Monday, February 12, 2018

Winning the War Within - Its Support

These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
1 Thess 5:1-22
When asked for sermon topics and concerns last month, one of you wrote: “Any sermons on building stronger Christian relationships and accountability. For example, strong Christians encouraging the weak. Loving people who are marginalized bringing them into the work of the church.  Having eyes for those who worship with us but don’t feel accepted and comfortable. Marks of true discipleship: love, forgiveness, patience, etc, and what this looks like in our Christian friendships. May we have eyes to see all those who need to be talked to...and greeted and sat by, and checked on.  We could grow the church so much if we just could grow those who already are with us to deepen their love, their need for the body of Christ, and their involvement on a personal level.” 
So let’s talk about the church as God’s support group in our war with sin.
The War Within
1. Its Nature – Inner Wrestling
2. Its Cause – Competing Desires
3. Its Base – Starting Point
4. Its Schemer – Satan
5. Its Governor – God
6. Its Pivot – Prayer
7. Its Predictability – Process
Most, but not all the material in these lessons is original. Charles Stanley’s book, Winning the War Within, is one source I have used.
Its Support
1 Thess 5:1-22 – Read and highlight the text.
You are not alone as you wrestle with temptation and sin! When you isolate yourself from others, you open yourself to the devil’s attacks. You feel battle-weary, so you withdraw farther, and then you become even more worn-down. It’s a vicious cycle. Stop it! The church is God’s support group, sharing His unlimited resources to help you win this war.
Interview with Jason – November 3, 1999
Entered the reserves.  Basic training summer, 1999, in Fort McClellan, Alabama. Trainees would put on their uniform, pack their equipment, and report. If they forgot something (or left it out on purpose), they would suffer consequences.  Often brought canteen with no water.  Had to go thirsty all day.
If the drill sergeant could get your rifle away from you at any time, day or night, you would have to work out.  Run laps, do pushups, etc., to “earn it back.” At night, Jason would sleep with his rifle inside his sleeping bag!
Others used duct tape to tape their rifles to their legs.  To pull the rifle would also pull the leg and wake the soldier up.
Had to carry some items they thought they might not need.  Some tried to leave them out, to make the backpack lighter and allow more space.  Such items as tent rope, tent pegs, gas masks, magazine for rifle.
Later they would need these things and not have them.
Urban assault training – secure buildings, knock down doors.
That experience – lacking the right equipment at a critical time – would transform their preparation and packing for the next excursion.
Interdependence – Jason and his peers went through 1/4-mile-long sewer tunnel.  Each man held on to the next man as a link in a chain.
Support: “One-Another” Passages
Jn 15:12     Love O/A “as I have loved you.”
Gal 5:13ff   In that love serve. Don’t bite, devour!
Rom 14:19  Seek peace, build up, edify.
Rom 15:14  Counsel, instruct.
Col 3:16      Teach and admonish (singing).
Gal 6:1-2    Restore; bear burdens.
1 Th 4:18    Encourage in bereavement.
Jas 5:16     Confess sins and pray.
Heb 3:13    Exhort “today” re: sin.
We need accountability!
