Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27th - Ransomed by Christ

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Preaching
North Cobb Game and Evangelism
Marble Festival

-Hardage Family
-Hogan Family
-Johnson Family
-Others we don't know about

Kayla and Hannah Singing

Text – 1 Peter 1:17-21

Before we start on this passage, I realized I missed something last week that will only take us a moment to look at, but I think it’s important for several reasons to verses 17-21, so before we begin with today’s lesson, lets read verse 14.

1 Peter 1:14 …do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance…

There are lots of things that make me mad at so called churches in these last days, but maybe nothing more-so than what has become called “moralism” or “be good for goodness sake.” They are all about what you can and cannot do, and a better term for this is legalism. When you take this to its extreme, some people will say that any pleasure or passion is evil.

The pleasure and passion that is mentioned in this passage is a love of sinful things.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

God has pleasure in the sanctification of your life, so pleasure cannot be sinful in and of itself.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we set our pleasure and passion on the things of God, then we will rejoice and delight in the things of God. Finally, before we jump into the lesson, lets look at what should be our favorite verse.

Daniel 4:2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

So it is good to be passionate about the things of God, namely holiness and putting love into action to help people spiritually first, and physically if necessary. As we prepare our minds for this, having set our hope perfectly on the Resurrected Christ, one of the things we need to do is commit that we are going to serve Christ and do the right thing, long before that is necessary.

Let me give you two examples, one of my friends was a policeman and came up on a car on fire on the side of the freeway. Everybody was alright, but the car was a total loss. As he was asking those who had stopped to help for their statements, he found out that one of the men who stopped to help had a fire extinguisher in his semi-truck, but hadn’t brought it out and used it. His excuse was that he wasn’t sure at first if they would need a fire extinguisher, and then when he realized they did, it was too late.

A pastor friend of mine was driving past a gas station and looked over and saw someone on fire from head to foot. He quickly swung into the gas station and with his wife and daughter tried to put the man out. The daughter ran inside the gas station and said, “I need your fire extinguisher!” They wouldn’t give it to her. A big crowd gathered but nobody was helping, my friend said it was the closest thing to Hell on earth you could imagine. The daughter was running back and forth from a spigot on the side of the building with a cup of water, and my friend found a big welcome mat and used it as a blanket to finally smother the fire. The welcome mat was plastic and melted all over the man. It quickly became apparent to my friend that the man was not going to survive, so he laid with him on the pavement for the last minutes of his life explaining to him he could go to Heaven and have all of his sins forgiven if he would reach out and trust in Jesus Christ who died for his sins and rose again. My friend has no idea if the man could hear him, his ears were burned off, his face was practically gone.

The reason was the same in both cases, fire extinguishers are expensive and required by law to be in convenience stores and semi-trucks, so they didn’t want to give them up. Their motivation was wrong, they had extinguishers to comply with the law, not to help people. The moral of the story, according to my police officer friend is that if you have a fire-extinguisher, you have to be prepared to use it, you have to make the choice long before you need it that if there is a fire, you’ll part with the $20, $30, or $50 that you’ll need to pay to recharge or replace your extinguisher. If you don’t make this prior commitment, there is a good chance you’ll have to make the choice in the heat of the moment, and who knows what you’ll choose. So, before I go farther, lets read the passage so you see where I am going with this.

1 Peter 1:17-21 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

v.17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…

If you call on him as Father, which pretty much means that if you claim to be a Christian, if you are a Christian, this is Peter’s way of reintroducing the letter, going back to the beginning, pretty much saying, “Every Christian do this.” Next is that he judges impartially, he isn’t looking at the location, socio-economic status, or ethnicity of the Christian, but he’s look at our deeds. We are to conduct ourselves with fear, which means we should be terrified we might misrepresent our God, and should do everything in order to glorify his name. Verse eighteen will tell us why we should do that.

v.18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

The reason we live for God is because he is worth it, as we learned last week, and now this verse says we live for God also because he purchased us, and we couldn't purchase ourselves. He didn’t just purchase us with money, but by dying for our sins. In this, we live in a way that glorifies him.

