The Bible teaches that God wants to make a deal with you. If you are faithful to return a tithe of your increase to Him, God will bless you with the far greater gifts of elevation, possession, and dominion.
The Royal Exchange
Pastor Mike Hayes
December 1, 2019
Main Idea – The Bible teaches that God wants to make a deal with you. If you are faithful to return a tithe of your increase to Him, God will bless you with the far greater gifts of elevation, possession, and dominion.
God will give you more in exchange for your lesser gift
- God will always give you more than you will give Him.
- However, He is still impacted by your willing, faithful gifts. He is interested in engaging in a transaction with you.
- Isaiah 61:3 – To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
- The Bible teaches that - from the beginning of creation - God has provided the framework for how your transactions with Him will take place.
- The Bible teaches that the tithe – the first ten percent of your increase – is the fundamental building block of your transactions with God.
Be obedient to God’s process
- Offerings are sacrificial in nature. They are deliberate; not casual.
- One of the first stories in the Bible tells of two brothers: one who gave an appropriate offering, and one whose offering was improper.
- Genesis 4: 3-7 – And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
- Both Cain and Able had learned about proper offerings, likely from their parents Adam and Eve. God’s stern reaction to Cain’s offering happened because Cain had become casual – and therefore disobedient – to the rules of God’s exchange.
- From the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin (Genesis 3) God determined that the road to reconciliation would come through the shedding of innocent blood. Therefore, in the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the sin offerings. (God even performed his own animal sacrifice to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. Genesis 4:21 – Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.)
The Blessing of Abraham
- Unlike Cain, Abraham was happily obedient to a righteous transaction. He, therefore, received in return three significant blessings from God.
- Genesis 14: 18-20 – Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
- Like Abraham, when you tithe you are showing honor to God. Then, in return, God will bless you even more.
That same Abrahamic blessing is available to you today
- The blessing Abraham received of elevation, possession, and dominion is available to you.
- Galatians 3: 13-14 – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
A New Testament example of one who was unwilling to give a meaningful sacrifice
- Luke 18: 18-30 – Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
- The ruler in the above verses was owned by his money. Money had become his real God, and he was unable to let go of its pursuits. Jesus knew that and, therefore, required of him a sacrifice that would actually free him from that form of slavery. But, the man was unwilling to make that commitment.
- The above verses end with the promise that when you give an appropriate offering (or sacrifice) God will pay you back many times more in blessings for your life.
A New Testament example of one who was willing to give a meaningful sacrifice
- Luke 19: 1-9 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
- One will notice in the above verses that Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus for any kind of sacrifice. Rather, Zacchaeus willingly gave a righteous offering.
- From being around Jesus, Zacchaeus was moved by grace.
- The more you allow God’s grace in your life, the more generous you will become. People who know grace realize there is an endless abundance of blessings – more blessings than can be equaled by any earthly sacrifice.
- One who understands grace just naturally wants to participate in this royal exchange with God.
The Royal Exchange and the local church
- Always express your thankfulness to God when you are blessed. He doesn’t need your thankfulness, but He appreciates it when you express it to Him. Luke 17: 15-19 – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
- If we are all regularly returning the tithe to God there should be no need for special offerings. The Apostle Paul knew he didn’t have time to raise special offerings in all his churches; so, he taught the transactional principle of setting aside the first portion of each person’s increase for the Kingdom work. 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 – Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.
- Christians return their tithes to God through the local church. Then, God richly blesses their lives so they themselves – as well as the church - will have an abundance from which to go and bless others. 2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Reflective Questions for The Royal Exchange
- From the Bible verses in this lesson, can you describe the attributes of an appropriate tithe offering to God?
- How, if at all, do you relate to the character Zacchaeus in Luke 19 (above)?
- Perhaps most new Christians find it difficult to commit to a regular tithing schedule. Why is that? While visiting with those who don’t tithe, why may it be productive to be sympathetic to their reasons while focusing on God’s promises?
