Friday, July 3, 2015

1 Corinthians 08 sermon notes for 150628PM@TBC

·        Segway: Break into groups to read the passage and identify the most frequent word.
               Get responses on the key word.  What?  How many times?  How was knowledge being used?

·        Sermon Title and Instructions to kids:  Draw the pictures on the slides.
·        Larger context of 8-10
8.1       Misuse of knowledge
9.1       Paul’s deference of rights for the Gospel’s sake
10.1     Flee from idolatry!
10.23  Concluding principles on meat and idols

·        Cultural background:   Not to be confused with Jewish dietary restrictions
                              It is interesting to note that most poor ate little meat.
                              Some burnt, some eaten in a feast, some sold in the market.
                              Feasts in the temples. 
·        Two views on this passage.
1.  Meat sacrificed to idols was an “amoral” but controversial issue. 
2. Paul was responding to some Corinthian objections to the prohibition
Acts 15.28-29
“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:
that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols,
and from blood,
and from what has been strangled,
and from sexual immorality.
If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
·        Big Idea: Give priority to how your actions impact others for the Gospel.
A.   Value of Knowledge    (1-3)
1. Knowledge puffs up. (1)
               They were using knowledge like a lawyer looking for a loophole
               Knowledge alone tends to focus on the abstract overlooks people.
               What is our priority?  Your loophole or your brother/the Gospel?

2. Knowledge is incomplete. (2)
               The more you know the more you know you don’t know.

3. Knowledge of God is not enough.  (3)
               v.3  “If” assume the answer is yes.  Who does God love?  Those who know about Him or those who love Him?

APPLICATION: “Some Christians grow; others just swell.”  --W.Wiersbie

B. “Idol-Smart but People-dumb”
1. Only one God (4-6).
·        One God
·        “gods” traditional / “lords” mystery religions
·        (Father “of/from” the source -- Son “through” the means)
o   We believers live FOR the Father (not for ourselves)
2. Eating harms others (7).
It is dangerous to live in violation of your conscience.
3. Food is neutral (8).
Meat offered to idols didn’t have “cooties.” 
Cf. 1 Timothy 4:3-4 “For every creature of God is good … if it is received with thanksgiving.”

APPLICATION: Love should take priority over knowledge.

III. Concern for a Brother...    (9-13)
1.  Be careful. Others are watching you.  (9-10)
2.  Your actions can ruin a brother’s conscience.  (11-12)
3.  Value your brother above yourself.  (13)

APPLICATION: We need to prioritize the right question.
“How can I build up the brother for whom Christ died?”

Today I want to focus on the heart attitude rather than the loopholes.
You can’t be confident you are doing right by your brother (or the Gospel) if you are not willing to sacrifice for his spiritual health.

A. The Gospel in 1 Corinthians 8
v. 6 – God is our creator
v. 12b  Sin is against Christ
v. 11 Christ loved and died for us
------Christ’s love and death demands a response.

B. Read instructions from George in India
·       “If the person knows that food has been placed and offered to the idols with all the pooja worship and so forth, I think they should refrain. If they eat it knowingly, then they are compromising and giving a signal that they do not mind in worshipping their god. Then their stand that there is only one God gets devalued. On the other hand, if they eat from the plate without knowing, then I would see no harm, as there is no power that is greater than Jesus and His blood that was shed on the cross.”  --George Ebenezer, Going Beyond, a ministry in India
·       “In our practical context, I have learnt to be very sensitive but not compromise. How do I do that? I tell my friends very openly, (but with a smile in a gentle voice) that I will surely eat your food on your festivals but not the food (kept on a certain plate) offered to idols. Then it is like me worshiping your god. They immediately understand the religious connotation and give freedom. That is the best thing with a land like India where there are more than 33 million gods :) Some of them even have said… oh it is like we not taking part in your communion (We know that it is a different issue here) but I simply smile and nod my head and if the relationship continues, I explain the meaning behind the communion.”   --George Ebenezer, Going Beyond

C. Big Idea: Give priority to how your actions impact others for the Gospel.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Proverbs and misc

Proverbs 23.17-18
"Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off."
1. When we are preoccupied with this world we idolize those who prosper by "breaking the rules."
2. We should set our hope on things to come.
3. Lord, help me be focused on what pleases You.

Proverbs 24.10-11
If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small.
Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
While these verses are not specifically about the military, they seem to apply. On this Memorial Day weekend thanks to those who paid the ultimate price to defend and protect us.

Zephaniah 1.
"Those who worship and swear by the LORD,
But also swear by Milcom,"
"Who say in their heart,
The Lord will not do good,
Nor will He do evil."
They are "open minded" happy to participate in religious ceremonies and customs of all stripes. It is dead and godless religion that believes God is irrelevant in any practical ways. God is not a dog trainer giving treats when we do tricks, but there are and certainly will be rewards and judgements in His time.

Proverbs 25.27
"It is not good to eat much honey;
So to seek one's own glory is not glory."
The point of proverbs is not about eating honey. That is the cerebral cartoon that makes the point that a little self promotion goes a long way and can be easily turn into a big, sticky, stomach turning mess.
"Lord, help me to have a realistic view of myself and let others take the primary responsibility of spreading the word. You must increase, I must...

