Arguments for the Existence of God: Romans 1

Lesson 1: Arguments for the existence of God

 Scripture Reading for Lesson 1:

Psalm 19:1-3 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard…”

Romans 1:19-25 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen…” 

Five Basic Rational Arguments for the existence of God:

  • Cosmological Argument: The fact that there is a creation means that their must be a Creator.
  • Teleological Argument: The fact that the creation reflects order means that their must be a rational designer.
  • Ontological Argument: The fact that there is a need for an absolute being means that one must exist.
  • Moral Argument: The fact that mankind universally has a sense of right and wrong must mean that there is a moral law giver.
  • Religious Argument: The fact that mankind universally senses an internal need for an absolute being compels is to believe that one exists.

Three Key Scriptures Connected to these Rational Arguments:

Psalm 19:1-3 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard…”

  • Because there is a creation, you cannot escape the majesty of God: “The heavens declare the glory of God…”
  • Because there is a creation, you cannot escape the skills, wisdom, and order of God: “The firmament showeth his handywork…”
  • This witness is universal: “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard…”

Romans 1:19-25 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen…”

  • All people have a basic internal awareness of God: “That which may be know of God is manifest in them…”
  • This basic awareness is implanted by God in the conscience of every person: “God hath showed it unto them…”
  • This basic awareness of God in the conscience is heightened by observing and reflecting on the implications of what we see around us: “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead…”
  • This basic awareness of God is enough to make us accountable to God: “So that they are without excuse…”
  • Our problem is not a lack of opportunity, but rather what we do with that opportunity: “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful;
  • Our hearts are biased against the truths to which we are exposed: “but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened:”
  • We are prone to glory in our own folly: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools:”
  • We are prone to misinterpret and misapply the information we have: “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man:”
  • As fallen creatures, we live as slaves to our fleshly passions, which further strengthens our bias against truth and enslaves us to dishonorable misuses of our bodies: “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:”

Act 17:22-31 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead…”

  • Paul started His gospel preaching with the presupposition that God exists and that this knowledge is inherently present in the people he is addressing: “I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious…”
  • Paul bluntly stated that though they recognized the one true God, their acknowledgment of Him was in ignorance, and therefore not enough to be the basis for faith that accompanies salvation: “I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you… And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained…”
  • Paul gave basic information about God that contradicted their ignorant approach to Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation…”
    • God: There is one God
    • Made world and everything in it: “He is the ultimate source of everything
    • Lord: He is the Supreme ruler
    • Dwelleth not in temples made with hands: He is the invisible God and cannot be contained
    • Neither worshipped with men’s hands: He does not accept manmade devices as acceptable means of mediation
    • As though he is in need of anything: He does not anything, because He is independent of all His creation
    • Determined times and bounds: He is intimately involved in the affairs of people and His purposes cannot be manipulated or thwarted through human devices
    • Paul stated that God will righteously judge all men and calls them to repentance on the basis of a conviction established by the resurrection: “but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead…”

Three Primary Sources of God’s self revelation:

  • Creation: Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard…”
  • History: are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Acts 17:26 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation…”
  • Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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…”

 Summary of what we have learned:

  • All people everywhere have a basic knowledge of God because He has put this knowledge in their hearts, and their minds have the ability to process the things that they see in the creation.
  • This basic knowledge of God is not enough to bring a person to repentance and faith in the gospel, but is enough information to leave all people fully accountable to God.
  • Man’s basic rejection of this knowledge is not a rational rejection as much as it is a moral rejection.
  • The universal presence of idolatry in the world is confirmation of both our inherent knowledge of God and our moral bias against His true nature.
  • The limitations of natural revelation necessitate an objective standard given by God to govern our interpretation of general revelation.
  • This objective standard is scripture, and we must understand the nature of scripture.