After receiving salvation by accepting Jesus as Savior, every Christian is faced with the decision of what to do next. If you make the conscious decision to make Jesus the shepherd (guide) of your life, you will receive at least four benefits.
The Good Shepherd
Pastor Stephen Hayes
November 24, 2019
Main Idea – After receiving salvation by accepting Jesus as Savior, every Christian is faced with the decision of what to do next. If you make the conscious decision to make Jesus the shepherd (guide) of your life, you will receive at least four benefits.
Cast away the bad things in your life, and then follow Jesus to the good things
- The Holy Spirit will uproot bad things (habits and associations) in your life so that you are free to begin following Jesus as He leads you.
- One of the most famous chapters in the Bible is Psalm 23, where God is portrayed as a shepherd who guides His flock through the ups and downs of life.
- Psalm 23: 1-6 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for You are with me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NKJV)
- In your life, God will be faithful to complete His work in you that He started when you were given the faith to accept Jesus. As long as you keep your eyes on Him, He will continue to guide you through the good and the bad times of life.
- If you continually deal with depression, anxiety, and anger, it might be you have taken your eyes off the shepherd. (Inevitably, something will end up being your guide in life. Choose God as your guide.)
- Philippians 4: 4-7 – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Do not live in anger, fear, or hurt
- It may be you have good reason to be angry, grieved, or depressed.
- However, even moreso, you have the right to be happy again. What Jesus accomplished on the cross gives you the power to be happy again – and also to forgive where needed.
- Colossians 3: 12-13 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (NKJV)
Go higher to get a better perspective
- It’s guaranteed that hardships will come upon each of us.
- However, a higher vantage point allows us to regard difficult times in perspective.
- Emblepo is the Greek word often translated into “looking upon” in the New Testament. Emblepoencompasses the idea of perspective: “to turn one’s eyes on, look at, to look at with the mind, to consider.”
- Perceive earthly events as God sees them: as temporary circumstances that will give way to an eternity in Heaven. Heaven is where you are headed. In Heaven everything is perfect, and you will live there forever.
- In the meantime, here in this life, you need to be guided every day by a shepherd.
- If you choose Jesus as your shepherd you will be taken care of by Him together with the many other members of the flock (church).
- As members of a flock (or small group) you will personally be taken care of by Jesus, and you will develop fulfilling relationships with the other sheep (believers).
- God loves you unconditionally. His love for you is not based on your performance. Before Jesus began his ministry, on the day he was baptized, God the Father expressed His pleasure with Jesus. The Father’s pleasure was not based on something Jesus had done, because he was just about to begin his work. Luke 3: 21-22 – When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
Four benefits of knowing your shepherd
- Sheep don’t miss the miracle
- Jesus’ first recorded miracle is presented in John 2: 1-11. There, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding celebration. The passage makes a special effort to note that the miracle was clearly recognized by the servants, and that Jesus’ followers were inspired to believe that he was divine.
- John 2: 9 – When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. (NKJV)
- John 2:11 – This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (NKJV)
- Sheep are the medium for God’s miracles
- God often does miracles through His sheep (followers). Jesus’ sheep get to be part of His miraculous works.
- Matthew 14: 14-21 presents the story of how Jesus fed over 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread. Jesus did the miracle, but he used his disciples to distribute it. Matthew 14: 19 – Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.(NKJV)
- Sheep are supplied by their shepherd
- God provides for all His sheep. The Prodigal Son story is told in Luke 15: 11-32. This parable tells of how a loving father unconditionally provided for a wayward son. Everything the father owned was available to his son after the son repented and turned back to his father.
- Luke 15: 22-24 & 31-32 – But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. . . And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ (NKJV)
- All Jesus’ sheep receive the full benefits.
- Sheep are in position to receive the miracle
- The prodigal son in the above story consciously returned to his home, thereby putting himself in a position to receive from his father.
- Sheep know the shepherd is the source of their provision. They stay focused on the true shepherd.
