Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 30th - An Imperishable Faith

Prayer Requests
Mr. White's Baby's Health
Sydney's Cancer
FCA at Durham
Pastor Aaron Preaching - Romans 9
Summit in General
Dave in Wisconsin Preaching
Preaching KSU
Deeper Conference
Sloan’s Home Church in Virginia
Christians in Gorja and Punjab, Pakistan

– 1 Peter 1:3-9

So, some review. Who wrote First Peter? Peter.

What is another name for this Epistle? Epistle to the Pontians.

Who is its intended audience? Christian exiles from Israel living in rich and poor locations doing all sorts of different work; in effect, everybody.

Who was responsible for these people becoming Christians? Peter and his brother Andrew.

Not that it’s theologically important, but who was the faster runner, John or Peter? John.

We’re going to look at some chemistry today, in order to try to show you how great our saving faith is. Gold right now is going for about $950 an ounce, that is a very little bit of gold for a whole lot of money.

Gold is used for all sorts of things; jewelry, electronics, dentistry, medicine (arthritis), aerospace (heat reflecting), atomic energy (radiation reflecting) and it used to be the standard of monetary value, albeit we’ve gone way past that in our inflation.

Gold is awesome, it is easy to mould and/or cast into what you need it to be, it is very malleable/ductile in that regard. Its ductility refers to the ability to stretch it out without breaking. A single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 60 miles long. Gold is the third best conductor of electricity after silver and copper. We use gold in electronics because it doesn’t corrode like silver and copper.

Its malleability refers to how you can squish it. Gold is so malleable that you can squish it so thin that you can see through it and barely even know it is there. F-16’s have gold in their canopies to protect pilots against nuclear attack, likewise, astronauts have gold in their face shields to protect against the heat of outer-space.

Gold is worth a lot of money, because it is very useful. It will never be useless while this earth is still around, and if you buy gold today, it will be exactly the same when you die.

We don’t know how long it takes gold to wear out, or how it wears out; throughout history a lot of people have thought maybe it would last forever. The Blanchard gold company has this on their website:

“Gold does not perish, tarnish or corrode, nor does gold have quality grades. Gold mined thousands of years ago is no different from gold mined today.” (

The reason that people think gold lasts forever is because it doesn’t corrode in the air or in water, even sea water. Golden chariot wheels from Pharoah’s army, when they were drowned in the Red Sea over 3,000 years ago, are still hanging out on the bottom of the ocean. ( An interesting fact about sea water is that it contains huge amounts of gold and would be very valuable if we could figure out a way to get it out that didn’t cost more than the gold we get out of it. But if we found a cheap and easy way to do it, then it would drive the price of gold down because everybody would do it.

Gold is measured in Karats, which comes from the Carob seed which used to be used to measure things. Gold is called things like “14Karat” or “18Karat”, what this means is the purity of the Gold, the higher the number the better, up to 24. The reason is because the Karat is the percentage of gold in the alloy out of 24, for example, 22Karat gold would be 22 parts gold and 2 parts something else, maybe copper or silver. 24Karat would be pure gold, 8Karat would be a little gold. If you had 22Karat gold and the other 2 parts were lead, you could refine the gold in fire and the lead would burn off and you’d get 24Karat gold.

If you were going to invest in one thing on earth, gold would be a good thing to invest in. But when you die, what would happen to it?

Psalm 49:10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.

We’re going to look at something today which you can hold onto when you die, no matter how much of it you give away. So, let’s see why this matters to Peter’s Epistle.

1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

So let’s look at its parts.

v. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Peter doesn’t play around with the Free-Will debate…he doesn’t believe in it. He starts out by praising God for causing us to be born again in order to display his great mercy. In our being born-again we have a hope now which is found in Jesus Christ dying for our sins and being raised for our justification, or in order to declare that our fine is paid and we are declared innocent and blameless in the sight of God.

Peter introduces a lot of things in these verses which he talks about a lot more later in the letter, like the being born-again, we’ll revisit that soon.

Here is what we’ve been born-again too:

v. 4-5 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our inheritance, as children of God, is Heaven, which we have inherited with Jesus Christ, albeit we don’t have the perfect version yet. We have a hope of these things, and an assurance because God’s power has ensured it. In the last time we will see sin eradicated and we will have Heaven in its imperishable, undefileable, unfading glory, and in it we will see the perfection of God’s creative ability and power. His saving ability will also be perfectly demonstrated.

v. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

Our hope is for Heaven, and we rejoice that we have been reconciled to God and are being sanctified by the Spirit, even though we are temporarily stuck on earth going through various trials. For the people that Peter is writing to, this could be all sorts of things, starting in Cappadocia where some believers were driven deep into hidden caves where they lived most of their life underground. In Asia Christians were subjected not to painful persecution, but were tempted in all sorts of way with idols, sexual immorality, and legalistic religions. A little later and Christians would be losing their heads in Rome and other places.

These trials truly are various. Today you have a pretty small chance of being burned at the stake, but you have a huge chance of someone propositioning you with some sexual or drug sin. John Piper recently made an incredible point that none of us has any power in of ourselves to face these temptations. We were talking about various great Christians who were martyred for their faith, and we made the point that we should at least consider how we would react in those circumstances.

For example, William Tyndale was a great Bible translator and preacher. The Roman Catholic Church threw him in prison and then decided to burn him at the stake. He was preaching the whole way to the stake and as they tied him to the stake. The Catholics who were officiating were so afraid that he would convert people that they had Tyndale strangled to death. He actually died of strangulation while tied to a stake to be burned. Then afterwards the Catholic Church burned his body.