Let me tell you the story of John Harper. He was born in the late 1800’s, and was saved at 13. He instantly became an evangelist and loved to preach. At the age of 24 he started a church and saw it grow to a membership of 500 before he left to become a missionary. His whole life was about the gospel, every chance he got, he would tell someone about Jesus Christ and implore them to be reconciled to God.

He almost drowned three times in his life, first when he was two and he fell in a well, then when he was twenty-six he was swimming in the ocean and was swept out to see by a rip-current, thirdly when he was thirty-two he was returning from a missions trip and the ship started to take on water and barely made it to port.

The fourth time he faced drowning, he didn’t make it. At forty years old he boarded a ship which the crew was fond of saying, “Not even God could sink the …” Which ship? Titanic. April 14th, 1912, Titanic struck a “little” iceberg and it became apparent that she was going to sink. John Harper took his six-year old daughter Annie to a life-boat and kissed her goodbye. Have you seen the movie Titanic? In that movie all of the men are little girls in their demeanor and ability, but in reality there was some very brave men on that ship who did great things; there were also some cowards as well. Harper set out to help in the rescue effort and to help people into life-boats. As the ship filled with water, the stern of the boat lifted and Harper put on a life-vest. The ship broke in two and spilled 1528 people into the 28-degree North-Atlantic, Harper was one of them.

He began to swim from person to person telling them how to be forgiven. He came to one man and asked him if he was saved, and the man said he wasn't. Harper told him how Christ had died for his sins, and that if he would repent, he would be saved, he asked the man if he would receive Christ, and the man said no. Harper took off his life jacket and gave it to the man, he said, "Then you need this more than I do." Harper then swam off to preach to others. Soon enough the coldness of the water dragged Harper's body temperature down and he could no longer swim, and he drowned.

Years later, a Scotsman stood up to give his testimony and explained that out of 1528 people who went into the water, 6 were rescued, and he was one of them. He told how he became a Christian, that John Harper had given him his life-vest so that he could live, and just before Harper sank beneath the waves, he cried out, "Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!"

When I speak to parents, I use an illustration from a man named Emeal Zwayne, I ask them, “If your child needed a new heart, and the doctors were certain your heart would fit and save their life, would you give it to them?” I’ve yet to have a parent say no, every parent is willing to die for their child. The question that more are hesitant to answer is, “Well, if you’re willing to die for your child, are you willing to live for them?” The same for us, we need to be living sacrifices, living our lives with a view to eternity, and then if we are faced with an opportunity to live or die for someone else, we will be prepared to do so, because someone in the past was willing to die for us, he purchased us,

v.19 with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

This is what Jesus did for us, he purchased us with his precious blood, which means he died for us. Not to be flippant, but if all that was required for forgiveness was the shedding of blood, Christ could have pricked his finger and been done with it, but when you read about his blood, think of it as his suffering death. It was only worthwhile because he was the perfect lamb of God. Peter is certainly referring here to a story that all of his Jewish readers would recognize, the Passover when the blood of a lamb had to be smeared on the door so that the angel of death would pass by.

How is it that one man can pay for all of the sins of every Christian who ever lived? During the Crusades, if your king or a high-up knight got captured, the Muslims would offer to sell them back for exorbitant amounts of money, even sometimes people. At one point in order to buy back a king, the Muslim leader demanded the queen as his wife, and she complied. This is the price for one man, and the reason that Christ can pay for us is because he is worth more than everyone else in the whole world.

Romans 5:7-8 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While a king was worth his country paying a lot for, the Bible says we had become worthless, and yet Christ purchased us anyways. Our value is infinite because that is the price paid for us, and now we live for Christ.

v.20-21 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Here we have multiple descriptions of Jesus Christ, first that he was perfect and without blemish, second that he is before all things, third that he put on flesh and walked the earth, forth that he died and was raised, fifth that he has received glory for his obedience and work, and sixth, that his goal was that you would set your faith and hope on God.

John 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Titus 2:13-14 [We are] waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

John 8:47-58 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

Jesus Christ was before all things, he was before Abraham, there was never a time in which he was not. He created all things, though he himself is not created. He submits himself to God the Father, but he is not any less equal than God the Father. He willingly stepped out of Heaven to seek and save the lost, he poured out his life's blood for our sins, then was raised from the dead by his Father. The application this week is pretty straight forward: go out and serve God.

