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Posts Tagged ‘Serve’

Listening to God

April 4th, 2011

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1

  • This is a practical message. It shouldn’t freak us out – we were made to hear from God
  • The problem is with us, we have resisted God – we grow complacent and ignore God, which leads us to become deaf. God keeps talking however and is creative with how He speaks
  • This book teaches that listening to God is very important
  • 1 Samuel 3:1 – God rarely spoke as the people had become deaf. This is tragic and dangerous
  • 1 Samuel 3:3 – the lamp was nearly out and Eli the priest was almost blind – situation was very bad
  • God starts speaking again to a little boy – He began with the weakest
  • If it seems that God is speaking we must take it seriously
  • Heb 3:7-11 – challenged to take God seriously
  • Matt 13:9
  • Samuel heard an audible voice – is that normal?
  • In the Bible there are some who uniquely hear God’s voice but there is a hint that we all should – Joel 2
  • It is possible to be a Christian and still live in the Old Testament – saved but not hearing God
  • God expects us to talk and listen to Him – our prayer life should be a 2-way conversation
  • How does hearing God actually work? Are there principles?
  • On the surface there doesn’t seem to be!
  • God spoke to Samuel in a unique way – unlike in Exodus when God’s voice was thunderous God spoke to Samuel like Eli
  • God isn’t predictable! He talks in very different ways
  • God’s style changes but His message is consistent
  • 1 Samuel 3:12 – God is building on what He had already said

 

Keep the Bible central

  • Everything God says matches up to the Bible
  • We test what people say is God by the Bible – the Bible doesn’t have to be tested
  • God speaks through the Bible – it is alive
  • If the Bible doesn’t speak to you, you’re reading it wrong!
  • Preaching is meant to be powerful
  • It is disastrous to wander away from the Bible but still be “spiritual”

 

Serve the Church

  • God speaks for the benefit of everyone
  • When Samuel hears God, he goes to Eli for help and to check out what he’d heard
  • A mistake people can make when God speaks: they get puffed up and start to think they don’t need the church. This is pride and God will stop talking. Be careful and be humble.
  • Hebrews 3: 12-13 – there are two choices: a hardened heart or go to church
  • We need to exhort one another
  • There may be some who feel like they’re in a spiritual desert – this is because they have isolated themselves
  • If God told you something, be humble and submit it to someone
  • If God spoke, it will happen.

 

Accept Pain

  • God will tell you to do something that you’ll not want to do – say something or change something about yourself
  • 1 Samuel 3:15 – Samuel had to tell Eli hard things from God
  • Hearing from God is a privilege but it can bring pain
  • As we learn to walk in obedience God gives opportunities to speak
  • Take risks, sometimes we can be unsure – the more risks we take, the more we grow and learn to discern God’s voice

 

Stay humble

  • Listening to God will be painful and sometimes lonely, but Jesus has been there
  • Matthew 26 – Jesus had to bring awful news
  • We are never forsaken by God and we will never be completely alone

Men and Women in Church – 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

July 19th, 2010

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This is a difficult passage and is controversial in our day and age, but we need to humbly submit ourselves to it and listen to what it is saying to us, rather than force our own interpretation on it.

1. What is instructed here?

  • v.4
  • Because of the freedom that has been bought for us through Christ, we can sometimes “over do” it and take our liberties too far, throwing off every rule and principle. One of the things we can do is blur gender
  • Jesus promoted a new freedom, a new way of equality between the sexes – and this is what Paul is also promoting
  • When this letter was written, it seemed as though women in the Corinthian church were not following the normal protocol/dress code of the day – it could be that they were not wearing their headcoverings, which distinguished them from the men, or that they were wearing their hair like immoral women would
  • The principle here is that men should be men and women should be women – and it should be visibly seen that way

2. Why is it instructed?

  • v.3
  • Paul wants there to be an understanding of the beautiful and honourable principles of authority and submission, and distinction within gender
  • The key phrase here is ‘the head of Christ is God’ – it all comes back to and originates within the Trinity – 1 God, 3 persons, where there is order, headship and submission
  • Equality of essence does not diminish distinction of roles
  • Authority does not mean a higher importance, higher value or more envied position
  • Jesus is glad to submit to the Father
  • The woman is the glory of man – woman was made from and for man. She was made in the image of God as man’s equal, but with a different role
  • Paul wants the church to shine with complementarianism and equality
  • The word “helper” used to describe the role of the woman is not a derogatory word; the exact same word is used to describe God the Holy Spirit. God does not mind being called a helper! It is an honourable thing

3. How is this fair?

  • Paul stresses that both sexes are equal before God
  • The key phrase is in v.11 – ‘in the Lord’ – this all works in the Lord
  • In God all of this works in joy and harmony – and it was the same with Adam and Eve in the garden
  • What ruined everything was sin – it brought on gender wars, oppression of women, etc. Women desire to control men and men oppress and rule over women
  • It’s not that there is a problem with headship and submission are wrong – is that there is a problem with us
  • Men are supposed to lead and use their power with humility – like Christ, who did not boss people around or lord his authority over people; He serves and He loves
  • Jesus used his power and authority wisely – husbands are to do the same
  • Jesus is also the model for wives in that He submits to the Father with gladness, honour and joy, trusting the Father

4. What now?

  • ‘Judge for yourselves’ – it is obvious to us what makes our gender distinctives in our culture
  • We need to know that God cares about gender, even if our culture doesn’t
  • Women are only called to submit to their husbands, and men only have authority over their wives – but we can have echoes within the church of men taking responsibility and serving as a way of leading, and women can come alongside and be of great help
  • Look to Jesus – as the role model and as the strength to be able to carry out our roles