Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Five chapter 2:4 “But God……”

The Letter to the Ephesians        Message Five

  A.  Our Resignation

  B.  Our Resolve

  C.  Our Rescue

As I read and began to consider this verse, –

Ephesians 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

I thought about the Lord’s mercy and love which could not be described simply as mercy and love. Paul had to express them, not only through his own experience, but also through the truth of the Holy Spirit as he was led, with words that expressed their unlimited abundance, their infinite greatness coming from the very nature of God Himself – His riches and His greatness, “…rich in mercy…his great love… wherewith he loved us….”

And then the truth expressed that His rich mercy and His great love follows those two words that should capture our attention and lead us to reflect on the truth that we do not deserve to be clothed in His abundance of mercy and love, what amazing words they are that we often read over without even thinking about them – “But God”!

    We are blessed by those words –

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:4   “But God…..”

It will do us good to be reminded of some of –

    1.  The Positive responses of God –

      a.  When no hope is expected –

Romans 5:7-8  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

      b.  When all hope is lost –

Acts 13:29-30  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:

Two walking to Emmaus

Widow in Nain

Martha and Mary

Even the rich young ruler – “with God all things are possible….”

“…But God…”

      c.  When hope in God is questioned –

1 Corinthians 3:6-7  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Planted, watered, but God gave the increase –

John 1:44-49  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

      d.  When no hope of victory over temptations –

1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

      e.  When no hope that God’s plan will be fulfilled –

Hosea 13:9-10  O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?

Israel rejected God, yet God gave them Good News that His promises would stand true –

Romans 11:1-2  I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

See also –

Revelation 7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

God is still giving Good News – How will you respond?

   We must be reminded though, of –

    2.  The negative side of God’s responses –

Luke 12:20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

God’s judgment remains in place for those who reject His mercy and His grace.  They are intent on loving themselves instead of loving God and through that love, loving others. They are still in the position of being “…at emnity with God….”

Romans 8:7-8  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Can you rejoice today in those words, two words that mean everything to us – “But God…” –

Ephesians 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 3:20-21  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Our eternal life, which has already begun when we turned to God for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, is all of Him and about Him.  Thank Him now and every day.

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Preaching Outline for the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Four Ephesians 2:1-3 Proof of Changed Lives

Message Four

We have noted the Prologue in chapter 1:1,2 setting forth the theme of the letter to be grace from God and the peace of God that is the result of that grace. Following the Prologue, we learned the lessons from the message on the Praise in chapter 1:3-13; and then the Prayer in chapter 1:14-23.  Today we will begin looking at the –

IV.  Proof of changed lives.  Ephesians 2:1-13

Which we learn by comparing the old nature of man, those that have not believed and trusted in God, with the new nature – that which God creates in those that put their faith in Him through believing the Gospel of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We will begin with the old nature which we all had in common –

  A.  Our (mankind’s) Resignation   Ephesians 2:1

Men have rejected faith in God and sought to find peace in pleasure because they do not understand that peace only comes through the grace of God.  They justify themselves by believing that their actions, which are initially undesirable (forcing themselves to overcome their own physical reactions, such as what happens to them when smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol), are necessary for them to be accepted into popular society.  They continue to identify with the Old Testament statement –“…every man did that which was right in his own eyes…” which statement was rephrased later by psychiatrist as “the pleasure principle” and then the popular slogan of the 1960’s “If it feels good, do it”.  No matter what statement is used throughout the ages, the truth is that it is sin being lived out in accordance with man’s sin nature b order to reject accountability (it is not my fault, which excuse has been used since the beginning in the Garden of Eden –

Genesis 3:11-12  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Genesis 3:13  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

  • And which excuse was rejected, then as it is now, because they deliberately chose to follow their own desires, rejecting the commandment of God)

At times, even the most successful feel trapped, but resign themselves to continue on, being encouraged by pride and exercising their choice to please themselves.

Life in Ephesus was no different than life in our time, being filled with pleasure seekers who sought relief from the fear of oncoming death either by diversion or religion.  They were ignorant of the fact that they were already dead, not understanding that existence never ceases, only location changes. 

Those on the earth who have not believed God and trusted Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to live separated from Him forever, not in a land of pleasure, but in a Lake of Fire.

Those on the earth who have believed God and trusted Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to live with Him forever in His presence in Heaven.

Every person who has God-given eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, at one time, was not living, but was dead through their unbelief.

Multitudes of people believe they are ‘Christians’, that they are going to go to Heaven because their families were ‘Christians’.  They believe that they were never “…dead in trespasses and sins…”

Some believe they are ‘Christians’ because they, knowing that they had been doing wrong, determined to change their lives and live better.  They may have been able to change their habits but they cannot change their nature and they remain dead in unbelief.

They resign themselves to a ‘wait and see’ belief, “I am okay”.

Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, the Truth cannot be changed – all are or were “…dead in trespasses and sins…”.