Trusting God’s Sovereignty Psalm 91

“Trusting God’s Sovereignty”

Part 1

 Text: Psalm 91:1-16 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation…”

Purpose: The purpose of Psalm 91 is to remind God’s people that since He is the only source of true safety, they must cultivate a daily pattern of trust in His care and encourage others from this source of strength in the face of terrifying uncertainties.

Proposition: God wants us to daily trust in His providential care.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Part 1: An introduction to the Psalm:

We don’t know who actually penned Psalm 91. Some have surmised it was penned by David, others that it was penned by Moses. Moses knew what it was like to be assaulted in the wilderness by the Egyptians and the Amalekites. David knew what it was like to be assaulted by the Philistines. Both men witnesses terrible pandemic diseases that rushed quickly through Israel’s populations. In Numbers 16, approximately 15,000 people died and in 1 Chronicles 21, 70,000 men perished. Interestingly, in both cases, the plagues were sent by God to humble the people and were stopped as a direct response to the intercession of godly people in the nation. In Number 16, the scriptures say: “And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed…”

  • As we move into the details of Psalm 91, please keep these two stories in the back of your mind as references that are related to this Psalm.

Part 2: Let’s break down the Psalm into its basic thought progression: Five Divisions

 Division 1: The psalmist declared a wonderful promise about God: 91:1 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…

  • Part 1: A Condition: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High…”
  • This statement is probably a reference a place of intimate communion with God or to the habitual practice of finding refuge in Him.
    • Three essential facts about a person’s heart for this to be true:
      • They must personally know the Lord
      • They must have a continual sense of vulnerability and dependence upon Him.
      • They must see that communion with God and trust in His providential care is their greatest need and continual hope.
    • Part 2: A Promise: “Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…
    • This statement is probably a reference to God’s loving care of those with whom He has entered into covenant: Ruth 2:11-12 “Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust…” Psalm 17:5-8 “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Show thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings…”

Division 2: The psalmist resolved to continue to live in the light of that promise he has just proclaimed: 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust…”

  • Part 1: The psalmist wanted to publicly express His confidence in the Lord: I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and fortress…
  • Part 2: The psalmist was committing to continuing to live according to His former confidence: “In him will I trust…”

Division 3: The Psalmist purposed to be a comforter and an encourager to those who were troubled: 91:3-8 “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked…”

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded (discouraged), support the weak, be patient toward all men…”
  • Observation 1: The Psalmist turned his attention to encouraging a friend: “Surely he will deliver thee…”
  • Observation 2: The Psalmist spoke about two different categories of calamity: “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence…”
    • Category 1: A calamity motivated by premeditated evil: “Snare of the fowler…”
    • Category 2: A calamity that cannot be controlled by human will: “Noisome Pestilence…”
  • Observation 3: The Psalmist reminded his friend that in spite of his lack of internal peace, God would take care of Him: “He shall cover thee with his feather… Psalm 36:7 “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings…”
  • Observation 4: When godly people struggle with anxiety about their current situation, being reminded of God’s word is their greatest comfort: “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler…”
    • A shield and buckler are defensive tools to protect soldiers in battle Ephesians 6: 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked…”

A Biblical example of reminding ourselves and other of truth:

Matthew 6:25-34 Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof…”

Six Simple Facts to Remember When We Worry

  • God commands us not to be consumed with worry.
  • If God takes care of His most insignificant creatures, why wouldn’t He take care of you?
  • You are powerless to change anything by worrying, so don’t waste your time.
  • The way you face difficult times should be different than the way people who don’t know God face difficulties, so let your faith shape your reactions.
  • If you will put eternal matters first, God will take care of the temporal matters.
  • Don’t try to bear the burden of tomorrow’s unknowns. God’s daily grace will sustain you.

Conclusion: God wants you to daily trust in His providential care.

  • Let’s develop the daily practice of finding our refuge in Him.
  • Let’s continue day by day in those good patterns of thinking.
  • Let’s be sources of encouragement for those who are discouraged or afraid.
  • Let’s be well equipped with the scriptures to remind those whom we love of God’s good hand of care over His people.

