Where is your treasure?

The rising sun cast a rosy hue across the morning sky of Brighton, England. Rays glistened from the ancient sphere illuminating every object in sight. Darkness became light. Night became day. Bottlenose grey dolphins whistled squeakily as their steam-lined torpedo shaped bodies propelled themselves forward in and out of the turquoise-colored ocean. Tides oscillated back and forth like the pendulum of an ancient clock. A new day meant new opportunities for Terry. Enzymatic coffee flavors permeated the breezy air from the local shop. Terry sauntered steadily through the beige warm fine-grained sand. Hunting. Searching for something of great value. Astonishingly, Terry heard a vehement noise as he was holding on tenaciously to his metallic metal detector. A brown coin surfaced amongst the 1,000s of grainy sand pebbles along the beachy coast. This was the start of a new journey. A new hobby. Terry didn’t know where the coin was from or the implications it would have on his life.

Quite a time later, Terry settled near Hammerwich, UK. And found the Staffordshire Hoard. These items are worth millions of dollars and are a unified collection of Anglo-Saxon items from warriors, princes, and Kings. Below is a link to the Anglo-Saxon Hoard.

The Staffordshire Hoard

http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/the-story-of-the-hoard/what-is-the-staffordshire-hoard-made-from

Little did Terry know that the greatest treasure he actually dug up was not in the Gold or 4 million dollars worth of valuables. Terry actually dug up God’s truth! Above is part of the Staffordshire Hoard’s treasure. This is the opening of the Gospel of Mark. God’s eternal Word. God’s Truth. It contains the truth of salvation, judgment, God’s promises, blessings, and commands to Worship Him and Him alone. The Bible is so valuable the many martyrs found it worthy to die for.

Pictured Above- William Tyndale was promised to be able to print an English Bible from King Henry VIII’s abode. However, King Henry VIII wanted to print his own version. Tyndale was eventually convicted of Heresy for believing in the forgiveness of sins and that the Gospel provided mercy and was enough for salvation. He was sentenced to death for his beliefs in Christian Doctrine and was betrayed by King Henry VIII.

Why is the Bible Valuable?

Hebrew Word- Chokmah

Above is the Hebrew Word for Wisdom or Skillful living. As we live the Christian life and mature, we gain the ability to discern or know what is good or evil. Sometimes this means standing alone even in the midst of a culture that professes Christ. Everyone is professing Christ nowadays. The mature man has convictions before trials or temptations arise. He knows what he is going to do in certain situations before they happen. The immature base their decisions on the culture. Their mentality is that since everyone else is doing it, the action must be okay. Let me tell you something. The culture and professing Christians are diving into sin. They will say that homosexuality is okay, it’s okay to go to clubs, sleep with your boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. We need to be prepared to walk worthy of the Gospel message of Christ (Philippians 1:27-30). We need to be prepared to move from children to Fathers in maturity (1 John 2:12-14).

What are you convictions about the following situations?

  1. Can Christians go to nightclubs?
  2. Smoke hookah?
  3. Drink at a bar?
  4. Gamble or play poker in a casino?
  5. Live with members of the opposite sex?
  6. Play games with sexual words such as Cards against humanity?
  7. Kiss your girlfriend?
  8. Make out with your girlfriend?
  9. Have sex with your girlfriend?
  10. Live a homosexual lifestyle?
  11. Go to festivals/concerts like raves, stagecoach or coachella?

Where do we go for Wisdom in these situations? We go to the Word of God and Christ who is the personification of Wisdom. Professing Christians will tell you that all of the above are okay. Not all professing Christians but some of them. Again, everyone is professing Christ nowadays and indulging in clear sins. How would one go about making a conviction on the above categories?