Proverbs 26.22
"The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body."
This proverb speaks to what irresistible treats bits of gossip are and how deeply they affect us (hard it is to get that weight off).
Lord, help me maintain a strict diet of "gossip free" and edifying words.

Zechariah 8.23
The LORD who rules over all says, 'In those days ten people from all languages and nations will grasp hold of - indeed, grab - the robe of one Jew and say, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'"
Thinking about to what extent the Lord is with me and about how people might see it and ask.
Lord, make my heart loyal to you and move in hearts.

Proverbs 27.5-6
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
but the kisses of an enemy are excessive." (NET)
When we cover or ignore an error, shortcoming, or oversight of a friend whether for fear of offending or distaste for an uncomfortable situation, we are not really helping them.
Lord, give me faithful friends and help me to be a faithful friend.

Proverbs 28.19-20
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!
A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
This proverb complements the NT teaching that " those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."
Lord, give me contentment in being faithful to till my "land."

While we don't usually think of Proverbs as addressing politics, it does have a considerable amount to say about good governance. These verses speak to some recent current events with clarity and balance.
Proverbs 29.7-8
"A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
A wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
Scoffers set a city aflame,
But the wise turn away wrath."

Let's clamp our hand over our mouth, close our eyes, and think about our blessings. Shalom...shalom...shalom.
Proverbs 30.32-33
32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Our physical bodies have an inevitable downward slide, but the inward man and heart for the Lord should shine through with increasing strength. I appreciate "my" Donna Martin, who is a living example of the inward character shining and growing in spite of physical challenges.
Proverbs 31.30
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Lord, cause me to have a fear of You that makes my inward man beautiful.

Proverbs 1.5
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
Wisdom is more about growing and learning than about having arrived. On this side of Glory (and probably even on that side in some respects) we are to be all about growing in the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Proverbs 2.4-6
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures,
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
This reminds me of Matt. 7.7 and Luke 11.9 or Paul's prayer in Colossians 1. We seek for something that is beyond us that God gives us.

I 'm thinking about the common threads between withholding money that I am able to pay, plotting against someone close to me, picking pointless fights, and admiring violent men.
Proverbs 3.32
Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.
Lord, help me be the kind of man who will have your "friendship."

Proverbs 4.1-2
Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
"Insight" or understanding is the word used to describe the men of Isschar in 1 Chronicles 12.32. We are not just teaching our children (students) our rules, but God's values and principles and how to make rules for situations we have not anticipated.

Where did we get we get the idea that sex is some kind of conquest? The passage seems to present it as a loving, intimate, and glorious treasure or piece of ourself that we share with one person, our wife. This half of Proverbs five is a great passage to meditate on.
Proverbs 5.15-17
Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,

having sex with just anyone?
You should reserve it for yourselves.

Never share it with strangers.

Proverbs 6:10-22
"My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with [advise] you."
Am I telling my kids the things that will lead, watch, and guide them? Am I even talking about important things with them? Do I impart the Biblical principles that will really help them stay on the path of sanctification to Christ?

One of the sad parts of this description is how unintentional and morally passive he is as he aimlessly wanders towards along toward a very intentional and promiscuous woman. We should leave the house with God's wisdom and instruction on our minds and a plan to do right.
Proverbs 7.6-8
"For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice.
And saw among the simple,
I perceived among the youths,
A young man devoid of understanding,
Passing along the street near her corner;
And he took the path to her house."

Lord, keep me intentional and wise for You.

Prompted to think about worship this morning.
"Then she came and worshipped Him [Jesus] saying, "Lord, help me!" Matt 15.25

Proverbs 8.17-19
"I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver."
These promises of eternal benefits that surpass temporal wealth reveal that this wisdom is much more than helpful "life hacks."

Proverbs 10.26
"Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him."
This proverb flows in the vein of the current saying, "Your best ability is dependability." Thinking about how dependable I am to God.

Proverbs 11.25-27
A generous person will be enriched,
and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.
People will curse the one who withholds grain,
but they will praise the one who sells it.
The one who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but the one who searches for evil - it will come to him. [NET]
Lord, give me your heart of wise generosity and make me a blessing.

Why do these verses, esp. 18, remind me of video clips and comments on Facebook? How could Solomon have known? Or the more things change the more they stay the same.
Proverbs 12.17-19
Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Proverbs 13.14-15
"The law of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.
Good understanding gains favor,
But the way of the unfaithful is hard."
Chapter fourteen has a similar proverb that replaces "law of the wise" with "fear of the Lord." A good understanding is contrasted with being unfaithful to the Lord, and the unfaithful life has an appointment with death.
Lord, help me drink from the fountian of life.

Proverbs 14.2
He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD,
But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.
The word "despises is the same one used of Goliath's attitude toward David. It is a mistake to underestimate the Lord.

A church marquee said, “God doesn’t want visitation rights. He wants full custody.” That captures the idea of worship. Worship is not just 10% of our income, twenty minutes each morning, one day a week, or even a couple weeks on a mission’s trip each year. God deserves and desires for us to worship Him with all our assets and all our actions, every day, each week of every year He gives us.

