COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"Apostle Paul" Tagged Sermons

THE RISE OF SECULAR POWER

In 1933 a group of 34 liberal humanists in the United States defined the philosophical and religious principles that seemed to them FUNDAMENTAL. They drafted humanist manifesto I which for its time was a radical document. It was concerned with expressing a general religious and philosophical outlook that REJECTED ORTHODOX AND DOGMATIC POSITIONS and provided meaning and direction, unity and purpose to HUMAN LIFE. It was committed to REASON, SCIENCE, AND DEMOCRACY.
HUMANIST MANIFESTO I
“The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have disrupted the old beliefs. Religions around the world labor with the task of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience. In every field of human activity, the vital movement is now in the direction of a candid and explicit humanism. In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.”
“Today, man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and his deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfaction my appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today MUST BE SHAPED FOR THE NEEDS OF THIS AGE. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:”
“The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.”

Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson wrote the preface to the manifesto II:
“As we approach the twenty first century an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed. Faith, commensurate with advancing knowledge, is also necessary. In the choice between despair and hope, humanists respond in this Humanist Manifesto II with a positive declaration for times of uncertainty.
As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an UNPROVEN AND OUTMODED FAITH. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter; REASONABLE MINDS LOOK TO OTHER MEANS FOR SURVIVAL.”
Among the revised principles of Humanist Manifesto II, you find statements like this:
• “We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of the supernatural.”
• “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful.
• “Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the ‘ghost in the machine’ and the ‘separable soul’.”
• Humane societies should evaluate economic systems not by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase economic wellbeing for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life.”

It even gets better: Principles 12-17 illustrate humanism’s missionary zeal. It is bent upon the creation of a global society.
“We deplore the division of humankind on nationalist grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate.
The problems with economic growth and development can no longer be resolved by one nation alone; they are worldwide in scope. It is the moral obligation of the developed nations to provide – through an international authority that safeguards human rights – massive technical, agricultural, medical, and economic assistance, including birth control techniques, to the developing portions of the globe.
World poverty must cease. Hence extreme disproportions in wealth, income, and economic growth should be reduced on a worldwide basis.”

TRUTH HURTS AND HEALS

Chuck Swindoll writes:
Paul’s situation is relevant for us today. Teaching the Scriptures often means communicating truth to people who don’t want to hear it. In fact, those who once appreciated your teaching may turn on you and hate you for it. G.Walter Hansen draws out the implications of this reality for both pastors and congregations:
“The dramatic shift from the Galatians’ warm welcome to their cold rejection of Paul serves as a sober warning to both pastors and their churches. Pastors should not be so naïve as to think they will always receive a warm welcome if they consistently teach the truth. In fact, teaching the truth will always run the risk of alienating some people. And people in the church need to be aware that their initial positive response to pastors who teach the truth will be severely tested when the truth cuts like a two-edged sword. During such a time of conviction, people need to maintain their loyalty to their pastors precisely because they have the courage to preach the truth even when it hurts.” G. Walter Hansen
“Don’t Wrestle, Just Nestle” – Corrie Ten Boon

GOD ORCHESTRATED THE ENTIRE DRAMA

When we look at our world today we think that God somehow lost control of everything that is going on. That God orchestrated the entire drama even during out lifetime becomes evident whenever we consult God’s book, the Bible, instead of consulting political or economic periodicals.
Jonah is the son of Amittai, a native of the tribal area assigned to Zebulon. This region was later a part of Galilee. Jonah was born a few miles away from the city of Nazareth, where our Lord Jesus Christ was brought up.
Why did Jonah decided NOT TO GO? The Assyrians where arch enemies of Israel. Why should Jonah get a better treatment than being killed by those enemies? A dangerous mission indeed. Well, once on the ship, Jonah proved however that he was not afraid to die.
No, Jonah hated the people in Nineveh so much that he was afraid that if they hear that God is about to destroy them, they would have a chance to repent and God would spare them.
There are a few things we need to highlight in these verses.
How did Jonah KNOW that the storm would cease once he was off the ship? Jonah told the sailors to send him to his death. He was willing to die so they could live. Did God tell Jonah to do this? I believe that it could have been so because Jonah heard God speak to him before. Remember, Jonah was now in the middle of the Mediterranean or Atlantic and how could he ever get back to Nineveh. God must have told him that He already had a great fish on standby to take him back to where he is supposed to be. Seems like Jonah was willing this time around to follow orders.
Jonah knew his God. He never starts anything and then leaves it half finished. He always finishes what He starts.
What Jonah did not know is HOW GOD IS GOING TO BRING HIM BACK WHERE HE BELONGS.
What can we learn from this?
First there is nowhere in this world God’s people can hide from God. We can run, we can disobey, we can go the opposite direction, but God will meet you and me somewhere on our journey. If necessary, a mighty storm in our life will bring us to our senses. The people who have helped us to disobey God without even knowing it will be a part of this storm. If we repent God will tell us what to do, saving those around us while at the same time bringing us back to where we belong.
God’s people are NOT CALLED to make our nation a better place or to help the world to live a better life.
God’s people are CALLED TO
GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU, AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE. AMEN.
That is when we enjoy the freedom God has given us. That is when we are truly free. Not free to do our own thing as Jonah did, but free to serve Almighty God who orchestrates the entire drama. Hallelujah.