- In your life you will eventually end up following something, or somebody. Make the decision you will follow God: the only one who can supply all your needs.
Follow Jesus, and then help lead others
- After you begin following Jesus as your shepherd, you will be in a position to help others just as you were helped.
- Just as you are a disciple, you will be able to be a disciple-maker of someone else.
- Receiving your personal salvation is not the only thing that is important. You must also establish relationships with others in the church, put yourself in proximity to where Jesus is doing miracles, make yourself available to help distribute those miracles, and then lead others to their own salvation and place in the flock.
- Small groups are essential for the personal and corporate development of the Christian community.
Reflective Questions for The Good Shepherd
- Oftentimes, young adults are excited to begin their adult journeys: where they can “make their own decisions.” At what stage of your own adulthood did you realize decisions without God’s guidance were not working out?
- Can you explain - in practical words - how you go about following Jesus as your shepherd? In other words, how do you know His voice? How do you know where He is telling you to go? Etc.
- At the end of each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) it is written how Jesus told His disciples to go and make more disciples, by being obedient to what the Holy Spirit would show them. If those passages are a guideline, at what point do you think a new believer should begin leading others to faith in Jesus?
Many of us are not good at casting our problems and worries to Jesus. Instead, we cover them up. Anxiety and depression will happen if you “bottle up” your wounds and act like they aren’t there. Jesus has already overcome what has overcome you.
Uprooted – Part 3
Pastor Creg Darby
November 17, 2019
Main Idea – Many of us are not good at casting our problems and worries to Jesus. Instead, we cover them up. Anxiety and depression will happen if you “bottle up” your wounds and act like they aren’t there. Jesus has already overcome what has overcome you.
Uproot and cast away the bad things
- When it comes to life’s hurts and problems, you are only capable of handling them on a superficial level. Even then - if you don’t deal with them - you will eventually collapse under their weight.
- Only God is capable of healing things in your soul, below the surface of your consciousness. The Bible tells the story of how Jesus destroyed a plant that was not producing good fruit. He did so by killing the problem at its roots. Mark 11: 20 – Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. (NKJV)
- God’s healing will penetrate deep into your heart, and will transform you at the root level of your soul. Psalm 55: 22 – Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (NKJV)
- In the midst of personal tragedy that would destroy many of us, Horatio Spafford was able to express peace in his soul because he had cast the tragedy to God.
It is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
Life is a Jenga game
- Life happens. Bad things regularly happen to each of us. Like a game of Jenga, those bad events can leave holes, or wounds, in our souls.
- The problem is not that something bad happened, but that you may be covering up the wound and not dealing with it.
- In Jenga, the “problems” get stacked on top of the body until the whole thing collapses because the holes were not filled up. In your life, anxiety and depression will result when you let things pile up in your soul.
- The Bible tells you to humble yourself, admit there is a problem, and then cast the worry and hurt to Jesus. Jesus has already overcome that hurt, but you have to give it to Him for it to be uprooted from your soul. 1 Peter 5: 6-7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (NKJV)
Face the pain and then take action
- It’s not easy to face pain you may have been covering up. Nevertheless, pain must be faced in order to uproot it and cast it away. Things do not heal on their own when left unattended.
- The Old Testament tells a story of how David – even though he was tired and worn out – took action to recover what had been stolen from him. With God’s direction, he took action, and recovered everything. 1 Samuel 30: 18-19 – So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all. (NKJV)
Don’t hold yourself up as perfection personified
- Many of us are unhappy because we are continually comparing ourselves to others. The only thing that will result from constant comparison is our self-evaluation will not be good, and negative feelings will take residence in our souls.
- Bible heroes experienced the same thing. For example, right after his greatest victory supplied by God, Elijah became depressed and fearful. 1 Kings 19: 3-7 (NLT) – Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
- Notice the angel didn’t allow Elijah to lie around. After Elijah became renourished, the angel made him get up and move on.