The Apostle John warned how wrong and dangerous this thinking, nationality, relationships, or will, is –

John 1:12-13  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood (Your nationality),

John the Baptist refuted this argument –

Matthew 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

…” nor of the will of the flesh,…” (Your Parents)

Jesus refuted this argument –

John 4:19-20  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

 nor of the will of man, (Adoption, deciding to be a Christian),  but of God.

Please turn to and read –

Luke 16:20-24  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

This ‘Rich Man’ is referred to as a good man according to the standard of the world –

He allowed this begger to be laid at his gate each day to beg.

He allowed this begger to receive from that which was off of his own table.

He allowed himself even to be acquainted with the begger – “…send Lazarus…”

This ‘Rich Man’ was, even according to the world’s standard, a better man than the very religious man written about in –

Luke 18:10-11  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

And yet this good man went to Hell, separated from God forever because using one’s will to be good does not change one’s nature, only their actions!  He was still under condemnation, separated from God.

God has declared the truth for our good –

 Ephesians 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 3:10-18  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one….

And due to their resignation to abide in this world led by their own desires they are described accurately by Paul as those that have –

…no fear of God before their eyes.

Being where they were, as they were, they lived accordingly –

  B.  Our Resolve

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,

Men resolve to live according to the circumstances that are before them, not being aware of better things. 

Some struggle to live through the day, seeking rest at night and hoping for another day. 

Others struggle to maximize their circumstances, accumulating as much as they can each day, might it be prosperity, power, position, or praise – they also are hoping for another day.

I like the translation of the word ‘course’ from the Greek word ‘age’.  Both words convey the truth of our living in our present world, as generations before lived in their ‘present world’ and the generations to come will live in theirs.

When I think of a course, I think of playing golf – laid out and controlled beforehand by professionals to keep one on the course.  Many of the fairways are difficult, presenting a serious challenge, but enough are easy to encourage continuous play!  The easy ones are the most deceiving because they encourage you to keep on playing. It has been planned by the most devious of designers –

“…according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

In their frustration, from time to time, I have heard golfers scream at the course (“I hate this game” echoing across the fairways), curse the ponds, sand traps, and high grass.  I have seen them throw their clubs, bend them, break them, and even throw an entire bag into a lake.  I have seen them cheat by moving their ball to a better position when they thought no one was watching.  And yet for all of this, they will be paying money to be back on the course next week, after going to the golf store to find better clubs, longer flying balls, more comfortable clothing to help them to be better than they actually are.  They will play in the rain and on windy and cold days.  They complain about dress rules at work, but will gladly wear whatever the club requires to play on their course. Their entire lives are filled with contradictions and hypocrisy.  What resolve they show in this microcosm of society, this course, this life on earth!

All of us were on that course, in that age of the world

Ephesians 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Next week we will learn of the wonderful message Paul wrote about –

  B.  Our Rescue

Ephesians 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

But Today, the question is before you – if you are saved by grace through faith, are you thankful that He has moved you from the old life to the new?

Today if you are not saved, you are still in this old life, there is hope for a better life, it is in the Lord and only in Him.  Will you turn to Him today?

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Three The Prayer Ephesians 1:15-23

The Letter to the Ephesians         Message Three

We have noted in the first two messages the Prologue, introduction, in verses 1 and 2, followed by the Praise in verses 3 through 14.  Today we continue by looking to the –

III.  Prayer.  Ephesians 1:15-23

A.  Things that we may affect in the lives of believers –

Ephesians 1:15,16  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Paul desired that they might continue to grow in grace and peace, knowing God more each day, realizing that they would be blessed and be a blessing to others, and that their testimony would be carried along according to the command of the Lord – “…to all nations…”

Your testimony is an encouragement to others as they see and hear of your –

    1.  Faithfulness

        a.  In Living – being a Godly influence to others.

        b.  In giving – your testimony in giving will encourage others to trust the Lord and be confident in giving.

2 Corinthians 9:2  For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

Your testimony is an encouragement to others as they see and hear of your –

  2.  Loving  “…love to all of the saints….”

    a.  Witnessing – Loving God and others in sharing with them of their need of salvation.

    b.  Teaching them in learning of God through His Word.

    c.  Training –  The Lord sent forth witness two by two that they may encourage one another and confirm the truth to those to whom they spoke.

Your testimony is an encouragement to others through your faithfulness and love in all of the areas of life, and then also you help them by teaching them about –

    3.  Dying –   This is not a thought that occurs to us often, but our love for God and for others should encourage us to be a testimony in dying!

2 Timothy 4:6-8  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

How was Paul able to have this attitude –

Do you remember the first time you traveled by air?  Were you nervous?  Did you wonder why so many of the passengers were so calm, looking forward to the flight, enjoying the time?  It is because they often traveled by air.  The fear had been removed by experience.  When we understand life as Paul did, we will view death as he, and multitudes of saints, did –  Look at his testimony –

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

1 Corinthians 15:31  “…I die daily…”

Philippians 1:21-23  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Paul had learned not to hold on to the things of this life, for they are only temporary.  We should live for that which is of eternal importance.  Faithful believers help us know how to be faithful, how to love God and others, and they even teach us how die well!