Beloved, I don’t know if I have the courage or ability to withstand that; actually, I know I don’t. But I do know that in that hour the strength and grace would be given to me by God.

The same with trials we will face that are not life and death, God will give us strength and grace to overcome them if we will fight against sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

But why are we put through these trials? Let’s look at verse 7.

v. 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Remember if you have 22Karats of gold and 2 parts lead, how do you get the lead out and the gold pure? You fire it and the dross and impurities burn off. Our faith is the same, with one major difference. Our faith will never go away, it is imperishable. Now here is something awesome about the Bible.

Many people throughout history, and even today, think that gold is imperishable, that it will last forever. The Hindu’s say of their god Brahman, “Just as gold remains even when the ornaments are melted…it remains immortal.” They thought that two things were imperishable, their god and gold. But today we know that gold can perish, if you pour various acids on it, it stops being gold and becomes something else. We don’t know how long it lasts if you don’t pour acid on it, but undoubtedly it’s a long time. Various manmade golds can stop being gold in as little as three days.

Before we knew how to destroy gold and that it wouldn't last forever, various commentators sidestepped the issue and said that gold can be lost, or stolen, or corrupted and that's what Peter was talking about. But today we know that gold, although it will last a ridiculously long time, will not last forever. The Bible has known this from the beginning, afterall, gold was created by God.

Haggai 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of Hosts.

God knows its temporary, but sometimes we forget and think it's the end all and be all of our existence.

James 5:3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.

Our wealth will perish, and if we love it more than God, we will perish with it.

Again, talking about the perishing of gold is Peter introducing a subject he is going to talk more about later in 2 Peter 3. Our faith is imperishable because it is from God, it is his gift to us, yet we need to have it tested, run through the fire, so that the impurities burn off and we have a pure faith. This is done partly on earth, but when we get to Heaven, our faith will be totally pure.

What happens to your gold when you die? You leave it behind.

What happens to your faith when you die? You take it with you, it ensures your salvation and your inheritance in Heaven.

Have you ever heard the quote, “You want to have your cake and eat it too.”? It’s kind of confusing, but when you understand it, it’s cool. It pretty much means I want to have a piece of cake, but I also want to eat that cake, but then I wouldn’t have cake, because it’d be eaten, but if I had cake, then I wouldn’t eat it…understand?

Gold is the same way. You can’t have your gold and give it away too. You can do one or the other.

Acts 3:6 Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

But faith is boundless in how much you can give away, and the more you give away, the more you get. You can give of yourself and still have all of the blessing. And as your faith abounds, you will be able to better offer to Jesus Christ praise, honor, and glory, and so will those whom you have led to faith in Jesus Christ. Truly the faith given by Jesus Christ is so much better than gold, and not just because gold is fleeting, but because there is so much more blessing and eternality in faith than in gold.

C.S. Lewis said it best, “Whatever is not eternally useful is entirely worthless.” So set your faith on Christ, realize that worldly things are fleeting and that only what is done for Christ will last.

Finally, what do we put our faith in? Peter concludes the thought with verses 8 and 9.

v. 8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Though we have not seen Christ, we know that he is the faithful and true one, he who was dead but is yet alive, he who provided a ransom for our souls. We were once his enemies, but we have been reconciled to be his friends, and as his friends we love him. And because of every good thing that is in him and the promises he has made for us, we rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible.

So let us press forward in our faith, seeing it tested, rejoicing as we are sanctified and purified to be images of the Living Christ, preaching the gospel and faith which are capable of saving the souls of our relatives, friends, and even strangers, for everything we do that does not have a view to Christ will perish.

Finally, a poem that I think sums up this section beautifully on our faith that is worth more than gold. The author of this poem is unknown, some think it was CT Studd, which is as good a guess as any, albeit I think it predates him and I think he only turned it into a much bigger poem:

Only one life,
‘Twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,"Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say "twas worth it all";

Only one life,
‘Twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ will last.



Write a least two sentences considering Christ’s question, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet lose their soul?” and how it relates to a world that is perishing.

Then consider if gaining the world is evil. Look at 1 Timothy 6:10 and write at least one sentence describing why the love of money is different than having and using money.

Finally, if the world is perishing and the love of money is the root of all sorts of wickedness, why is it so much better to set your affections on Heaven and God?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23rd - Introduction to First and Second Peter

Prayer Requests
Preaching KSU
Covington Missions Trip Yesterday
Ukraine Results
Pastor Aaron Preaching: Romans Continued
Kayla Singing
Logos start-up
Durham FCA
Bethany's Speech
Shick Family
Kayla + Caleb Missing

Text – 1 Peter 1:1-2

Two things from the last two weeks, first, we asked how Elijah could have gone to Heaven if sinners can’t approach the gates of Heaven. He was a special case, but I’ve found that angels are constantly leaving and going into Heaven, even Satan is allowed into Heaven, albeit when he’s in Heaven, he only tells the truth and seems to be very limited in what he can do. When Elijah went to Heaven, angels attended to him and carried him in, so something extra special happened with him. It may be that Enoch and Elijah were the first two men to see Heaven.