- When you rely on God to carry your burdens, and then move forward, no weapon formed against you will be successful. Isaiah 54: 17 – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord. (NKJV)
- Not only will weapons against you be unsuccessful, but God will rebuild your life from the ruins of what was previously destroyed. Isaiah 61: 1-4 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (NKJV)
The pathway to healing
- Reveal it – express the problem or hurt. Don’t cover it up any longer. Proverbs 24: 6 – For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. (NKJV)
- Confess it – share the issue with another trusted believer who will respect your privacy, and who will then join you in bringing it to God. James 5: 16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (NKJV)
- Release it – cast it to Jesus. Let Him carry the burden because He has already paid the price for it. Replace that space in your soul with the good things of the Spirit and God’s creation. Philippians 4: 6-8 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. (NKJV)
Praise what God rebuilds in your life
- From the ashes of your pain, God will fully restore your life. Jeremiah 33: 10-11 – Thus says the Lord: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place – of which you say, “It is desolate, without man and without beast” – in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever” – and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the Lord.
- You serve a marvelous God. As He rebuilds and restores your life, marvel at how the old has been uprooted and cast away, and everything has been made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)
Reflective Questions for Uprooted – Part 3
- The United States is a great country, built with a spirit of independence and personal resourcefulness. However - based on what was taught in this lesson - how might an over-reliance on self-sufficiency be unhealthy for our spiritual well-being?
- Pastor Creg identified a study that blamed social media as one culprit for unhappiness in modern society because it encourages false images of perfection. What do the Bible verses in this sermon give us as the antidote of perfectionism?
- The Bible verses in this lesson emphasize the process of sharing our hurts and problems with other trusted believers. Why is it important to not keep our deep-rooted problems to ourselves?
Fear and anger are not always bad things. However, we often use them unproductively because we have let secular, ungodly messages enter our hearts to influence our thinking. The Bible tells us how to uproot those negative ideas.
Uprooted – Part 2
Fear and Anger
Pastor James deMelo
November 10, 2019
Main Idea – Fear and anger are not always bad things. However, we often use them unproductively because we have let secular, ungodly messages enter our hearts to influence our thinking. The Bible tells us how to uproot those negative ideas.
Planted in only one environment
- A person, just like a plant, can only be in one place at a time.
- If you are planted in poor soil your growth will be limited and unproductive. If you are planted in the good soil described in God’s word, there will be no limit to your growth and productivity.
- Proverbs 4:13 – Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life. (NLT)
Your heart determines the quality of your soil
- The Bible tells you how to grow in good soil.
- However, Satan competes against what is in the Bible. While addressing false leaders of the Israelite religion, Jesus said Satan is the father of lies. John 8:44 – You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (NKJV)
- At the same time, Jesus said His word would set free those who have been captured by Satan’s lies. John 8:31-32 – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)
- Jesus came to cut out the roots of false teaching that allow lies to grow in our hearts. Luke 3: 9 – The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Fear in the Bible
- Fear is a common emotion found in Bible stories. For example, the famous Old Testament character Job was challenged by fear. Job 3:25 – For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. (KJV)
- If fear is not understood and contained, it will leave a door open in your heart for wrong ideas and spirits to enter.
- In the New Testament at least three different Greek words have been translated into English as “fear”.
- “Phobos” is the word used in Luke 1:12 – And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. Phobos is a panic-stricken, traumatizing emotion.
- “Phobeo” is the word used in Matthew 10:28 – And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Phobeo is reverence or awe, as when one experiences the presence of God.
- “Deilia” is the word used in 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Deilia is timidity or cowardice. Notice that deilia has a spiritual dimension that is used by Satan. As a Christian, you can exercise authority over any such demonic spirit or feeling.
Fear will enter your heart through:
- Your mind
- Satan will try to plant fear in your heart through ideas contained in secular media and stories.
- Joyce Meyers – “There is a debilitating fear that Satan tries to put on us every day. I call fear – False Evidence Appearing Real.”
- Do not expose yourself to media content – or philosophical ideas - that present continuous negative outcomes. If you become influenced by these things you will make decisions that are fear-based.
