October 2017  
SMTWTFS
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
     
Bible Search
Mission from God by Larry Vann

A child asked his father, “How were people born?”  So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.”  The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.”  The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!”  His father replied, “No, your mom was talking about her side of the family.”

While this little dialogue between parents and child originated as a funny joke, it illustrates to me some of the issues we face today. 

Why did the father start the answer where he did? 

Why didn’t mom and dad’s answer agree?

Why did the child assume dad was lying and not mom?

Was there follow-up after dad’s little joke on mom?

Most of us in this room have people we love and care about who have not committed their lives to God.  Some don’t believe the bible is worth reading.    The only way to change this is by our taking advantage of opportunities we have with them.  God will lead us in this if we pay attention.

The little boy went to his parents for the answer to his question.  Does anyone come to us for answers?  If so, what do their questions look like?

What do we have to make ourselves attractive to other people – so that they would come to us for advice/answers?  What makes us different from just about everyone else?  What does the bible say about this?

The answers are:

1.  We must live good productive lives which benefit those we come in contact with.

2.  We must make our happiness/joy evident always.

3.  We must have people we love and know God loves us.

First - we have to understand that our own lives are a great part of our witness. Whether we like it or not, people are watching us. People not only listen to our words, they look at our life.

I Thessalonians 4:11      “… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

Does this mean we should be hermits?  No.  It seems that certain members of the church at Thessalonica had become fanatics, busybodies and loafers.  Paul had a fourfold prescription for these people:

1.  Live a calm and orderly life

2.  Mind your own business

3.  Occupy yourself with work

4.  Have a mannerly conduct

The Thessalonians were to make every effort to pursue a tranquil life.  Apparently, they were bogged down by unscriptural argument and unwarranted criticism.  They needed to transfer this misspent energy into something more productive.  Christians usefully employed have a tendency toward being more settled.  Promoting and participating in turmoil is not a Christ-like characteristic. 

Live the Godly example.  If our life is a mess, clean it up.  If we think our life is not a mess but we still hold onto things that are not biblical, change our thinking. 

Attend church regularly and associate with your church family as best you are able.  Read your bible and pray for God’s enlightenment.  Seek to weed out the sin in our lives and keep it out.  Trust God.  Realize what he has done and is doing for us.  Honor him for it.

Second item:  Joy and Happiness – Our ”Make-Over”

A hundred years ago, every Christian knew the meaning of joy.  Today, if you ask a group of Christians, “What does joy mean?” most will grope for words, with only one emphatic opinion: that joy is different from happiness.

In contrast to believers prior to the twentieth century, many modern Christians have portrayed happiness as, at best, inferior to joy and, at worst, evil.  This is because some twentieth century teachers saw people trying to find happiness in sin, so they concluded that pursuing happiness was sinful.

Our message shouldn’t be “Don’t seek happiness,” but that “You’ll find in Jesus the happiness and joy you’ve always longed for.”  Happiness is the beauty part of our joy.  Joyful people are typically glad and cheerful – they smile and laugh a lot.  To put it plainly, they’re happy – and this is attractive.

I decided, instead of Googling the definitions of Joy and Happiness for you, that I would simply look for “happy” in the different versions of the bible – so we might assume they are faithful definitions (pun intended).

King James

Psalms 144:15      … happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

Psalms 146:5        Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, …

Prov. 3:13            Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, …

 

NIV

Matt 25:21           “His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Eccl 2:26              To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, …

AMP

Gen 2:8                And the Lord God planted a garden (oasis) in the east, in Eden (land of happiness); …

Matt 5:3               “Blessed (spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired) are the poor in spirit (those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant), …

James 5:11           You know we call those blessed (happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God) who were steadfast and endured (difficult circumstances).

GNB

John 16:24           Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete.

1 Cor 12:26          If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

Psalms 119:35      Keep me obedient to your commandments, because in them I find happiness.

 

What I see in these verses (and many others) is that joy and happiness have far more in common with each other than not.  What I see in the bible is that joy is not putting a brave face on adversity, but is instead an enduring happiness.

Sometimes it seems hard to smile with our own issues (or symptoms).  This is when we pick up our bible and read:

Phil 4:8  AMP      “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things (center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart).  The things which you have learned and heard and seen in me, practice these things (in daily life), and the God (who is the source) of peace and well-being will be with you.”

Third Point:  Love

What kind of questions do receptive people (those who notice Godly people as different) have for us? 

We go to the doctor and tell him we have cancer and ask him what is the best method of handling it.  Right?  Maybe, but wrong.  When we go to the doctor, we don’t say, “I have cancer.”  Instead, we describe our symptoms.

That’s where most people live. They only see symptoms. “I’m lonely.  I’m suffering from a broken relationship.  I’m stressed.  I find myself getting so angry sometimes, and I say the awfulest things.”  

How do we share Christ with someone who is overwhelmed with their symptoms?

Realize that we earn the right to be heard by sincerely listening.  Everyone has a life story.  It is wrong to insert ourselves into a situation and callously share without listening.  To do so is not an effort to help anyone but is instead just an ego trip. 

The Bible says that Jesus was a friend of sinners.  That’s our example—to be a friend, to listen to people, see where they are, and then take them where they need to go.

What/who is “doctor material”?  “Doctor material” cares for the patient.  Not for being a doctor.  Not for self worth, self esteem, or self anything.  Care for and love others – as God’s creations. 

Philippians 2:3,4           “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

We must try to reflect Christ through kind words, patience, a gentle temperament, choosing to love even difficult people, carefully monitoring what we watch or listen to, and treating others with respect.

Remember that God does not call the equipped; He equips the called—and as Christians, we are all called to share what Christ has done.  “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  Sharing our faith isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a command.  And God is with us when we obey Him.

We know the cure is Jesus Christ.  Jesus didn’t die for people’s symptoms.  He died for their sins.  Yet, people don’t wake up in the morning and think, “You know, I need to accept Jesus.”  They wake up with the symptoms, and so as people who are attempting to help rescue those who are lost, we need to start with their symptoms, show them the disease (sin), and take them to the ultimate cure (Jesus).

The Gospel part is actually a simple message.  Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He rose again. We need to turn away from the things that are wrong in our lives, and accept what Jesus did on the cross for us and receive Him as Lord.