Tuesday, February 6, 2018

From Pastor Boston:
January 2018
Ice Breaker to Stimulate Conversation:
Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. That for them is considered sufficient. [Not So… our living must not only please God in all areas, it also must be acceptable to God]. Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.”
Living with Good Morals is not What the Gospel Teaches
Although Many Who Profess to be “Christian” Think So
One of the most amazing statements by the Apostle Paul is his indictment of the Galatian Christians for abandoning the Gospel. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel,” Paul declared. As he stated so emphatically, the Galatians had failed in the crucial test of discerning the authentic Gospel from its counterfeits.
His words could not be clearer: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, he is to be accursed!” [Gal. 1:6-7]
This warning from the Apostle Paul, expressed in the language of the Apostle’s shock and grief, is addressed not only to the church in Galatia, but to every congregation in every age. In our own day — and in our own churches — we desperately need to hear and to heed this warning. In our own time, we face false gospels no less subversive and seductive than those encountered and embraced by the Galatians.
In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.
Sadly, this false gospel is particularly attractive to those who believe themselves to be evangelicals motivated by a biblical impulse. Far too many believers and their churches succumb to the logic of moralism and reduce the Gospel to a message of moral improvement. In other words, we communicate to lost persons the message that what God desires for them and demands of them is to get their lives straight.
In one sense, we are born to be moralists. Created in God’s image, we have been given the moral capacity of conscience. From our earliest days our conscience cries out to us the knowledge of our guilt, shortcomings, and misbehaviors. In other words, our conscience communicates our sinfulness.
Add to this the fact that the process of parenting and child rearing tends to inculcate moralism from our earliest years. Very quickly we learn that our parents are concerned with our behavior. Well behaved children are rewarded with parental approval, while misbehavior brings parental sanction. This message is reinforced by other authorities in young lives and pervades the culture at large.
Writing about his own childhood in rural Georgia, the novelist Ferrol Sams described the deeply-ingrained tradition of being “raised right.” As he explained, the child who is “raised right” pleases his parents and other adults by adhering to moral conventions and social etiquette. A young person who is “raised right” emerges as an adult who obeys the laws, respects his neighbors, gives at least lip service to religious expectations, and stays away from scandal. The point is clear — this is what parents expect, the culture affirms, and many churches celebrate. But our communities are filled with people who have been “raised right” but are headed for hell.
The seduction of moralism is the essence of its power. We are so easily seduced into believing that we actually can gain all the approval we need by our behavior. Of course, in order to participate in this seduction, we must negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes. Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. That is considered sufficient.
Moralists can be categorized as both liberal and conservative. In each case, a specific set of moral concerns frames the moral expectation. As a generalization, it is often true that liberals focus on a set of moral expectations related to social ethics while conservatives tend to focus on personal ethics. The essence of moralism is apparent in both — the belief that we can achieve righteousness by means of proper behavior.
The theological temptation of moralism is one many Christians and churches find it difficult to resist. The danger is that the church will communicate by both direct and indirect means that what God expects of fallen humanity is moral improvement. In so doing, the church subverts the Gospel and communicates a false gospel to a fallen world.
Christ’s Church has no option but to teach the Word of God, and the Bible faithfully reveals the law of God and a comprehensive moral code. Christians understand that God has revealed Himself throughout creation in such a way that He has gifted all humanity with the restraining power of the law. Furthermore, He has spoken to us in His word with the gift of specific commands and comprehensive moral instruction. The faithful Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must contend for the righteousness of these commands and the grace given to us in the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. We also have a responsibility to bear witness of this knowledge of good and evil to our neighbors. The restraining power of the law is essential to human community and to civilization.