It is my opinion that most of the proverbs are grouped in sets. Here are two that seem to reinforce the same truth from two perspectives.
Proverbs 15.1-2
"A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly."
Angry, spiteful responses are not renoun for their thoughtfulness, and the perceptive answer that reflects God's wisdom is much more likely to help defuse a situation.
Lord, help me to think of you first and speak with grace.

Proverb 16-25
"There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death."
And the next verses describe some of these ways as slander, gossip, violence, and scheming signals.
Lord, keep my moral compass clear and lead me andry me lead others in your path.

Proverbs 17.21-22
"He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
My sons and daughter are good medicine to my heart.

"WATCH therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." Matt 25.13
Lord, help me keep both "spiritual" eyes wide open and observant.

It is striking that every one of Jesus, twelve disciples saw in their heart the potential of denying Christ. Matt 26.22

These proverbs don't seem related until you think about them for a minute. Look at the first one as the principle followed by two illustrations.
Proverbs 18.15-17
"The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A man's gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.
The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him."
Lord, give me a patient discernment and a heart for truth that sees past personal advantage to all sides of an issue. Help me walk in Your wisdom.

These two proverbs work in tandem to use the example of a king to show how control of our anger is also beneficial to others.
Proverbs 19.11 -12
"The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass."
Lord, increase my self-control and magnanimity to make me pleasing to You and a blessing to those around me.

Three proverbs illustrate a contrast between empty talkers and the faithful man of substance who is summarized in verse six.
Proverbs 20
"3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.
4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter;
He will beg during harvest and have nothing.
5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding will draw it out.
6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man?"
Lord, I want to be Your faithful man.

Proverbs 21.25-26
"The desire of the lazy man kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor.
He covets greedily all day long,
But the righteous gives and does not spare."
The righteous are hard working givers who have put on the "new man" like in Ephesians 4.28.

Proverbs 22.17-19
"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your heart to my knowledge,
For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;
Let them all be fixed upon your lips,
So that your trust may be in the LORD;
I have instructed you today, even you."
Never before have the words of the wise (and foolish) been so readily available. Let's make the time to listen, apply, and believe more and more in the Lord.

Our heart's loyalty to the Way we have been taught and our eyes focused on being observant to and on the right helps us avoid moral pits and traps.
Proverbs 23.26-28
"My son, give me your heart,
And let your eyes observe my ways.
For a harlot is a deep pit,
And a seductress is a narrow well.
She also lies in wait as for a victim,
And increases the unfaithful among men."
Lord, please keep me faithful!

Proverbs 24.17-18
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him."
This is a difficult proverb to follow, but seems to be a good test to distinguish between justice and personal vengeance.

The big idea of this section seems to be that peace pleases the Lord and is worth the effort. The last two lines are more about the blessings of peace and a gentle, content spirit than marriage.
Proverbs 25.21-24
"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the LORD will reward you.
The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Lord, give me the gentle wise spirit I need to be a peacemaker.

A warning for the victim and perpetrator:
Proverbs 26.23-28
Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.
He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
And lays up deceit within himself;
When he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart;
Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

This quartet of proverbs reminds us of the nature and importance of good friends. They love us enough to correct us and help us avoid toxic relationships. We should stick with them. Got good friends?
Proverbs 27.5-8
Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Wise sayings from thousands of years ago remind us that we are not the first and likely not the last to face times like these.
Proverbs 28.4-6
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich."
Lord, help me to walk in integrity before You.

Proverbs 29.25-27
"The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
Many seek the ruler's favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD."
It is helpful the compare "matching words" to get the full two dimensional perspective of the Hebrew parallelism. The basic idea of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is fine, but we shouldn't expect from man what only God can promise.
Lord, help me to fear and trust You alone.

Proverbs 30.32-33 "If you have done foolishly by exalting yourself or if you have planned evil, put your hand over your mouth! For as the churning of milk produces butter and as punching the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife." (NET)
This reminds me of the recently advertised feature of Google e-mail that allows you to recall an e-mail when you think better of yourself after sending it. Giving someone a piece of our mind is something we can rarely afford to do. Lord, help me to think before I act or speak.

I just stumbled along 2 Samuel 17 while looking for another passage. Well, the way my mind works I remembered that 1 Samuel 17 was about David's renown victory over Goliath. The first words in 2 Samuel 17? "Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom..." Lot's of thoughts about why things were going so differently in those two chapters.

Proverbs 1.8-9
"My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
1. Dad and mom are consistent in what they are saying.
2. The character they are building into their children's lives will elevate and distinguish them above normal.
3. It is key is for the children to chose and apply what the are being taught.

"Discretion"(mĕzimmah) involves the idea of planning and "understanding" (tabuwn) the idea of thoughtful discernment. The objective in these verse is to not be diverted from The Way of righteousness. That is the primary danger.
Proverbs 1.11-13
"Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;"
Lord, help me to keep your purposes for my life and and your principles front and center in my thinking today.