From Murderer To MARTYR

We all recognize this man named Apostle Paul. We have heard of him and read his incredible letters that are a part of the New Testament in the Bible. But what do we know about this man? We know that he was and still is an amazing teacher, a colossal figure of the first century world. No wonder some churches and Christian denominations have assigned sainthood to this humble yet greater than life man.
I would venture to say that no other person in the Bible, aside from Jesus Christ Himself, had a more profound influence on his world and ours than this man, the Apostle Paul.
He was a powerful witness of God’s faithfulness. But he was not always that witness of God’s faithfulness. We sometimes forget that all human being, no matter how great an impact they had during their lifetime on this earth, CAME FROM THE SAME PLACE; A WORLD OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS AND PHYSICAL BRUTALITY.
Saul had a great upbringing. His parents were Pharisees, members of the party most fervent in Jewish nationalism and strict in obedience of the Law of Moses. He was a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city.
Saul grew up in a very controlled Jewish environment. Friendship’s with Gentiles was not allowed. Greek ideas were despised. His parents made sure that Saul could speak Greek, Latin and Aramaic, a language of Judea, a derivative of Hebrew.
Saul and his parents looked to Jerusalem as Islam looks to Mecca. Saul grew up in a home where he constantly was reminded that they are the People of Promise to whom alone the Living God had revealed His glory and His plans. By his 13th birthday, Saul had mastered Jewish history, the psalms and the prophets.
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity”

REDISCOVER OUR FOUNDATION

The Apostle Paul established this church about A.D. 50-51, when he spent 18 months there on his second missionary journey. We can find these details in Acts 18:1-17. During his 3rd missionary journey, about 5 years later, he stayed in Ephesus for about 3 years, and during this time he received disturbing reports concerning problems among believers in Corinth. He wrote a letter which we know as the lost first letter to this church at Corinth.
Shortly afterward, a delegation sent by a member of the church at Corinth (Chloe) reported to Paul that there were divisive factions in the church. Paul did not immediately respond. Then another delegation from Corinth arrived with a letter asking Paul certain questions (1 Corinthians 7:1 and 16:17). The first thing Paul did was sending Timothy to Corinth to help correct the problems there. (1 Corinthians 4:17). He then also wrote the letter that we know as 1 Corinthians, expecting it to reach Corinth before Timothy would arrive. (16:10)
If we would analyze this letter carefully, we find that Paul responds to 10 separate problems;
• A sectarian spirit
• Incest
• Lawsuits
• Fornication
• Marriage and divorce
• Eating food offered to idols
• Wearing the veil (head covering)
• The Lord’s supper
• Spiritual gifts
• The resurrection of the body
How does the Apostle Paul address all these problems at once?
He reminds the church that they have to rediscover the true foundation, which is Jesus Christ, as a counter to all human boasting.
WE learn that no matter what local church we attend, believing that there is one without problems between individual members would be at best naïve, at worst, deceptive.The question is not if a Bible preaching, Holy Spirit led church can have problems, but rather, HOW CAN SUCH PROBLEMS BE SOLVED AND THE INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE AND THE LOCAL BODY AS A WHOLE LEARN FROM IT AND BECOME BETTER, NOT BITTER.
The purpose of our church is summarized in a single sentence based upon two key Scriptures:
1. A Great Commitment to the GREAT COMMANDMENT
2. A Great Commitment to the GREAT COMMISSION
What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind? When we deviate just 5% from this commandment and love anything more than God, we are on dangerous grounds. The temptation is always present to love and protect our ministry or people we feel God has given us. Or to love my reputation and my position more than I love God. Or I love a certain program more than I love God.
There is a fundamental flaw in such thinking. WHY?
Because no human being, no program, no ministry, no reputation, no calling, can DO WHAT ONLY GOD CAN DO.
When a program starts making disciples after themselves, it needs to shut down, period. Changing leadership is not the answer, because the culture in a certain ministry has its root in the spiritual place. People begin to think what they have heard or observed, even if it is contrary to Scripture.
This is very important to know, because when our commitment to the program is greater than the commitment to the Lord Himself and his established authority, everything breaks down. Now all we want to be involved in is our program.
The Apostle Paul had to deal with that in in Corinth, and I had to deal with that in our church. While such corrections are painful and easily can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, they are absolutely necessary.
In this church, we always want to be committed to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. As a family, some of us need to rediscover our foundation and ask the Lord to bring those Biblical truths to our remembrance daily.