Billy’s mom has been teaching him to resist temptation. Each week she says: “Don’t eat the cookies from the cookie jar!” Each week he tries to obey, but he gives into his desire and has a cookie anyway. She suspects him, but she has no proof, so he gets away with it.
What motivation can she use?
Several. She can talk about her authority. God’s pattern. She can tell him that he’s depriving others of cookies. She can threaten to spank him if she sees him.
Finally, when none of that seems to do the job, she adds one last motivation. She says:
“I have counted the cookies.”
Accountability is making sure that someone else has “counted the cookies” in the area(s) in which you are most often tempted.
Accountability is …
Admitting, sharing, and seeking support for …
Hurts, fears, temptations, doubts, and defeats …
Humbly, honestly, transparently, and openly …
With a trusted and respected friend or group …
That can listen, pray, and sometimes advise …
To help you see sin objectively and repent of it …
And support you in every step of progress …
Patiently, in confidence and privacy …
With only God’s will and your good at heart.
Who, How, When, and Where?
How to proceed?
Informally. No outline, no strict, formal instructions. Outgrowth of a friendship you already have. Golf or exercise friend. Elder, Bible school teacher, etc.
Start young. Before troubles start. Some teenagers find such a person or group in their youth group, family (older brother), or school. They remain partners for life.
Some once a month face-to-face; once a week by phone.
Choose a partner (or group) of the same sex as you …
Choose someone that you enjoy being around and spending time with.
Choose someone that you respect spiritually, who is serious about following the will of God.
Choose someone that will be honest, will build you up, will help you. Not a critical nag.
Aim for a balance of encouragement and exhortation, not 50-50 but more like 75-25. That is, 75% encouragement and 25% exhortation.
Agree never to give unsolicited advice or criticism.
“I have some feedback. It may hurt. Are you open to hearing it?”
No one is a spiritual island.
Prov 18:24 – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Look for that friend. Be that friend.
Man Up, God’s Girls, L2L groups, Bible classes, Encouragement Teams, Men’s Breakfasts, Retreats
Barriers to Accountability
Pride. Stubbornness. Denial. Embarrassment.
“This is no one else’s business!” Isolationism.
“No one else would understand.” Isolationism.
“This is not that big a deal.” Minimization.
“I can fix this, cover this up, and/or quit this!”
“No one will ever know.”
“Others do this. They don’t admit it. Hypocrites!”
“People will judge me. I’ll look and feel foolish.”
“Once I admit this, I’ll be expected to change it!”
Who wants to admit secret sins to others?
Who wants to appear weak?
Who wants to invite criticism?
Who wants other people checking up on them?
Who wants to become transparent and vulnerable?
Only those who struggle repeatedly with sin and would find it easier to resist if they knew that someone else had counted the cookies!
True Friends
Prov 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Prov 27:5-6 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Prov 28:23 – He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.
Real Before/After Support
2 Cor 2:6 Sufficient for such a one …
(one previously held accountable and disciplined for his sin, perhaps re: 1 Cor 5)
is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.
Possible hymns:
God’s Family
Blest Be the Tie that Binds
How Sweet, How Heavenly
Bring Christ Your Broken Life