  1. What does the Word of God say? Is this a clear sin or a grey area?
  2. If it’s a grey area, what are the principles?
  3. Get counsel from Godly people.
  4. How does participating in one of these activities affect my witness for Christ and His Gospel?
  5. Would people get the sense that I’m of the world or of the kingdom of heaven?
  6. Is participating in any of these activities necessary?
  7. Is my decision to participate based on the fact that everyone is doing it? That all of my friends are doing it and I want to be social? Or is my decision based on the Word of God and a love for his commandments?
  8. Would I be able to comfortably participate in this activity in front of an elder at church? If no, why? If you can’t participate in front of an elder, why do you think God would approve who sees everything at all times? He’s everywhere. (Psalm:139)

People are wasting away their time in light of Eternity

Clearly, people are spending most of their time on social media platforms. What you spend your time on the most is what you love. It’s what you care the most about. It’s what you believe will bring you the most satisfaction. We don’t need more passive men. We need men that have convictions and live for Christ with pure motives. Men that know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Men that are willing to stand up for the truth in the wake of a perverse and crooked generation. Most men aren’t spending time in the Word or value it as they should. They are on social media looking at what Kim Kardashian is up to or the next video Mr. Beast has put out. A feeble love for the Word of God produces feeble Christian living. Being in the Word is important.

Get Hungry

There is no such thing as a believer who hates the Word of God. Loving the Word of God is a mark of a true believer. (John 8:31)- “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples'”

For it is the truth of the Word that has transformed the believer’s life to a new disposition and a new direction. Everything for life and godliness in contained in the Word of God! 2 Peter 1:3- “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the full knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” We are called to a full knowledge. Our works are not the root of salvation but authenticate our salvation and make our election and calling sure. We can have assurance of salvation!- 2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure, for in doing these things, you will never stumble”

Genuine affection and faithful love for the Word of God will mold a heart that is captivated by Christ, unweakened by temptation and unwavering in resolve- Seth Kniep

You cannot Worship the God without using His Word. True worship gives your affections, desires, thinking, volition, and praises to the only One and true God! Being in the Word is part of worshipping Him. The Word informs us how to think, act, and praise Him for what He has done! God wants true worshippers that are wholly dedicated.

In the New Testament, the Shema is quoted and uses the word mind. So it reads “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. True worship is about our mind, affections, and desires. The Psalmist cries out in Psalm 119:17 “And your Law is my delight.” He longs to understand the valuable Word of God!

A child of God who neglects the scriptures can not please the Lord of Glory- Robert C Chapman

It is possible to know about the Bible but not love Christ. Believers love the Bible and Christ as the focal point of their lives.

-This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book

The believer pants for God’s word like the deer in Psalm 42:1- “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pant for you O God.” I love how the Psalmist in Psalm:119 exclaims Let! Let me understand your word. It is all by God’s grace that we can even understand His word. We can’t understand the word by our own strength.

Conclusion

Martyrs died for the Word of God to be translated. Jesus Christ died for the Word. There are bloodstains all over the valuable Word of God. The Word transforms hearts and sanctifies us. Being in the Word is a mark of a true believer. Believers pant for the Word like the deer and rely on God’s grace to understand. Believers live for the Word and it dominates their lives to live for Him and His purposes. We want to know our God, keep His commandments, protect ourselves from the evil one, and walk worthy of the Gospel message. Being in the Word is about true Worship to the only one who is worthy of that kind of affection. It’s about living out the Shema with all of our Heart, soul, and mind. Terry thought that he found the greatest treasure in the 4 million dollars he undug. But the true treasure was in the scriptures that provided the truth of eternal life. Encourage each other to be in the word. To go to seminary, to take Bible classes, to take Biblical Counseling. For the man that is feeble in the Word probably lives a feeble Christian life. There is no such thing as a believer that hates the Word of God. Encourage others to pursue it with zealousness at all costs. To be a Christian is to love the Word of God, live for the Word of God, and know our creator. The world is filled with too many passive men that spend their time fruitlessly. Remember this- what you spend the most time on is what you love. Do you love the Word of God? Be in it. Love it. Live it. Eternity is coming.

Sources-

Loving God’s Word Seth Kniep

Final Word John Macarthur

Legacy Standard Bible

Logos Bible Software

Repentance- today is the day of salvation

Quotes about hell and unrepentantance

Hell will be filled with people who don’t drink, didn’t cuss, and may have even been baptized. Why? Because not one of those things make someone a Christian. -Voddie Bauchum

Hell will be filled with religious people- John Macarthur

Max was a “good kid.” He grew up going to church. He read his Bibe. His reputation in the community and within the church was outstanding. He always did the right thing and tried to help others. In fact, his dad was a pastor and would teach him the Bible every single day. Going to church every Sunday was fun. He liked socializing and being with His friends. He even got into the Ivey League schools and had his choice of schools. Schools would come to him. Max thought He was on the right path. On the path to heaven. His life, he thought, authenticated it.