Part 2 

  • Observation 5: Those who have their thinking rooted in truth will have an unshakeable source of confidence, in the most debilitating trials they could ever face: “Thou shalt not be afraid…”
    • Type 1: The fear of surrounding uncertainty that you cannot see: “Terror by night…”
    • Type 2: The fear of surrounding dangers that you can see: “Arrow that flieth by day…
    • Type 3: The fear of uncontrollable diseases: “Pestilence that walketh in darkness…”
    • Type 4: The fear of watching everything around you fall apart: “Destruction that wasteth at noonday…”
  • Observation 6: God manages all circumstances, even the most terrifying: “A thousand shall fall at thy side…but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shall thou behold and see the reward of the wicked…”
    • God is actively involved in the limiting and allowing of difficult circumstances, and has purposes for what happens. Numbers 16:46-50 “And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed…” Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose…”

Division 4: Because the Psalmist had confidence in God’s character and ways, he again re-assured his friend that God was going to take care of him: 91:9-13 “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet…”

  • He restated the condition: “Because thou hast…
  • He restated the promise: There shall no evil befall thee…
  • He explained the means that God used behind the scenes to defend His people: For he shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways…

 Division 5: The Psalmist ended the Psalm in the strongest way possible, by recording not simply his own encouragements to His friend, but God’s assurance of His providential care: 91:14-16Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation…”

  • God assured the Psalmist that He intimately knew his friend:
    • His friend loved God: “Because he hath set his love upon me…”
    • His friend knew God intimately: “He hath known my name…”
    • His friend believed He needed God and had established a reputation of fleeing to God in desperate times: “He shall call upon me…”
  • God assured the Psalmist that He would actively, consistently, and personally act on behalf of his friend:
    • Way 1: Whether from, in, or through trials: God delivers His children: “Therefore will I deliver him…”
    • Way 2: God is attentive to the cries of His children and answers their prayers: “I will answer him…”
    • Way 3: No matter what is going on, God walks with His children: “I will be with him in trouble…”
    • Way 4: God will put tremendous weight on the prayers of His children: “I will deliver him and honor him…”
    • Way 5: God will lengthen the days of those who walk with Him and trust in His care: “With long life will I satisfy him…”
    • Way 6: God will use the trials of life to teach us that He is the God who delivers His people: “And show him my salvation…”

Conclusion: Let’s practically apply this Psalm: God wants you to daily trust in His providential care.

  • We can trust God no matter what we face.
  • We can have strength and stability no matter the uncertainties we face.
  • Let’s remember that even godly people can experience deep fears and need to constantly be reminded of who God is and how He works.
  • Let’s remember that in uncertain times, we can be instruments of calm and encouragement to struggling Christians.
  • Let’s remember that it is only through testing, that we can understand in an experiential way that God is sovereign and lovingly cares for His people.

 

Sermon 3: Using the Law Responsibly 1 Timothy 1:7-11 Part 1

Sermon Audio Link: Using the Law Responsibly

Text: 1 Timothy 1:7-10 “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”

Purpose: Paul wanted to correct irresponsible uses of the law, without giving the impression that the law served no current function or was evil, therefore he reminded Timothy of two good functions of the law, restraining evil and revealing righteousness.

Part 1: The Law and Its Proper Use

Four important observations about the concept of law and righteousness

  • Observation 1: A righteous person does not need the law to become righteous, he already is righteous. Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  • Observation 2: A person does by nature what is in his heart, whether there is a law or not. Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves…
  • Observation 3: An unrighteous person does not know that he is unrighteous unless a righteous standard reveals his unrighteousness.  Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…
  • Observation 4: Once an unrighteous person becomes aware of their unrighteous nature, a change of nature, not the presence of the law is the only way to make them righteous. Romans 7:8-14 “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin…”

Three wrong uses of the law: The law cannot make you something that you are not already.

