Shut the Door!

I. Children’s message:
Last week’s lesson was on Adam and Eve being tricked by Satan.
How did Satan appear to Eve in the garden?
He disguised himself as a beautiful serpent.

Why did he put on a disguise?  
So he could trick them.
He was so jealous that they hung out with God every single day talking and having fun together that he wanted to destroy their friendship with God.

Satan hates God! He uses lots of disguises and methods to trick us into wanting to do the stuff he wants us to do which isn’t what God knows is best for us and spoils our friendship with Jesus.

Satan still uses disguises and deception to try to trap us into doing stuff he wants us to do. 
Jesus warned us about him! He called Satan a thief, because he is a thief.

Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…” John 10:10, 11

Jesus is referring to Satan as the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus is the complete opposite of a thief who steals kills and destroys – Jesus gives life!

A thief usually comes in the darkness – why?

People who sin don’t want to be seen, just like Satan – he likes to operate in the darkness because he’s up to no good disguising himself and lying.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the opposite of Satan and his dark ways and the darkness that he causes: Jesus is the Light of the World. John 1:4, 5 He came to shine on those in darkness and in the shadow of death. Luke 1:79

We’re not to have anything to do with the dark things of Satan: stealing, lying, cheating, disguising ourselves to trick people – these things aren’t pleasing to God.
Romans 13:12 tells us that “the night is almost gone and the day is at hand. Lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light”
This means that Satan’s time of tricking people into wanting to do bad things is almost over – that Jesus’ light will completely overpower Satan. As people who love Jesus we need to stop doing the things that we know Jesus doesn’t like.
What does it mean to put on the armor of light?
To live for Jesus, to do things you know are pleasing to Him. He is the Light – always know that Jesus is with you, protecting you from Satan’s lies, tricks and disguises.

II Adult message (continues from the Kids message)
God warms us about not being defiled by Satan’s lies or his disguises.
Romans 13:12 – 14 “the night is almost gone and the day is at hand. Lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly… 14 put on the Lord Jesus Christ

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 18 …what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony does Christ have with the devil? What agreement the temple of God with idols?

1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

We are living in times where Satan is hard at work to steal, kill and destroy! We must be vigilant to be aware of the disguises in which he cloaks his evil enticements.

Think about this: Costumes are a type of disguise. Does God want us to cover up, to change our identity?
I am who He created me to be.
Does disguising myself become a means of denying who God created me to be?

Be aware! While looking through Christian print-outs for the kids I saw two different coloring pictures among the Christian sites which instantly raised red flags:
Infant Jesus drawn to look like Buddha: what does this imply?
A LOL doll: Are you aware that the owners of the business who manufactures these dolls are deeply involved in grooming children to exploit them in deeds of darkness and rob them of their innocence? We need to be aware and on guard against things that seem appropriate for kids which are actually disguises to lure innocent children into traps of Satan.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who spilled His blood and sacrificed His life in the battle against Satan for our souls, we must be vigilant and on guard for disguises that cloak evil. Put on Jesus Christ – have the mind of Jesus Christ – ask for discernment and knowledge from the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.

As an old Gospel song puts it, “Shut the door! Keep the devil in the night!”

Solution to fear and anger

Isaiah 41:10  Do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be afraid, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you; I will help you;   I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
    13 I am the Lord your God who takes hold your right hand,
              and says to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

Definition of Fear: 
an unpleasant often strong emotioncaused by anticipation or awareness of danger

Do you have a friend or acquaintance who’s become increasingly angry or even downright hostile? Are there some subjects you completely avoid knowing that they’re triggers for your friend. Perhaps you even try to avoid interactions with the person so you won’t become the target of their rage.

It takes only watching a few minutes of the news or reading your social feed to know that there is a great deal of anger out there. Why the anger, the shouting, the burning and riots?

Aggressive anger stems from a desire for control: For control over a situation or people.

Prolonged release of the stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) that accompany anger can destroy neurons in areas of the brain associated with judgment and short-term memory, and weaken the immune system.
Two roots of anger are:
Fear
Blame and Shame
Fear leads to blaming and shaming.
Fear that finds no relief will start lashing out in perceived self-preservation: Anger!

At the beginning of the Bible we are shown how disobedience leads to shame, fear and anger.

The blame & shame tactic began when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. God confronts Adam and Eve and suddenly Adam bursts out in anger blaming God and Eve. Eve, in her shame then blames the serpent. Humans’ whole world has changed from living in sweet relationships in paradise to being cast out of the garden and condemned to a life of unrelenting work and mistrust. Adam and Eve were ashamed, insecure, and afraid.  
Gen 3:8 – 13

Blame/shame: It’s far easier to blame than to take personal responsibility for one’s actions.

Lashing out in anger is often far easier than exercising self-control.

What was the source of their fear which lead to anger which lead to blaming? Sin!
Sin is the root of all fear, anger and violence! Sin is rebellion against God; it is the desire to be greedy for power and control instead of desiring relationship with God.

Instead of getting angry and blaming others, what would have been the right response?
Admit guilt
Repent
Trust God

Cain & Abel:
Cain wanted to sacrifice his way. God even personally warned Cain not to sin! But Cain wanted to do things his way (sin).
His guilt made him insecure and fearful that Abel was getting favor from God which in turn made him angry.