Tragically, Max died in a car accident from a drunk driver. Unexpected. All of a sudden. Max thought he had his whole life ahead of him. More time to repent and actually come to the Lord. In the mean time, he could just fake it and pretend. But today was the day he would give an account to the Lord. And he didn’t go to heaven. Max never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for His salvation. He never repented of his sins. All of his good works went into flames. They were for self-promotion and not for God’s glory. He loved his sin more than the Savior. Does this sound like you? Are you saved? Have you repented of your sins and trusted in Christ alone for salvation? Do you see the urgency of believing and giving your life to the Lord to live for Him? Are you truly living for Him or for yourself and your own desires? Hypocrites want religion only for the advantages they gain from it. But a man of God gives his life to the Lord no matter what is provided. No matter what trial comes, His desire and heart is for the Lord, giving glory to the Lord, and the kingdom. He’s not a double minded man with ulterior motives. His heart is to live in light of eternity.

What is repentance?

Repentance has two meanings. In the greek, it’s described as a change of mind; mentanoia. In the Hebrew, it’s a turning from sin to the Lord Jesus Christ; Shub. Repentance isn’t perfect. Repentance is a characteristic of the Christian life. Christians continually repent because they realize they have offended a Holy God. Repentance is a result of a transformed heart! (Ezekiel 36:26). Salvation and repentance are one of the same coin. Salvation results in the fruits of repentance. Christians don’t stay in their sin. They are freed from the power and penalty of sin. Although Christians still sin, they aren’t characterized by sin.

Habitual sin has no place for the believer-

1John 2:3-4 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him……The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

1 John 3:9- Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

The life of the believer is a life that continually repents

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

The Protestant Reformation and Repentance

The date was October 31, 1517. Martin Luther was bold in his faith, even standing up before the kings of the day, refusing to recant. In his 95 thesis posted on the Wittenburg door, Luther emphasizes the importance of repentance in the first few thesis. Here are the first 3 Thesis he posted on the door:

  1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

Luther emphasized repentance; it must have been one of the most important issues on his mind since it was the first written. The life of the believer is a life of repentance, continually. Every day.

In the Bible, there are consequences for unrepentant sin. Sin demands a penalty. Someone has to pay the penalty. My goal is not to go into detail but to give an overview of repentance. Below are some examples of how God punished the unrepentant-

Consequences of unrepentant sin

Cities of the plain, defined by homosexuality. Sodom was so much characterized by homosexuality that the word sodomite means homosexual. The effeminate are the passive partners in the relationship. The city was so degraded that when the 2 Angels showed up in human form, the men of the city were ready to have sexual relations and know them.

Genesis 19:4 “Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, from young to old, all the people from every quarter.; and they called to Lot and said to him, “where are the men who came to you tonight? bring them out to us that we may know them.”

The men’s lust was so intense that even after being blinded, they were trying to find the doorway to fulfill their sexual desires

Genesis 19:11- And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, from small to great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.

God has sent his Angels to destroy the city because of it’s sin.

Genesis 19:24- And Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.

A Stark Warning-

The judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah was horrible. But the judgment on Capernaum would be worse. Capernaum’s sin was a sin of indifference. They ignored and rejected the son of God. Matthew illustrates this judgment by saying in Matthew 11:23-24

“And Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occured in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

There are degrees of hell. We will all be resurrected. The question is where will we be resurrected to? To Hell or Heaven? There is an urgency to repent today and be saved. Let’s not end up like these unrepentant cities.

Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning and Example of Judgment

2 Peter 2:6- and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter

Jude:7- Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, having indulged in the same way as these in gross sexual immorality and having gone after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

Luke 16:19 Rich man and Lazarath

In this parable, a Rich man dressed in the finest clothes of the day. Purple and fine linen. He cared nothing of the man named Lazarus who had sores all over his body. Lazarus was desperate, just trying to get the crumbs off the table with the dogs while the rich man ate very well. It was so bad that Lazarus was being licked by the dogs. In the old testament, dogs were figures of detest. So what happened to the Rich man and the poor man?