Paris Reidhead put it this way, "Lord Jesus, I’m going to obey you, and love you, and serve you, and do what you want me to do as long as I live, even if I go to Hell at the end of the road, simply because you are worthy to be loved, obeyed, and served; and I’m not trying to make a deal with you."

Finally, check out three verses what tie the whole Passover thing together.

Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats

John 1:29 Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Revelation 5:11-14 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

He is worthy, let us conduct ourselves with fear in our exile, rightly representing him, worshipping him, serving him, and setting our hope on God because he has the power to raise the dead and reconcile souls to himself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20th - Holiness

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Austin with the Flu
Fall Festival
Jeff Duckett City Council
Bethany's Cousin

Text - 1 Peter 1:13-16

Peter is proving to be a very good writer, the more I read and prepare, the more impressed I am by his structure and ability to drive home a point. I really hope this is coming across in my teaching. At the end of the letter, I'd like to read the whole thing to you, or if one of you wants to maybe memorize it and recite it, that would be awesome. The more I prepare for this letter, the more important it comes across to me that it should be read and comprehended all at once.

Barring that, because it is totally worthwhile to dig into it, let's do a quick review.

Overall, who is this letter to? All Christians, everyone whose citizenship is Heaven but are aliens on earth.

Who is the one that did the saving and regenerating of our souls? God.

How did he do it? Through the death of Jesus Christ who paid for our sins and has given us hope through his resurrection. Pay attention to that hope, it's an important part of the introduction.

Our faith is worth more than what? Everything in this world! But namely gold.

Three groups long to look into the works of Christ, the glorious grace he has bestowed upon us, the Word which he has given to us, and the Holy Spirit by which he gave that Word; who are they? First is the prophets who wrote down the Old Testament before Christ, next are the preachers who interpret the Old Testament to see how it revealed Christ, and last are the angels, who have no need for the gospel other than to see God glorified.

So that is Peter's introduction, and it is beautiful. It's way different writing than Paul, in Romans he takes eleven chapters to get to the point Peter has gotten to in twelve verses. In First Thessalonians, it took Paul three chapters to get to the point that Peter has gotten to in the first chapter. On the other end of the spectrum, James doesn't really give an introduction at all but dives right in. Paul isn't wrong by any means, but it is just so much easier to follow Peter. Paul splits two things up, orthodoxy, and orthopraxy, which mean right believing, and right living. Paul explains the orthodoxy first, then explains how to put it into orthopraxy. Peter isn't going to do that, he intermingles the two. It's awesome, but it's a whole different mindset from Paul. I think this is super-neat in the Holy Spirit writing the Bible, that he has given us absolute truth without imposing himself on the style of the writers.

So we're through the introduction, and now Peter is going to give us four and a half chapters of applicable theology, both what to believe and what to do with it. I want to take a brief moment to teach you some public speaking that so many people today miss. A good sermon or speech should always start out with an introduction and a thesis. Your thesis tells your audience what your main point is, pretty much, "If you only get one thing out of this, I want you to get..." Next is the body of the text, this is where you support your thesis. It is great to make major points, there is no requirement on how many to give, sometimes there is only a few, sometimes there are several. Then make a few points to back up your main points. Remember Paul's list in 1 Thessalonians 5, there were like fifteen supporting points on how to live at peace within the church. You HAVE to give application too, John Calvin put it perfectly, "We come not to the preaching to learn what we do not know, but to be incited to do our duty." Each of your points may have an application like Peter, or if they are all pointing to the same application, then save it towards the end like Paul. Finally, give a conclusion that should bring it all together. Restate your main points and how they support your thesis; exhort your hearers to apply what they've learned. If you follow this model, you'll be a better preacher/speaker than 90% of Christians in America today.

Moving on, every major good translation of 1 Peter 1:13-16 begins this section with "therefore", which means that Peter is going to now unpack his introduction and tell you what to do with it. The thesis of this lesson is that because of the greatness of our salvation, we should now live for Christ, not to earn your salvation, but because he is worth it.

