-handedly saving the household
Vs 26
Sa 25:25 Don't pay any attention to that good-for-nothing Nabal. His name means "fool," and it really fits him! I didn't see the men you sent,
1Sa 25:26 but please take this gift of food that I've brought and share it with your followers. The LORD has kept you from taking revenge and from killing innocent people. But I hope your enemies and anyone else who wants to harm you will end up like Nabal. I swear this by the living LORD and by your life.
1Sa 25:27 (SEE 25:26)
1Sa 25:28 Please forgive me if I say a little more. The LORD will always protect you and your family, because you fight for him. I pray that you won't ever do anything evil as long as you live.
CLUE #2: FAITH IN THE LORD
True love always includes a common faith in the LORD. (God is love…)
- Common desire to be kept from doing wrong
- Abigail heart of faith/common w/ David who was a “man after God’s own heart”
- Do I have a personal relationship w/ Jesus Christ?
- Does my boy/girl friend have relationship w/ Jesus Christ?
2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Vs 30, 31
1Sa 25:30 The LORD has promised to do many good things for you, even to make you the ruler of Israel. The LORD will keep his promises to you,
1Sa 25:31 and now your conscience will be clear, because you won't be guilty of taking revenge and killing innocent people. When the LORD does all those good things for you, please remember me.
CLUE #3: CONCERN
Abigail showed concern:
- For David’s happiness
- For his health
- For his spiritual growth
We are to love God MORE than we love ourselves
We are to love neighbor (boy/girl friend, spouse…) as much as we love ourselves.
Eph 5:28 In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself.
CONCL:
True Love Will:
- Nurture & cherish
- Not emotionally exploit or abuse
- Not pressure for sex outside marriage
- Not insist on other person breaking off healthy friendships
True Love can be found in David’s love for Abigail.

A GOOD REASON TO TRUST JESUS

Posted by Perry


PHILEMON 1:17-19
CBC 9/5/10 SM
Conflict happens…
Even between “believers”
Example for Reconciliation is given to us by Christ himself
(undeserved substitute)
Phm 1:17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
(unpayable debt)
Phm 1:18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
(unbelievable payment)
Phm 1:19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
WE HAVE AN UNDESERVED SUBSTITUTE (V. 17)
• Partnership based on life in common with Jesus Christ
o Partner in Gospel Ministry
o Partner by prior life-long arrangement
• Benefits of “partnership”
o “accept him as you would me”
o Paul taking Onesimus’ place
 His substitute
o Forgive him as you would forgive me
o Hold no obligation against him as you would me
o Take him back the way you would accept me
• Paul gave Onesimus his “full plate” in exchange for his “empty” one
o Philemon was to receive Onesimus’ “full plate
• Jesus takes our place like Paul took Onesimus’ place
o “Father accept Perry as you would accept me”
o “Father I’m going to die in Perry’s place”
o “Father I’m taking Perry’s punishment for him”
2Co 5:21 Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.
WE HAVE AN UNPAYABLE DEBT (VS 18)
• Onesimus had incurred an “unpayable” debt
o He owed Philemon a monetary debt
• Onesimus a runaway slave
o Cost $500 denarii
 500 days wages
 Cost to Philemon to replace Onesimus
• Onesimus had stolen from Philemon
o To fund his fugitive lifestyle
o Onesimus was out of money, helpless, bankrupt
• Onesimus was under the penalty of death
o He had abandoned his master who had purchased him
o That could not be paid back by monetary means
• That’s a picture of US!
o We have “abandoned” our master…God
 Disobeyed & sinned
 Ran away & hid
 We are bankrupt
 We can work for all eternity & never satisfy the requirement of the penalty…DEATH!
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
WE HAVE AN UNBELIEVABLE PAYMENT (V. 18, 19)
• I’m writing w/ my own hand…”I Will Repay the Debt”
o Paul knew & understood the magnitude of Onesimus’ debt
o Paul’s desire that the “Broken Fellowship” would be restored
• Jesus didn’t send an angel to do His work, it was “By His Own Hands”
o He understood the magnitude of My debt & Yours
o Jesus’ desire that “Broken Fellowship” between us & God would be restored.
• He went to Calvary’s Cross
Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
o He was paying the debt for the consequences of OUR SIN
o He also went further & put “righteousness” into our account so we wouldn’t be “debt free & destitute”
CONCL:
A man was caught stealing milk from the store/arrested & taken before the judge/How do you plead? Guilty/He asked for leniency/had 2 small babies at home & had nothing to give them or money to buy milk with/instead of seeing them starve, he stole milk/ judge explained that since he pleaded guilty he had to be charged accordingly/judge assessed the fine $10 for the milk/man had no money to pay fine/judge got up, laid down his gavel, walked off the bench, walked to clerks desk, paid $10/man was set free/judge then gave man $100 to provide for future need (imputed to him righteousness…)
INVITATION
That’s a GOOD REASON TO TRUST JESUS!
Would you give him your heart & life today?