Just as parents rightly teach their children to obey moral instruction, the church also bears responsibility to teach its own the moral commands of God and to bear witness to the larger society of what God has declared to be right and good for His human creatures.
But these impulses, right and necessary as they are, are not the Gospel. Indeed, one of the most insidious false gospels is a moralism that promises the favor of God and the satisfaction of God’s righteousness to sinners if they will only behave and commit themselves to moral improvement.
The moralist impulse in the church reduces the Bible to a codebook for human behavior and substitutes moral instruction for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Far too many evangelical pulpits are given over to moralistic messages rather than the preaching of the Gospel.
The corrective to moralism comes directly from the Apostle Paul when he insists that “a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus.” Salvation comes to those who are “justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” [Gal. 2:16]
We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with the Law. Moralism makes sense to sinners, for it is but an expansion of what we have been taught from our earliest days. But moralism is not the Gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the Gospel of Christ. As Paul reminded the Galatians, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” [Gal. 4:4-5]
We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.
The Church must never evade, accommodate, revise, or hide the law of God. Indeed, it is the Law that shows us our sin and makes clear our inadequacy and our total lack of righteousness. The Law cannot impart life but, as Paul insists, it “has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” [Gal. 3:24]
The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an ever-convenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.
Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.   
Moralism is not the gospel.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"My Baccalaureate Message"

sm060114s1@cbfcbaca...Psalm 1
… “Life’s journey offers only two roads—which way are you going?”
*Baccalaureate Sunday
“Life’s Greatest Choices”
      (Decisions that Determine Our Destiny)
Opening Statement/Context:
Baccalaureate Sunday… it seems that this Sunday comes so quickly each year, but as I say each year I love this Sunday for many reasons, …as a pastor I love it because—I get to help set the life compass for many of our young people who have accomplished something great, but has an even greater task of accomplishments still before them…I see my task each year on Baccalaureate Sunday as preaching the gospel, but also inspiring our graduates while instructing the rest of us in life, living and the importance of not trying live our lives without God. And so, it is with those things as my guide I’ve been led to talk about “Life’s Greatest Choices…Decisions that Affect Our Destiny
As for as the Bible, [The Word of God] sees life as a journey that offers only two roads. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school drop-out, a high school graduate, a college graduate with an associate’s degree or with a doctoral degree; life is a journey that offers only two roads. No matter what profession, career, business, or field that you pursue in life—you’re only going to have two roads to choose from. I’m aware that in the modern minds of many this idea sounds offensive. But in the eternal omniscient will of God, in regards to our life choices, “it is either / or, and not …both or and.” 
Many who are philosophical would have you believe something different, but life’s choices are really limited, there are only two perceptions of reality: the supernatural, and the natural, the spiritual, and the unspiritual. There are just two conflicting kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. There are just two roads: the wide one that leads to destruction and the narrow one that leads to life eternal [Matt. 7:13-14]. –And that’s what this 1st Psalm is all about, when we look at the structure of the Psalm, and the parallelism in the language of the Psalm, it alone gives grammatical expression to this “either / or” perception of reality.

When this Psalm is broken down in it we see the way of the righteous/godly [vv.1-3], and the way of the wicked/ungodly [vv.4-5], which validates that “Life’s journey offers only two roads.” With the question being—which way are you going?” That’s not a question that you ask yourself ‘one day’ ~ you must ask that question ‘everyday.’
Which way am I you going? Which road am I traveling…? Because ‘peer pressure’ as I told the remnant last month, “Although it first rears its ugly head in our lives when we enter adolescence, it is wrong to think that it ends with that period of our lives. ‘Peer pressure’ is also an adult problem. We all experience it [in one form or another] until we die.
And that pressure contributes to which road of the two we travel.
When it comes to the way of the righteous and godly, we see in [v. 1] that the blessed person doesn’t do certain things, and in [v.2] we see that the blessed person does do certain things, but in [v.3] we see that as a result of what the blessed person, does and does not do, they reap benefits both in time and in eternity.
In [v.1] we have an invitation with a promise similar to the Beatitudes… in so many words we’re told if we watch-out for worldly opinions from worldly people, if we guard ourselves from living practical like the world, and if we don’t keep company or make lasting associations with ungodly, sinful, and lost people, not only will we be good with God, we will be both happy and blessed as we walk and live for God, in front of a world waiting on us to fail. But the negative side to this positive position is—if we don’t live this way there will be a progression in our sins [a mini-exposition of progressing depravity] that will proceed from bad to worse.