1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
The ESV Bible captures something neat in its translation that most translations miss, this is not hugely doctrinally important, but it's neat and I'm glad they caught it. We are to be preparing our minds for action and being sober minded, but our hope is to be set. That is, our minds will never be perfect and we will never be perfectly self controlled this side of Heaven, but we can set our hope fully on Christ. That is, we don't put a little hope on us, and a little hope on Christ, but all of our hope in Christ and no hope on us.

I'm not sitting here full of joy and expectation for Christ's return because of my readiness to go or my goodness, because if it were up to me to be good enough, I wouldn't be going. But, because my hope is totally on Christ and his work, I know that in his revelation I will see the fullness of his grace.

If you're trusting at all in yourself, or in a prayer you prayed, or a time in your life that you asked Jesus into your heart, you're not putting your hope totally in Christ, but in your faith. One of the biggest failings of the church in the last century was to put their hope in their profession of faith, when we need to put our hope in Jesus Christ. You've heard me share in the past, and something I'll share many more times, is that the best way for me to know you were born is not to see your birth certificate, but to see you living. The same with being born-again, the best way to know you were is not that you can tell me there was a time in your life that you trusted Jesus Christ to save you, but that you're trusting him, and him alone, today.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Are you saved by grace, or faith? We're saved by grace through faith. But many people think we're saved by faith. You're saved by Jesus Christ, not your faith.

Something neat I heard about the relationship between our sanctification and perfect hope that made it make more sense for me is that grace is glory begun, that is, we have received grace to be forgiven, but we are not yet perfect, but in glory, we will be perfect. So grace is glory begun, and glory is grace completed.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Peter talks about our mind, and while we have a physical brain, he is talking more about our intellect and logic and that we need to be preparing for action. What are some ways to prepare for action? Study, Sunday School, regular school...but here is something we usually don't think about it, it's also putting it into action. I know lots of people who have huge amounts of theoretical knowledge, they know all sorts of things, but they never put it into action, and so their knowledge is useless. We need to be putting our minds to action.

On the other hand, hope has no physical equivalent, we don't have a hope organ. I really want you to get this point, that there is no mystical stuff that is hope or faith. I can't give you a pound of hope, neither does God build things out of faith. This may sound like common sense, but there are cults out there that think God needs your faith to do things, because they think faith and hope are physical things. You can quickly identify them because they talk about "speaking things into existence" and "speaking faith to it." This is setting men up as gods, because God is the only one that can speak things into existence. Do you remember how he created angels? He commanded them to be, and they were.

v. 14-15 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct...
The language of this verse in the modern day would make most people cringe. People don't want to be obedient, because when we're obedient, it means we're willingly giving up our interests for the interests of someone else. I recently heard a story that puts this into better perspective.

In 1849, a young Englishman traveled to California in search of gold. After several months of prospecting, he struck it rich. On his way home he stopped in New Orleans. Not long into his visit, he came upon a crowd of people all looking in the same direction. Approaching the crowd, he realized that they had gathered for a slave auction, one of the last remaining slave auctions in the United States. Slavery had been outlawed in England for years, so this young man's curiosity drew him to watch as a person became someone else's property. He heard "sold" just as he joined the crowd. A middle-aged black man was taken away.

Next a beautiful young black girl was pushed up on the platform and made to walk around so everyone could see her. The bidding began. Soon the bids surpassed what most slaveholders would pay. As the bidding continued higher and higher, it was apparent that two men wanted her. The miner stood as silent anger welled up inside of him. Finally, one man bid a price that was beyond the reach of the other. The girl looked down. The auctioneer called out, "Going once, going twice..."

Just before the final call, the miner called out a price that was exactly twice the previous bid. An amount that exceeded the worth of any man. The crowd laughed, thinking the miner was only joking. The auctioneer motioned to the miner to come forward and show his money. The miner opened up his satchel of money. The auctioneer shook his head in disbelief as waved the girl over to him.

The girl walked down the steps of the platform until she was eye to eye with the miner. She spat straight in his face and said through clenched teeth, "I hate you!" The miner, without a word, wiped his face, paid the auctioneer, took the girl by the hand, and walked away from the still laughing crowd.

He took her to a lawyer and while she waited he had papers drawn up and both him and the lawyer signed, followed by the transfer of more money. The young girl looked away as the miner came out the door. Stretching out his hand, he said to the girl, "Here are your manumission papers. You are free."

