Friday, November 29, 2013

Midweek Lesson Outline: Joshua 6

“Trust and Obey”
Joshua 6

I. Joshua's obedience won the battle 6:1-20

“Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. [2] The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. [3] You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. [4] Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. [5] It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.””

“[6] So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.” [7] Then he said to the people, “Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD.””

“[8] And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. [9] The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets. [10] But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!” [11] So he had the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. [12] Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. [13] The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets.”

“[14] Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days. [15] Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. [16] At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. [17] The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.””

“[18] “But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. [19] But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” [20] So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.”

Hebrews 11:30; Luke 22:19; Mark 16:16; John 14:15; Matthew 12:30

II. Rahab's obedience saved her life 6:21-25

“They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. [22] Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” [23] So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. [24] They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. [25] However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”

Joshua 2:14-21; Hebrews 11:31

III. Achan's disobedience invoked the wrath of God 6:26 - 7:1

“Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” [27] So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land. [7:1] But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.”

Joshua 7:24-26

Conclusion: Hebrews 5:9

It’s not always easy to smile and be nice,
When we are called to sacrifice.
It’s not always easy to put others first,
Especially when tired and feeling our worst.
It’s not always easy to do the Father’s will.
It wasn’t so easy to climb Calvary’s hill.
But we as His children, should learn to obey;
Not seeking our own but seeking His way.
It’s not always easy to fight the good fight.
But it’s always good and it’s always right!

- Glenda Fulton Davis

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday Sermon Outline: 2 Peter 1

“The Nature of True Knowledge”
2 Peter 1

I. Authority vs. 1-4

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

Romans 10:1-3; 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 John 1:3

II. Maturity vs. 5-15

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.”

Ephesians 4:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:24-25; 1:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:6-9; Matthew 15:14; Philippians 3:13-20; Hosea 4:6

III. Certainty vs. 16-21

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"-- 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Luke 6:40; Psalm 119:104-105

Conclusion: Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:3

Friday, November 22, 2013

Midweek Lesson Outline: Joshua 3-5

"Step Into the Water”
Joshua 3-5

Introduction: Joshua 1:6-9

First, if there is to be success, God's people must display a fixed …

I. Concentration 3:1-4

“Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he and all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan, and they lodged there before they crossed. [2] At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp; [3] and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. [4] However, there shall be between you and it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.””

Deuteronomy 1:30-33; Psalm 32:8-9; John 10:27; Hebrews 12:1-2

Next, for the people to cross the river and enter the land promised to them would require complete …

II. Consecration 3:5

“Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.””

Leviticus 11:44; 2 Timothy 2:19, 21

Third, to enter the Promised Land, God’s people would have to make full …

III. Commitment 3:6-17

“And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people. [7] Now the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. [8] You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” [9] Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.” [10] Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite. [11] Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. [12] Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. [13] It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.” [14] So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, [15] and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), [16] the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. [17] And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.”

2 Corinthians 5:7; Luke 23:46; Psalm 37:5

Once they are on the other side, we see yet another vital part of Israel's success, which is a time of …

IV. Commemoration 4:1-8

“Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, [2] “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, [3] and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” [4] So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; [5] and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. [6] Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ [7] then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” [8] Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there.”

Colossians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Conclusion: Joshua 5:1, “Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.”

Philippians 3:14; 1 John 3:2-3; 1 Peter 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:8; Romans 8:31; 1 John 5:4

Monday, November 18, 2013

Perception vs. Reality

Perception is not always reality, especially for Christians. Having been reminded that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), then perhaps what is seen is not always the whole story.

Over the course of a twenty-five year ministry, I was fired four times. That sure doesn't look good. I know of other ministers who have spent fifty years with the same congregation. That looks great! For the last two and a half years, I have not received a paycheck from a regular employer. That doesn't look good. I know others who have steady jobs and do a wonderful job of financially supporting their families. That looks great! But haven't you heard? Looks can be deceiving!

To the world (and even most of my family), it seems as if I do nothing. I am not employed by any congregation, and I have been unsuccessful – to the present – in securing any secular employment. There was a time when I, too, worried about such things, until the word of God reminded me that “the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).

“But no church will hire you!”

You see, it is in response to that observation that I found spiritual truth. The local congregations that I have served were never my employers. The One for whom I have consistently “worked” is the Lord. I have served Him faithfully for almost twenty-eight years. Every message preached, every lesson taught, every article written, every person counseled or consoled, edified or evangelized has been under His employ. What support I have received – whether from congregations or individuals – has been at His discretion.

Like Timothy, I have been instructed, “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). Such a command is in no way dependent upon a paycheck. The apostle Paul did not minister because of compensation, but because he was compelled to do so. “For I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Not“woe is me” I won't get paid, but “woe is me” if I don't respond to the Lord's call.

Therefore, I continue to go where the Lord leads, preaching and teaching the truth of the gospel as God provides opportunity. I have never stopped being “eager to preach the gospel” (Romans 1:15).

“But you don't get a paycheck! How will you pay your bills and support your family?”

I used to worry about that, as well. Then I remembered the command of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ [32] For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. [33] But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33).

“But … but ...”

But what? Consider Elijah, called by God. Upon delivering the Lord's message of impending drought, the prophet's “work” took him to the brook Cherith where he spent the next two and a half years being fed bread and meat by ravens (1 Kings 17:2-6). Then, when the brook dried up, the Lord led him to a nearby widow who continued to provide for his needs (1 Kings 17:7-16).

“But that's not a REAL job!”