Remember – “fear hath torment”.  It will stop us in our tracks!

This brings us to that which he was praying for them –

B.  Things that we may know.  The –

    1.    Sovereignty – Ephesians 1:17a  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…

                                                 Praying that we may have –

    2.  Spiritual understanding –

Ephesians 1:17b ….may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Praying that we know God working in us to the end that ye may know the and understand –

    3. The Significance and Source of  His grace and peace –  Ephesians 1:18,19a  

      a.  The eyes of your understanding (through) being enlightened;

      b.  …..what is the hope of his calling,

      c.  ….what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

      d.  what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe….

All of these blessings of grace in our lives are from Him and about Him, and that this understanding should lead us to –

    4.  Submission –   Ephesians 1:19b   That we may recognize His grace and peace in our lives.

The power which He used creating all things –

….according to the working of his mighty power,

  • is used in the salvation of each man, woman, boy, or girl who calls upon Him in repentance for forgiveness and salvation!  It is the changed life, the very beginning of your resurrection from being condemned and dead in sins to life everlasting.  Do you realize as a child of God that nothing has to be added to you, from the time of salvation to the moment of resurrection – we are on the way!

Colossians 2:9-10  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Praise God –

1 Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Through all of the working of His mighty power we may know the –

 C.  Things that we may receive with Him –

Ephesians 1:20-23  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

We see Who He is and where He is, and we should realize that we will be with Him –

John 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

His Place – ‘…heavenly places…’

His Position – ‘…above all principality’  King of kings

His Power – ‘…and power and might…’  Lord of lords

His Presence – ‘…and dominion…’

     His Praise – “…and every name that is named…”

And all of this only through His Power, infinite power!! 

Now –

Paul reminded the Ephesians that God has changed us with this same power – Our salvation is being compared with this power of God, raising Jesus from the dead!!

We must admit that it is absolutely impossible for us to bring someone back from being dead, no matter how much we try, how much we desire, what we do, using every means available to us, we cannot bring someone back to life. 

We also cannot bring ourselves back from death and we know that we are dead in trespasses and sins. 

This is why the preaching of the cross without the preaching of the resurrection is fruitless. 

Acts 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Romans 1:4  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Hebrews 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Again, The same power that raised Jesus from the dead saves us from eternal separation from God.  This is why it was so important to Paul to remind and encourage the saints, and us, that all we may know and all we may receive is through the power of God, that which no man on earth can accomplish.

Conclusion –

Psalm 116:12-13  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Can you call Him blessed today?  Is He your Saviour?

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians – Message Two, Praise: Why did Paul begin verse 3 with the word ‘Blessed’

Letter to the Ephesians        Message Two

As we begin this second message on the Letter to the Ephesians, we need to pay particular attention to the first word of verse three – “Blessed”.  We are familiar with this word and read it many times around the time of Christmas in the account given by Luke in chapter one.

Mary was called blessed, and so she was.  We note the testimony of the Lord as relayed by His messenger, Gabriel.  We note her willingness to serve the Lord in whatever way she could. We note her knowledge of the Scriptures as she met with Elisabeth –

She was certainly deserving of the greeting as recorded in –

Luke 1:26-28  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

It is interesting to note though, that the greeting to Mary, ‘blessed’, is different from the word used by the New Testament writers speaking to God, as we read in this letter in verse 3 “…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…”.

We must remember there is infinite difference between God and men, no matter how faithful the believer, with mankind always falling short of God.  This is why the word, eulogéō, used by the writers when speaking about men, is different every time, from the word,  eulogetos , used only when speaking about God.

Mark down the testimony of God Himself –

Isaiah 44:8 “…. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

Isaiah 45:5,6  I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:21-22  Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isaiah 46:9-10  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

When we consider the Person of the Lord, His being, character, and nature, we can understand why the word ‘blessed’, that is used of God, should not be used for man.

Paul, who constantly experienced the grace and peace of God, considered all that God is and could say no other thing but “…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” as he presented –

II.  Praise unto God.  Ephesians 1:3-14

  A.  God’s Grace through infinitely perfect decisions.

    1.  Decisions made before the creation of the world – “Before the foundation of the world…”

    2.  Decisions made according to His own good pleasure – “…according to the good pleasure of his will….”,  “…according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…”

“…according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will…”

    3.  Decisions made for His own glory – “… to the praise of the glory of his grace…”

“…that we should be to the praise of his glory…”

    4.  Decisions made to accomplish His ultimate purpose, all things becoming one in Christ – “…he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.

