< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

God wants Obedience – Not Victory!

Continuing my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:

The last section emphasized the work of the spirit. This one looks at our responsibility.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

We are to do something. We are to put to death the misdeeds of the body. We are not to “stop trying and start trusting”; we are commanded to assume our responsibility for a holy walk.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Let us throw off sin. Let us run with perseverance.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

We do this by relying on the spirit. By being obedient to His nudges to scripture. The author says that Christians are never “defeated” by sin. They are just disobedient. We are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes and actions.

When giving instruction for future kings of Israel, God said that a copy of His law was, (Deuteronomy 17:19) to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees

The king was to read God’s law “all the days of His life.” Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (that’s from John 14:21)

Obedience is the pathway to holiness. But we have to have his commands. We have to read the Bible enough to know them well so they can be a dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes and our actions.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Holy Spirit works to make us holy

This next part from my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness talks about the Holy Spirit's role.

The Holy Spirit's work is to make us holy. One step at a time. He shows us our need of holiness. He shows us God’s standard of holiness. He shows us our specific areas of sin. We begin to notice our unforgiving nature. Our critical spirit, our tendency to judge others, our pride. Where before we never thought about it.

David was like this when he committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband killed. He was spiritually blind to what he had done, until Nathan the profit came to him and told him. Then David repented.

The Holy Spirit comes to us, like Nathan did to David. And pointing our sin out is the beginning of the ministry to make us holy.

Seeing that our sins are really against God, makes us sorry. Makes us repent. Makes us want to do better. Makes us hate sin and desire holiness. And we’ll never get there without the strong desire to do so. Our old habits and the attacks of Satan are strong.

One of the ways the Holy Spirit stimulates our desire for holiness is using scripture, so we need to be in God’s Word a lot! And we need to study it humbly, with a teachable spirit.

We also need to pray for the Holy Spirit. Paul prayed continually for the working of God’s Spirit in the lives of those to whom he was writing:

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Clearly Paul knew we depend on the Holy Spirit for holiness and he expressed this dependence through prayer! And by the way; these last 4 verses are GREAT prayers to pray for other people!

New Christians think they just need to read the Bible to see what God wants them to do and then do it. Mature Christians know better.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Struggling with Sin

More from my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:

We shouldn’t hide the fact that we struggle with sin because realizing that we do helps us battle it. Even Paul struggled. He wrote in Romans 7:21When I want to do good evil is right there with me.”

We have an indwelling propensity to sin inside of us, but now as Christians we also have the Holy Spirit inside who gives us the desire for holiness. So it is a battle.

David in Psalm 139 asked God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

God’s primary means of searching our hearts this way is through His Word. When we read it under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So Satan goes after our minds. He deceives us. He helps us reason that something isn’t so bad, or he discourages us into thinking we are hopeless, so why even try.

We have to always be vigilant against sin. Jesus said in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

So, you might be wondering, “I thought that the war with sin was won by Christ in His death on the cross so why am I still harassed and often defeated by sin in my heart?”

The author says we must accept the fact that God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to allow this daily battle with indwelling sin. But He doesn’t leave us to battle it alone. Christianity is not a do it yourself thing. He has made ample provision for us to win the daily skirmishes. It’s not just that we are dead to sin, but we are alive to Christ. That means we are united with Christ and have His priority.

Our reactions to circumstances and trials and temptations are a part of our walk of holiness. Holiness isn’t a series of dos and don’ts, but conformity to the character of God and obedience to the will of God. Accepting with contentment whatever circumstances God allows for us is part of our holy walk. Paul wrote to the Philippians in 4: 11-13: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

He said he could respond in contentment because Christ gave him the strength to. If you read on in Philippians you’ll see Paul thanking the Philippians for their support. God will send people to help us. He will send us to help others!

Paul said to the Ephesians in 3:20 that God: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

We’ve all resolved a hundred times not to give in to some temptation we keep having, but we do. That’s when Satan comes to us and says, “You might as well give up. You can never overcome sin.” And we can’t on our own. Just knowing that helps! Then we need to rely on the Holy Spirit who is in us to do His work.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christ's Holiness Part 2

Yesterday I posted about the holiness in Christ from a study I did on book The Pursuit of Holiness. Here's the rest of that thought.

Most Christians really do want to live a holy life, but simply believe they can’t do it. We settle into kind of a mediocre “goodness”, not living in gross sin, but still committing sins pretty much daily. And we find the strong commands of Scripture to live a consistently holy life – frustrating!

We try to stop a certain sin with our own willpower or by praying for it to stop. Then we hear things like, “let go and let God”. That we should just turn our sin over to Christ and rest in His finished work on Calvary. That He will then live His life in us and we’ll experience a life of victory over sin.