The rich man is surprised to go to hell. There is no more time to repent. His time has come. He desperately wants to warn his brothers of this place of torment and ever burning fire that lasts for all of eternity. He tries to ask for Lazarus, the man he showed no mercy to, to show him mercy and cool off his tongue just a little bit. But the mercy never comes. He made his choice to love his sin more than the savior. And now he is paying all of eternity for not repenting. And that is exactly his cry- “But if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!” The application being, if they repent and have a transformed heart, they will not be in this place of torment. It reminds me of one of Jonathon Edwards Resolved quotes-

 51) – Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned.

Jonathon Edwards is talking about regret. Regret for not acting and repenting as he should. He’s talking about actually being in Hell as a final determination by God and how we wished he would have acted. Lets act as people of righteousness, living for God and His glory and not regret until it’s too late.

Conclusion

We have a great God. The unrepentant, false worshippers, those who don’t believe will face eternal fire and damnation in light of a Holy and just God that judges. But, there is hope. Such were some of you. There is hope that if we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and believe that he forgave sins based on his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, we will be saved. True salvation produces the fruits of repentance and true worship to a God who is worthy of our time, affections, and life lived for Him and His purposes. Judgment is coming. We are either moving toward eternal fire in Hell as unbelievers or toward the New Heaven and New Earth as believers where righteousness dwells. Which one will you choose to live for?

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Topics for further study

Examples of Condemnation in the Bible

Angels Genesis:6 2 Peter

False Prophets 2 Peter

Solomon- fake repentance

His wrath will go Out Psalm: 7:11-13

God is faithuful to a stubborn people Psalm 78

Jeremiah and the reforms. Reforms don’t change hearts

Calls to repentance

Warning against willful sin and judgment- Hebrews 10:26

Godly Sorrow vs Worldly sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:9

True Repentance

King David

Job

Manessah, Nebachadnuzzer; evil kings who repented

Repentance is granted (2 Timothy 2:25)

Called not just to REPENT in mind but to obey. To make our calling and election sure

2 Peter:3

Repentance and Salvation are of the same coin

Characteristics of the unrepentant- Colossians 3, Ephesians 4, Ephesians 5:5

False Prophets- Sexual immorality, greed

Trust in the Lord for Salvation alone.

The bridge to Repentance

Meditation on the Word of God

Union with Christ

Our great Hope, eager and ready.

Affection for Christ results in obedience

Fellowship and Prayer

Why are so many Christians in the church single?

What is marriage?

Marriage is a covenant. And it’s not for ourselves primarily. It’s a covenant before the Holy and living God that is a representation of Christ and the mutual love of His bride, the church. There are many similarities between Jewish wedding traditions and the marriage of Christ and His Church. It indeed is a beautiful picture! Below I’ve highlighted several reasons why Marriage is good for man to pursue and why I believe singles are not getting married in the church.

Maybe you are single and desire to get married. But don’t ask girls out from church. I believe changing the culture requires proper thinking about what marriage is. How marriage is to be pursued and thought about. And it’s not being encouraged. In fact, I would argue marriage is being discouraged in the church primarily. And it shouldn’t be that way. We need to get back to a proper view of marriage, what it is for, the purpose of marriage, and encouraging men to ask.

Marriage is a beautiful picture of the Gospel and is ultimately about the Greater marriage of Christ and His Bridegroom. Below is how the author of Faithequip.org describes the beautiful marriage picture-

Credit to Faith Equip.org

The Arrangement

The first stage of the Jewish wedding system is the arrangement. The father of the bridegroom and the father of the bride arrange the wedding. A bride price is paid and, according to Fruchtenbaum (2005:3), in the case of the bride of Christ, the price was the blood of the Son: “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it” (Ephesians 5:25b; cf. John 3:16). The arrangement was thus sealed with blood.

The Preparation

The second stage is the preparation. It covers the period of betrothal which could last for a minimum of a year or a longer time. During this time, the bride is prepared and trained to take on the role of a wife and her purity is observed. Paul writes: “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).

Through the Word of God, the bride is set apart for her future Husband so “that He might sanctify it, having washed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). In the future the bride will be glorified. In her glorious state, the bride will have no spot or wrinkle, meaning she will have no outward or inward defilement of any sort and there will not be any evidence of aging (Fruchtenbaum 2005:5).