The person will go from merely walking [following the counsel of careless and ungodly folk], who forget God to becoming habituated to evil to the point where they stand with open defiant sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if left alone, the person goes a step further, and they themselves become teachers and tempters of others, by sitting in the seat of scoffers judging everything and everyone from the perspective of cynicism and pride. Did you get that? A person not walking the way of the righteous is not hard to spot.
[Sbs…How do you spot them?] They aren’t hard to find, whether they are on a college campus, or if the work in a cubicle next to you, or maybe they’re the owner of a business with the corner office. [Just look for a person who has no ethics and whose moral decisions aren’t dictated by a godly morality, and someone whose counsel is always worldly and ungodly].
 Now don’t let all of that negative stuff in [v.1] make you miss all of the positive stuff in [v.2].
See, the righteous person’s delightful attitude toward the Word of God comes with some benefits.
The fact is, the right attitude [delight], will lead to the right action, meditation… As the righteous person delights themselves in The Word of God by, thinking often of it, by reading it often, by speaking of it often, and by obeying it always –God has promised some benefits both in time and eternity for them. Don’t let delighting be confusing… If we delight in a person, we always want to be around them. If we delight in a song, we always want to sing that song. If we delight in a book/movie we always want to read/see it, no matter how many times we’ve been exposed to it. So, if we delight in God’s law, we will always want to meditate, masticate, ruminate, cogitate, and deliberate on the Word of God, so we can keep on the right path and maintain a disciplined god-honoring life [wherever we are and in whatever we are doing].
[V.3] uses a simile to describe the blessed person, the righteous person as a treeplanted by the rivers of water...”
These rivers of waters are like built in sprinklers systems although they are just irrigation ditches, so as the righteous person delightfully meditates on God’s Word, the righteous person will continually to be watered by God’s Word. And the results of this nourishment will be twofold. First, there will be the bearing of fruit [in season]. Second, they will be an evergreen tree. There’s something here that needs clarity, [God’s evergreen trees don’t bring forth fruit all of the time, they only bear fruit “in their season” in other words; “in God’s time, and not ours.” This is a lesson we all must continually learn: “So, let’s not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap a harvest if we don’t grow weary [Gal.6:9].” The reason God makes righteous people to look like evergreens that never fade, because God’s testimony with the righteous is that because of Him we have true prosperity, eternal blessings and not just material and temporal blessings. Since the Word of God stands forever [Isa. 40:8], God wants the watching world who is waiting on us to fail and fad to know that we too will stand forever like His Word that fills us.

Listen at the promise for the righteous,Whatever … now this ‘whatever’ is not a license for loose living. This ‘whatever’ has some boundaries… It means; ‘whatever’ the righteous person does based on what the righteous person has learned from meditating on God’s righteous Word, as they apply those truths and principles—they will never be disappointed.”
[Vv.4-5] These verses address the way of the wicked/ungodly…
They unlike the way of the righteous, represent insecurity and not security.
These verses tell us that the wicked/ungodly have no real future, as well as they don’t have a real hopeful present. Let me say that another way. The wicked/ungodly will experience bitter hopelessness in the future [later], and before future judgment the wicked/ungodly will experience alienation from believers and their blessing [now] in the present. In other words the joy and security of community that the righteous/godly are experiencing now, will be missed as the wicked/ungodly live in the death of their own egos, keeping them separated from God and God’s people [now and later, in time and in eternity].
There’s a whole lot more I could say about the way of the wicked/ungodly, but you get the idea, their doom is doubled down. –No matter how successful sinners and scoffers may look now, things aren’t what they appear to be. They may have it all now, according to the world’s standards, but according to God’s standards the only standards that matter, the wicked/ungodly will certainly discover that their worldly success had no eternal value.
Did you get that? You can pick your profession, business, field, or career, but it won’t be successful if it keeps you from the things of God with eternal value.
So whatever you do for a living for yourself and family, don’t allow it to keep you from living for God and heaven!
The answer is in [v.6] …For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