  • Seeking to be justified by the Law: A means to become righteous before God Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:28 “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
  • A source of pride: because of my relationship to the law Romans 2:17-21 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
  • Seeking to be sanctified by the law: A means by which we become more holy Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Part 2: The Specifics of this Passage

Four good uses of the Law

  • Reveals God’s righteous character in real life circumstances:
    • Old Covenant/Testament Law: A national ancient near eastern context
      • The Mosaic Law was given in the context of God’s covenant with Israel.
      • This law articulated the conditions associated blessing and cursing from God and toward the nation.
      • Much of the Mosaic Law is written as case law, using situation that were common in their culture, but not necessarily in our own.
      • The timeless principles that were applied in each of these cases is often restated and then applied appropriately in the context of the NT.
    • New Covenant/Testament Law: An individual and local church context
      • Relationship within the church
      • Relationship to God in worship
      • Relationship within the home
      • Relationship to human government
  • Restrains evil by giving a standard by which to judge individuals: 1:9-10 “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”
    • People without regard to proper order in society: “Lawless and disobedient” 1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
    • People without regard for God’s right to rule their lives: “Ungodly and for sinners” Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…”
    • People without regard for the sacred: “Unholy and profane” 1 Peter 1:13-16 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…”
    • People without regard for the dignity of human life: “Murderers” Romans 13:9-10 “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law…”
    • People without regard for the sacredness of the marriage covenant: “Whoremongers” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7 “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness…”
    • People without regard for God’s design for human sexuality: “They that defile themselves with mankind” Romans 1:24-28 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…”
    • People without regard for people’s right to be freedom: “Menstealers”
    • People without regard for truth: “Liars”
    • People without regard to the fidelity of the justice system: “for perjured persons”
    • People without regard for Christian doctrine: “Anything that is contrary to sound doctrine” 1 Timothy 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine… 20 times in the Pastoral Epistles
  • Reveals man’s moral bankruptcy to drive Him to the finished work of Christ: Philippians 3:4-9 “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…”
  • Provides a gauge that reveals real Spirit produced growth into Christlikeness: Romans 8:3-5 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…” Galatians 2:19-21 “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain…”

Conclusion: Let’s be careful how we handle issues related to the law. Let’s realize God’s purposes for the use of the law and use it accordingly.

 

Sermon 10: Now the People of God Part 2

Sermon Audio Link: “Now the People of God” Part 2

Text: 1 Peter 2:5-10 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Purpose: The purpose of this section was to remind these Christian’s that though their new position in Christ was full of rich blessings, this relationship to Christ would put them in a volatile conflict with the world around them and leave them with significant responsibilities.

Proposition: God wants us to be prepared to live faithfully because of the position we have in Christ.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Review from Last Time

Truth 1: The church forms two distinct and glorious functions: we are God’s priesthood and temple.

Truth 2: God accepts our worship entirely because of our union with Christ:

Truth 3: Our relationship to Christ puts it in constant conflict with the world: 2:6-8 “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed…”

His threefold description of Christ: 2:6 “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious…”

  • Focal point: “Chief corner stone…” Building construction. The first stone is the most important. Everything else in the building is related to that initial stone, and the
  • Well-favored: “Elect…” Something that is choice, well favored,
    • The most common way we tend to find this word used in the NT is a description of God’s People/His Elect
    • Another example: Genesis 41 6 times in Joseph’s dream the term is used to describe the cattle and produce in his dream.
  • Priceless: “Precious…” Something that is immensely valuable that cannot be purchased
    • Example: You can put a price tag on a piece of property a house or a new car, but you cannot put a price tag on the gift of a child.