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 01 INTRODUCTION

These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:

Keys to the Kingdom 01 – INTRODUCTION 2018 02 11 AM
These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:

Reading: Matt 5:1-12
Winter Olympics. What a contrast between the Pyeongchang mountain cluster in South Korea and the hillside where Jesus taught His disciples. In South Korea, millions of dollars, millions of hours, millions of practices, and millions of people. Bright lights, elaborate light shows, amazing choreography, dazzling displays. A different culture. A different language. A different passion.
On the other hand, think of the similarities. A decision to leave the common, everyday life and climb the mountain. An appetite for something more than the mundane, everyday world. A dream. A goal. A commitment.
A different culture. A different language. A different passion. Not just in South Korea, but on that mountain in Galilee.
This is an exciting time to be studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We live in an age of disillusionment, in which it is apparent that the world’s answers do not work. What our generation seeks – happiness, security, integrity, transparency, and fulfillment – our culture does not and cannot provide.
Does true happiness result from health, wealth, and prosperity? Does fulfillment depend on popularity and possessions? While the world says, “Blessed are the proud, the pushy, and the powerful,” Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted.” Ironically, Jesus is right!
This is also a challenging time to be studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It calls us to be counter-cultural, to be different from, even opposite to, the watching world. If those around us see us in the church as basically going with the culture, compromising and complacent, more similar to than different from themselves, they will be turned off. Much that is offered by religion today is a Joel-Osteen-type prosperity gospel of health and wealth.
Stott: For the essential theme of the whole Bible from beginning to end is that God’s historical purpose is to call out a people for himself; that this people is a ‘holy’ people, set apart from the world to belong to him and to obey him; and that its vocation is to be true to its identity, that is, to be ‘holy’ or ‘different’ in all its outlook and behavior.
Stott: The Sermon on the Mount, then, is to be seen in this context. It portrays the repentance (metanoia, the complete change of mind) and the righteousness which belong to the kingdom. That is, it describes what human life and human community look like when they come under the gracious rule of God.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is His inaugural address, in which He introduces the Kingdom of God to His hearers. It is His discipleship manual for all who would follow Him and therefore our job description. It runs counter to the world’s value system, yet every paradox in it is true. It defines us, directs us, comforts us, challenges us, and motivates us. Let’s discover and use the “Keys to the Kingdom” found in it!
When Jesus’ disciples came to Him on the mountain, He gave them the primary qualities they would need in order to follow Him. We will call them “Keys to the Kingdom” as we consider the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount.
By “keys to the kingdom” we do not mean that we can earn our place in the presence of God. However, Christ makes it clear that only those who strive for these keys will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Stott: The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed. It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that he ever uttered, for it is his own description of what he wanted his followers to be and to do. To my mind no two words sum up its intention better, or indicate more clearly its challenge to the modern world, than the expression ‘Christian counter-culture’.
Boice: The world of the Sermon on the Mount is a real and sinful world—a world of tax collectors, unjust officials, hypocrites, thieves, of those who are weak or poor, and false prophets. It is a statement of how those who are born again by faith in Christ are to live in spite of it.
The Promise
The Climate
The Prelude
The Crowd
The Setting
The Rabbi
The Purpose
The Message
Jews under Roman oppression. Enslaved. Disillusioned. Looking for hope, for life, for joy. Sick and tired of being sick and tired!
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” ― Emma Lazarus
They do not need a new self-help book, a set of legalistic rules that they can never adequately fulfill. They need a new life! So do we! So does our world!
Then – and Now
             Keys to the Kingdom
             Life, Purpose, Meaning
             Happiness, Contentment
             Marriage, Relationships
             Success, No Regrets
Here are the 15 Keys.
Character – 5:1-12
Influence – 5:13-16
Self-Control – 5:17-30
Faithfulness – 5:31-37
Response – 5:38-42
Love – 5:43-48
Generosity – 6:1-4
Prayer – 6:5-15
Self-Denial – 6:16-18
Investment – 6:19-24
Preoccupation – 6:25-34
Discernment – 7:1-12
Direction – 7:13-14
Obedience – 7:15-23
Action – 7:24-27
Keys to the Kingdom
Mt 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
What’s the first key to accessing all the others?
Mt 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
The crowds … His disciples. Are they the same?
Did all ascend the mountain and come to Him?
Before the sermon ever began,
Some were already His disciples.
Committed. Eager. Determined.
That changes everything.

What about you?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Angels – God’s Heavenly Host

These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
Angels. They’ve been called God’s “secret agents” or even His “secret service,” yet when they have appeared they have often been anything but secret! They’ve been called God’s “mighty messengers,” though they seem to be focused also on worshiping and glorifying God. They’ve been pictured as chubby babies floating in the sky and playing harps, yet Scripture never describes them that way. When a person dies you may hear, “Heaven needed another angel,” but Jesus clearly taught that people do not become angels.
I like to preach about the spirit world and how it intersects with our own. Why?
1.   We must remember that there IS such a world. We often think and act only in terms of what we see, touch, taste, and feel for ourselves.
2.   We often warn about Satan and his demons. Without intending it, we might leave the idea that God is understaffed or that we are outnumbered!
3.   The Bible speaks frequently about angels. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament (Chafer, Systematic Theology, II, 3).
4.   There’s a mystery about creatures that are different from human beings. Even those in the world imagine what else might be out there.
5.   It’s a good conversation starter. “What do you think about angels and demons, and why?”
6.   We are curious. What does the Bible tell us about angels? How are they involved in our lives today?