  B.  God’s grace through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

    1.  That in Christ –

      a.  All spiritual blessings are available – “…all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…”

      b.  All spiritual blessings in Christ were determined before the creation of the world –

“…chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…”

    2.  That in Christ, salvation is available

“…we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…”

    3.  That in Christ, being one with God is available

“…he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…”

  C.  God’s grace to man.

    1.  That the believer’s sins should be forgiven.

    2.  That believer’s are adopted, in Christ, as children

    3.  That we are accepted in Christ.

    4.  That we are, in our standing before Him, holy and without blame in Christ.

    5.  That we have obtained, but not yet received an inheritance in Christ.

    6.  That we are sealed, safe, in the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Notice that believer’s have received all of this through the grace of God.  That in His infinite grace –

Romans 10:13  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

And that being in Christ –

  2 Corinthians 5:17  “…any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”

The praise which is given to God for His grace could only begin with that one word “Blessed…”

No other is like Him, nor can be.  Will admit this today and lift our praise unto Him for His wonderous grace?

Have you turned to God for salvation?

Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Grace and Peace – God’s gift to you in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Preaching outline on the Letter to the Ephesians, Message One – Prologue

The Book of Ephesians   Message One

I.  Prologue

Ephesians 1:1-2  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

  A.  The Position of Paul –

…“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…”

    1.  The plan of Saul (Paul the Apostle)

This was not a position that Saul aspired to as a young man.  His ambition from his youth was to excel in the Jews religion, to be known among all of his peers as the best of the best, a Pharisee of Pharisees. 

Acts 26:4-5  My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

Saul followed the path to accomplish his desire, moving to the center of Judaism, Jerusalem, joining the most prestigious school and being a student of the most respected rabbi, Gameliel –

Acts 5:34  Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

He made sure that he was at the forefront of the debates with those that followed Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.

Acts 6:8-10  And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

Acts 7:58-59  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

Acts 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 26:9-11  I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Paul’s testimony to the churches in Galatia revealed his early ambitions-

Galatians 1:13-16  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Paul continued to testify that God’s plan for him, from time he was in his mother’s womb, was different than Saul’s family or his own.

    2.  The Plan of God –

Galations 1:16a  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me….”

God had a plan for him, as he does for all mankind.  Saul struggled against God’s plan, becoming frustrated and angry when convicted, fighting against God, His truth, and the grace that stood over against Paul’s beloved Law.

Finally, through the continued mercy of God and His grace, Saul surrendered –

Acts 9:3-6  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Galations 1:16b   “…that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:”

  B.  The People to whom the letter was directed –

    1.  The church in Ephesus  “…the saints which are at Ephesus…”

Paul wrote this letter approximately seven years after establishment of the church.  It is important to note that we see in Ephesus Paul’s pattern of ministry, as he encouraged Timothy in his second letter –

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

      a.  Doctrine – Preaching in the Synagogue

Acts 18:19-20  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

Acts 18:24-26  And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

      b.  Reproof –

Acts 19:8,9  And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

      c.  Correction –

Acts 19:1-7  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.

      d.  Instruction in Righteousness 

Acts 19:10   And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus as well as –

    2.  The saints of all time and in all places.  “…the faithful in Christ Jesus”

John 17:17-21   Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

2 Timothy 2:2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

  C.  The Provenance of grace and peace –

  “…Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Both grace and peace originated –

    1.  From God the Father

    2.  From the Lord Jesus Christ

Paul will remind all of the blessings of how the grace and peace of God works in their lives, bringing daily praise to the Lord in all things.

Are you aware of His grace in your life today?

Are you aware of His peace in your life today?

Are you interested in knowing more about His grace and Peace?

If you are aware, if you are interested, then will you begin to read this letter carefully over these weeks as we seek to know God’s wisdom and will for our lives?

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Preaching Outline The Book of Job, Message Twelve

  A.  Reproof of Job by God.

  B.  Regret of Job.

The Book of Job.  Why did Job suffer?

Message Twelve

Job 40:3-5  Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

  C.  Response  from God – God, I am sure to Job’s great dismay, did not declare to Job that He understood that Job had been under an overwhelming amount of pressure, that He would comfort Job and everything would be okay.  Job had yet to learn God’s purpose in all of this!  God continued –   

Job 40:6-14  Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Be as great a man as you can possibly be, giving as much credit to yourself as you can –

Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

God charged Job that man is so feeble that he cannot even stand before that which God created!

Job 41:1-34  Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

God does not answer to man!  With this Job was filled with regret for the words that he has said, but –

        God did not settle for regret!  He never does.

Proverbs 28:13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Psalms 51:16-17  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

God only settles for repentance!

Do you take the doctrine of God lightly. 

Do you suggest to God how things should be done?

Do you read His Word and ignore that which you do not agree with?

Do you feel sorry for sin but you do not forsake it?

Admit this sin before to the Lord and turn from it, determining to obey Him in all things!  Obey even the things you may not understand yet and trust Him to teach you as your grown in Him.