The Contrast Between the way you view Christ and the way the world views Christ: 2:7 “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient…”

The believer:

  • Precious: Something that is immensely valuable that cannot be purchased
  • Shall not be confounded: You will not be ashamed
  • A stone of stumbling: Something that causes some to fall

The Unbeliever:

  • Rock of offense: σκάνδαλον  Something that causes anger because it is offensive
  • Disobedient: They reject Him because he is offensive to them

Application:

  • Christ is the center of all that we hold dear as Christians
  • All Christian doctrine flows directly from our understanding of Him.
    • How God reveals Himself: He is the in flesh revelation of God the Father
    • How God saves people: He is the one who purchased our redemption and in whose righteousness we stand
    • God’s nature: He is the second person of the Trinity who created all things, and who holds all things together by the word of His pwer
    • How God orders His People: He is the head of the church and the Savior of the body who is purifying unto himself a people/a bride
    • How God will ultimately deal with His creation: He is the rightful owner of the Creation who is coming at His second coming to judge the world in righteousness, establish His rightful rule over the nations, and to restore the creation to its original beauty and glory.
  • His is precious to us:
    • We feel a sense of indebtedness to Him, because of what He has accomplished on our behalf.
    • We have an overwhelming sense of the need to submit ourselves entirely to His authority because He has the right to demand our absolute obedience.
    • We have an overwhelming sense of His value, and we want to worship Him exclusively.
  • He is offensive to the world around us:
    • They don’t like the concept of the cross
    • They don’t like the need for the cross
    • They don’t like His commandments
    • They vehemently reject His person, work, and the people associated with Him.

Truth 4: The church’s relationship to Christ should humble and mobilize it: 2:9-10 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy…”

 Peter emphasizes the mercies of God towards us:

  • “But…” There is an incredible contrast between the Christian and the unbeliever
  • We are well favored: “Chosen generation…” Something that is choice, well favored
  • We are set aside to rule and represent Him: “Royal priesthood…” Ruling priests
  • We are set apart to Him: “Holy nation…” Set apart people to God
  • We are His own special/personal possession: “Peculiar people…” A people that is personally possessed by God
  • We are rescued from darkness and spiritual blindness into a knowledge of God and clarity about the world we live in: “Called out of darkness into his marvelous light…”
  • We are His people: “In times past were not a people but are now the people of God…”
  • We have been the objects of His compassion: “Had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy…”

 The driving thrust of this passage: “That we should show forth the praises of him…”

  • God is good, and has dealt mercifully and lavishly with us.
  • Because He has dealt lavishly with us, and we have responded in repentance and faith toward the gospel, we treasure Him.
  • Those who are disobedient to the gospel’s call to repentance and faith, are troubled by it and therefore antagonistic to God’s people.
  • Because He has dealt lavishly with us, we ought to proclaim His excellencies in the gospel to the nations.

Conclusion: Through this passage of scripture, we have been reminded that though our position in Christ is full of rich blessings, this relationship to Christ will put us in an inescapably volatile conflict with the world around us. Let us purpose today by God’s daily grace to proclaim His excellencies in the gospel to the world around us.

 

 

 

 

Lesson 2: The Necessity of Sound Doctrine

“The Necessity of Sound Doctrine”

Sermon Audio Part 1

Sermon Audio Part 2

Text: 1 Timothy 1:3-8 “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully…”

Summary: Paul wanted Timothy to correct faulty approaches to Bible interpretation that had led to weak mystical thinking rather than focused vibrant Christian living.

Fact 1: Paul commands Timothy to hold fast to the standard of the church: 1:3 “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine…”