The girl didn't look up.

He tried again. "Here. These are papers that say you are free. Take them."

"I hate you!" the girl said, refusing to look up. "Why do you make fun of me?"

"No, listen," he pleaded. "These are your freedom papers. You are a free

The girl looked at the papers, then looked at him, and looked at the papers again. "You just bought me...and now you're setting me free?"

"That's why I bought you. I bought you to set you free."

The beautiful girl fell to her knees in front of the miner, tears streaming down her face. "You bought me to set me free! You bought me to set me free!" she said over and over again.

The miner said nothing.

Clutching his muddy boots, the girl looked up at the miner and said, "All I want to do is serve you--because you bought me to set me free." (Taken from Wayne Rice's Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks: 100 Attention Getting Stories, Parables, & Anecdotes, the story predates him though, as Leonard Ravenhill has preached it on occasion)

John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

1 Corinthians 7:22-23 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Horace Greely said "It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

So all this to say, be obedient to Christ not out of compulsion, but out of gratitude. Honor him because he is right, not just because he is bigger than you. Train your minds for action, practice self control, and set your hope perfectly on Christ.

v.16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

This is quoting Numbers 11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7, and 21:8. Holy refers to clean, set-apart, not defiled, high and lifted up. A verse that really puts a damper on the whole working your way to Heaven thing is

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

So how are we going to be holy?

Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

God makes you holy, this is pretty much the definition of sanctification. So we strive for holiness, desiring to obey our Father in Heaven, knowing that our only source of holiness and salvation comes through Jesus Christ, whom we have set our hope on completely, and that we are being obedient not to earn salvation, but to honor Christ.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13th - Looking into Angels

Prayer Requests
Dave and Brooke’s Mexico Trip
Next Mexico Missions Trip
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Deeper Conference Results
Taste of Kennesaw Witnessing
Deborah feeling better
Hannah feeling better
Palmer's 7th Grade Science Teacher's Heart Attack
Bethany's Cousin
Ms. Sanders from Awtrey continued healing

Text – 1 Peter 1:12

Last week we talked about the supernatural nature of the Bible, that even though the prophets wrote down the Word of God, they still needed to search it out to find out what it meant. Whose job, after Christ has come, is it to search out the meaning of the Old Testament in order to preach it? Preachers and Apostles.

Who is the greatest Apostle ever to live, keep in mind we’re in Peter’s Epistles? Paul wrote the most letters, John lived the longest, Andrew’s my favorite. But none of these three are the greatest…the greatest Apostle who ever lived and still lives is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.

The word Apostle just means sent one, albeit when Jesus appointed his Apostles, there was something very special in it, they were given special authority and abilities, but we should do our best to live up to our titles of prophet, one who speaks for God, apostle, one who is sent by God, ambassador, one who represents God, and priest, one who ministers for God. We’re going to talk more about the priesthood of believers in chapter 2.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."

The third group that want to look into the ministry and Word of God through his Messiah are who?

1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

We’re going to talk about the angels, and look at the gospel from a different perspective than we normally look at it. We usually look at the gospel from two directions, either as a minister of the gospel trying to get people saved, or as a recipient of the gospel who needs the forgiveness of God. There are five major ways to look at the gospel, we could look at it from Satan’s point of view, that it is waging war on his kingdom. Or we could look at it from God’s point of view, that it is his war and ministry and church, and that the ultimate goal is his glory, or we can look at it from the perspective of the angels.

Board Illustration - Circle in the middle with "Gospel" written in it."
Four arrows pointing out:
top - God (Glory)
bottom - Satan (Warfare)
left - Sinner (Condemnation)
right - Saint (Salvation)

One arrow pointing in - Angels

The perspective of the angels is considerably different, because they don’t need forgiveness, their goal is solely to see God glorified.

At first I thought we’d just read every verse that talk about angels, but there are 273 of them, so we’ll look at the definitive verses. First question, are angels created beings?

Psalm 148:2,5 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.

And how many angels?

Hebrews 12:22 innumerable angels in festal gathering

There are a lot, the Bible doesn’t say how many. When Christ was going to the cross, he said that he could have twelve legions of angels come to his rescue, a legion at the time was about 6,000 men, so that’s 72,000 angels at least.