Note: Recognition of sin and repentence of sin are related, but are not the same.  Mere recognition, or even admitting sin, stops short of repentence.

Do you know that you need to be saved?  Knowing is not enough, you must act upon that knowledge – repent of your sin, pray and ask God for His forgiveness and His salvation.

V.  The Satisfaction of God’s Righteousness.  Job 42:1-17

  A.  Repentance.  Job  42:1-6

     1.  Job – a righteous man.  Why did he suffer?  The question to be anwered.

      a.  What did he suffer –

        1).  Loss of posessions.

        2).  Loss of his beloved children

        3).  loss of health

        4).  loss of respect –

          a).  of his wife

          b).  of his friends

          c).  of his community

        5).  Loss of fellowship with God.

      b.  How did he suffer?  In confusion and complaint.

      c.  How did he respond? 

        1).  With regret  Job 40:3-5  and finally –

        2).  In repentence.  42:1-6,  Note vs. 6

Job 42:1-6  Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

When visited by the presence of God, Job’s suffering faded from his mind.

Why?   Was his suffering replaced by joy?  No

All of the things that were constantly on his mind, afflicting him, causing him suffering and shame – the loss of his family, his possessions, his health, his respect from the community – all of these things faded from his mind.  He did not speak of these things to God, not one word!

His suffering was replaced by repentence!  Job found that God is all in all.  He is the Beginning and the End.  Life was no longer about Job,  Life is about God!

He was an upright man.  He was a righteous man.  He did hate and avoid evil.  But his peace, joy, strength, confidence were based on the blessings that God had supplied.  When the blessings were removed –  He retained his integrity, and we appreciate him for that,  but he lost his joy, his strength, his purpose in life.

  B.  Restoration. 

Job 42:7-10  And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

    1.  Reputation.

    2.  Property

    3.  Family

To answer the question – Why did he suffer?

Job was a righteous man who suffered for the glory of God.  Job learned to give God the glory when he endured suffering for a season.

These things were written for our learning.  Job was an early patriarch and the saints through the ages have been able to learn from him.

Look at –

David as he escaped from the wrath of King Saul, unjustly accused of conspiricy against the kingdom, and all this knowing that he was the annointed king. 

Daniel thrown into the den of lions for lifting up supplications to God.

Paul and Silas singing from the depths of the dungeon after being publicly humiliated and thrown into prison – and countless multitudes since. 

James encourages us to find strength to endure affliction through the testimony of Job.

James 5:10-11  Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

God did not forsake Job, or any of His people – He forsook only One in all of eternity – Jesus took our  penalty, that which we deserved upon Himself – for us.  Do you love Him today?

To God be the glory!

Do you know that God is all in all?  Is He all in all to you?  Is He the Beginning and the End for you in your life?  What will you present to Him today?

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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Preaching Outline the Book of Job, Message 11

The Book of Job  Message 11

The preaching outline for the book of Job up to this point was –

I. The Setting  Job 1:1-12

II.  The Suffering Job 1:13 – 31:40

III.  The Sentiment of Elihu  Job 32:1-37:24

Some months had passed as Job suffered the loss of his family, his property, his reputation, his dignity and now his accusers are silent.  Elihu had been the last to speak and as he was speaking of the glory of God, that same glory began to appear to them on the horizon in the form of a terrible storm.

Picture in your imaginations these four men sitting under a canopy for shade from the sun, three men sitting together, the fourth younger man sitting near to them so he could listen to the conversations, and then Job, sitting away from them, scraping the oozing liquid as it escaped from the sores that covered his body – the stench of which would almost be overwhelming.  This is the setting –

       After suffering for months –

IV.  The Silence was Broken.  Job 38:1-41:34

  A.  Reproof of Job by God.   Job 38:1 – 40:2

    1.  The appearance of God.   The vision of God is wonderous –

Job 38:1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

This is the moment that Job had prayed for, the Lord to speak to him, but Job was not prepared for the glory of God to be revealed as He was –

We should always remember the terror of His Greatness and Glory –

Exodus 19:16  And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

Ezekiel 1:28  As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

    2.  The audience with God was granted. 

God commanded that Job stand before Him and answer for himself –

Job 38:2-3  Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

   Job had said –

Job 9:34-35  Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me: Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.

Job 13:3  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.

As we continue in this message, remember that each one of us will be in Job’s place one day –

Romans 14:11-12  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

1 Peter 4:5  Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Keep this in mind as we consider excerpts from the following verses –

         God spoke and –

    3.  Answers from Job were demanded.

Job 38:4-41  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

“Who hath laid the measures thereof”? Job could only bow down and answer “You did Lord”

Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place…….Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.

Job could only answer to “Hast thou”?  No Lord, I have not!

Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder…… Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? ……Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart………?

 Job 40:1-2  Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it

  B.  Regret of Job.       

Job 40:3-5  Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

Job knew that he was wrong and that which he had was said in desperation –

Job 31:35-37  Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.  I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

As Job stood before God, his attitude changed completely!