  • Paul commanded Timothy to call the church to hold fast only to and entirely to the doctrines of Christ through the apostles: 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle…” Ephesians 2:19-20 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone… 2 Peter 3:2 “Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior…” Matthew 28:18-20 “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
  • Clarify what he is not saying: These are not standards, the way we tend to hear the term used today.
    • Practical applications that we have established as a result of attempting to implement Biblical principles.
    • A personal conviction that flows from our conscience on areas of soul liberty.
    • A personal practice we have established to protect us from violating a principle or Biblical command.
    • A personal preference we have adopted or a tradition we have established in the church over time.
  • The principle being emphasized in this passage: We must be rigidly bound to that body of truth that was delivered through the apostles under the authority of Christ. Jude 1:3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints…”
  • Several warnings:
    • We can violate this principle in three ways:
      • By being purposefully or carelessly selective in what we choose to address or emphasize in our teaching ministries.
      • By adding to the standard by injecting our own opinions rather than staying true to the intent of the text.
      • By clouding the intent of the standard through sloppy interpretation or communication.
  • Three ways we have and do see this in church history:
    • The abuses of the Middle Ages were being combated by the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
    • The modern day abuses within the modern charismatic movement should be combated by the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture.
    • The modern day abuses we find in many conservative churches should be combated with the practice of sound Bible exposition rather that hobby horse “standards” driven preaching.
  • Fundamental core doctrine/Gospel essentials:
    • The nature of the gospel
    • The nature of salvation
    • The Trinitarian nature of God
    • The full humanity and deity of Christ
    • The depravity of man
    • The inspiration and

Fact 2: This standard of the church, flows from a literal rather than allegorical/theoretical approach to Bible interpretation: 1:4 “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do…”

  • Fables: The word used literally means myths (a myth was either a story that was entirely not true or an embellishment of a story about a real person.)
  • Endless genealogies which minister questions: Taking Old Testament narratives and allegorizing them.
  • He is contrasting mythological embellishments and infatuation with allegorized interpretations with the plain meaning of the historically reliable accounts in scripture.

1 Timothy 4:7 “Refuse profane and old wives’ fables…”

2 Timothy 4:4 “They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables…”

Titus 1:14 “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth…”

Be cautious how you approach Bible study:

  • Don’t approach the Bible as a skeptic who picks and chooses based upon what he believes to be rational.
  • Don’t be like the moralist who picks and chooses based upon what is he thinks is morally acceptable.
  • Don’t be like the mystic who focuses primarily on the internal impressions that accompany Bible study.
  • Don’t be like the syncretist who takes the Bible and blends it with his philosophical approach to life issues.
  • Have a responsible Biblical approach to Bible study:
    • Approach the scriptures with a confidence in its nature.
    • Approach the scriptures humbled by your own bias.
    • Approach the scriptures diligently as a persistent student.
    • Approach the scriptures with a vulnerability to its contents.

Fact 3: This standard of the church promotes healthy Christian living 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…”

  • The ultimate goal is growth into spiritual maturity/godly edification: 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works…”
  • Four aspects to his description of spiritual maturity:
  • Christian love: “Now the end of the commandment is charity…”
    • God-centered
    • Others-focused
    • Affectionate
    • Active
  • Purity in the heart: “Charity out of a pure heart…”
    • Focused/undivided/untainted
  • A healthy conscience: “and of a good conscience…”
    • Is shaped by a Biblical world view.
    • Is based upon a practiced sense of discernment.
    • Has not become desensitized by ignoring its unsettledness.
  • Sincere faith: “and of faith unfeigned…”
    • It will not be put on, but will be the real thing

Application: False doctrine, imbalanced teaching, or a faulty approach to Bible study and teaching will hinder our ability to grow properly.

  • We will lack Christian love.
  • We will have divided hearts.
  • Our consciences will be unhealthy.
  • We will have hypocrisy.

Fact 4: This standard and interpretative approach to scripture, view the law correctly “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully…”

Three thoughts that will prepare us for the next section of discussion:

  • The law is good
  • Just because it is good, does not mean that we will use it correctly
  • A proper approach to how we interpret and teach the scriptures is a safeguard to improper uses of the law.

Conclusion:

  • Summary: Paul wanted Timothy to correct faulty approaches to Bible interpretation that have led to weak mystical thinking rather than focused vibrant Christian living.
  • Primary Application: We must be careful in how we approach studying and teaching the scriptures, because it is the primary tool that God uses to bring us in spiritual maturity.