Second, last week we talked about the fourth-commandment, I skipped something completely, not on purpose, but because we ran out of time. The verse in Exodus says to give your slave a day off. A lot of people have been brainwashed to think that slavery is bad and that it is non-existent today. Slavery is still alive and well, even in capitalism, where we have to work for room and board and are very limited in our free-time and decisions. It is the law still in America that employees have to get certain amount of time off, the law is still alive and well that slaves are required to get a day off. When the Bible gives laws about slavery, don’t just brush them off, they are hugely important still today.

So, those are two things from previous weeks, lets press forward. Let’s take a look at Peter’s Epistles, we’ll spend a good part of the year on these.

1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

First Peter used to be called the Epistle to the Pontians, but that’s somewhat misleading because it’s to a lot more people than just the Pontians. We’ll talk about that in a moment. A lot of books had different names than what we have given them today, the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is sometimes called Canticles, when we talk about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, those are actually the Gospel According to the author, meaning they record Jesus’ death and resurrection resulting in the salvation of sinners. Romans has been called the Gospel According to Paul. Ezra and Nehemiah used to be called Ezra-Nehemiah, and First and Second Chronicles used to be Third and Fourth Kings. Finally, Revelation used to be called John’s Apocalypse. The name of the Epistle is far less important than what is in it, but just realize that Peter’s Epistles were written to specific people, not just generally.

Let’s look at who Peter was first. Where was Peter from?

John 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Bethsaida is on the Northern tip of the Sea of Galilee, very near to Capernaum. What was Peter’s job, since he lived so close to the Sea?

Matthew 4:18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Who was Peter’s brother from these two passages? Andrew. We’ll talk more about him in a moment, he’s very important to the beginning of our study.

Andrew and Peter were disciples of John the Baptist before they were disciples of Jesus. On the day John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah, Andrew up and left John. He was only following John to find Jesus. Do you think John was surprised or sad? No, because his job and joy was to identify the Messiah and to see people repent towards God. Your pastors fully expect the same with you when we see Jesus, that you’ll up and leave us to follow him, because our whole job is to proclaim the Messiah to you.

After you’ve started following Christ, what is the next thing you should do? Bring others to Christ, lets see what Andrew did.

John 1:40-42 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

Peter and Andrew’s conversion is somewhat difficult to understand, but not impossible. They were in Judah when they first saw and met Jesus. He wasn’t ready to start his ministry yet, so he sent them home to wait for him. At this point Jesus was being baptized, which we’ll talk about eventually (Jan 3rd), but his ministry didn’t start until he performed his first miracle, the changing of water into wine. After this, he went and found Peter and Andrew fishing, and from here called them to full time following.

Peter was known as the bold one of the group. He was constantly speaking without thinking, and often without listening, but because of this he is one of the main Apostles we know about. We’ll talk a lot more about his life, blunders, and redemption as we go through his Epistles.

Peter told Jesus he would die before he denied him, but then what happened? Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed twice, Peter would deny him three times. Did that happen? Peter denied Jesus to a little girl and her friends three times. Then he broke down and wept.

That night Jesus was crucified, but three days later rose again. Peter’s sins of denying the Lord of Glory were paid for by the very Man whom he had denied. When told of the resurrection, John and Peter took off running for the tomb. Who was faster?

John 20:4,8 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first… Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

John really rubs it in, he basically says, “Peter, you’re slow.” So Jesus has been raised from the dead, but the Apostles still didn’t really understand what was going on, so they went and hid until they could figure out what was going on.

John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

After this Jesus showed himself to a few hundred people, and sent the Apostles back to Bethsaida, where it all began. And being bored waiting for Jesus to come, they decided to go fishing, at which time they caught nothing.

In the morning, Jesus arrived and told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, something he had previously told Peter to do before his crucifixion. They did, and there were so many fish they couldn’t get them in the boat but had to drag them ashore. They recognized that it was Jesus at this point and Peter couldn’t wait and dove in and swam ashore.

Then Jesus asked him if Peter would ever deny him again, and of course, Peter couldn’t say he wouldn’t deny him, because he didn’t know. Finally Jesus concluded by telling Peter that he would indeed die for the sake of the religion.

After Jesus ascended into Heaven, Peter as a new man, he stood in front of thousands of people on Pentecost and boldly proclaimed Christ and him crucified and resurrected to the very Jews who had crucified Jesus. They were forgiven of that sin by the very fact that Christ died on a cross. Peter then preached throughout Judea and Samaria and saw many Jews and Gentiles saved. He became a great leader in Jerusalem, although he spent some time in prison and suffered terribly for Christ. James was the bishop of Jerusalem, and we have no evidence that Peter was ever a pastor, only an evangelist, but a great evangelist.

Before he met Jesus, we have an interesting fact about him.

Mark 1:30-31 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

In order to have a Mother-in-Law, what would Peter need? A wife.

So at the end of Peter’s life, we see him, and through tradition, his wife, travel to Rome, possibly to see Paul, who is in prison awaiting execution. Nero, the emperor, hated Christians with a vengeance, he actually proclaimed himself the chief enemy of the Christian God. Nero takes Peter and his wife prisoner, and sets the date for both of them to be executed. Peter’s wife, whose name we do not know, (albeit the RCC calls her Perpetua to try to pretend Peter was a Pope and Bishop who never consummated his marriage), was taken before Peter, and he called out to her, “My dear, remember the Lord.” (Reference-Clement of Alexandria) We don’t know how she died, but being a woman, they probably were merciful.

Then it came time for Peter to die, and they were set to crucify him, at which time he made the request to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy of dying in the same way as his Lord.