Remember how others reacted as they stood in the presence of God –

Isaiah 6:5  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Ezekiel 1:28  As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

And what about Daniel’s statement 10:5-9  ….and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

And John’s in Revelation 1:13-17  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, …..And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

    1.  No longer – “A prince” – “I am vile”

    2.  No longer bold – “I would declare unto him…”  “Once have I spoken, but I will not answer…”

We must be careful to avoid the self-pity and persecution complexes that took him over as he tried to justify himself before his friends.  He argued day to day against their accusations.  As far as he knew, he had not committed some secret sin or sins.  In the beginning he was very sensitive to his standing before the Lord, and we see his actions were the results of the thoughts of his heart –

Job 1:20-22  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

But over time, he became argumentative and, while not accusing God of unrighteousness, nor cursing God in any way, he did not believe he was being treated fairly He began to believe that he was better than he actually was and began making demands of God.

It is of no doubt that Job feared God, for God declared this very thing about Job, but sometime during the trials, Job began thinking that he deserved better than what he was receiving.  He began to declare his mind that –

If God did not think Job deserved better than he was getting, why did God not reveal the reason, the sin, for which he was being judged?

If God did not think Job deserved better than he was getting, why did God let him continue to live?

If God did not think Job deserved better than he was getting, why did God not meet with him and explain His reasons for the troubles?

Job had forgotten that God does not have to answer to anyone for His actions!  We should learn this very important lesson from this account of Job.  We need to pray and ask God to help us never, no matter what happens in our lives, think that God has to answer to us, to explain Himself or his purposes to us!

We should learn from Job that we must be careful not to think of ourselves more than we ought.

When we first get saved, the Lord becomes our all in all, He is magnificent in our hearts and minds because of the death He has snatched us from and the life He has moved us to.  We continue to grow in our love for Him, but in time our days with Him may become ordinary. 

The attitude changes slowly over time –

Matthew 16:15-16  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:67-68  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

But then we, as Peter did, might wonder if we do not deserve more – what is it, where is it, and when will we get it?

Matthew 19:27  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

It may be that the things Peter left behind grew in value the further away he was from them – his house was better, his boat was better, his business was better (he may have forgotten the nights of toil without bringing home any fish)!

Matthew 26:58  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

Look at where this attitude led him –

John 21:3  Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

This is reality!  The world holds nothing for the child of God

We must not let others push us into believing we are better than we are by defending ourselves from their accusations.

Will we, no matter what our circumstances are, sanctify the Lord in our hearts, setting Him above everything!

Read what Peter had learned – the same lesson Job learned so many years before –

1 Peter 3:10-17  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Determine today that you will trust God, that He is always just, always fair, always righteous, always holy, always true, always loving, always worthy of our worship, submission and service.

Sanctify Him today in your hearts – that He is truly all in all to you.

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Jacob’s Crisis

Sjbjburke's Blog

Jacob
I. His Character
A. With men. Genesis Non-confrontational; manipulative
1. Esau Genesis 25:24-34
2. Rebekah Genesis 27:6-14
3. Laban Genesis 29:16-28
4. Esau Genesis 32:1-8; 33:8-17 (Insinuated he would follow Esau, then turned West)
B. With God.
1. The Covenant. Genesis 28:11-22
2. The intervention.
a. For the wives. Genesis 29:31; 30:6,17,22
b. For Jacob Genesis 30:27-30
3. The Call. Genesis 31:3
4. The Comparison. Note that Abraham’s servant was dealing with the same man, Laban.
Genesis 24:12-14; 24-27; 34, 35, 40, 42, 44, 48, 50-52, 56.
Jacob received the blessings of God but we do not read of him acknowledging God in his day tod ay life. This is the manner of many believers.
II. His Crisis
A. The defilement of his daughter. Genesis 34:1,2
B. The disgraceful action of his sons. Genesis 34:13-18
C. The destruction of Shechem Genesis 34:25-31
What caused this crisis? –
III. His…

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Preaching Outline the book of Job Message Ten

I.  The Setting

II. The Suffering

The Book of Job           Message Ten

Imagine Job sitting and suffering, slowly scraping away the dried fluid seeping from the open sores that covered his body.  The stench from his body would be almost unbearable and the men speaking with him would be sitting away from him, able to have a conversation but not too close.  At least four men had spent much time with him, initially coming to comfort him, but had quickly become accusers.

How different from our wonderful Lord Jesus who would have embraced and comforted him.

The younger of the four, Elihu, had not come with them and may have been a family friend who lived nearby.  Now that the older men had stopped speaking, we learn of –

III.  The Sentiment of Elihu   Job 32:1 – 37:24

  A.  His deference   

Job 32:1-10  So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram:

His silent anger  –

,,,,against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.

Job had declared that he had lived according to his promise to himself based on his knowledge of God.  He had determined that he would live a life that would honour God, and if he sinned – he would deserve the judgment of God – but as far as he knew as we learned from Job’s declarations in chapter 31, he had not broken his promise to God!