You shouldn’t want a job, a profession, a business, a field, or a career, that restricted you from having/experiencing the assurance that the righteous/godly has been promised.
I would think a person would rather have a lower paid job on earth, that didn’t interfere with the eternal rewards of heaven, then to have a high-paying job on earth, that interfered with their eternal rewards of heaven.
Now, I’m not saying that only poor people or going to heaven, no more than I’m saying rich people are going to hell.
What I’m saying is: “Be careful which road you choose first, if you choose the road of success before you choose the road to salvation, it might be harder to change roads. But if you choose the road of salvation first, then any success you have on this road can be fully and proudly experienced without the need to change roads…
That’s the assurance we have being the righteous/godly…
The Lord knows the way we’re going.
The Lord keeps His eyes on the road that the righteous/godly travels.
The Lord has His ear open to the road that the righteous/godly travels.
The Lord’s Spirit abides with every righteous/godly traveler on His road.
While travelling on the righteous road with God, we have the peace of God because the Lord communicates with every righteous/godly traveler on His road.
Can I tell you something I discovered—about God’s road and His way?
You don’t have to know the way, on God’s road, you just need to know and trust the guide.  
 *Do you know the Guide? …He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I’m closing but I need for you to know that the very call to blessing in [v.1], however, precipitates a crisis.
[Sbs…Make it plain pastor!]
You can’t navigate God’s road alone.
You can’t avoid the counsel of the ungodly in our secular society without the presence of God.
You can’t meditate on the Word of God day and night without the Spirit/Mind of God.
You can’t be a fruitful evergreen in this dry/dark world without the constant watering of God’s Word.

But don’t let those things get you down, because “In Christ” [we can do all things, because He strengthens us].
This calling in Psalm 1 is consummated by the Lord Jesus Christ. [In other words]…
*It is Jesus who executes, fulfills, effects, accomplishes, achieves, carries-out, discharges, and performs the duties [of Psalm 1]
It is He [Jesus] who lives in perfect communion with God through us.
It is He [Jesus] who delights in the Word of God through us.
It is He [Jesus] who prospers in all of God ways through us.
This is the benefit for being “In Christ” we become the blessed person of Psalm 1.
…“In Christ” Jesus fulfills the divine demands of God and incorporates us into His divine life.
…“In Christ” Jesus gives us His own righteousness.
As we live “In Christ” on God’s road, we will be that tree planted and our way will be known to God.

As we live “In Christ”, His psalms become our psalms and the road to happiness, to blessing is ours.
So ‘whatever’ you do, in regards to making your life’s choices remember your daily decisions determine your destiny!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Marketing of Evil...How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom

A minister friend of mines recommended a great book to me recently. I loved it so much that I made it a focal point of discussion with "The Remnant" at our church.

The Remnant is a diverse group of young people ranging in ages 18-30 [not all belonging to our church], that my wife and I meet with to talk about current trends, critical issues, the emerging change in church, hot topics, or whatever is on their minds, [without them feeling as if I/we are proselyt-ing them]. Our sole purpose is to help them in the everyday challenges they face to live with integrity and to have a good testimony before a watching world waiting on them to fail.
I/we want this group of young people to impact their generation, and both generations before them, and after them, by them having an understanding of what is actually happening in the world around them, and what the implications are if they do nothing, or if they continued to think and feel like the wrongful majority.
I/we are fully aware of not all, but most of the things being taught wrongly but permissively in our institutions of higher learning [from the dissembling of absolute truth to the tolerance of things you should rightly be intolerant about]. Because my/our generation ignored it, and the generation before ours avoided it, we now live in a day and time where not only does anything goes, but there has been a shift from ‘is something true’ to ‘was anyone offended by the truth?’
I have been saying for years; "The world has been spreading it lies for so long until people in church think its truth, and the church has been telling the truth so long that people in the world now perceives it as a lie."
So my wife and I meet with The Remnant to develop a remnant of young people who will not be afraid to rip the mask off of all the bad things both spiritual and non-spiritual that is invading our homes, churches, and communities, this is why I presented this book for our discussion.
Here is what we talked about during our last meeting...
To stimulate your thinking for our meeting this month I want to share this subject and book title The Marketing of Evil [by David Kupelin]