During the preparation or betrothal stage, what security does the bride have that the Bridegroom will come to fetch her? During the Church age (from Pentecost until the rapture), every believer is baptised and therefore united or placed “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Further, the bride is given gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4) and sealed with the Holy Spirit, which certifies ownership and protection.

What does the Bridegroom do during the betrothal period? He prepares a place for his bride: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

The Fetching of the Bride

The third stage of the Jewish wedding system is the fetching of the bride: “The groom would go to the house of the bride on the wedding day to fetch her to his home” (Fruchtenbaum 2005:5). God will announce this event with a shout and a trumpet blast and Christ will appear in the atmospheric heavens to fetch the universal Church (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). All believers from Pentecost until the rapture are baptised “in Christ” and they will be fetched. At the time of the rapture, only the dead “in Christ” will be resurrected, meaning their spirits will be united with their resurrected, glorified bodies. Church age believers “in Christ” that are still physically alive will be changed: without experiencing physical death and, in the twinkling of an eye, they will exchange their mortal bodies for glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The Marriage Ceremony

Stage four takes place privately in the home of the Bridegroom and is not the wedding feast, but rather the marriage ceremony (Fruchtenbaum 2005:6). Perhaps one can add that believers who died prior to Pentecost will likely attend this wedding ceremony as “friends of the Bridegroom” (cf. John 3:29). Just before the wedding ceremony takes place in heaven, Church age believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgement is not to punish or to condemn — “there is now no condemnation for those who are “in Christ” (Romans 8:1) — but to reward Church age believers for worthy works done subsequent to their salvation. Revelation 19:7-8 describes the wedding ceremony where a glorified bride marries her Bridegroom: “For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

The Marriage Feast

After the private wedding ceremony comes the public marriage feast (stage five). The Father invites many to attend the marriage feast of his Son, but only believers can attend (cf. Matthew 22:1-14). Whereas the wedding ceremony will take place in heaven, the marriage feast will take place on earth. Once the Father has made all Christ’s enemies his footstool during the seven-year Tribulation period (cf. Matthew 22:44; Hebrews 2:8), Christ will return to the earth to establish the Messianic kingdom in terms of the Davidic kingdom. Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will also attend the wedding feast (cf. Isaiah 25:6; 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Revelation 19:9; 20:4-6). The marriage feast will begin the Messianic kingdom (Fruchtenbaum 2005:7).

The Home of the Wife of the Lamb

The Messianic kingdom will exist for a thousand years, then the final rebellion will occur, Christ will then judge all unbelievers of all time at the great white throne judgement and then the Messianic kingdom will merge into the Eternal order (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 20:1-15). The final abode of the Wife of the Lamb will be the New Jerusalem in the Eternal order (Revelation 21:9-22:5).

Conclusion

As the Bridegroom, Christ shows the unfathomable depths of his love for his bride by dying for her on the cross. He has betrothed her and she is being sanctified by the washing of the Word. At the moment the Church is still called the bride of Christ. But soon the marriage ceremony will take place in heaven and the glorified bride will become the Wife of the Lamb. The marriage feast will follow thereafter on earth in the kingdom.

To Christ be the glory, great things He has done, great things He is doing – and great things He will yet do!

I loved reading this article because it highlights marriage as being a representation of the marriage we live for- The marriage of Christ to His bridegroom. As Christians, we live in hope of the Eternal Marriage and get married on Earth as a representation of the Gospel, and unity of the Trinity, giving glory to God!

Marriage is good; It is Not Good for man to be alone

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18

The world says 2 people complete each other. As if they are lacking something and “need eachother.” That is false. A healthy relationships starts with 2 people that are complete with Christ. The Ezer mentioned in Genesis is a helpmeet. Ezer was a military term. It signified someone on mission. The idea is that the Ezer or helpmeet is someone God provides who is on mission with the other person to work for and live for God’s Kingdom and His purposes. Creation was called good. But all of a sudden it’s not good for man to be alone. Man was not created for woman but woman was created for the man. At the same time, the marriage covenant is a covenant of companionship! It’s a one flesh union that goes beyond the mere physical although that is part of it. The one flesh union is a one person relationship in which everything is shared- (Goals, plans, thinking, desires, work, and bodies) for God’s glory. It’s the most intimate relationship someone will have on Earth! Jay Adams talks about how marriage is consummated not by sex as is thought of in the culture buy at the marriage vows.