Job 31  “…If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.”

Job was confounded by the affliction he was in and sought God desperately to discover the reason for this judgment.  The answer would come in God’s time!

Elihu’s silent anger was –

Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

They presented no evidence other than the trials Job suffered.  They could only assume the cause of his suffering to be some secret sin committed by Job as they had no documented evidence against him in the form of written accusations, nor did they have any direct evidence in the form of accusations declared by first hand witnesses.  In other words, they had no proof of wrongdoing by Job!

He waited for all of them to finish speaking –

Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled. And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.

Elihu told them that he had waited on them as it was the proper thing to do according to the Word of God –

Leviticus 19:32  Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

Proverbs 16:31  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

But Elihu added that he believed that God instructs the young also and gives them wisdom and insight that is valuable and should be considered by all.

I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

  B.  His disappointment   (Elihu’s)

Job 32:11-14  Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

Elihu claimed that he could be the voice of reason because he had been an observer only, not involved in the matter in any way –

Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.

He was disappointed –

    1.  In Job because he justified himself instead of glorifying God.

      a.  Job had been unjustly accused and was compelled by this to defend himself. We often seem guilty when trying to defend ourselves.

      b.  Job’s thoughts were focused on himself instead of God.

He was disappointed –

    2.  In the three elders because they were not able to prove their allegations.  It was just talk!

  C.  His desire.     He was anxious to share his opinion!

Job 32:15-20  They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.

Have you ever been part of a group conversation, being present but not being asked for your opinion, not invited to add your thoughts, even though you knew that you had all the right answers?  Then your opportunity came, those that had been speaking had no more to say, you would wait for a few moments to see if they would continue, but when they did not, you jumped in – “…ready to burst like new bottles.”

Notice especially  32:18-20

  D.  His decision was that which was according to what he believed.  Job 33:1-37:24

    1.  Job was wrong in his conclusion. 

Job 33:8-12  Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

And that –

    2.  Job’s words should be examined. 

Job 34:34-37  Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me. Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

And finally –

    3.  Job should listen to Elihu’s justification of God  

Job 35:2  Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?

Elihu misunderstood the words of Job as he argued against the accusations of his friends.  Job was forced to defend the righteous actions of his life, even which God had attested to, and some could misinterpret Job’s intention to be that he claimed he was not a sinner and should not be punished by God instead of understanding Job to say that he simply did not know why he was being punished by God!  He had examined himself many times and could not discover sins that had not been confessed and forgiven by God.

Elihu began at this point to remind Job, as if Job did not know, of the greatness of God.

Job 36:1-2  Elihu also proceeded, and said, Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.

 He magnified the Lord before Job in order that Job might be humiliated by his own words when he argued with his friends.

Imagine a storm coming toward them as they spoke –

Job 36:26-29  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?

Job 37:1-5  At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

Job 37:14-16  Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

We must note that Elihu was neither condemned nor commended by God for his discourse with Job.  An interesting circumstance is that Elihu seems to recognize the supernatural aspect of the approaching storm  –

Elihu’s words to Job and his friends came at the end of  their arguments and the beginning of God’s revelation of His Person and purpose, which we will turn to next week.  Let me encourage you to read the remaining chapters of the book this week.

Job had examined his life carefully, as is recorded in chapter 31.  He was convinced that he was not being punished for an unconfessed sin!

The question we have before us this morning is this -“Have we examined our own lives in the Light of God’s Word”?  Our nature is to focus on other people’s circumstances and imagine the reasons for the trials they are going through.  We do need to be aware of others and be prepared to “rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with them that weep”, but we must examine our motives – this morning, have I examined my heart – has the Holy Spirit brought anything in my life to my attention that I need to get right with God?

Will you spend some time on your knees before the Lord of Glory in prayer today, meditating on His Word, asking Him for wisdom and leadership that we all might be holy, ready for His use for His glory.

Again, How different from our wonderful Lord Jesus who would have embraced and comforted him.

We who may not have the stench of disease reeking from our bodies, but we do have the stench of sin which isolates us from all, except for our loving God who will touch us, cleanse us, restore us, clothe us in robes of righteousness and escort us into His very home.

Are you saved today?

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Preaching Outline Book of Job, Examining His Life Chapter 31

The Book of Job  Message 10 Introduction

As the New Year begins, it should be a time of reflection on the past year and a time of setting goals for the new year.  I believe the message for today is perfectly timed as we read of Job’s conclusions of his examination of his own life.  This morning we will look at three things in particular for self examination – The encouragement, The example, and the expected result.  We should begin by reviewing some reasons for self examination –

Troubled conscience

Unexplained losses or complications in life

Accusations

Or just a self scheduled personal evaluation, reflecting on and measuring one’s self by the Word of God as people have the habit of doing at the beginning of a year.