FROM UNDERACHIEVERS TO OVERCOMERS

Posted by Perry


1 JOHN 5:1-6
CBC 9/5/10 SN
Overcome - nik-ah'-o
From G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): - conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.
• Don’t settle:
o For 2nd best
o For substandard
o Don’t just survive
o Don’t just get by
o Keeping nose above water
• GET THE VICTORY
o Win the big prize
o Obtain the best
WHAT MUST WE OVERCOME?
1Jn 2:15 Have no love for the world or for the things which are in the world. If any man has love for the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world.
• Desire of flesh = “passion”
• Desire of eyes = “possession”
• Pride of life = “position”
o Unbridled ambition
o Desire to put self first
Jesus said:
Joh 16:33 I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.
• Disciples can have “confidence”
o Confidence we will have tribulation…
o Confidence we can be overcomers b/c Jesus was an overcomer
HOW CAN WE BE OVERCOMERS?
• We “will” face opposition in this world
o Helen Keller observed that the victories wouldn’t be as sweet if their weren’t difficulties to overcome
• V4 Overcoming requires NEW BIRTH
o Described to Nicodemus
o Not one lost person living a joyful, fulfilled, victorious life
 Don’t have ingredient for victory
• V4b, 5 Overcoming requires BELIEF
o Can’t overcome by “Trying”
o You overcome by “Trusting”
Eph 2:8 Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God:
Eph 2:9 Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself.
Eph 2:10 For by his act we were given existence in Christ Jesus to do those good works which God before made ready for us so that we might do them.

• What are you trusting in today?
o Self effort?
o Good works?
o Jesus Christ?
• V6 Overcoming requires BLOOD
o Not just “any” blood
 But, SINLESS blood
 Only Jesus could provide that
Heb 9:22 And by the law almost all things are made clean with blood, and without blood there is no forgiveness.
• Sin demands a sacrifice
o Jesus was that sacrifice for us
HOW CAN WE LIVE LIKE OVERCOMERS?
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their witness; and loving not their lives they freely gave themselves up to death.
• We live like overcomers by the strength we receive from our relationship with the LORD.
o How much are you around Him?
How much of Him has rubbed off on U

THE "ACT" OF FORGIVENESS

Posted by Perry


MATTHEW 18:21-35
8/29/2010 SM
Mat 18:21 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?"
Mat 18:22 Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!
Not hard to understand “concept” of FORGIVENESS…
Difficulty comes w/ the “act” of FORGIVENESS…
STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU’VE BEEN SERIOUSLY HURT
- Admit it
o Don’t be “macho”
o Don’t be in “denial”
o Get in position to pursue forgiveness
- Not every incident qualifies for Forgiveness
o Minor disappointments
o Passing slights
- Qualifying offences
o Pain inflicted is
 Personal
 Unfair
 Deep
o Betrayal
o Brutality (physical/emotional)
- Hatred can take root in our heart
o Can’t get rid of it by covering it up
o Hate is sign that forgiveness is needed
STEP 2: SURRENDER YOUR RIGHT TO GET EVEN
- ILL: 7yr boy screamed/Mom found 2yr sister pulling his hair/Mom got her loose/told boy little sister didn’t understand that it hurt/boy nodded and left room/later Mom heard little sister scream/ rushing in Mom asked what happened/boy said, “she understands now.”
- Few would dispute our right to get even.
o Rule of world: do unto others as they’ve done unto you
- Forgiveness lays aside our right to extract our revenge.
o We leave ultimate justice & vengeance to God
o We deliberately choose path of forgiveness for ourselves
 1st step down a different path
- Some argue this will make you a “doormat” to be trodden underfoot
o Reality-unleashes a power not know to man
ILL: Albert Tomei is a justice of the New York State Supreme Court. A young defendant was convicted of gunning down another person execution style. The murderer had a bad record, & was no stranger to the system. He only stared in anger as the jury returned its guilty verdict.
The victim’s family had attended every day of the two-week trial. On the day of sentencing, the victim’s mother and grandmother addressed the court. When they spoke, neither addressed the jury. Both spoke directly to the murderer. They both forgave him.
“You broke the Golden Rule—loving God w/ all your heart, soul and mind. You broke the law—loving your neighbor as yourself. I am your neighbor,” the older of the two women told him, “so you have my address. If you want to write, I’ll write you back. I sat in this trial for two weeks, and for the last 16 months I tried to hate you. But you know what? I couldn’t hate you. I feel sorry for you b/c you made a wrong choice.
Judge Tomei writes: “For the 1st time since the trial began, the defendant’s eyes lost their laser force and appeared to surrender to a life force that only a mother can generate: nurturing, unconditional love. After the grandmother finished, I looked at the defendant. His head was hanging low. There was no more swagger, no more stare. The destructive and evil forces within him collapsed helplessly before this remarkable display of humaneness.”
[source:www.preachingtoday.com]