Why is it not good for man to be alone?

Man needs a helpmeet to help him accomplishes God’s work in His life.

1 Corinthians 11:9- “Nor was man created for woman but woman for the man.”

In addition, a helpmeet helps couples fulfill the command in Genesis:1 to be fruitful and multiply.

Children are a great blessing form the Lord.

Psalm 127:3-5 ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

A helpmeet helps fulfill God given sexual desires. The context of sex is within marriage. And within that context, sex is a good thing. God’s judgment is on the sexually immoral.

Sex is a good thing that needs to be pursued within the context of marriage. Many men struggle with lust. Although marriage won’t solve the lust problem, it can definitely help! Sex is God’s design for creation. It’s something to be enjoyed and delighted in! The immature think sex is not good. That the desire for sexual intimacy is evil/disgusting. But God says sex is good within the right context. Look at the verses below-

1 Corinthians 7:9

 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Hebrews 13:4

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Proverbs 5:18-19

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

1 Corinthians 7:2-3

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband

A wife is a good gift from the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the Lord.

This is the Godly Perspective that People should be thinking through as they pursue marriage. But that doesn’t answer the question, why aren’t singles getting married? I believe there are several reasons.

Men-

Lack of initiative. Men won’t ask. But there are many reasons for this. Many men are trying to avoid rejection, slander, and gossip. Passivity is safe. Noone will say anything about you. But if you try to get married, be prepared for lots of negativity. Going on-line to find a date has become the “easy route.” All negativity is avoided by going on-line.

They want to save their reputation. And it’s hard to come back from a bad reputation. Unfortunately, when men try and ask, their name gets around. People assume things about them that aren’t true. Asking too many girls results in being labeled as an idolater. Generally speaking, men aren’t encouraged to ask. Asking comes with consequences . It’s generally a negative experience unless she says yes!

Can’t tell if she’s interested or not. Countless men have told me they can’t tell if a girl is just Godly or interested. Asking has become a big deal. Several men have told me that can’t get Godly women to go to coffee. It’s hard to do!

Idolatry-Men are initially attracted visually. I agree that she should be attractive to the man. The Song of Solomon paints a great picture of marriage and the attraction of the spouses. Attraction can grow. But sometimes the physical appearance outweighs the character. Physical appearance will fade over time but it is a women’s character that will last a lifetime.

Women-

Marriage perspective- I’ve heard from several women that they think just getting coffee is one step toward marriage. That coffee is a really big deal. It shouldn’t be that way. People should be able to get coffee without the perspective being we are going to head down the marriage path. Yes dating is for marriage but there are initial stages of getting to know one another.

Availability- I’ve noticed some women just aren’t available. They just talk to other women or are in a lot of 1-1 situations. Girls can be more available in group settings. Yes we need to trust in the Lord but if you are creating situations in which no one can get to know you, there may be an issue. If you desire to get married, check your heart. Do you desire to get married and reject almost everyone?

Idolatry- Many women want a man that can provide. And for good reason. However, 1 Timothy 5:8 is not talking about a man that makes six figures. It’s talking about someone who can provide the necessities of life. Food, clothing, shelter. Now, woman are free to make more expectations but they will just narrow down the field a lot. Many men qualify under 1 Timothy 5:8 but are instantly discarded. Both men and women need to be rebuked for having expectations that are unrealistic.

What makes the Christian dating culture weird?

It is weird that there is a church full of singles that desire to get married and many can’t find a partner in the church. There are unwritten rules in the Christian dating culture such as only hanging out with girls in groups. Asking one girl one week that says no and another girl the next week is inappropriate. It’s expected that singles be friends first before asking. Going to coffee is a bigger deal than it needs to be. Women should give more guys chances. 1 Timothy 5:8 is not talking about someone that makes six figures. Beauty is not the only thing that counts but character that will last a lifetime. Asking is automatically idolatry if more than one girl is asked. Guys can’t tell who’s interested or not. Asking is generally not encouraged. Men’s leadership is being undermined. If it isn’t being encouraged to lead in this area, how will they be encouraged to lead in other areas? Guys can expect a lot of negativity, and gossip if they take leadership and ask. I think of South Africa where men are encouraged to ask and it’s celebrated. How the dating culture would change if we were taught to celebrate guys asking instead of looking down upon it. With all that said, frankly, many singles make the decision to go on-line. Singles don’t want to deal with all of the above.