I.  The Encouragement for self evaluation.

Throughout the Scriptures, God commands and commends us to examine our lives –

1 John 3:20-21  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

2 Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Psalm 119:59  I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

Haggai 1:5  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

II.  The Example of self examination

The circumstances of Job’s self-examination included those daily reviews of his life and that of his family, the tragic incidents that took place in one day, the sudden affliction of boils covering his body, followed by that which intensified Job’s self examination: the false accusations and arguments. – which should never have taken place –

Exodus 20:16  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Job examined his –

  A.  Relationships Job 31:1-12

 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

He remembered how he –

  B.  Rendered justice and aid to others Job 31:13-23

If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;)

If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;

If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.

He –

  C.  Regarded wealth as from God.

If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;

If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;

He had been faithful  to God –

  D.  Religion  Job 31:24-28

Exodus 20:1-6  And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

He had complete –

  E.  Reliance on God.  Job 31:29-34

    1.  He did not seek revenge.

If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.

If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.

    2.  He did not seek to hide – he was not ashamed of his life.

If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?

Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;

If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

We have learned that Job sought for the answers – and must have been asking himself “Have I and coming to the conclusion “If I have… then I deserve all that I am going through, but I have not done anything”!

As Job sought answers, seeking an audience with the Lord, not finding any solution, he could not discover –

III.  The Expected result of self-examination

To see the Lord in His glory, which Job would see, but not yet.  Keep the Lord before us.  When the issue is not resolved, do not quit and surrender to the world, the flesh, and the Devil.  Do not say “What is the use” – keep our hearts and minds on God and seek His answers, even if they may be long in coming – He is faithful and true!

Saul of Tarsus was an unusual man.  I say this because I believe he wanted to be an honest man and he wanted to please God.  According to  his own words, he claimed that he was “…an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee…” as written in the letter to the Philippians.  His problem was that the more he learned of the Word of God, the more wretched he became in his own eyes.  When he was finally faced, not only with the written Word, but the Living Word, he became furious and struck out at all those that caused such conviction in his soul.  He could satisfy his conscience yearly with the offerings and service unto as a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee, but when faced with the truth of the Gospel, he could never be satisfied in himself again.

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

He could not rest, being constantly convicted by the Truth of God!

Do not become angry, denying the truth –

 He must, as we must, humble himself and submit to the Lord through the grace of God by faith, or live with the fact that he would remain in a state of condemnation for ever no matter what he did.

This is the point, the more we learn of the Lord and spend time in His presence, the less we become in our own eyes.  He becomes high and lifted up and we become thankful and glorify Him in all things.

Will we, as Job did, examine ourselves in the Light of God’s Word, spending time, not just a moment, but all that is needed to come to God in repentance and confession – being cleansed by Him of all unrighteousness.  Do not QUIT!

In late October, 2013, I became very ill and went to the doctor to see if the cause could be discovered.  Their first thought was that Bonnie and I may both have the flu so we went to the hospital for the test, which came back negative.  I continued to get worse.  We were scheduled to go to the Philippines for 8 days of missions meetings and the doctor cleared me to go, only recommending that we get our own hotel room so we could get rest between the meetings.  I preached 8 times that week.  Each night my bed would be soaked with sweat, I mean it was soaked.  We returned and more test were run, I was being examined carefully – three chest x-rays, CATs, MRIs, numerous blood test and even some procedures to send off for biopsies.  I continued to get worse, losing 30 pounds and became very weak physically. 

I wanted the doctors to keep searching for the cause, even though some of the examinations were very painful.  Finally on 14 February, Bonnie and I were called to the doctor’s office for the results of a new test that they were going to try – the doctor looked at us very seriously, handed us the result card, and said “It is positive, you have tuberculosis”.  Bonnie and I looked at each other, smiled and both said “Praise the Lord”!  The doctor was confused by this response.  We said “Now we finally know, after all of the months of examination, what the problem is and we can begin working on the solution”.  I began on the course of medicines and eight months later was declared free of the disease. 

I am glad that I have an amazing wife, Bonnie, who helped me through all of this.  She prayed with me, she worked hard at making sure I was getting nourishing food into me, she led me by the hand when I had no strength, she guided me when I lost my vision, she was patient with me when I could not remember things – and always her smile cheered me.

When one we love is examining their life, they need the one they love and who loves them to pray with them, read God’s Word with them, to help them, to care for them, to encourage them to remain faithful and not to be as Job’s wife, telling him to just curse God and get it over with.

I am very glad that the examinations continued until the cause was discovered.

If we are so willing to go through all of this, which effects our physical well being, how much more should we be willing to examine ourselves for that which effects our whole person, spirit, soul, and body! 

And the most wonderful thing is that when we discover the source, the sin, we do not have to wait months to be declared free, we only wait moments for the Lord has promised us –

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Will we examine our lives?

Are you saved?

Are you serving?

We have a new year before us, will we be vessels unto honour, glorifying God in our lives this year?

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