 

Sermon Audio: Sermon 8: Simply Healthy Christianity

Text: 1 Peter 2:1-3 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious…”

Purpose: The purpose of these verses is to emphasize that Christians must have a longing for God’s word so that they will have a healthy growing Christian walk.

Proposition: God wants me to have a longing for His word.

Interrogative: How can I have a longing for God’s word?

Truth 1: Command: I must realize that I am commanded to have this appetite: 3:2 “Desire the sincere milk of the word…”

  • The sense of the statements: You absolutely must desire the word of God.
  • The context of the statement: The word used for desire (ἐπιποθέω) is used 9 times in the NT and in all 9 examples; the word is used in the context of a longing for or yearning to be close to someone that we love.
  • The nature of object of the statement:
    • The word is sincere/without any mixture of error
    • The word is logically order: The word used for “word” is not the typical word used (λογός) but is a word used only one other time in the NT. (λογικός) Romans 12:1 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.

Application: I am being disobedient to God’s clear command if I refuse to cultivate this healthy appetite for God’s word.

Truth 2: Rivals: I must remove hindrances to this appetite: 3:1 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking…”

  • The Prominence of this command in the NT:
    • Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…
    • Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…
    • James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls…
  • Our hunger for God’s word is directly related to our willingness to put away the specific sins that are mentioned in this list:
    • Observation 1: We cannot afford to go half way on this command “All”
    • Observation 2: The dehumanizing lusts that we harbor in our hearts will so dominate our thinking that they replace a healthy hunger for God’s word and shade the way we interpret it:
      • Malice: Ill will toward others
      • Guile: Deception
      • Hypocrisy: Two-facedness
      • Envies: Becoming discontented because another has experienced God’s good hand
      • Evil Speaking: Slandering others

Application: I am acting in self-deception if I think I am able to entertain sinful passions while continuing to cultivate a hunger for God’s word.

Truth 3: Picture: I must understand this practical illustration: 3:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby…”

  • The illustration: “As newborn babes…”
    • Newborns have a relentless hunger for their mother’s milk.
    • Newborns need this constant feeding to support rapid growth and good health.
    • Newborn establish a powerful bond with their mother while feeding.
    • Newborn babies develop a sense of security as they feed.
  • The stated purpose of the command: “That ye may grow thereby…”
    • We cannot grow apart from the means that God has provided
      • Cleansing: Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word…”
      • Renewal of the mind: Romans 12:2 “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
      • Faith: Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God…”
      • Victory in Spiritual Battle: Ephesians 6:17 “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
      • Salvation at the Judgment Seat: 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee…”

Application: I need to realize that this illustration is as much about relationship and health as it is about growth.

Truth 4: Experience: I must to get back to basic Christianity: 2:3 “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious…”

  • “If:” This word means that there is a condition for all this working together
    • Growth into Christ-likeness is contingent on new life in Christ!
    • Hunger after God’s Word is contingent on new life in Christ!
    • The power to put off these lusts that hinder our love for God’s Word is contingent on new life in Christ!
  • “Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:” He could have stated their position in Christ as a matter of fact, but instead he states it as a matter of experience
    • God wants us to have a real, healthy communion with Him, not just a cold academic understanding of Him.

Another example of this Philippians 2:1 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy…”

  • Consolation in Christ: Comforter/ παράκλησις
  • Comfort of love: Internal sense that you belong to God
  • Fellowship of the Spirit: Communion/ κοινωνία
  • Bowels and mercies: Deep seated affection for God and other believers

Conclusion: God wants me to have a longing for His word. If I will see this as a serious matter of obedience, so that I am motivated to remove all rivals as I consider the illustration of a hungering newborn, then I will be able to get back to the basics of a healthy growing Christian experience.