Conclusion

Marriage is a beautiful thing! Marriage is valuable because it gives glory to God. While we wait for the Eternal marriage, we get married on Earth as a representation of Him and what he has done in our lives! Marriage is a covenant of companionship in which each party promises to provide company to the other party, leaving and cleaving to their spouse. Children are a blessing, sex within marriage is a good thing, and it needs to be pursued. It is not good for men to be alone. They need an Ezer to be on mission with them to help them accomplishes God’s purposes! A helpmeet, that was created for man. Women can be more open about going to coffee. Both sexes can have a more realistic view of marriage and what they want in a spouse. The looks, money and charm will fade quickly but a spouse of character will last a lifetime. Marriage glorifies God and helps us multiply the Earth. It is sanctifying and part of God’s good design. In the end, the only thing that will matter is Christ and how we lived for Him. We will bow before Him and give an account! A spouse can help us live for him, help us be more sanctified, and ultimately give a better account when we face Christ for all of eternity. A wife is a valuable thing. Pursue her.

Encourage Each Other to live lives fully devoted to Him.

                  Idolatry of the heart

“Give me children, or I die!” – Rachel  Genesis:30:1.

Three!- The number of children Miranda, 24, said she must have to be happy. Her idol. Her god. Miranda had silky, smooth, brown flowing hair that swayed in the fresh light air breeze of Manhattan. The languid flames of the firepit needed more fuel to stay alive. The firey flames resembled her current situation in her mind- still alive but slowly dying. Kailee, Miranda’s best friend,  whispered, “How are you doing, Miranda?” Miranda murmured, “okay.” Miranda wanted to get married. Miranda desired children so much that marriage wasn’t even about the marriage anymore. Miranda wanted to get married to have children. Miranda’s father died in a horrific car accident at five years old. Being a foster child, Miranda desired to be loved more than anything else. The type of love that is unconditional. Unrefuted. Always there. Always accessible. She worshipped the god of children at all costs. Children would make her happy. Satisfy her desires, and make everything okay. Children=happiness. 

What is Idolatry? 

Idolatry is anything that dominates our mind, will, and affection that is on par with God or more than God in our hearts. What does God’s Word say about Idolatry? 

Exodus 20:3- You shall have no other Gods before me. 

Matthew 22:37-38- You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  (Our one and true devotion is to him for His glory and worship.)

At the heart of Idolatry is a lie. Believing that something else will satisfy us more than God. Rachel wanted Children so much that she wanted to die because she wasn’t getting what she thought would make her happy. Rachel was coveting the children of her sister Leah! Why is it that beautiful Rachel was barren, but her sister produced many children? Ironically, how does the story end? Rachel dies in childbirth. The thing she desired so much ended up being destructive to the point of her death. 

Idolatry is rooted in unbelief- When we don’t believe Christ can satisfy us, Idols come to offer everything they can provide to replace Christ and His satisfaction. It’s tangible. 

How do we know when we’ve gone from a good desire to idolatry? 

When we are willing to sin to get it. When the desire consumes our thoughts, desires, affection, and will. When our life is centered on something other than God, His glory, and His purposes. When you have another god. (gods lower g is anything that is an idol in your life.)

Another example of Idolatry- 

32 Remember Lot’s wife.

33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Lot’s wife disobeyed God because she was attached to Her city and Her people. She was told not to look back because Sodom was being destroyed for its sin. But she looked back at the city. And it cost her the one life she had.

Moses’ example-

We can look to Moses’ example, who was tempted to sin but chose Christ instead. 

Hebrews: 24-26

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward. 

Our minds and Idols

In Colossians:3 and Ephesians:4, Paul outlines the connection between our minds and obedience. If we are fully committed to Christ and His Kingdom, our minds and hearts will be set on Him. Part of worshipping God truly is setting our minds on him and not other things.

Colossians 3:2- Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth……….

5- Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. On account of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 

But now you also, lay them all aside: wrath, anger, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you put off the old man with its evil practices, and have put on the new man who is being renewed to a full knowledge according to the image of the One who created him………..