Have you ever wondered how America has been transformed so rapidly from a strong Judeo-Christian culture into a divided, confused, and contentious society increasingly hostile to its own core values? In other words, how is it that today society in general is accepting ideas and behaviors that would have horrified all previous generations?
I think the answers to those questions are found in the pervasive influence of the “marketers of evil.”  …The plain truth is that within the space of our lifetime, much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped, and sold to us as though it had great value. –By skillfully playing on our deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity, and tolerance, these marketers have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble that which all previous generations since America’s founding regarded as grossly self-destructive—in a word, evil.
Things we can talk about:
·        How giant entertainment corporations use all the powerful psychological tools of modern marketing and manipulation to get America’s children not only to buy the latest products but to rebel against their parents’ values.
·        How a fraudulent scientist, widely revered as the father of the “sexual revolution,” has now been exposed as a sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia.
·        How the ACLU and others intent on removing every reference to God in the public square are espousing a dangerous and provably false legal theory of church-state separation.
·        How the establishment news media have conformed to a comprehensive “gay rights” marketing plan openly published by professional Harvard-trained marketers.
·        How the abortion lobby conned us with a slick public relations campaign based on lies and wild fabrications that are still widely accepted as “facts.”
·        And how the marketers of evil have tricked America’s churches out of their natural leadership role in society into a divided, confused, and contentious society—and how that vital role can and must be reclaimed. 

The Remnant…”Now & Next”
Talking about what’s happening now so we can deal with what happens next.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Wanting to See Specifics in the Bible...Is a Cop Out!"

"Specifics and Principles...in the Bible"

"People who want to do what they want to do, look for the Bible to speak about specific things, but God gives principles for the specifics."
I wrote that to speak to the people who always use the "cop-out"; "The Bible doesn't explicitly or specifically say [such in such--you fill in the blank]."

To that I would say the Bible was never intended to be a book of rules, with a complete list of everything that God accepts and everything that God rejects. Although we do have the Ten Commandments where there are some definite "do's and dont's," the Bible gives principles where there is no specifics.

For example, the Bible doesn't say, "Thou shall not use cocaine", yet the Bible does give clear principles concerning addictive substances, using something of our day that has been abused even as far back as Noah's day--alcohol [see Genesis 9:20-21, Proverbs 23:29-35]. When we examine all that the Bible says concerning alcohol and drunkenness, we can safely conclude what the heart of God is concerning other such mind-altering, addictive substances that have a detrimental effect on our health. And, honestly, doesn't that make more sense [and easier to read] for God to communicate to us that way? Who would be interested in reading the Bible if we saw pages and pages of this:
Thou shall not use cocaine.

Thou shall not use crack.

Thou shall not use heroin.

Thou shall not use speed.

Thou shall not use PCP.

Thou shall not use _____________. Etc...Etc...
You get the idea. God gives principles [not always specifics] in His Word that are to be applied in all matters we face in everyday living. Learn the Word of God and quit giving people "easy outs" [accepting things you know God rejects, just because the specific word or wording is not in the Bible].

"When Even The Bible Doesn't Work!"

I recently preached a sermon on the godliness of God and how we acquire it...what you have here is my closing illustration to prove just because you pack a Bible to church and repeat a mantra weekly about the Bible ~ that doesn't make the Bible work for you. You must be saved, having trusted Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior, and be living a surrendered life in obedience to Him in order for the promises, and power in the Bible to work "its work" in you.

{My Illustration}...