There is so much in the Bible about angels that it’s hard to choose one text! And it’s impossible to cover the subject in one sermon!
One of the big surprises perhaps – angels, though in one sense of a higher order than we are, serve us.
Another surprise – Jesus, far above all angels, became for a while lower than the angels. To save us.
Another – the devil has angels.
Another – some angels have chosen to rebel and sin. Yet Jesus did not become an angel, to save angels. He became a man, to save us. Heb 2
Another – Satan may have been an angel who rebelled and became the prince of wicked angels, called demons.
Your Question
Mt 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
You asked me, “Does each child have an assigned guardian angel?”
Context of 18:1-14: God’s desire to uphold, save, protect and retrieve children, “these little ones who believe in Me,” and weak, erring sheep.
“Their angels” may have a role in all these areas, without be assigned one-to-one. Maybe a zone defense, not “man-to-man!” Cf. Ps 91, esp. 11-12.
Heb.מַלְאָךְ  malawk from root “to dispatch as a deputy.” Messenger, ambassador, angel. Used 213 times. Note: “Malachi” = “My messenger.”*
Cherubim – like winged sphinxes. Gen 3:24; 1 Kgs 6:23-28; Eze 1:4-14; 10:1-22; Rev 4:6-9.
Seraphim = “fiery, burning ones.” Only Isa 6:1-7. Each with six wings. “Holy, holy, holy …”
Grk. ἄγγελος  angelos from verb “to deliver a message.” Note: “evangelize” = “tell good news.”*
*Term can also refer to a human messenger.
Origin and Nature
Created beings: Neh 9:6; Ps 148:1-6; Col 1:16-17
Ministering spirits, not inherently physical: He 1:14
Heavenly army or host: Lk 2:13 only.
Innumerable: He 12:22 (myriads); Mt 26:53 (12 legions = 72,000); Re 5:11 (myriads of myriads = ten thousands of ten thousands).
Taking on the form, shape, and appearance suited to each particular task.
Origin and Nature
Described only in masculine terms, though …
No marriage, reproduction: Mt 22:30; Lk 20:34-36
Free to disobey: 2 Pe 2:4; Jud 6.
Never to die. 2 Pe 2:4; Jud 6.
Not eligible for salvation: Heb 2:14-18
Intrigued by our salvation: 1 Pe 1:12
Michael and Gabriel
The only two angels named. What about Satan?
Michael: Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jud 9; Re 12:7
“Who is like God.” Question or statement.
“Archangel” = angel of the highest rank.
Special steward to care for Israel.
Gabriel: Dan 8:16; 9:21; Lk 1:19, 26
“Warrior of God, mighty man of God.”
Special messenger to God’s servants.
Function and Purpose
To serve, worship, and glorify God. Isa 6; Re 4-5
To announce God’s message. Lk 1
To accomplish God’s assignments. Re 7-10
To protect God’s people. Ps 91:11-13; Mt 18:10
To minister to God’s people. He 1:14
Function and Purpose
To frustrate the devil’s wiles. Jude 6
To punish wicked men. Gen 19:1-26; 2 Kgs 19:35; Acts 12:23
To preside over governments and councils. Dan 10:20, 21; 11:1; 12:1
To aid in bringing men to repentance. Acts 10
To care for living saints. Heb 1:14; 2 Kings 6:15-23; Ps 34:7; 91:11; Dan 3:25-28; 6:22; Matt 18:10; Acts 5:19; 12:7
To bear the dying home to glory. Luke 16:22
Was the “Angel of the Lord” Jesus? No, Because ...

Heb 1 emphatically insists Jesus is not an angel.
Angels are creatures. Jesus is (as God) Creator.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses” say that Jesus is an angel.
The OT looks forward to the Lord coming, as if He has not yet come to earth among men.
The arrival of Jesus via Mary loses its uniqueness if He previously came to earth by other means.
Jesus never claimed to be that angel.
No NT reference identifies Jesus with that angel.
We are to worship Jesus but not angels.

