God can use anybody to do His work. He used John the Baptist, a man whose wardrobe consisted of and made of camel’s hair and a leather belt. His diet was locust and wild honey. In the eyes of men, it wouldn’t make sense for this untrained, societal outcast to do what he did. But God placed the Holy Spirit upon John (while he was in his mother’s womb) and a passion for speaking about the Truth of the coming Messiah. What we see through the life of John (and other men that God used in the Bible) is that when God deposits his Spirit in us, and we take hold of the truth of who Jesus is, there should be a passion that exudes out of our lives – a yearning and a hunger expressed in our life for our love of Jesus Christ and his father (our father) Elohim, Jehovah, Yahweh, El Elyon and Adonai.
Have you ever looked down on someone because they were different than you? Have you ever prejudged someone before you really got to know them? Have you ever thought that you were better than someone because of your status in life? Or maybe you looked down on someone because they came from the wrong side of the tracks or from the wrong neighborhood. Or maybe you decided to not engage and talk with someone because their perspective and worldview in life was drastically different than yours.
Today, we live in a time where the church has become divided. We’ve allowed our preferences and our rationalizations to supercede what the Word of God says as it pertains to how we are to treat others. Over time, we’ve allowed secular ideologies and cultural worldviews to contaminate our thoughts – allowing human logic to reign above divine inspiration and truth.
Scripture Focus: Exodus 7: 1-25 (NKJV)
Our scripture for today is going to be Exodus 7. In my study, I have found that God wants to speak to us about three important things. These three things are the foundation of living a Christ-filled life and a Christ- guided life. These three things are what allows you to develop a closer walk and relationship with God as men. The three things are:
- For you to know who God is (personally)
- For others to know who God is through you
- For you to know that God has a purpose for your life and wants to accomplish great things through you by His grace, His will, your obedience and your faith
We are going to look at the life of Moses and learn about why obedience is so important to live a life in which God can use. Obedience and trust is the foundation for everything as a believer in Jesus Christ.
So what does “working out your your salvation” mean? What does it look like?
In general terms, the phrase “work out” means “to continually work towards something or bring something to completion or fulfillment.” To “work out” means to live life in a way that expresses your desire and commitment towards a particular lifestyle or aim of achievement. Paul is challenging the saints to pursue the “working out” of their faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ because he knows that when you become obedient to Jesus, you will take on the brand and essence of Jesus Christ in your life. Paul knows that when you look like Christ in your life, you will become sanctified which simply means to be set apart. You are set apart to fulfill the will and work of God in your life. Paul expresses what it means to “work out” in his own words in Philippians 3:13-14.
I was a kid who grew up in the 80’s. I also grew up as a pastor’s kid. I was a PK. My mom and dad raised my sister and I in a traditional Christian home and we spent a lot of time at church. I sang in the choir, served as an usher, picked up trash, played the drums, visited hospitals to pray for the sick, served communion and ate a lot of free food as members of the church always invited the pastor’s family over for dinner. That was the best part of being a PK 🙂 But growing up as a kid, one of the things my mom and dad always did was take time to train me by spending time reading my bible. I recall when my mother told me that she wanted me to memorize all 66 books of the bible – in order. I had to learn the names of the 12 tribes of Israel and spell them correctly. I had to memorize the Lord’s Prayer (Our father who art in heaven…). I had to memorize Psalm 1 (Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly…) BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, I had to learn and memorize Ephesians 6:1. (Children obey your parents…).
Today we are going to talk about family. Our natural family and our spiritual family. Jesus had quite a bit to say about family and it’s important to get a glimpse of what he said and how we should look at family.
Jesus’ desire is for us to rest with Him (to spend time with him) but also to rest in Him (to trust Him) . If Jesus was walking the earth today among you and I, his brand slogan for us would be “Work Hard, Play Hard and Rest Hard.” In other words, Jesus would want us to be intentional about how we live our lives (in work, fellowship and rest).
I believe in order for Paul to have been an effective apostle and preacher, God had to do some work within Paul. Work that only the Holy Spirit could perform. I believed that Paul had to go through a detox of mind, body and spirit before he began preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, because everything he historically and traditionally taught and believed prior to accepting Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior spoke to his belief in God’s favoritism towards the Jewish people above and beyond any other people or nation on earth. We must understand that the Jews in this day believed the law – the torah (the first five books of the bible) and they believed that they were privileged beyond any other nation because they were God’s chosen people based on God’s covenant with Abraham and his seed (the Jews).
In the book of John we read about another Pharisee who had an encounter with Jesus. His name was Nicodemus. Nicodemus was intrigued by Jesus and wanted to speak with him about his power and authority because he saw and experienced the miracles performed by Jesus. He knew Jesus was special and wanted to find out more for himself.
Today, my intention is to challenge you. You will be asked to look at your life and do an honest assessment of where you stand in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Today’s scripture is not an easy one, but it is necessary. It’s necessary for you and it’s necessary for me because each of us, everyday in our life, we are surrounded by things in our life that can easily influence us and distract us from following the Lord.
So today, I want to talk to you about temptation and deception. I want to talk to you about the people and things in your life that are disguised as good things, but can be bad things and potentially be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Today, I want you to become aware of who and what has your attention and who you are giving your attention to. I want you to identify who you are listening to today. Is it the voice of God or something else.
I want to start off today by talking about contracts. A contract is often a legal document highlighting the agreements in which you and the other party will agree to and abide by. There are many different types of contracts. Some are for business, some are for relationships, some are for strict legal guidelines and requirements while some are simply for fun. The reason I want to start off with contracts is because today’s topic is about a contract that I want you to think about because it directly relates to you. It’s a contract between you and Jesus Christ. The thing about contracts however, is that before you agree to the terms and sign them, you must always consider the cost. Today’s topic is “The Cost of Following Jesus Christ”.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is His gift of patience. God’s patience is exhibited in our lives everyday and it’s important that we become aware of it because one day His patience will run out. Both Peter and Paul speak about this gift of patience given to them as Jesus Christ made himself known to them. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter says “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 CSB. You see, Peter knows about patience all too well as he was the one who denied Jesus three times. Yet, a short time after, it was this same Peter that Jesus used mightily to build His earthly church.