There are different kinds of angels too, and ranking.

We usually call good angels, angels, and bad angels, demons. It would be correct though to call them all angels. The Bible differentiates by calling the good ones the “elect” angels, because these were the ones who were not allowed to fall in the rebellion.

1 Timothy 5:21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

Seraph – This word literally means the “On Fire Ones”
Cherub – The blessed ones (Satan is the most beautiful Cherub)
Putti – Baby Angels (We have no reason to believe they exist)

Archangel – Head angel, a prince of angels. Michael is an archangel.
Herald Angel – Proclaim the goodness of God. Gabriel is a herald.
Guardian Angel – Protect God’s Saints.

Some angels have six wings, some two, and others seem not to have any.

Isaiah 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Exodus 25:20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.

Genesis 19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth

So what do they do, are they just pretty wingy thingies, or do they have a purpose?

Hebrews 1:13-14 And to which of the angels has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Angels are first and foremost ministers of God for his saints. Besides this though, they also are warriors, guardians, heralds, and they’ll help with the rapture.

I used to wonder what would happen during the rapture if you were inside…would you just go through the ceiling, and what if you were in a reinforced building? It sounds like an angel is going to come get you and carry you skyward.

Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

They are very powerful warriors, in the Old Testament an angel killed 70,000 in one day and was on his way to destroy Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 21:15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw, and he relented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

One of the most beautiful stories about angels as our ministers and guardians is when Elisha and his buddy were about to get slaughtered by the Syrians:

2 Kings 6:15-23 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He said, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, "Please strike this people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." And he led them to Samaria.

As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?" He answered, "You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

Elisha is sitting there in Jerusalem, and the Syrians come to destroy them, and they are way outnumbered, or so it looks. But Elisha knows that God has given them a heavenly host to protect them, but instead of waging war, God shows his grace by allowing the Syrians to be taken captive and treated as prisoners of war instead of being killed.

Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

God is big, and powerful, and in control, and nothing bad will ever happen to you that he didn’t allow and/or have a purpose in using. If and when something bad happens, it is good to step back and ask, “Ok, God told his angels to let this happen, what for?”

So angels are neat, they are powerful, they are beautiful, they are capable, and yet, they are paying attention to the gospel, they long to look into it. Since angels are so impressive, there have been varying people throughout history who have desired to worship them.

The books of Hebrews and Colossians are written against angel worshippers. Many people have thought that Jesus was an angel, or even worse, that angels were higher than him.

Hebrews 1:5-9 For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him." Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

Angels are created, Jesus Christ is not. But Jesus, in his humility, stepped out of Heaven, left his glory in order to be able to save men.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

A note that I couldn’t figure out where to stick, but I want you to know, is that angels are often compared to the stars, they sing, they’re called flaming fires, Satan is called a morning star, the Star of Bethlehem moved, I’m certain it was a heralding angel…we’ll have to wait ‘till Heaven to figure it out, but there is some link between angels and stars.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Angels are not low by any means, we see that angels are great, but they are not nearly so great as Christ. Which is more like God, an earthworm or an archangel? Neither, God is so much higher and holier than them that to even try to compare him to something created is impossible. We should not worship angels, but in them we see something incredible. Is God able to do everything without help? Of course, in fact it says in Psalm 148 that he commanded the angels to be created. But he still uses them as his ministers. It is glorious that even though God is able of doing everything, he employs his creation to make his glory manifest.

And the result is that we will have a higher standing in Heaven, because we have the inheritance of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

And so the angels search these things out, they want to know so they can better minister for God, they also want to know so that they can know what to expect. So, if the gospel is worthy of angels to look into, whom have no stake in it, then it must be a hugely glorious thing. We see that saints and sinners have a stake, God and Satan have a stake in the gospel, but the angels, who do not have a stake in the gospel still find it magnificent. I hope that it will encourage you to know more about the gospel and the God whom the gospel has reconciled you to so that you can be a minister of that gospel.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

And one last verse to sum it all up.

Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

When I first read this verse, I was actually a little angry. I thought, “So these angels, who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, are taking ministry resources…what’s their problem? Why are they wasting our time?” But then I realized that the glory of God is our goal, not just the salvation of souls or the feeding of hungry, or the giving drink to the thirsty, but we do these things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through him. This is why the angels are looking into the gospel, not to see what they can get out of it, but to see how it magnifies and glorifies the name of God.

So, as angels sing holy, holy, holy, lets join them as they sing.


Read Revelation 22:8-9 and explain why John was in the wrong when he fell at the feet of an angel to worship him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September 6th - Our Supernatural Bible

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Preaching - Romans 10
Dave and Brooke in Mexico
Everybody else who is going to Mexico
Summit in General
Preaching KSU
Deeper Conference
Costello’s Traveling

Text – 1 Peter 1:10-12

So last week we talked about the Faith that God gives us as being worth more than what? Gold.

Let’s look real quick at the major difference between all religions and Christianity.

In every major religion you try to be good enough to be good enough to go to Heaven. You work your whole life trying to put together something worthwhile to present to God. I’d estimate 95% or more atheists will say, “If there is a God, I think he’ll find me good enough even though I didn’t mess with organized religion.”

That’s the equivalent of trying to bribe God, and it totally misses the character and nature of God, that he requires perfection. So in every major religion, people are expecting to dump their life out before God and hope he finds it good enough.

In Christianity we know that we can never be good enough, because perfection is the requirement, and that we have utterly and totally blown it by sinning and loving ourselves more than God and other people. So we dump our lives and achievements out before God, knowing that it’s not good enough, and instead of throwing it away, like he is going to do to the people who thought their works were good enough, he’s going to say, “Yep, I can fix that.”

Just as if you gave me a big pile of gold junk…nuggets, dust, broken earrings, old electronics…instead of throwing it away because it’s worthless, I’d run it through the crucible, and it would be refined, and then I could mold it into something I really want. That’s what God does with us, we’ve become worthless through our sins, but God can fix it, and he runs us through the crucible, makes us pure, removes what he doesn’t want, and then molds us into something he really wants.

Zechariah 13:8-9 In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'

Through that purification which we inherit through our faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself up for our sins to deliver us, Peter says this is our end goal, that we are

1 Peter 1:9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Today we’re going to talk about how we know about this faith, how we know what to put our faith in, and why it’s so special.

1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

We’re going to look at three groups who are interested in the Bible besides us. The first is the prophets who wrote down the Bible, the next is the ministers of the gospel who preached the Word to you, and the third is the angels in Heaven who are watching God’s plan of redemption unfold in front of them.

v. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,

The prophets who wrote down the prophecies about Christ, though they wrote it down, didn’t know to which it referred. A lot of it was very clear, but not unless you put the pieces together.

For example, a lot of the Messianic prophecies make it out that the Messiah would be humble, and would die, but then other prophecies make it out that the Messiah would be a great ruler and would reign forever. How could both of these happen? You can’t have a Messiah that dies and also lives…some of the great scholars came to a logical conclusion that there would be two Messiahs, one to die for sins, and the other to rule and live forever.

But what piece weren’t they considering? The Resurrection. The Messiah did die for sins, but then he defeated death and now rules forever as the King of kings. That one detail totally wrecked their ability to fully understand who the Messiah would be.

Consider this; It’s sort of like Cross references: if you went back in time and told someone that in the future, you can say goodbye to someone who is leaving on a trip thousands of miles away via airplane, and still say, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” How could you possibly tell someone who is going to be thousands of miles away, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow?” We’re missing an important detail. The telephone.

Another example before we move on,

Psalm 22:16-17 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

This was written a thousand years before Christ was crucified. At the time of this writing, there was no such thing as crucifixion. David must have been totally perplexed as to which event could encompass the piercing of the hands and feet without any bones being broken. But four-hundred years before Christ was born, when crucifixion was invented, it became clear.

v. 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

They wanted to know, even though they wrote it down, it was actually the Holy Spirit doing the work of predicting the suffering death of Christ, and the glory that would occur afterwards, the glory of the Resurrection and the salvation of many to follow.

One that I think probably got Isaiah all confused, and probably excited too, is

Isaiah 42:6-8 I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

In these verses two huge things stand out…one that God is sending God to do the work of opening the eyes of the blind and rescuing the prisoners, and also who is being rescued, that the Messiah would be a light for the nations.