Before Peter’s death, he was hanging out with a young man named Mark, who liked to record his sermons and hear him speak. Which great book did Mark write? The Gospel According to Mark. This Gospel contains some very specific information about Peter’s life, and much of the information contained in Mark’s Gospel was provided by Peter. Peter probably also helped Paul to write Hebrews, and provided information for Luke to write Acts.

So that’s who Peter was. Was he a saint? Yes he was, but only because all Christians are saints, not because he was extra special, even though he did extra special things. How many of the Apostles walked on water? Only one, because it was the only one who trusted Christ enough to get out of the boat when the opportunity presented itself. Peter did a lot of great things because he trusted in Christ. So did his brother.

Andrew never stopped bringing people to Christ. After Pentecost he headed for Asia, where he preached in Pontus and Byzantium, then up into Russia. Thoroughly beaten in Kiev for his preaching, where he lost several teeth and maybe a finger or two, he headed down into Macedonia and converted a young woman named Maximilla to Christianity, her husband was the governor of the region and he was furious that Andrew had converted his wife. Aegeates, the governor, had Andrew crucified on an X-shaped cross. At first they were going to nail him, but decided that he would suffer more if he was only tied.

Andrew preached, and preached, and preached some more, and 20,000 people came to hear him preach from his cross. Aegeates changed his mind about crucifying Andrew and decided to let him go, Andrew’s response was that he was ready to die and be with Jesus, and then he implored Aegeates to repent and believe the Gospel, for he could still be saved. Aegeates was furious and decided to leave Andrew crucified. We don’t know how long it took him to die, but he preached unto his last, it is purported that his last statement was, “The Saviour of the world has come! He is the Christ, the Son of God!

So verse one says, “To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia”, these churches, such as Cappadocia, Asia, and Galatia were probably the Jews present at Pentecost whom Peter converted, the others, Pontus and Bithynia, are Peter’s brother’s converts. So we’ve got both Jews and Gentiles that this letter is written to. Every different manner of people too, the Cappadocians are very rural, the Pontians are fishermen, and the Asians are sort of hoity-toity.

In effect, Peter’s letter is written to everybody; or more accurately, everybody that is a Christian. It’s not written to make converts, but to strengthen believers.

v. 1-2 without the locations, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

The word exiles is an interesting word in the Greek, it is Parepademois, and it means a pilgrim, or a foreign traveler, who is living in a foreign land. Someone that has left their home in order to live somewhere else. Where is the Christian's home?

2 Corinthians 5:8-9 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

The Christian’s home is Heaven, the people that Peter is writing to, their original home was Israel, so he’s capturing two things with his one statement, both that the Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman empire, and also that Christians are only visiting as strangers, or as the NASB says, aliens, on earth. Peter is going to talk about us as ambassadors for Christ later in his letter.

Then we see that God has purposefully put us where we are, our exile to our respective place, is according to the foreknowledge of God. God knew he wanted us to be missionaries to Kennesaw and Acworth, to Awtrey and Palmer and Liberty, and so put us in Kennesaw and Acworth, in Awtrey and Palmer and Liberty.

Here we have a very clear view of Peter’s theology, he trusts wholly in the sovereignty of a Triune God, each person of the Godhead is fully active in working in our life. God the Father has predestined our lives, the Holy Spirit is conforming us to Christ’s image, and Jesus Christ has saved us when he poured his blood out, when he died, for our sins.

We’ll talk about this great salvation more next week. Are there any questions about Peter, or anything?


Write a few sentences considering what happened to Peter to cause him to go from being a coward to being fearless.

Can the same thing happen to you? If your major fear is public speaking, ask God to help you overcome that fear. Or maybe your greatest fear is being made fun of, consider Jesus Christ who for your sake endured the shame of the cross, and ask him to give you the strength to endure whatever might happen to you for his sake. You don’t have to tell me what your great fear is, just pray for God to help you overcome it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16th - The Lord of the Sabbath

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Summit in General
Preaching KSU
Seven People who heard the Gospel yesterday
Geil's Safe Travels
Deeper Conference

Text – Acts 1:15-26, Exodus 20

Today we’re going to look at an oft misunderstood Commandment. In the Old Testament there are 613 laws, and they are all hard to keep, if not impossible. A somewhat strange, yet beautiful allegory sums it up and introduces us to this Commandment and how we should approach it.

Acts 1:15-22 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it'; And "'Let another take his office.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection."

The background is that there are twelve thrones in Heaven for twelve Apostles, but Judas Iscariot forfeited his position and his office of Apostle now needs to be fulfilled. Two people are put forth, lets look at them.

Acts 1:23-25 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place."

We’ve got two people put forth, what is the name of the first? Joseph, Barsabbas, and Justus, he’s got three names, and they’re all powerful names.

Joseph is a Old Testament name, it has a lot of tradition behind it, he’s a Jew of Jews, a Hebrew of Hebrews.
Justus is a very good title, it means he is an upright dude, he knows the law and keeps the law and is able to be a judge of matters of the law.
Barsabbas is the combination of two words, Bar – Son, and Sabbath – The Day of Rest.

This guy is a great keeper of the law, he is known among his friends as the Joseph the Just, he keeps the law as well as anybody possibly can while still being a sinner, and he keeps the Sabbath so religiously that they’ve named him the Son of the Sabbath.

And the other guy just has one name, Matthias. It’s just one name, but it’s a big name, it means the Gift of God.

Which one do you think God would choose?

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can either try to work our way to Heaven, keeping the Sabbath, keeping 612 other laws, or we can trust in the Living Christ, who has given us eternal life.