- In choosing path of forgiveness, grandmother unleashed a power that could not be tapped any other way.
o It was the only thing that caused the defendant to hand his head in guilt.
STEP 3: SEARCH FOR THE REAL PERSON BENEATH THE EVIL MASK
- We like to caricature our wrongdoer
o Emphasize all bad things about them
o Twist anything that looks remotely good
o Quick to cast doubt on their every motive
o We see them only and always in one way…evil
- Forgiveness requires we look for the real person behind the caricature
o See that they have hurt
o They are weak, needy & fallible
o Find reasons for our hearts to turn toward mercy instead of malice
- Don’t grant them “victim” status & excuse all their wrong
o We’re forgiving not excusing
o Simply treat them as another participant in this messy thing called life
- Motivation?
o Doing for them what God did for us
o God looked beyond our sin & saw something worth loving
o We’ve been called to do that too
STEP 4: DESIRE THAT GOOD THINGS WOULD HAPPEN TO YOUR WRONGDOER
- Move from dreaming of bad things toward them to hoping for good things in their life
o Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is no punishment
o Punishment that leads to sorrow brings them to where they need to be
o Key is in the motive:
 Anger/hatred?
 See their heart changed?
STEP 5: IF POSSIBLE, ENJOY THE HEALED RELATIONSHIP
- Sometimes person can’t join you in moving toward reconciliation (may be dead)
- Sometimes person won’t join you in moving toward reconciliation (won’t admit guilt)
- Reconciliation demands they understand pain they’ve caused you & must be sorrowful over it
- When they are…make sure you enjoy the healing & renewed relationship that comes with “complete forgiveness”

ENJOY THE JOY

Posted by Perry


3 JOHN 1-4
CBC 8/22/10 SM
3Jn 1:1 I, a ruler in the church, send word to the well loved Gaius, for whom I have true love.
3Jn 1:2 My loved one, it is my prayer that you may do well in all things, and be healthy in body, even as your soul does well.
3Jn 1:3 For it gave me great joy when some of the brothers came and gave witness that you had the true faith and were walking in the true way.
3Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than to have news that my children are walking in the true way.

JOY-2 B glad, rejoice/delight/mirth/ glee/hope/extreme cheerfulness/
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for 30 years. His mind, wit and work earned him the unofficial title of "the greatest justice since John Marshall." At one point in his life, Justice Holmes explained his choice of a career by saying: "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers."
Today In The Word, June, 1988, p. 13.

Are You Missing The Joy?
3 areas we are to “enjoy”
ENJOY HEALTH
My loved one, it is my prayer that you may do well in all things, and be healthy in body, even as your soul does well.
What would be our condition if our physical health were tied directly to our spiritual “activity”?
• How far could you jog based on how much you worship/pray/…
• How (healthy) long would you live if connected to how much you read your Bible?
We have a “Commission” to reach the world
• Hard to do much when sick
Daddy-in-law-“If you’ve got your health, you’ve got your wealth”!
• Do we “enjoy” our health or take it for granted?
• What should we do to be healthy?
o Eat right…
o Exercise…
o Regular check-ups…
o Take your medicine…
Why is health important?
…it is my prayer that you may do well in all things…
• Christian walk…
• Individual goals
• Family activities
• Prosperity in business
Jesus ministered to the “whole” person, not just the spiritual side
• Cripple-take up bed & walk
• Blind- now I see
• Withered hand-made whole
• Enjoy the joy
ENJOY ENCOURAGEMENT
3Jn 1:3 For it gave me great joy when some of the brothers came and gave witness that you had the true faith and were walking in the true way.
Gaius has been doing good!
• Entertaining missionaries
John sends a “letter” & tells him he’s doing good.
• Do we take people for granted?
o Send a letter
o Let them know, “they’re making a difference”
o Let them know, “someone has noticed”
• Encouragement can go a long way
o Enough discouragement
o Life issue: SELF ESTEEM
o Very few drug abusers have a high self esteem
• Who here doesn’t need encouragement occasionally?
o We all need it
• It brings joy when we encourage or when we are encouraged
• Enjoy the joy
ENJOY GROWTH
3Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than to have news that my children are walking in the true way.
Makes effort worth the while when someone learns from our teaching and acts on the information:
• School teacher-when former student does good
• Parent-when child exceeds family goals for them
• Pastor-when congregation begin walking w/ God & winning loved ones to Christ
Invest your time in “people” that do not know Christ
• Understand they won’t all be saved
• They won’t all understand
• They won’t all even care
Eventually someone will “get it”
• Their actions change from bad to good
• Their attitude improves
• Their anger subsides
• They grow & minister to someone else
• Enjoy the joy
CONCL:
Use your joy showing people how to have a healthy life.
• Exercise with them
• Share healthy recipes
Use your joy encouraging people
• Send a card
• Pray with them
• LISTEN to their troubles
Use your joy involving yourself in people’s lives
• Sacrifice some time, talent & treasure
• Invest in someone’s life