You remember Lawrence of Arabia [the renowned British Army officer of World War 1]?
Well, on one occasion he brought some Arabs back to London,and put them in a beautiful hotel in London and they were absolutely floored. Because, they were nomadic people who lived in the desert, the only thing they had ever lived in was a tent.
In the luxury hotel the thing that fascinated them most were the faucets, because living in a desert all their life, water was at a premium
. In this fancy hotel all they had to do was merely turn a knob and all the water they wanted was there.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

When Lawrence packed them all up to leave and they were packing their bags, he discovered that they had taken all the faucets off of all the sinks and put them in their bags...under the unbelievably ludicrous view that if they had the faucet they had the water.
Do you see where I’m going?

Now as simple and as foolish as that sounds, there are folk who claim to be believers [but they are really just fashion models wearing God's righteousness, but not filled with God's righteousness] who are under the same unbelievably ludicrous view that if they own a Bible, lift it in the air in church, repeat a mantra weekly they have the promises and the power that comes from the Bible.

To which I say [like with the nomadic Arabs] the Bible is just the faucet, unless you’re connected to the pipeline [Jesus Christ] to look for the promises of God, the power of God, and even the presence of God is foolish.
The power comes from the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only…and that's what’s being said in [Philippians 1:11].

You must realize that the fruit of righteousness comes only through Jesus Christ. He produces it in you, to the glory of God and the praise of God.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Encouraging End-of-the-Year Message This Year ~ For Next!

From: Malachi 3 Selective Verses…

“God Wants Our Best”
(Things That God Will Not Accept)

I want to begin today’s message with a couple of questions:
  1. Why would a Christian withhold from God?
  2. What circumstance could a believer ever experience that would result in them robbing God?
While you are considering your answers let me offer a few addendums:
1.      [Deuteronomy 10:14] says, “Heaven, the higher heavens, and all that is in the earth belongs to God.”
2.      [Psalm 24:1 which follows Psalm 23] says, “The earth is the Lords, and all that it contains.”
This tells us that it is God who gives us all things that we have, there is nothing that we have [n-o-t-h-i-n-g], that we can say is not God’s property. So, again; since it is God who allows us to have the things that we have, why would we withhold the best of our stuff and give God the worst or least of our stuff, and expect Him to like it?
We could run those thoughts over and over in our minds, but the only true conclusion that we could come to, is if a Christian is robbing God of both quantity and quality; their concept of God has to be badly warped…
They can’t know Him as [Lord and Savior] and not offer Him their best…

Context: [The Book of Malachi is the last O.T. words before God is silent for 400 plus years…]
For context and clarity of chapter 3, we need to connect chapter 2:17
Notice that this verse says, “The people of God had wearied the Lord with their words…”
Stay with me now, “God” who created supports and sustains the entire universe, God with whom there is not a bird that falls to the ground without His knowledge of it, God who keeps the stars, in their sockets, the planets in their solar system, seas in oceans, brooks in their banks, vegetation for all animal life, God He who keeps the food change for animals circulating, God who waters the ground with rain, God who leaves snow on the mountain tops in one season so that there will be water in the rivers in another season, God who keeps the laws of gravity and thermodynamics functioning, and all while dealing with the daily disturbances designed by the deviland yet none of these things weary Him. But the one thing that does is the skeptical and offensive words, which come from His people…
*Have you ever considered that?
Think about that just another minute: “Making sure that there is enough metal and steel, oil, gas, and water in/on the earth doesn’t weary God. Making sure that there are enough organisms, micro-organisms, vegetables, fruits, and plants to sustain both human life and animal life doesn’t weary God. But what runs God’s patience short is His people’s ungratefulness…