So as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another, and graciously forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord graciously forgave you, so also should you. Above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 

In Ephesians, Paul talks about the Gentiles who walk in the futility of their minds-

Therefore this I say, and testify in the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind. 

Conclusion

We are heart idolaters. What is it that we want that we think will make us happy? That we have to have? Is it power? Respect? Fame? Marriage? Relationships? Finances? Friends? Praise? As Christians, we have a new Heart (Ezekiel 36:26). We have a new disposition. But we aren’t perfect. Inordinate desires can fill our hearts. But our allegiance and what we live for is Christ and Him crucified as the center of our lives. We were bought at a price. And are so thankful for what we have in Him. To live is Christ.

The words of the Apostle Paul Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Galatians 2:20-

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 

1 Corinthians 6:9

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Nor idolaters will inherit the kingdom of God.

Loving God with your mind

You are a product of your thinking

The Story of Ted Bundy- Credit to ATI (All that is interesting)

During the spring and summer of 1974, police in the Pacific Northwest were in a panic. Young women at colleges across Washington and Oregon were disappearing at an alarming rate, and law enforcement had few leads as to who was behind it.

In just six months, six women had been abducted. Panic in the area reached a fever pitch when Janice Ann Ott and Denise Marie Naslund disappeared in broad daylight from a crowded beach at Lake Sammamish State Park…….. he didn’t fit the profile.

He was convicted of kidnapping and assault and sent to prison while police attempted to build a murder case against him. Just before his execution, he said this-

“I’ve lived in prison a long time now. I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography.

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Our thinking impacts our actions. Maybe we aren’t as bad as Ted Bundy. Maybe you haven’t committed the heinous crimes Ted Bundy has committed. But we can learn some important principles.

What are you doing to your mind?

I’ve heard stories of men spending countless hours on video games every single day. Call of duty, counter-strike, etc. Scrolling through Instagram every day because they are bored, trying to stimulate the senses and entertain themselves.

According to a Nielsen Company Audience report, the average American spends 10 hours a day on screen time which includes smart phones, computers, video games, radios, tablets, and tvs.

Our minds are being heavily influenced. If we aren’t careful, our thoughts will be fortified and our actions influenced. But as Christians we are called to much more. We are called to give our whole selves to God which includes our Heart, soul, and mind.

Matthew 22:37-

And He said to him, “You Shall Love The Lord Your God with all your Heart and with all your Soul and with all Your Mind.

Our thought life is of the utmost importance. We are commanded to Love our God with a pure mind and be transformed by it.

Romans 12:2- And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Paul is saying here that in light of our justification, and in light of our union with Christ, we should be transformed and be renewed because we are a new creation. New Creatures have new minds and new desires for the glory of Christ. We worship Christ and give glory to Him.

The Implication-

As believers, we should be aware of how our minds are being impacted every day. Patterns become habits which become our character and who we are. Ultimately, what we fill our minds with is a matter of worship, allegiance, and obedience. If we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, we should take it seriously.

Meditation as a pattern

The bible talks about meditation is Psalm:1 and Psalm:119. The Psalmist meditates on his law day and night. Biblically speaking, meditation is the bridge between head knowledge and true obedience. It is the man who develops a pattern of meditation that obeys enabled by the Spirit.

Conclusion

We are one step away from sin. Thoughts start out small. We make excuses, say it’s not that bad until sinful thought patterns are fully formed and influence our actions. Lets pay attention to our thoughts and what we worship. Our thoughts are part of our obedience to Him who created us so that we can glorify Him with everything that we do. But there is hope. We have been radically transformed and are being directed to conformity with Christ every day. As our thoughts conform to Christ, we will see our speech more edifying, actions more loving, and a humility form in us in accordance with our nature. Loving God with our mind is not optional. It’s a basic Characteristic of a Christian that provides a catalyst for loving God and people externally while we love God internally in our mind. It’s like 2 sides of the same coin. Loving God with our minds will result in Loving God and others externally with our actions. Lets be people that don’t fill our minds with ungodly forms of media of every kind but with the truth of scripture that loves God and others as it’s primary goal on this Earth. The results will be amazing.

“The Word of God does not only permit but also commands us to love and embrace Christ with the sweetest, dearest affections that nature can possibly stir up in our minds, heart and soul.” – William Pinke,