Cain’s anger escalated into hatred, culminating in violence against Abel.

Repentance needs to be followed by Trusting God.

God even warned Cain against his sin. But Cain directed his perceived rejection into anger against Abel.

When our perception is limited and we can’t see the reality of a situation:
When the disciples were crossing the stormy sea during the night and they thought they saw a ghost walking across the water towards them their perception caused them to be terrified.  
Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50
Peter’s fear morphed into anger so he grabbed a sword, swinging it at the servant when the temple priests and guards arrested Jesus. Peter’s fear caused him to lose focus on the big picture which was to completely trust Jesus.

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment (Adam & Eve when they sinned)

When we sin admit our guilt, repent then trust God and His perfect love.

How do we counter the anger and hostility? Trust God, act in a manner that is obedient to Him (a quiet answer turns away wrath)

1 John 3:18 …let us not love with word or with tongue, but in action and truth. Sometimes it’s best not to say anything. Let our love in action speak for us.

Chris Laing shared that the need to admit, repent and trust form an acronym:

                                                  “ART”

When ART happens, God creates beauty from ashes!



God Speaks, God Sees

Do you like putting together a jigsaw puzzle? Do you like those that can be assembled within a few hours or are you one who loves a complex, challenging puzzle that lays on a dedicated table for however long it takes?

Paul David Tripp in “New Morning Mercies” writes “If eternity in not central to your life it’s like putting together a picture puzzle that’s missing the center piece.”

“How many of you thought about eternity last week? Last month? Daily?
As incredibly important and even colorful as your life is, each person’s time here on earth is fleeting, like a vapor. (James 4:14) Our lives, our thoughts, words and actions should line up with the understanding that we were created for eternity. Ecc 3:11 He has set eternity in our hearts. “In the human heart” is an expression representing the mind, soul, or spirit of each person. God places eternity (Hebrew olam) into our heart and soul.

Humans have been given a sense of eternity in our lives; we possess an innate knowledge that there is something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now.

When we acknowledge that we were created for eternity our time on earth should have far more significance.  God’s eternity is at the core of life!

Psalm 33  God Speaks and God Sees
I. God Speaks
vs 1 – 3 Worship with praise

We are called to worship God.  Worship is imperative.
Joyful praise to God is beautiful to Him
Praising Him gives us focus beyond the temporal.

vs 4 – 9 The Power of the Word – God Speaks
vs
4-5 It is through God’s words that God works!  Are we listening?
vs
6-9 By God’s words He created – by the breath of His mouth. Ruah – the Holy Spirit!
All people should be in awe of –to reverently fear–our Creator. He only has to speak and it is done.
vs 10-12
Governments and people can plan and take action but God will have the final say.

II. God Looks and Sees!
vs 13 – 19
God looks from heaven and sees everyone.18 – 19
He delivers those who hope in Him. No matter what’s happening here on earth our hope rests on the reality of eternity.
Our hope is not situational or temporary. Our hope is not based on plans of people or on places.
Our hope is a person — Jesus!

Live in Christ!

For the past several months we’ve been going through Philippians looking at it through the scope of our Position and Privilege in Jesus Christ. Today we’ll wrap up the study with some keys to help us live in Christ.

A. Our position in Christ
   1.  Philippians 2:5ff Have the attitude of Jesus who set
aside self in obedience to the Father’s will, taking our sins on his earthly body. Be humble in Christ knowing that on our own we can never achieve righteousness. Rise up above our selfish desires and ambitions.
   2. 3:20 Our citizenship is in heaven! We are to live on earth as ambassadors of heaven 2 Cor 5:20Let our mannerisms and speech be as an ambassador imitating Jesus.
B. Cultivate being like Jesus
   1. 4:1 Stand firm in Christ  Jesus, the Word of Life, is the foundation of all our convictions. My firm conviction must be based on Jesus. Take a stand, commit to making sure that all of your firm convictions are aligned with Jesus. Don’t waiver from doing the things the Spirit is nudging you to do.
Ask yourself: What would the Father want you to do?
  2. 4:2 Live in harmony in the Lord. As followers of Christ Jesus we need to practice cultivating lives of harmony – with a gentle spirit 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all.
The way we interact with other Christians shouts a loud message to non-believers. Often it’s only through Jesus that we’re able to live harmoniously together.
Harmony: different notes blending together making the music fuller, richer, more meaningful and pleasant. Think of Jesus as being the root chord of a key. When we practice at being in tune with God then we will be in tune w/ each other. For music to sound pleasing all the notes played must be in relation to the Key the music is played in. Occasionally a dissonant note is played but that note is carefully and deliberately used to catch the ear, making the listener aware and think about the music. God used prophets as the dissonant voice in the attempt to get their attention and obedience.
3. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord. Cultivate a mindset of gratitude and rejoicing – because of Jesus.
   4. 4:12 Learn to be content in various circumstances. Note, this doesn’t mean complacent. We’re constantly bombarded with the push to be noticed, stand out, accumulate stuff that is supposed to fulfill and make us happy.
C. Conclusion: How?
   1. 4:5 The Lord is near

   2. 4:13 Christ gives me strength to live in union with Him, to do the right thing.
3.  4:19 God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
   
          not my wants, dreams, desires but needs.
What are your greatest needs? To be unified and living in Jesus.
4. 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. We can be unified in Jesus by God’s grace!