And after all our struggle, we like this idea! But after a while, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we discover we’re still losing the sin battle. We still struggle with pride, jealousy, materialism, impatience and lust. We still eat too much, waste our time, criticize each other, lie, etc… all the while hating ourselves for doing it.

Then we wonder why it doesn’t “work” for us! We think we’re unique. That somehow our sinful natures must be worse then others. The author says that Satan works to confuse us on the issue of what God has done for us and what we must do ourselves. And that we have to realize that God has indeed made provision for us to live a holy life, but He also has given us definite responsibilities.

Romans 6:12–14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Not allowing sin to reign in our mortal bodies is something we have to do. The experience of holiness is not a gift we receive like justification, but something which we are clearly told to work at.

Also, Paul started this verse with therefore, meaning it’s because of something he had just said, which was true. So lets look at (Romans 6:1-12)
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

The “therefore” refers back to the fact that we died to sin. What does he mean that we died to sin? Well first we see from these verses that our dying to sin is the result of our union with Christ. Because He died to sin, we died to sin. So that is something Christ has done. Dying to sin means it has no dominion over us. Before we trusted Jesus for our salvation, we were in the kingdom of Satan and sin. We followed the ways of this world.

Paul said in Romans 6:17 that we were slaves to sin.

Everyone who has ever lived, except Christ, was a slave to sin. But our union with Christ takes us out of Satan’s kingdom and into Christ’s kingdom. We used to live for ourselves, not Him. We didn’t want Him to be king of our lives.

Why do we still sin? Because even though we’ve moved to another kingdom, our sinful natures came with us! And they are powerful. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.

There’s a battle going on!

We also have strong, sinful habits. We’ll talk about this next time, but a lot of what we do is just habit. And we’ll spend the rest of our lives taking off these habits and putting on the habits of holiness. Through little (and big!) choices we make everyday.

Also we still live in a world that’s populated by slaves of sin. And the world tries to conform us to its own sinful mold. So though we’ve been delivered from the kingdom of sin and its rule we have not been delivered from its attacks.

That’s why Paul warns us to be on guard, to not let our still sinful nature take over. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are no longer slaves. We can stand up to sin and say no to it. As slaves we sinned without even thinking about it. As Christians we are free and make a choice to sin or not. God gave us the potential for resisting, but the responsibility for resisting is ours!

"Dear Lord, You are the true goal of our lives. In the varied business of this day let us never lose sight of You. Show us how to make each of our activities a stepping stone to You. If any chore or habit of ours leads in another direction, show us what it is and help us to remove it."

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Holiness of Christ

Still in the lesson from the book, The Pursuit of Holiness

The author says that it’s very important for us to understand the righteousness of Christ and the fact that His righteousness is credited to us. Over and over in Scripture we’re told that Jesus, during His time on earth lived a perfectly holy life. Hebrews 4:15 said He was “without sin.”

1 Peter 2:22 said He “committed no sin.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 describes Him as “Him who had no sin.”

1 John 3:5 says, “In Him is no sin.”

Even in the Old Testament Isaiah 53:11 calls Him “the righteous servant” and Psalm 45:7 as one who “loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” It’s a universal teaching in the Bible.

In John 8:46 Jesus Himself asked the Pharisees “can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” How many people would dare ask another that question? Especially of people who hate you and who would certainly dig something up if they could!

He also asked this question in the presence of His disciples who had been living with Him continuously and would have been able to see any inconsistency between His talk and His walk. But He could ask it because there was only one answer. He was without sin!

But the holiness of Jesus wasn’t just the absence of actual sin. It was also a perfect conformity to the will of His Father. There are a lot of statements He makes in the gospels where Jesus tells about doing His Father’s will, but my favorite is John 8:29 which says, “I always do what pleases Him.” What a great goal for us!

With Jesus it’s not just actions, it’s attitudes and motives. If we do something with the right action, but the wrong motive it doesn’t please God. Our motives must rise from a desire to do something simply because it’s the will of God. Even our thoughts should be holy since God knows what we’re thinking.

Jesus Christ perfectly met those standards. And He did it for us. He was born into this world subject to the law of God that He might fulfill it on our behalf.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship.

Whenever we seriously contemplate the holiness of God, our natural reaction is “I’m ruined! I’m not even close! There’s no way!”

His moral purity serves to magnify our impurity. But we’re assured in the Bible that as believers our sins are forgiven. And we don’t just need to hear this the minute we’re saved; we need to hear it all along as we grow in holiness because the more we are growing the more we see how bad our sin really is. And when we realize that, we need to be reminded that it’s Christ’s perfect righteousness that covers us!

This may seem really elementary, but we need to dwell on it because Satan attacks us all the time over it. The Holy Spirit makes us aware of our lack of holiness to stimulate us to deeper yearning and striving for holiness, but Satan uses the Holy Sprit’s work to discourage us. One of his attacks is to try to convince us that we are not a genuine Christian after all. He’ll say something to us like, “a true Christian wouldn’t think that evil thought.”