The Helmet of Salvation: Ephesians 6:16

Sermon Audio: Part 6: The Helmet of Salvation

Text: Ephesians 6:10-16 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation…”

Purpose: Paul wrote this section, recognizing both the reality of the constant conflict with spiritual wickedness in high places, and the means by which God strengthens Christians in the battle so they can be victorious.

Proposition: God wants us to focus our thinking on the reality of our coming salvation when we are most prone to discouragement in the battle.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Review

Article 1: Have your loins girt about with truth…

Article 2: Have on the breastplate of righteousness…

Article 3: Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace…

Article 4: Taking the shield of faith…

Article 5: Take the helmet of salvation…

Take the helmet of salvation:

Question 1: What is the helmet of salvation?

  • Dwight Pentecost in His book Designed to be Like Him wrote: “No Roman soldier would think of advancing into battle without a helmet to cover his head. This helmet was usually a cap made of leather to which metal plates had been fastened. Some helmets were made of solid metal cast in the form of a head-covering. Whatever the external form of the helmet, the purpose was the same—to protect the head from the blows of the broadsword.[1]Simply put for the soldier: The purpose of the helmet protects the mind.

Two Facts about the Helmet:

  • Fact 1: The helmet is a defensive instrument to protect how the Christian thinks:
    • Simply put for the Christian: The state of the Christian’s mental health is perhaps the single most important thing that is true about him.
      • Every Christian Needs: freedom from internal restlessness
        • A confidence that He is saved.
        • A clean conscience.
        • A disinterest in the favorable or unfavorable opinions of others.
        • A freedom from the lust of materialism.
        • A confidence in the providence of God.
        • An all-consuming passion for God and His Kingdom
  • Fact 2: Putting on the helmet is an illustration of the Christian choosing to focus his thinking on his salvation when he is in the face of tremendous spiritual opposition:
    • What aspect of our salvation are the scriptures telling us to focus upon?
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Past:
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Present:
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Future: 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…”
        • Saved from the wrath of God both in the Tribulation and for all eternity: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night…But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief…Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober…let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…”
        • Saved from the Corruption of our fallenness and our fallen world: Romans 8:18-23 “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God…the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God…we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body…”
        • Saved from the grip of sin and death: 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory…”
  • Fact 3: The aspect of our salvation that he is emphasizing is the believer’s blessed hope, our future deliverance from this fallen world and entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom.

Question 2: How does Satan attack us in this area?

6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… 6:13 that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”

  • Satan seeks to capitalize on every moment of weakness we face whether self-inflicted or otherwise.
    • Health crisis
    • Relational crisis
    • Financial crisis
    • The hardships of life for me or for others
    • The constant struggle of besetting sins
  • He seeks to convince us that we cannot stand when we face relentless waves of intense troubles.
  • He seeks to convince us the battle will never end.
  • He seeks to draw us into a shortsighted perspective where all we can see is what is happening today, rather than the glory that is yet to come.
  • He seeks to convince us that God is not good, does not care, or is unable to use your current circumstances for your good and His glory.

Question 3: How does this piece of armor meet the need?

Illustration: Running a race with the perspective of mile markers and the ultimate end.

  • It puts our current plights in perspective:
    • There is an answer for why this world is the way that it is.
    • There is an answer for why I struggle with sin.
    • There is an answer for why I face physical infirmities.
    • There is an answer for why God does not insulate me from every problem.
  • It instructs me that the battle is not without purpose or end.
  • It instructs me that God will reward my faithfulness, and in that day the struggle will have been worth it.
  • It instructs me that I can stand by the enablement of our all-mighty God, and there is glory yet to come in the future.

Conclusion: God wants us to focus our thinking on the reality of our coming salvation when we are most prone to discouragement in the battle. Let’s purpose to establish the daily discipline of focusing our attention on aspects of our salvation that we have not yet experienced!

 

[1] J. Dwight Pentecost, Designed to Be like Him: Understanding God’s Plan for Fellowship, Conduct, Conflict, and Maturity (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 250.