- Satan will also try to convince you that your problems are all God’s fault. That is the same tactic he used with Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (NKJV)
- To resist Satan you must train yourself to focus on, and think about, truth as told in the Bible.
- Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJV)
- Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (NKJV)
- Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (NKJV)
- 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (NKJV)
- 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5 – The weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and blood). Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ (Amplified)
- Your eyes
- Humans have always been influenced by what they observe through sight. Oftentimes, what they see is not reflective of the actual truth. For example, Numbers 13 and 14 tell the story of the twelve Israelite spies sent to observe the land God had promised Israel. Only Joshua and Caleb saw the adversaries as God saw them. Numbers 13: 30 & 14: 7-8 reads – Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” . . . and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’”
- If the Holy Spirit has told you to proceed now toward something in your destiny, rather than running away – or avoiding interaction – the Bible tells you to actually run toward – and engage – anything that appears fearful through sight. The David and Goliath story is told in 1 Samuel 17. 1 Samuel 17: 48-49 - So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. (NKJV)
- Your failures
- Do not let past failures keep you from being successful in what God has determined for you.
- Champions of God are not those who have never failed. Champions of God are those who don’t quit.
- You can’t fail when you are operating in God’s will.
Manage today’s anger
- Anger, of itself, is not necessarily bad. However, don’t let your anger over something last past the present day. Ephesians 4: 26-27 – “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (NKJV)
- Anger that is not managed is usually bad. Don’t let anger establish a foothold in your heart.
- If you experience anger over which you do not have control, one way to begin dealing with the problem is to ask yourself why you respond the way you do. In other words, seek God’s help to determine what is the underlying problem.
Psalm 4:4 – Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. (NIV)
Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (NKJV)
- If you are planted in the soil of a good church, that church will likely have numerous opportunities for you to grow alongside other believers. With other Christians you can pray, worship, repent, study, and reactivate God’s original plan for your life. Psalm 92:13 – Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (NKJV)
Reflective Questions for Uprooted – Part 2
- Pastor James identified three Greek words in the New Testament that are translated into the English word “fear”. Which one of them is associated with evil spirits? Why, do you suppose, that type of fear is especially harmful?
- The Bible tells us to meditate on things that are good (Philippians 4:8-9). Read Philippians 4: 8-9 and identify specific examples of those types things in your life that you can think about, and meditate on.
- In this lesson, Pastor James provided many Bible verses dealing with fear and anger. Which are the top two verses in this message that are most meaningful to you? Why are they meaningful to you?
If you are planted in a good church, you are in a good place to grow to your potential as one of God’s created. One of the things that will hurt your growth is bitterness. Do not allow bitterness to take root in the good soil in which you are planted.
Uprooted – Part 1
November 3, 2019
Main Idea – If you are planted in a good church, you are in a good place to grow to your potential as one of God’s created. One of the things that will hurt your growth is bitterness. Do not allow bitterness to take root in the good soil in which you are planted.
Planted in a good environment
- As a Christian, you are called to bear good fruit (Matthew 7: 17-20).
- The productivity of a plant - or tree - depends on its environment. The necessary mix of air quality, soil nutrients, climate, moisture, etc. must be available for the plant to reach its potential.
- You, yourself, must make intentional decisions about your environment to ensure you are planted in a good place.
- If you are an active member in a good church, the chances are you are well-planted. Psalm 1:3 – He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (NKJV)
- The Bible is a resource for helping you identify toxicity in your environment, as well as providing ways to remove that toxicity.
Bitterness is a toxin that will stunt your growth and productivity
- The Bible tells us to get rid of all bitterness in our lives. Ephesians 4: 31-32 – Get rid of allbitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)
- A simple reality is that some individuals will rub you the wrong way. You are vulnerable to becoming easily offended by them, and you may tend to harbor resentment toward them.
- Even those types of personality conflicts should not be allowed into your life. You have the ability to remove from your mind negative ideas and images of vengeance.