A CLEAN SWEEP

Posted by Perry


PSALM 4:1-8
CBC 8/22/10 SN
Name fastest growing business in USA today?...mini-storage
• We buy things we don’t use
• We rent space to store things we don’t need or use
• Mini-storage-$15 billion/yr
• Movie industry-$9 billion/yr
2,330 sq ft avg. American house
55% larger than in 1970
Not enough “storage” room
1 in 11 rent storage today
1995 1 in 17 rented storage
25 million active storage units today
• Become a Nation obsessed with material things
• Our lives can also become cluttered with “things”
Let’s look @ how to make a “CLEAN SWEEP”
Psa 4:1 (A psalm by David for the music leader. Use stringed instruments.) You are my God and protector. Please answer my prayer. I was in terrible distress, but you set me free. Now have pity and listen as I pray.
BE A GOD-SEEKER
• Know where to go when U get over-loaded…GOD
• Know “terrible distress” is coming to your door
• Know God can set you “free”
• Know He will listen as we pray
Psa 4:2 How long will you people refuse to respect me? You love foolish things, and you run after what is worthless.
CALL EVIL WHAT IT IS…EVIL
• How often is our life cluttered with thoughts & actions that are evil?
o Lack of respect for God
o Love of foolish things
o Run after worthless (temporary/material)
Psa 4:3 The LORD has chosen everyone who is faithful to be his very own, and he answers my prayers.
LIVE A HOLY LIFE
• God’s children are never ignored
• Jesus promised to never leave us nor forsake us
A group of botanists went on an expedition into a hard-to-reach location in the Alps, searching for new varieties of flowers. One day as a scientist looked through his binoculars, he saw a beautiful, rare species growing at the bottom of a deep ravine. To reach it, someone would have to be lowered into that gorge. Noticing a local youngster standing nearby, the man asked him if he would help them get the flower. The boy was told that a rope would be tied around his waist and the men would then lower him to the floor of the canyon. Excited yet apprehensive about the adventure, the youngster peered thoughtfully into the chasm. "Wait," he said, "I'll be back," and off he dashed. When he returned, he was accompanied by an older man. Approaching the head botanist, the boy said, "I'll go over the cliff now and get the flower for you, but this man must hold onto the rope. He's my dad!"
Psa 4:4 But each of you had better tremble and turn from your sins. Silently search your heart as you lie in bed.
STAND IN AWE
• to stand in awe;
• to reflect on the course which they were pursuing, and on the consequences of that course, and by so doing to cease from their plans, and to sin no further.
Psa 4:5 Offer the proper sacrifices and trust the LORD.
OFFER RIGHTEOUS SACRIFICES
• sacrifices offered by right motives
o why are you helping that lady with the broken-down car on side of road?
• Wear clothing of a New Believer
o Compassion
o Kindness
o Humility
o Meekness
o Patience
o Forbearing & forgiving
• Psa 4:6 There are some who ask, "Who will be good to us?" Let your kindness, LORD, shine brightly on us.
• Literal translation-“Who will show us good?”
o Wealth?
o Honor?
o Palaces?
o Sensual pleasure?
o Literature?
o Refined social enjoyments?
o Psalmist says, “favor & friendship of God”
Psa 4:7 You brought me more happiness than a rich harvest of grain and grapes.
• True “happiness” comes only from God
o Better than material goods
o “fizz” goes away after awhile
o God’s “fizz” is eternal
Psa 4:8 I can lie down and sleep soundly because you, LORD, will keep me safe.
• Lay down & sleep soundly AT THE SAME TIME
o True rest for our whole self
o Mind at “rest” peace/ turned off/ b/c nothing God can’t handle
o Calm confidence in God!