Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dealing with my stuff (Part 2 of last week)

Please read Ps 46:1-11

Last week, we started looking at the problems the Hebrew people faced when those who were against the Lord’s Work forced them to stop building the Temple. The very Temple, not only Cyrus the King had ordered to be built but also the very Temple the Lord, the God of Israel had commanded them to build. It was God’s Will for them to ‘do it’ but through a series of undercutting attempts that worked, yet the building stopped—for 15 years.

Once again, the People, the Remnant [a faithful few] began to build the Temple. Now, in Ezra 6, King Darius also re-looked into the records of the kingdom and found that those in the Trans-Euphrates had better lay off the heavy handed actions and allow the Jews to continue the building program. In fact, open your Bibles and read the letter he had written from Ezra 6:1-15.

Once again, injustice tried to lift its ugly head but the Righteous Hand of the Lord supported His People. The Governor and his associates carried it out with diligence. This change of events made me feel a lot better. At last, the Temple was started and the Doctrinal teaching of The Covenant comes out. God is Faithful to His Word. Period. The Promise was kept!

Some of the helps to deal with these hard turn of events are from our side, in that; our attitudes need to change.  

The Bible has some strong things to say about people who are critical or who criticize others. It is not my intention this morning to deal with that but to put this whole situation back into our laps, & for us to deal with our responses. In truth, we are not responsible for other’s actions or remarks but as we heard last week, we need to be responsible for our response. 

Our response is our responsibility.

1. Love your enemies: All nine of these are our responsibility!
a. Mark 12:31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

We now have a higher calling.  To live ABOVE the evil in the world because of sin.

b. Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Our example of how this is to be done is found in the Person of Jesus. Jesus' own life explains the meekness He taught about. When the time appointed by His Father arrived, Jesus allowed people to crucify Him, trusting His Father's coming Plan to raise Him from the dead (Mt 17:11; 20:18-19).

He was meek and did not cry out or bruise a reed (retaliate) until the time would come to bring "justice to victory" (12:19-20). Yet He proclaimed justice (12:18), openly denounced the unjust (23:13-36) and actively, even somewhat "violently," protested unrighteousness although He knew what it would cost Him (21:12-13).
Jesus was meek (11:29), but He was not a wimp. He called His disciples to be both harmless as doves and wise as serpents (10:16)-in short, to be ruled by the Law of Love (22:39). 

Stop our lies.
Tell the truth.
Don't deceive.

To Love of our neighbor not only does no harm to a neighbor but also bids us place ourselves in harm's way to protect our neighbor. He/she becomes our responsibility. We are to care deeply for injustices we find locally and around the world. We are to pray for them, aid them when we can. 

Galatians 2:10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Care. Have compassion for the poor.

2. Forgive as Jesus Forgave you: Ephesians 4:32
    32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

3. As best as you can, live at peace with them.
   Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
   1 Cor 8:13 teaches us not to give an offense Your response counts big time!
 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall. 

What happens when we ask God to work? He changes us!
I asked for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn to humbly obey.
I asked God for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for
But everything I had hoped for …
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
Unknown Confederate Soldier (from Tim Hansel’s book When I Relax I Feel Guilty)

4. Submit to God & Resist the devil: James 4:7-12
   Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

5. Draw near to God
   8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.

Develop a FEAR of the HOLY.

6. Humble yourself: or God will
   10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

7. Stop slander
   11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 

Speak whatever is good and holy…all the time 
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Dwell on these things.  Linger there and let it sink into our responses.

8. Don’t judge
   12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

9. Confess
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

The work of God is under the special care and protection of God. His eye is on us for His Good. This ‘should’ encourage us when difficulties are ever so discouraging. We are to give a reason for the Hope that is in us. We need to give a reason and be ready to declare what we do in God’s service and why we do it. Realizing that it was because of our sins that the wrath of God is there—to bring saint and sinner to His Heart. All our comforts are from His unmerited mercy. Realize that even if we may see that the Work of God is hindered or stopped in any way, yet the real work of the Lord Jesus is carried on by His People in His Power and in His Timing, so that many will know of His Love for them. That is the goal…not the dealing with those who are critical. That is God’s department. My response is my responsibility. His Glory and His Plan is that God can inhabitant mankind for His Glory.


Jesus teaches us that we are to pray for those who misuse us, those who hurt us and who persecutes the Church so that He gets the Glory. 

My response is mine alone.