Let’s look into this Sabbath to see if we need to be Sons of the Sabbath to be chosen by God, or why there is something far more glorious here. Lets do a real quick summary of the Law, which is summed up beautifully in the Ten Commandments. They are found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

1. Love the Lord your God

2. You shalt not bow down to idols

These can be as plain as little buddhas or totem-poles, but it also includes loving yourself more than God, or loving money.

3. You shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

This is taking any name of God and using it without reverence. It can be as bad as the GD word, or as obscure as “Jumpin’ Jehoshephat (God the Judge)”, or maybe Geez…which is clearly the beginning of Jesus, or maybe Crikey which is the Australization of Christ. The Brits like to say “Bloody”, this references the precious blood that poured out. The French say, “Sacre Bleu” which means Sacred Heavens. Oh my Word, Man Alive, Goodness Gracious, OMG…you get the idea. It is also misrepresenting God through your life.

4. Honor the Sabbath Day, let’s read this one:

Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

We’re going to look at this one more in a little bit. Let me point out real quick though that the Bible reaffirms here that God created the world in six literal days.

5. Honor your Father and Mother, the first commandment with a promise, that you may live long on the earth.

6. Thou Shalt not Murder

Matthew 5:21-22 You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.

7. Thou Shalt not Commit Adultery

Matthew 5:27-28 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

8. Thou Shalt not Steal

9. Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness

Revelation 21:8 says that all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire. Every one of these is deadly to your soul, whether you’re named something like Justus and you’ve sinned, for we know that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, or if you’re a serial killer. If you’ve sinned against God, his wrath abides on you.

10. Thou Shalt not Covet

This is saying that what God has given you isn’t enough. It was when Adam and Eve wanted to be God and took the only avenue available to try to become Gods.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

There are huge cults today who think that by keeping the Sabbath, they will go to Heaven. The Sabbath is Saturday, lets look real quick at Creation History. God created the world on Sunday, the atmosphere on Monday, the land and plants on Tuesday, the Sun and Moon on Wednesday, the fish and the fowl on Thursday, the land animals on Friday, and the very last thing he created was man late on Friday. On Saturday, God rested, and man rested with him.

Adam and Eve couldn’t take any credit at all for what God had done, because they weren’t even there. That is the old creation. All that Adam and Eve contributed was sin and death. The old creation is busted. (see Romans 8:20-22)

So God sent his Son to bear the reproach for our sins, to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for as one of the 613 laws said, cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree. He has made us what? New creations.

2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What day did Christ raise from the dead? Sunday, the day after the Sabbath, Sunday represents the new creation, it’s not the first day of the week, it is the eighth day of the week.

Ezekiel 20:11-12 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.

The Sabbath was a sign, a day of rest to point to something way farther down in history.

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.

Hebrews 4:9-10 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest, not a day, but we rest in him, having ceased our attempted works for salvation, trusting fully on him that his works of obedience and then his death and resurrection have purchased for us an eternal rest. So now when we honor the Sabbath, we honor Jesus Christ, not just on Saturday or Sunday, but on every day.

So, back to Acts: the Apostles cast lots, that is tossed dice, so that God would pick and they wouldn’t be the ones that chose, either Barsabbas, who was trying to work his way to Heaven, or Matthias, trusting in the grace of God. (Casting lots is a pretty rare thing, and something we don’t need to do today because God has revealed his will to us through his Word)

Acts 1:26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

God chose the Gift of God over the works of the flesh. We are saved by grace, by the gift of God, not of works, so that we can’t boast.

Galatians 5:4-5 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

If you think you’re going to Heaven because you go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday, Paul says that you’re severed from Christ, which means you’re severed from salvation.

The Pharisees came up with some pretty wild laws that you needed to keep to go to Heaven, included in these were laws about the Sabbath.

Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

A Sabbath day’s journey was a made-up law that said you couldn’t walk more than about 2/5ths of a mile on Saturdays. How many of you live farther than 2/5ths of a mile from church? You couldn’t even come to church if this law was true, but it’s a made up law. We see throughout Acts people worshipping on Saturday and/or Sunday, the actual day we worship isn’t particularly important, as Paul says,

Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Romans 14:5-9 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

So honor Christ every day, enter into his rest, trust in his work, receive his gift of salvation, and when you honor Christ, don’t do it to win salvation, but do it in thanks for his exceeding great promises and salvation.


Write a paragraph or two describing what sort of things Orthodox Jews cannot do on the Sabbath. Find at least five. Consider whether they are honoring the Lord of the Sabbath with their restrictions.

One good example is that they are not allowed to cook on Saturday, so they have special stoves that they can set on Friday to cook for them on Saturday…

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9th - Ascending the Hill of the Lord

Prayer Requests
Jellybean Snyder
Crandall/McDonald Family for Dale's going Home
New School Year
New Middle School Curriculum (It rocks)
Preaching KSU
Whoever’s Preaching

Text – Psalm 24

Welcome to class.
Class Archive Website:

About me; my name is Canyon Shearer, I’m 27 years old. I am in the Air Force, and I work on F-22’s. I am going to Seminary at Liberty University and will graduate with my Master of Divinity in December. I am Summit’s volunteer pastor of evangelism.

You can call me Mister, Sergeant, Pastor, Sir, or just plain Canyon. One of the reasons I don’t require you to use a title is because I would rather think of you as young adults than children, and I will give you my utmost respect and hope you will do the same.