There are lots of allusions to the Messiah coming for all people, but the Israelites thought the Messiah would come only for them. But Isaiah must have poured over this trying to figure out any other reading, but the only way to read it is that the Messiah would come to save both Jews and Gentiles.

This was proven explicitly clear when Christ pronounced that he would be saving both Jews and Samaritans.

John 4:42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."

v. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you,

The prophets realized that the Messiah was coming not for them under their covenant, but later. In writing down what God had told them, it was partly for them to give them hope of a future salvation, but the major reason they were writing down the Word of God was for you.

Recap, who is the “you” that Peter is talking about?

Jews or Gentiles? Both.

Rich or Poor? Both.

Asians or Palestinians? Both.

Christian or non? Christian.

The “you” that Peter is talking to here is ALL Christians, not just those in Pontus and Galatia. The reason that God gave the prophets the prophecies about Christ was for the Christians, those that would believe after Christ’s resurrection, because this is truly when the scriptures blossom to us and we can see the glorious meaning pointing to Christ in them.

Peter had previously preached this message on multiple occasions and I think it was something he loved to point out.

Acts 2:29-31 Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Acts 3:18 What God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.

Acts 10:43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

So the prophets wrote down their prophecies for two major reasons, first to give hope to Israel that a deliverer was coming, but now so that we can look back and see that Christ wasn’t just Plan B to fix sin, he wasn’t even Plan A, he was Plan Only, there were no other ways to be saved and that things occurred exactly as God intended for them to happen.

v. 12 in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven

So the first people to look into the scriptures were the prophets. The second group are those that preach the gospel. The prophets wrote it down, the preachers find the intent of the author to point at the Resurrected Christ. Just as the things revealed to the prophets were not for their sake, neither is the preaching of the preachers for their sake. They are wanting to make Christ known to you.

I’m going to Heaven whether I preach everyday for the rest of my life, or if I go sit on my couch everyday for the rest of my life. The preaching is not for me, but for you and those who will believe. We have eternity to know Christ better, but we have only moments to know him at all, and so preaching is our duty to make Christ known among the nations, and we have the promise of the Holy Spirit from Heaven working with us.

One of the beautiful things about preaching and ministering is that it is a great way to draw closer to Christ and the Holy Spirit, so while the motive of preaching and teaching is outward, there is a huge inward blessing in it as well.

Philemon 1:6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

And the final group that is interested in what God spoke through the prophets.

v. 12 things into which angels long to look.

We’re going to spend the whole class next week talking about angels, but check this out, that they are interested in things that happen on earth. The reason is because what happens on earth is so tied to what God is doing in Heaven. They know that Christ died for sinners, that he rose from the grave, and that he is living in Heaven.

The angels are looking into the preaching of the gospel and as we’ll learn next week, they are actively working with God to see his purposes come to fruition. God could obviously do it all on his own, but he employs angels to help. Likewise, even though he could do it on his own, he employs preachers and ministers, he employed prophets to write down the Word.

In conclusion, everyone who presumes to speak for God is a prophet. When you say, “Thus saith the Lord…” or “The Bible says…” you have made yourself a prophet. It is very important that we are actually speaking for God, and the only way which he speaks to us today is through the Bible. It contains everything we need to know about life, ministry, and God, and so when you stand up and say, “John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever should believe in him will not perish but have eternal life.” You have just become a prophet, and it is a huge responsibility but one that has eternal rewards when you see souls saved.

There are false prophets everywhere who will tell you that God wants you to be rich, or that he’s not angry, or that he loves sinners unconditionally and won’t send anyone to Hell, they are false, and they will be punished as such.

But we can be true prophets by preaching God’s revealed words though his prophets, as we preach to see people saved, things which the angels long to look into. We’ll conclude with a definitive statement;

Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.


I really want you all to do the homework this week, it’s pretty short, and I’m certain it will really help this lesson to sink in. I’ve made it short so you can do it in a matter of minutes, but the lesson to be learned will be with you for life.

Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Pick at least three specific prophecies for Jesus Christ and write a sentence or two explaining how Christ fulfilled them.