Isn't it? Upon whose reality do we make such a determination – man's or God's? The end result of his time spent with the widow seemed to produce exactly the spiritual result that God intended, as “the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth”” (1 Kings 17:24).

Consider Jesus' apostles. What evidence is there to suggest that any of them ever again held secular employment after submitting to the Lord and becoming fishers of men? The brothers never again worked their father's boat for profit. Matthew never again sat at the tax collector's table. After the birth of the church, they didn't even have time to wait tables, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

And what of Jesus Himself? What “work” did He do to provide for Himself? The answer is: He didn't. Didn't receive a paycheck, that is. Absolutely, He worked! “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17). But that “work” didn't provide a roof over His head, as He states, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). Nor did that “work” pay His taxes, but when confronted about what was “owed,” the Lord sent Peter fishing! “Go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me” (Matthew 17:27).

“So you believe that the Lord is going to pay your bills?”

Does it matter? What matters is my obedience to the Lord. So far, I have not missed a meal in two and a half “unemployed” years. I still have a roof over my head, and I still have clothes on my back. The majority of this provision has been the result of three individuals who have not “paid” me for a “job,” but who have supported the ministry to which they know the Lord called me.

“But what do you do when the bill collector's call?”

Perhaps the Lord will provide me with vessels of oil to pay the debts (2 Kings 4:1-7). Perhaps he will eventually provide a means of secular employment. Or perhaps I'll end up in debtor's prison. If so, there are ample biblical examples of men who accomplished great things for the Lord from behind bars. Regardless, I cannot prove disobedient to my heavenly calling (Acts 26:19). Just because I don't know where God is leading me, doesn't mean He's not leading me. Again, perception is not always reality.

I no longer own a house. I own no property. I have a 240 sq. ft. RV, and a burning compulsion to share the word of the Lord. I haven't been provided with gas money, so obviously the Lord doesn't want me going anywhere at the moment. Therefore, I will sit and write. I will reach out via the Internet as long as I still have that access available.

God Himself declares, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; [11] So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). I believe that with all my heart. Therefore, I will continue to obey! I must “work the works of Him who sent me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

Certainly I don't like to be in debt. Without a doubt it is uncomfortable not knowing whether I will be able to pay next month's lot rent. No one likes to scrape through the change jar for enough to buy a gallon of milk. And – like Paul's “thorn in the flesh” – I have prayed that the Lord would alter the situation. But His response to me is ultimately the same one given to the apostle, ““My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. [10] Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

My marching orders have been issued: “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). If the Lord has so employed me, then I know He is able to fully supply my need (2 Corinthians 11:9; Philippians 4:19). Spiritual reality trumps worldly perception every time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Peter 5

“The Unfading Crown of Glory”
1 Peter 5

Introduction: 1 Peter 4:2; Romans 8:16-17; Philippians 3:14-15; 1 Peter 4:19

I. Glory for those who lead vs. 1-4

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

John 21:15-17

II. Glory for those who follow in humility vs. 5-7

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 10:5-11; Matthew 7:19

III. Glory for those who are alert to the enemy vs. 8-12

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

2 Timothy 3:12-15; Hebrews 12:4; Matthew 13:20-21

Conclusion, vs. 13-14: “She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”

1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 4:13-14

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Midweek Lesson Outline: Joshua 1

"Confidence: The Key to Victory!"
Joshua 1

Introduction: Joshua 1:1-5, “Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, [2] “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. [3] Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. [4] From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. [5] No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.””

II. A Fearless Confidence vs. 6-9

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. [7] Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. [8] This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. [9] Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

A. Confidence based upon the promises of God, v. 6

B. Confidence based upon obedience to God's word, v. 7

C. Confidence based upon absorbing God's word, v. 8

D. Confidence based upon God's presence, v. 9

III. A Victorious People vs. 10-18

“Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, [11] “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’””

“[12] To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, [13] “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ [14] Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, [15] until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.””

“[16] They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. [17] Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. [18] Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.””

A. Victory through preparation, vs. 10-11

B. Victory through unity, vs. 12-15

C. Victory through godly leadership, v. 16

D. Victory through obedience, vs. 17-18

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sunday Sermon Outline: 1 Peter 4

Here is the outline for tomorrow's message. It accompanies the audio sermon, found in the sermon files section of this page.

“Glorifying God in All Things”
1 Peter 4

Introduction: 1 Peter 3:17-18

I. Submitting to the Will of God vs. 1-6

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

A. Consider your purpose, vs. 1-2

Philippians 2:5; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; Romans 6:6-7; Romans 6:2; 1 Peter 3:21

B. Consider your pursuits, v. 3

C. Consider your partners, vs. 4-5

Matthew 12:36-37

D. Consider your preaching, v. 6

John 12:48; Hebrews 4:12

II. Serving the People of God vs. 7-11

“7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

A. Prayer, v. 7

Mark 14:37-38

B. Love, v. 8

Proverbs 10:12; Isaiah 43:25

C. Hospitality, v. 9

Matthew 25:37-40

D. Gifts, vs. 10-11

III. Suffering like the Son of God vs. 12-19

“12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
Proverbs 17:3

A. The Test of Fire, v. 12

Matthew 5:11-12; 1 John 3:13

B. The Test of Joy, vs. 13-14

Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10; John 15:19-20; James 1:2-3; Mark 13:13

C. The Test of Conscience, vs. 15-18

Matthew 10:28; James 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10

D. The Test of Faith (Conclusion), v. 19

“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
(1) Entrust yourselves to God. Luke 23:46

(2) Continue to do what is right. Deuteronomy 13:17-18