I can be reached at 928-606-6906 or I work in a classified area, so can’t have my phone at work, so e-mail or facebook is the best way to get in touch with me.

My teaching style is somewhat different than a lot of middle-school teachers, I’m not big on games or goofiness, but rather I like to spend most of the class in the Bible, letting it speak for itself. God esteems his Word higher than we can possibly imagine, so I request and require reverence towards the Bible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. There is an answer to every question, so please don’t hold back.

So let’s begin. I’m of the opinion that you can find Jesus Christ in every narrative in the Bible, which means we should be able to preach redemption from every part of the Bible. Today I want to take you to one of my favorite sections of scripture, Psalm 24.

This is the twenty-fourth of 150 Psalms in the Book of Psalms. David wrote most of these, with six other writers. He wrote Psalm 24. This Psalm is a sister-psalm of Psalm 15, which is instructions on who can bring the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple, and how they are supposed to do it. I believe these two psalms were written after it was done wrong and Uzzah died for it.

1 Chronicles 13:10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.

On our side, this Psalm has a lot more to do with Heaven and Jesus Christ than the physical Ark of the Covenant, but when the Israelites would first read this, they would realize that they were under grace to be able to move the Ark, and that they weren’t just moving a gold box around, but were representing the glory and mercy of God. The Ark of the Covenant was replaced when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, and we see that the ultimate mercy seat was the tomb where his blood poured out. The Ark of the Covenant had two angels sitting on either side with their wings meeting in the middle. The blood of sacrificed lambs was sprinkled on the mercy seat, and this made a covering for sins. When Christ was sacrificed, we see that he poured out his blood once for all as the atonement for sins.

John 20:12 She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.

Let’s see why we needed him to do that.

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

We’re setting a precedent here, that the world belongs to God, and everything and everyone in it. He gets to make the rules, he gets to run things, he is in charge. This might not be a good thing if he weren’t totally holy, totally good, and totally worthy of this position. Everything that God does is right.

But where does he get this authority? It’s because he is the Creator and Sustainer of the planet. A little over 6000 years ago, God created the world out of nothing, he spoke it into existence. At first he created it as just water, but in the water he spoke land into existence. From here he created the fish and the fowl, the animals and the plants, and above us he created all of the stars and galaxies. Then he created Adam and Eve and put them in the paradise of the Garden of Eden. And everything was good.

But what happened? They sinned against God, they desired to be God so much that they took the only avenue available to them, which was eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the only thing forbidden for them to do in all of the world, and they did it. The consequences were dire, death entered into the world through sin. It affected not only Adam and Eve, but all of the world, and even the universe, where we see stars supernova and die.

God, in his mercy, saw that everlasting sin would be bad, so he forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Life, which was right next to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he drove them out of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22-24 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

What’s the angel there for? To keep sinners away from the Tree of Life.

Let’s look back at Psalm 24 real quick.

Psalm 24:3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?

This can refer to four places, first the Garden of Eden in Adam and Eve’s day, then Sinai with Moses, then the Temple in David’s day, and finally Heaven in our day. Something interesting though, there were no hills or mountains in Adam and Eve’s days, something big had to have happened between them and us. Anybody know?

A flood; God saw that the imaginations of men were only evil continually, and so he decided to destroy all life on earth. He chose Noah and his seven relatives to survive, through an Ark to likewise save two of every type of animal. Then the fountains of the earth burst forth and it rained for forty days, and all life on earth, save for those safe in the Ark, was drowned. The Garden of Eden likewise was destroyed, but before that happened, God moved that Tree of Life, and I suppose also, the angel who guarded it, to Heaven.

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

From the flood, we have many of the fossils we see today, billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. Our oil deposits are the old foliage crushed under millions of tons of earth. And here is where we get our mountain that we’re going to talk about.

Psalm 104:5-9 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

So for us this is referring to Heaven, this is how to get in.

Psalm 24:3-6 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Who shall get into Heaven? Those with clean hands and a pure heart. Christ quoted this in his Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

But we have a problem, if we’ve sinned, we don’t have a pure heart.

Ezekiel 16:30 How sick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things…

Likewise, if you’ve cursed or taken God’s name in vain, this shows the condition of your heart.

Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.

Psalm 73:9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.

Psalm 139:20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!

Remember what this hill would have referred to in Moses day? Sinai. What would happen if we approached Heaven, approached that angel, if we had loved anything more than God, or sworn, or lied, or had a defiled heart or hands?

Exodus 19:12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, 'Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.

God is holy, he is without sin, and he cannot tolerate sin. If you approach him with sin in your heart you will die. It’s the same way the sun can’t tolerate an ice cube that God can’t tolerate sin.

Exodus 19:21 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish.”

The final word in this passage is Selah. This word means, pause, it means we should stop and think about what we’ve just heard. So let’s pause for about a minute and think about which sins we may have committed that would keep us from ascending the Hill of the Lord.

Ravi Zacharias was once invited to an ecumenical council where multiple religions were trying to figure out if they were as different as history has shown them to be. The consensus of the council was that there were many paths up the hill to God, and each religion was on its own path. But we see from this Psalm, that if you so much as touch the Hill of the Lord as a sinner, you’re gonna die. Ravi looked at them all and asked, “Has your God ever come down the mountain?”