Now before the Holy Spirit had started working on us that thought may not have troubled us too much. But now, because the Holy Spirit has begun to reveal how sinful some of our thoughts of pride or lust or rebellion really are, Satan’s comments makes us doubt our salvation.

That’s when we need to stand on the Rock of our salvation. To trust in Christ’s works! We are saved by His righteousness alone.

Even Paul said: 1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

The other reason we need to consider the holiness of Christ is because His life is meant to be an example of holiness for us.

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Paul urged us to be imitators of God: Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children

And said it also in 1 Corinthians 11:1: Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ

So when Jesus said “I always do what pleases Him” that should be our goal too. Can we really take a look at all our activities, our thoughts, our words and say, “I’m doing this to please God”?

If we’re honest we’ll see that we do a lot of things so people will think well of us, or for our own pleasure, or just our own comfort – and really don’t ever wonder if it will glorify God or not.

When Jesus came into the world, He said (and this is from Hebrews 10:7) “I have come to do Your will, O God.”

This is our example to follow. In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be our desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the road to holiness.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiness is not an option

Continuing lesson from book The Pursuit of Holiness:

Let’s look at Hebrews 12:14 that says without holiness no one will see the Lord. People may read this and start to wonder if their salvation depends on attaining some level of personal holiness.

First – scripture is clear that even the “best” Christians can never merit salvation through their personal holiness. Isaiah 64:6 says “our righteous deeds are like filthy garments in the light of God’s holy law.”

Second – scripture repeatedly refers to Christ’s work on our behalf.

Romans 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Christ not only lived a sinless life on earth, but died to fully pay the penalty of our sins and placate the wrath of God toward us.

Hebrews 10:10 shows us that our holiness before God depends entirely on the work of Jesus Christ for us by God’s will. Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Christ came to do the will of His Father. We have been made holy in God’s eyes by His work.

So what does Hebrews 12:14 refer to? This passage is talking about a holiness we strive for. And without this holiness, the writer says we won’t see God. Scripture speaks of both a holiness which we have in Christ before God (ie Hebrews 10:10) and a holiness we strive for after we are saved (ie Hebrews 12:14). Think justification and sanctification. We are immediately justified (declared holy) when we place our faith in Christ and we are sanctified on a daily basis after that. Our salvation is a salvation to holiness.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people,

This reminds me of the faith versus work argument. We are saved by faith, but because we are saved we live a life of good works pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit inside us is working to make us holy. So if we don’t at least yearn in our hearts to live a holy life that pleases God, we need to seriously question whether our faith in Christ is genuine.

This desire may be just a little spark in the beginning, but it grows. Christ not only saved us from the penalty of sin, but from its dominion.

The author says that the whole purpose of our salvation is that we be “holy and blameless in His sight” (that’s from Ephesians 1:4) To continue to live in sin as a Christian is to go contrary to God’s very purpose for our salvation.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

The same grace that brings salvation teaches us to renounce ungodly living. God has called us to fellowship with Himself and Jesus. Their very natures demand holiness in their presence.

When we hold on to some sin, we aren’t pursuing holiness and we can’t have fellowship with God. David wrote:

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

God doesn’t require a perfect, sinless life to have fellowship with Him, but He does require that we be serious about holiness, that we grieve over sin in our lives instead of justifying it and that we pursue holiness as a way of life.

God will discipline us for our own good if we keep persisting in some sin. (from Hebrews 12:6)

When He speaks to us about some sin, we need to heed and take action!

Holiness is also necessary for effective service to God. 2 Timothy 2:21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
It’s the Holy Spirit who makes our service affective and empowers us for service. Note He is called the HOLY Spirit!

Ephesians 4:30 tells us that when we indulge our sinful natures and dwell in unholiness, the spirit of God is grieved and will not prosper our service. We’re not talking here about the times we fall in to temptation and immediately seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing, we’re talking about lives that are characterized by unholy living.

True faith will show itself by its fruits.

The author of this book wrote, “The only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a holy life.” We need to ask ourselves, “Is there evidence of practical holiness in my life? Do I desire and strive after holiness” Do I grieve over my lack of it and earnestly seek the help of God to be holy?”

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Holiness of God

Still continuing my lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:

1 Peter 1:15-16 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

This call is to everyone. Not just ministers and missionaries. The Christian plumber, housewife and politician are included.

As humans we tend to adapt to the behavior of the people around us. We measure ourselves against other Christians. But, God is our standard. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.

Holiness is just one of His attributes, but it’s an essential part of His nature and holy is used more often as a prefix to His name than any other. God never struggles with what’s right to do, or doing it. We, on the other hand, both struggle with what’s right to do AND then doing it because the right action may involve sacrifice or be a blow to our pride.