- The circumstances associated with those individuals are tests for you to overcome so that bitterness does not harm your own life, growth, and potential.
Four types of people with whom you are likely to hold a grudge, the root causes of those grudges, and what the Bible says is the way to remove that bitterness
- People with whom you don’t “gel” well
- Sometimes it seems there is a type of negative chemical reaction between two individuals; without any good reasons, they just don’t like each other.
- The Root Issue: an unwillingness to get out of comfort zones.
- Each of us is more comfortable in certain surroundings, with things with which we are familiar.
- What the Bible says: the Bible tells you to live at peace with other people to the full extent of your abilities. Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)
- People who aren’t in your tribe
- Jesus told his followers to “go the extra mile” with those who may be causing bitterness. Today, Jesus might tell you to engage with – and be kind to - those people who are different from you; those individuals with whom you would not normally like or associate with. Jesus might tell you to give extra service to someone who is not in your group.
- The Root Issue: ego / pride.
- When we are confronted by someone with whom we have little in common, it is easy to resist him or her because of our own pride.
- What the Bible says: the Bible tells you to at least double your involvement beyond what would seem required with those individuals. Matthew 5:41 – And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (ESV)
- Jesus’ teaching, in this case, was likely inspired by the Roman law that required individuals to serve a Roman soldier by carrying his gear for one mile if he asked (or told) them to do so.
- People with whom we compare ourselves, or with whom we feel a need to compete
- From youth, most of us develop our own personal identities. Those identities are self-developed perceptions of our own worth or importance.
- Occasionally, you might meet someone who seems to threaten your self-perceived identity. In such cases you might become resentful of that person, even if s/he reflects truth.
- The Root Issue: a personal identity crisis.
- What the Bible says: The Old Testament tells the story of how King Saul became threatened by David, and became resentful when David appeared to receive greater acclaim. 1 Samuel 18: 6-9 – As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, and songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. (ESV)
- However, Saul had no good reason to feel threatened by David because Saul, himself, was a gifted and impressive individual. 1 Samuel 9: 1-2 – There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel – head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land. (NLT)
- You must see yourself as God sees you. Do not allow yourself to think in terms of a competition with someone else for attention or acclaim. Your personal identity should not depend on compliments, or the expressions of others.
- You won’t see yourself as God sees you if your eyes are on someone else.
- People who have hurt us
- Have you unintentionally hurt someone? Has someone hurt you – either intentionally or unintentionally?
- When you have been hurt, you tend to build up righteousness in your own mind by placing blame on someone else.
- The Root Issue: the fear of being hurt again.
- What the Bible says: You will lose a good relationship if you continually think about perceived insults or wrongdoing. Proverbs 17:9 – Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (NLT)
- Jesus said we are to use prayer as one means of forgiveness. Part of the Lord’s Prayer is found in Matthew 6: 11-12 – Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (NLT)
- Forgiveness means no longer holding someone else responsible for your feelings. Forgiveness should not require the expectation of an apology.
- Depending on the circumstances, it may be wise to forgive someone from a distance, without direct interaction with the individual; especially, if the relationship is contentious.
Make a list and then pray
- The first step toward walking in forgiveness - and leaving bitterness behind - is making the decision that you actually want forgiveness to happen.
- You must work toward the place where you will have genuinely forgiven, and are not holding someone accountable for whatever she or he did.
- Make a list of individuals who have hurt you, or who annoy you, or of whom you have jealousy, or who have threatened your own self-perception.
- Pray blessings for each person on that list.
- Luke 6:28-29 – Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.
Reflective Questions for Uprooted – Part 1
- Of the four types of people identified by Ryan Leak, is there one category of people that is most challenging for you right now?
- How can the Bible verses associated with that category help you overcome that challenge? Do you know of any other verses that speak to the danger of harboring bitterness?
- If the reason for removing bitterness from your mindset is to keep your environment uncontaminated by toxins, can you envision what your personal growth will be like free from any bitterness?