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, stepped out of Heaven, he left it all behind. He put on flesh, born of the virgin Mary, sent by his Father, to live a perfect life. He was tempted in every way, yet without sin. Then he willingly went to the cross to pay for all of the sins that we had committed.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

What are the requirements to go to Heaven? A pure heart and clean hands. Check out this description of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7:26-27 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

He can ascend the Hill of the Lord, he is worthy. Let’s look at the gates of Heaven. The gates of Jerusalem and Heaven didn't open like doors, it was a massive portcullis, which is lifted up into a housing. It is tremendously strong and no army would be foolish enough to try a direct attack against it. Revelation tells us that the housing was made of pearl.

Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

Three days after Jesus died, he did something astonishing, he defeated death, and he reigns forevermore. After he showed himself to over 500 witnesses, he ascended into Heaven. In order to get into Heaven, he had to approach the gates. No-one in history had done that, for no-one ever in history was qualified to come to these gates. The setting is the gates of Heaven, a man stands without, an angel guards within and here is the conversation that ensues. Here is the end of the Psalm, I’m going to dramatize it a bit as to how I think it happened.

Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

The Angel of the Gate, whose duty it is to keep men and sin out of Heaven challenges,

Who is this King of glory?

And Jesus answers,

The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

And the Angel, reaching for his flaming sword, furious that someone would try to get into Heaven by claiming to be on the side of God, challenges again,

Who is this King of glory?

And Jesus answers,

The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

And beloved, you better believe those gates were opened up.

Revelation 21:25-27 And its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So beloved, we see that the earth is God’s, and everything in it. He makes the rules, he cannot tolerate sin, and sin will not be allowed into Heaven. If you’ve ever sinned, then you are counted an enemy of God and will be excluded from Heaven. But to demonstrate his love for you, Jesus Christ stepped out of the mansions of glory to die in your place, crushed by his holy Father. He has defeated death, and opened Heaven’s gates to you, so I implore you to be reconciled to God, receive the righteousness and blessings of his Son through repentance and faith, and be welcomed into the Joy of your Lord.

Finally, the response, look at how David responded, the author of Psalm 24.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Do you know the way?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Flee to the Son, repent of your sins, trust in him to save you, and he will lead you on the path to Heaven, and finally, here is how you will have clean hands and a pure heart.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.


Something I want to do differently this year is optional homework. I’m not doing this for me, but hopefully to help you remember the lesson and get more out of it. For every five assignments you turn in, you’ll get something...probably a $5 gift card or something, we'll do our best to make it worth your while, but whatever it is, the lesson you'll learn will long outlast the reward.

This week’s assignment will be posted on the website, for all of these the length should be at least a half-page single spaced, the maximum length is however long you want to go. There is no limit to how long before you turn it in, like I said, it’s not for me, but for you to help remember the lesson.


Find three verses regarding holiness as a requirement to go to Heaven. Write at least two sentences for each verse considering why righteousness/goodness is important. When we refer to Jesus Christ as “Goodness Gracious”, how does that relate to these verses?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 2nd - The Sin of Idleness

Prayer Requests
New School Year
Sarah and Tyler China Trip
Pastor Aaron’s Surgery
Lee Preaching
Daniel's Job Situation
Brad Teaching for the First Time
Baby Snyder

Text – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

There are two things you can do when this life is all you have.

When Corinth had stopped believing in the resurrection from the dead, and believed that this world was all there was, what’d they do? They went nuts, sinning all the more, they wanted to get as much out of this life as they possibly could because they didn’t believe there was anything to come.

Thessalonica went the opposite route, which is what we’re going to look at today. I think I’d probably take the Thessalonica direction, which is sit down and stop doing anything that didn't give me instant gratification. We’ll see that Thessalonica and Corinth weren’t that dissimilar in their motives, just their application was different. Paul doesn’t even consider whether they may be right or not in their response if there were no Resurrection, because there is a Resurrection.

The Emergent Church likes to ask stupid questions like that, “I know that Paul wrote Romans, but what if he didn’t? Would that make any difference?” Stupid questions like that. Some if questions are good, like, “What if Christ hadn’t resurrected from the dead?” Then according to Paul we would be much to be pitied among all people, and Christianity would be a dead religion.

1 Corinthians 15:16-19 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

There’s no reason to keep throwing out conditions, “Well, I know that Christ rose from the dead, but if he didn’t, but Christianity was still true, would we be justified in going nuts, or in quitting doing anything?” It’s a dumb question, and Paul didn’t even give it a second thought.

So a real quick overview, why did Paul need to write Second Thessalonians? Because they thought they had missed the rapture. Had they? No. What two things have to happen before Christ returns? A massive falling away from true Christianity, and the coming of the Antichrist.

So that’s our background for this passage, because people thought they had missed the rapture, they weren't being good Christians.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

It’s a pretty straightforward passage, but there are some neat contextual things in it that will make it blossom for you, and hopefully help you put this passage into application.

v.6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

This isn’t pointed directly at the people who were being lazy. Paul doesn’t call somebody out and tell them to get up and get a job. He tells the congregation as a whole to keep working, and to disassociate themselves from people who wouldn't work. Surely some who would hear the reading of this letter would be the very people Paul was talking about, and surely it would cut them to the core knowing that they were sinning against Heaven as declared by Paul.

The tradition that Paul taught them, was it something new that he had made up? No, which Testament was it from? The Old one. We’ll look at it a little more in verse 9.

v.7-8 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.

What was Paul’s profession?

Acts 18:1-3 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.