God always does what is just and right. So His holiness is perfect freedom from all evil.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

No darkness, no evil! All of His thoughts and actions are consistent with His holy character. When we look at our Christian life in contrast, we hopefully see that we’re developing a certain degree of Christian character. That we are growing in areas of truthfulness, purity and humility.

But, we’re not always consistent. We still tell a lie. We still have impure thoughts.

This never happens to God. And it’s His standard that we are called to.

That He’s like this should be a real comfort to us because we can be confident that His actions toward us will always be perfect and just. Sometimes when people are in a trial you’ll hear them say that God is unfair. But it’s impossible for God to be unfair. He is holy! Acknowledging His holiness is one of the ways we are to praise God!

And because He is holy He can’t ignore or approve any evil committed. He cannot for one minute relax His standard of holiness.

Habakkuk 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

Also because of His holiness He will never tempt us to sin. James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

Never feel like God is placing you in a situation where you have no choice.

God hates sin. Every time we sin we are doing something God hates! And hate is a very strong word.

As we grow in holiness, we grow in hatred of sin. Even though as Christians, we are justified solely through the righteousness of Christ we are told by the writer of Hebrews in 12:14 to “make every effort to be holy: without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

God’s standard for our character and actions is “Be Holy because I am holy.”

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiness is in you

Continuing in the lesson from the book The Pursuit of Holiness:

Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

To be holy is to be morally blameless. It means to be separate from sin and therefore consecrated to God. In 1st Thessalonians Paul used the term in contrast to a life of immorality and impurity.

To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.

According to Ephesians 4:22-24 you are to: throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

So, if holiness is so basic to Christian life, why don’t we experience it more in daily living? Why do so many Christians feel constantly defeated in their struggle with sin? Why is it still hard to tell the church from the world? The author says there are 3 problem areas:

1. Our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered.

We are more concerned with our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. All sin is against God. When we sin, we are despising His authority.

The prodigal son got it right when he said, “I have sinned against heaven and before thee.” So did David when he said, “Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned.”

2. We misunderstand “living by faith” to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part. But we have to take responsibility for our sins.

3. We don’t take some sin seriously. In Song of Solomon 2:15 it says it is “the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.” It’s compromise on the little issues that lead to greater downfalls. If God calls something a sin, whether it’s big or tiny, we call it a sin too.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Pursuit of Holiness

I just finished reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges for a Sunday School lesson and thought I'd share some of what it says:

Thomas Jefferson declared in the Declaration of Independence that one of the inherent and unalienable rights of man is “the pursuit of happiness.” For Christians, though, it’s the pursuit of holiness. In the Bible God states, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

When a farmer plows his field, sows the seed and fertilizes it, he knows that at the end whether he gets a good crop or not, is dependent on forces outside of his control. Rain, sun, animals, etc. For a successful harvest, he’s dependent on these things from God.

Yet he knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant and fertilize he can’t expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense he’s in partnership with God and will only reap the benefits if he’s fulfilled his own responsibilities. It’s a joint venture. The farmer can not do what God must do and God will not do what the farmer should do!

The pursuit of holiness is also a joint venture with God. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but he also won’t attain it without any effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness, but He’s given us the responsibility to do the walking.

Sometimes we don’t accept that. We pray for victory over sin when we should be acting in obedience.

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Pursue peace and sanctification! Sanctification is the process of becoming holy and pursue suggests 2 thoughts: first that diligence and effort are required, and 2nd that it’s a life long task. We will never completely attain it in our life time. But it’s so important that the word holy in various forms occurs more than 600 times in the Bible. And the entire book of Leviticus is devoted to the subject.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Story of the Candy Cane

The candy cane can be used as an object lesson by which to share the true meaning of Christmas.

Give a candy cane to each child. Ask him or her to describe it to you. After the children share their observations, tell them how each candy cane tells about Jesus Christ.

The white stripe indicates that Jesus was pure and holy; He was without sin. Scripture: Hebrews 4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin."

The white is also a picture of how God cleans us from our sin, making us white as snow. Scripture: Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

The red stripe is a picture of the blood Jesus shed for each of us; the red stripes depict the stripes on His back as He was beaten Scripture: Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

The hardness of the candy represents that Jesus is our "Rock." If we build our lives upon Him, they will be secure. Scripture: Luke 6:38: "He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built."

The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd's staff; the Bible calls Jesus our Good Shepherd who watches over us and cares for us; we are called the sheep of His pasture. Scripture: John 10:11: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

If you turn the candy cane upside down though, it makes a "J" for Jesus! Scripture: Matthew 1:21: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus in the Food Court

And He will reign forever and ever and ever!

Labels: ,