Observation:    [Read verses …this is a continuation of God’s list of complaints…]
Besides the obvious robbing God of both quantity and quality, this chapter shows us many things that are unacceptable to God… Now let me put this disclaimer out there for all of the bible scholars who will scrutinize this message; I am fully aware that we [N.T. believers] cannot apply these particular promises to every believer today, but there are certain principles and applications for every believer today, and it is those things that I want to point out for our consideration.
V. 2:17) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] changing their views on God’s justice; us [His people] acting and being oblivious to our sins; us [His people] losing faith in Him and having a skeptical attitude towards Him. And that God really has a problem when we/us [His people] confuse our moral distinctions by calling evil—good…
You know why many professed Christians rename and label what is obviously evil as good? It gives them a way of excusing and explaining away their sins.
v. 3:7b) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] pretending to be ignorant of our waywardness.
v. 3:8-10) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] thinking that both quantity [here] and quality [1:7-14] are not important. Many people give and satisfy themselves or rather quite their own minds by thinking God will accept anything from them because He knows their hearts. Listen, we the church may accept anything; your worst and not your best, but as evident by these Scriptures—God won’t…
God didn’t accept this in the O.T. and God didn’t accept it in the N.T. and God will not accept it from us…
God doesn’t accept us who belongs to the church [body of Christ] failing to adequately the church…

And neither God doesn’t accept us who belong to the body of Christ holding back our best, or misappropriating our best out of self-interest and He never will… When we put these three verses together they tell us when we [his people] hold back from giving God our best, we consequently deprive ourselves of all the good things God would otherwise give us In other words, we shut the windows of heaven

v. 3:13a) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] in conversation with other believers speaking harsh things/words that contradict God’s promises, to or about His people…

v. 3:13b) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] being spiritually insensitive and acting as if we are ignorant of our sins…

v. 3:14) tells us that God will not accept us [His people] functioning as if there are no benefits for serving God [useless/unprofitable/of no advantage to serve God]. And the reason so many of them felt like this is because they were not immediately blessed with favor from God…
Listen; don’t become presumptuous with/about God…
Don’t presume that you’ve been faithful in carrying out God’s requirements when you’ve been faithless…
Don’t presume you’ve repented of your sins when you haven’t…
Don’t imply that God hasn’t kept His word/promises—because He has…
And don’t concern yourself with things that don’t concern you—[in this text it was the prosperity of the wicked]…

In summation don’t doubt the justice and mercy of God…
If you are functioning like this, if any of these points/principles apply to you, then you’re not giving God your best and what you are giving Him is unacceptable…

The Bible says in 2 Cor. 9:7 that God loves the cheerful giver… But in that same verse prior to saying this, God says, “Let each one do just as He has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion… Now this is not an excuse to give God less happily, it is a reminder that if we’re going to give God our best and not junk we will need the joy of Jesus operating fully inside of us…
You do know that Jesus wants you to have His joy in so that your joy can be made full… Personally I think that only empty Christians are even half-full Christians are the only ones who withhold from or rob God…

Let me close by describing the joy of Jesus so you’ll know if you have it or not…
Listen, the joy of Jesus is not in having possessions, or positions it’s found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
The joy of Jesus requires at least two conditions: submission and service and when we offer the best of those to Him, Jesus personally sees to our joy being made full/complete
Jesus doesn’t offer partial joy; if you have it you have it all…
The joy of Jesus is not a passing emotion like happiness… Happiness depends on happenings…
The joy of Jesus is not effervescent; it’s not a high emotion that rides on the crest of a fatuous wave…

The joy of Jesus is as real at the graveside as it is at a fireside… [Do you have it???...] ® …
The joy of Jesus does not evaporate under the heat of adversity…
The joy of Jesus does not collapse in the presence of calumny [slander, defamation, false accusations]…
The joy of Jesus does not wither at the onslaught of calamity [misfortune, fatalities, or catastrophes]…
The joy of Jesus does not panic in the presence of perfidy [disloyalty, two-facedness, backstabbing, double-dealing]…
The joy of Jesus does not sour under the test of poverty…
The joy of Jesus does not die at the cruel hand of tragedy…
The joy of Jesus does not misfire in the presence of misery…

The next time you give to God consider all those things and you will give cheerfully, your best gift…

[Giving to God is not just about stewardship [us], but it’s about ownership [God]

As always...Now go and do your own homework!