Paul was a tent-maker. This is an awesome profession for him, because it allowed him to make tents pretty much anywhere. It’s not like he needed really special tools, especially since the tanner would do most of the dirty work. Paul mentions things to do with tents all over the place, it’s one of the reasons I’m sure he was the main author of Hebrews. Check out a cool verse that you’d never know what it means if you didn’t know Paul was a tent-maker.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The word for divide, which is sometimes translated “handle”, is orthotomeo, it means to make a straight cut, to accurately measure and then snip. This is how Paul would have rightly measured and cut tents, and he’s applying it to the Word of Truth. If you mismeasured and miscut, what would happen to your tent? It’d be lop-sided. Same with your theology.

It was a totally normal for Pharisees to learn a trade, it was supposed to keep them humble and in touch with the people. It’s pretty neat that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, would be a tent-maker though, ‘cuz it’s a prophecy fulfillment from 2400 years before he was born.

Genesis 9:27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.

Who is Shem? Israel. Which people group did the Messiah come from? The Semites. Who are the Japhethites? Gentiles, specifically Europeans. Dude, God has this whole thing planned out long before it happened.

Galatians 1:15-16 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…

There is no mention of the professions of Timothy and Silas, so its impossible to say what they did with Paul, whether they helped him or did other things, but this letter is clear that they worked doing something.

The point is that they worked hard while they were in Thessalonica, and paid for everything they ate. Was it because they didn’t deserve to be supported by the church?

v.9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.

They could have subsisted on the congregation for two reasons, but they wanted to set an example. Paul said it best in his letter later to Timothy.

1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages."

Paul appeals to two separate laws. The muzzling of the ox, from Deuteronomy 25, refers to letting the ox eat while it is working, for it should share in the harvest. The second about a laborer, from Deuteronomy 24, sets strict requirements for the Jews not to hold back wages. Those familiar with the Old Testament would recognize also that the laborer in that passage is associated with a sojourner, a person who just stops by for a while, who the Jew was required to house and feed. This was Paul, Silas, and Timothy, they they worked.

So Paul and Silas and Timothy didn’t work because they had to, but because they had full rights to food and shelter, but they worked to set an example. One of my favorite parts about being a volunteer pastor is that I am right here with Paul, everything I do with you guys is because I love you and I love Jesus, not because I get money for it. Granted, the more I do it, the more I wish I could do it full time, so sooner or later, hopefully sooner, I’ll find a church to pay me. As you grow up, even if you might go into full time ministry, I implore you to get a job where you work with your hands.

On the basis of this example, Paul is going to give a pretty strong admonition.

v.10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

This is obviously talking about someone who is able to work, but isn’t. We are to totally take care of a person who is unable to work because of a valid reason. If you’re not willing to work, Paul says you ought not be allowed to eat. Consider this when you’re doing chores or helping around the house. Your parents are going to provide for you either way, but you really should do your best to pull your own weight, and we'll see why it a little bit.

v.11-12 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

What’s a busybody? Someone who has so much time on their hand that they’re getting into mischief, either through gossip, or just annoying people. God doesn’t like these people.

1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

Peter lumps it in with such serious sins as murder and larceny. We need to stay away from gossip. Paul gives them a gentle exhortation to start working again and earn their own living. His is the beginning of church discipline, you point out that something is wrong, and gently ask them to fix it. What if they won’t fix it?

v.14-15 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

The next thing to do if someone won’t correct their ways, is to disfellowship them. That is, stop talking to them, stop letting them come to church, stop associating with them in every way. The goal is so that they’ll realize that their sin is serious, be ashamed of it, and repent.

We don’t do this to be mean, we do it to straighten out a wayward friend. Sin is serious and it will wreck your life, not to mention your eternity, so it is very important that we consider someone’s holiness, repentance, and regeneration as more important than their feelings.

v.13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

It is tempting, since the world is such a wicked place and we seem to be doing so little good, to just stop doing good altogether. Paul reminds us not to do that. We are storing up crowns in Heaven, we are serving the Living Christ, our good deeds, no matter how little reward we see out of them, are for his namesake and are therefore totally worth it. The best way to get a lot out of doing good is to not expect to get anything in return. That way, when you do something good only because you’re being obedient to Christ, and you get something good back, all the better.

Even if we never get anything back, we need to keep doing good, because it’s the right and godly thing to do. But I guarantee you’ll get something back. We’re going to talk about this a lot more in about a month when we get into First Peter.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Whatever job you’re doing, remember that you’re not just doing it for the money or for your parents or boss, but that ultimately your boss, your master, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything you do reflects on him, so we ought to do everything as well as we possibly can.

So that’s the letter, here is the conclusion, which is a benediction.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

The Lord of peace is Jesus Christ. No matter what you’re going through, he is capable of giving you a peace beyond all understanding, because he has for you taken on and defeated death, he has reconciled you to his father, you were once his enemy, but now you have peace in his blood. And to top it all off, he is with us actively establishing our hearts in hope through good works and words. He has a wonderful plan for us, a plan towards sanctification and allowing us to minister in his name. Even when things look bleak, he is our God, and we are his people.

Finally, what got this whole letter kicked off? A false letter came in from Paul that said they’d missed the rapture. How do they know this letter is genuine?

2 Thessalonians 3:17-18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Paul, who had some sort of eye problem, signed this letter. We don’t have the original, but I imagine it was big and blocky and scribbly.

Here we bid adieu to our beloved Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Next week we will look at Psalm 24 with the new Middle-Schoolers, then go to Peter on Pentecost, and then we’ll be in First and Second Peter.

Any questions, comments, or insights about these letters to Thessalonica?