Thursday, June 28, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Acts Ch 3. What a Difference a Day Makes


One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Acts 3:1, 6-10
5. What a Difference a Day Makes

·    The narrative in Chapter 1 suggests that they were hiding and praying in the upper room. If they’d been there since the ascension, it was ten days!

·   One day after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter and John return to what appears to have been a routine. They go to the Temple at the designated prayer time of 3:00 p.m.

·   There is no report of visiting the Temple in Chapters 1 and 2.
·   Why go now? What was different?

·   The answer is the infilling with the Holy Spirit. They were compelled to share the news and the experience.

·   Reading on through verse 10, we learn that Peter and John are the channels for Christ’s physical healing of a man crippled since birth.

·   Verse 8b in the King James Versions is one my favorite visuals in the Bible.
   [The man] entered with them [Peter and John] into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

· Can’t you just feel the joy?

·   This man had never leaped or walked. Now, he’s doing both while praising God.

·   If Peter and John had gone back to the upper room after the Day of Pentecost and cowered after the Holy Spirit filled them, this man would have died a cripple.

And Acts would be a very short book!


The next Expressions of Faith is Jesus as Christ

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Timeless Truths. The Miracle Tree – Fruit of the Spirit. #4 PATIENCE




19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:19-23

Probably the result of my lack of organized filing system for my sermon notes, I'm missing Pastor Peterson's sermons on Patience and Faithfulness. This blog contains edited text from Adult Bible Fellowship Study Book - Volume 26 Number 3. WordAction Publishing Company. (2003)

#4 Patience

Let's begin with the reminder that patience is a fruit of the Spirit and not just one more item on the list of virtues we ought to develop. We ought to be nice, kind, good, loving, peaceful and, above all, patient! We all know we need to be more patient. We can pray the old prayer, "Lord, give me patience and give it to me now!" but it doesn't help much. In fact, it often seems to backfire, giving more frustrating situations than before the prayer.

Here is what does help us: patience is a God word; God is the patient One who is "slow to anger" (Exodus 34:6- 7) who will wait a thousand years and a day (2 Peter 3:8-9) to save us. God's patience is not His ability to wait end­lessly with no goal in mind. He loves us and is patient as He works in us to fulfill His saving purposes. While He waits, He works, and while He is working He is waiting, giving love time to bear its fruit. Peter was right when he wrote, "the Lord's patience means salvation" (2 Peter 3:15).

“This fruit of God's Spirit is not something we pray for, expecting God to drop it down into our little lives like a neatly wrapped gift package. If we pray earnestly for the gift of this special grace, God will arrange for sue~ people and circumstances to enter our experience that only the presence and exercise of His patience will enable us to cope at all. Thus we will learn to practice patience in the fierce furnace of affliction ... The deep spading and heavy plowing of God's Spirit in, my soul are what eventually will pro­duce the rich fruit of His own patience in my character. It can come no other way"
W. Phillip Keller, A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit
[Waco Tex.: Word Books, 1979], 123-24

Settle Down Jeremiah 29:4-11)
Nebuchadnezzar's armies had invaded Judea and plundered both the holy Temple and the holy people, taking the king, the priests, the nobles, civic leaders, and artisans into exile. The common presumption was that God would soon destroy the pagans and bring His people home. That was precisely the message of the local prophets both in Jerusalem and in Babylon. But it was not Jeremiah's message.
The weeping prophet discerned in the awful event both the judgment and the grace of God, both the purpose and the patience of God. So Jere­miah sent the exiles a letter that was almost as astonishing as their exile. First the salutation: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon" (v. 4). God said, "I did it." Here is a wonderful thing, even as they experienced the judgment of displacement for their unfaithfulness, they were carried in His faithful hands. You are never left alone.
Second, God's letter told them to give up their fantasies of a soon re­turn, to be patient, to "build houses and settle down" (v. 5). They would be in exile for years. How could they maintain their faith in God, hold on t their identity as His people in a pagan culture, and keep their hope for return alive year after year after year? The same way we keep ours when the things we hope and pray for are long delayed, with patience and trust in the purposes of God.
The patience of God means that He takes time seriously and is not just waiting for something to happen. He is working in all things for good (Ro­mans 8:28). When nothing is happening, some­thing is happening. God is working in the waiting. In the awful wait­ing time, we wonder if anything will ever change, if anything good can ever emerge. It means everything to know that God has purposes for our lives toward which He is patiently working.
Third, and this is remarkable, the exiles were to "seek the prosperity of the city" (v. 7) where they were placed and to pray for it because the city's prosperity would be theirs as well. Jeremiah saw that God had plans for Israel even in Baby­lon-and plans for Babylon too.
Even though we live as aliens in the world, we are in it, and the welfare of the world is our welfare too. So, in pa­tience we pray for the good of the company, the good of our fellow workers, our families, and our town even if we are living "in exile."
Hear this gracious promise, "For I know the plans I have for you,' de­clares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ( v. 11). If we can accept this promise for ourselves and for others, it will help us to be patient with the patient working of God.

Our Patience and His Coming (James 5:7-11)
James has a different focus. 
How is one to be patient in the face of unjust treatment? 
Can we endure patiently although the days seem long and the nights seem longer, while right seems never to prevail and wrong flourishes?
James reminds us to "See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains" (v. 7). The patience of the farmer was not meaningless en­durance. His waiting and working were directed toward the specific end of the harvest. Patience and hope and anticipation all go together; they all mean waiting and working with God as He reveals and fulfills His will in our lives. Patience is not hanging around, waiting for whatever. Such waiting is likely to end with grumbling, and complaining, and divisive­ness. The Judge standing at the door apparently does not patiently look on at such behavior!
Then there was Job. Who has not heard of the patience of Job? And who of us wants to go through what he did to get it! Actually, reading the book that tells his story, the word "patience" doesn't come to mind. But he held on, kept talking, kept communicating, even fussing with God, and found that God is "full of compassion and mercy" (v. 11).

How can you take specific steps to be more patient: with God and His plans? with ourselves? in our circumstances? at home? at church? in the workplace?

The Lord Is Near (James 5:7-11, continued)
We have great examples to help us endure, but the great reality that un­dergirds our patience is the coming of the Lord. The immediate question is this: How does the Lord's coming in the future help us with our patience in the present?
James did not say "the coming of Jesus," or "the coming of Christ," but of "the Lord" (five times!), though Jesus is the One who is com­ing again. "Lord" is a title that desig­nates sovereignty and authority. Jesus is the sovereign Lord whose coming is sure (v. 7) and whose coming is near (v. 8). This changes our ordinary perspective on patience. The Lord Jesus knows who He is, what He is doing, and what He will do, and He has pow­er to carry it out (Matthew 28: 18). The sovereign Lord Jesus is in charge here and is bigger than whatever is go­ing on in our lives. His coming is sure; that means His final victory is sure. Through His death and resurrection, He conquered every force that can work against us, and He will come again in triumph. That has everything to do with patience. Whatever uncertainties we face, whatever problems we are dealing with, whatever failures we experience, we can patiently carry on in hope.
The word "coming" (parousia) has a wonderful double meaning. It indicates coming it the sense of arrival, and it also means presence, literally, "being present with." The lord, who is coming, has already come. He is here, with us by His Holy Spirit. 
Another great word James used was "near." It is a word for near in space, or near in time, or both. We don't know how near in time His coming is but until then, however long, He is near to us-present with us. He is the patient One. His Spirit will bear His fruit of patience in us as we keep on doing what needs to be done, waiting for His coming.


    The next Timeless Truths is Timeless Truths. The Miracle Tree – Fruit of the Spirit. #4 KINDNESS

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