Buy-In --- a Lesson on Discipleship

These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
Mt 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Do you ever wish you had bought in on the ground floor of a small start-up company that then took off and made a fortune? If you had only known!
You know the “My Pillow” guy. With every $$$ pillow you buy, he gets a better night’s sleep! He bought into the company 100%. He’s giving it all he has. He lives it, he breathes it, he talks it, and yes, he sleeps it! He may not ever have time to sleep on his pillow, because he’s always on TV talking about it! Actually, he’s passionate about his pillow. He grips that pillow so tightly that I would hate to try to take it from him.
By the way, he’s an excellent role model of evangelism. He is so excited about his good news that he shares it constantly. He’s infected his whole company, and he’s reached the entire nation with his message.
Would you invest in a start-up company that could not possibly fail? Of course! We give our time, money, and effort to that which we think will bring the greatest benefit. The more we “buy in” at the beginning, the greater the payoff, and the less likely we are to “bail out” as circumstances change. Say, have you fully bought into the Kingdom of God?
Why do you suppose people drop out of, or pull back from, following Jesus and serving actively in the local church? Many reasons could be given, but here’s one that has occurred to me more and more. Sometimes a person may bail out because he never fully bought in.
So the more “buy-in” one has when coming to Christ or to this church, the less “bail-out” there will be.
If you put all you had into a house, or a business, or a move, think how unlikely it is that you would ever let it go.
On the other hand, if you simply give a token of your resources, your investment is not that great. You won’t lose all that much if you walk away.
The extent to which you buy in determines the length to which you will go to stay in.
The more you think it through, the more you will see it through.
The more / sooner      the buy-in,
The more precious      the pay-out,
The less likely    the bail-out.
Our Nation’s Founders
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly…”
-- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776-1783
“We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
-- Signers, Declaration of Independence
Our founders were devoted to the ideals of freedom and equality, and what made them so extraordinary was that what they were doing was unheard of before. The founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that they were going to ignore the “ties of our common kindred.” They ignored and severed the natural familial ties they held with Britain, and they replaced them with a devotion to a few self-evident truths that they believed were applicable to all people and all times. These were truths that the world had never realized before, and if their bold experiment were to succeed they would be truths that the world could never forget.
Prosperous men who could have lived out their lives happily signed their names to a document in which they pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.” Many of them would be called to sacrifice what they pledged to each other that day. This new idea of a country tied together in their loyalty to a set of principles helped to create a new nation. But after many losing battles it seemed that many Americans were ready to give up and reconcile with Great Britain. It was at about this time, when Americans were questioning their patriotism that Thomas Paine wrote The American Crisis, which reminded all Americans that patriotism should always remain a necessary part of this new regime. Paine wrote, “what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: tis’ dearness only that gives everything its value… the heart that feels not now is dead: the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.”
Jesus invited people to buy into the Kingdom of God.
The Treasure and the Pearl
Matt 13:44-46
Mt 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
To buy in, these two first had to sell off.
Why would they do it?
How did they do it?
What payoff would they receive?
How likely would they be to lose, forsake, waste, or mismanage their new-found treasure or pearl?
Since they gave all they had to get it,
they would do all they could to keep it!
Guaranteed Security
Matt 6:19-21
Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves (buy into) treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves (buy into) treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
21 for where your treasure is (what you buy into), there your heart (interest, focus, passion) will be also.”
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
The Tax Collector’s Choice
Luke 5:27-29
What had Levi bought into before Jesus came?
What was Jesus offering him?
What was his response?
What changed as a result?
What did he become?
What did he do?
Why? All because he bought in.
Lk 5:27 After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. 29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.
Rich or Poor?
Mark 10:17-22
Mk 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
What did Jesus offer the man who “had it all?”
What would it cost the man to buy in?
What would it cost him not to buy in?
Mark 10:28-31
Mk 10:28 Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”
Lk 22:28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Peter: “We bought in! What’s the payoff?”
The ruler was rich yet poor.
Peter was poor yet rich.
Which would you rather be? You must choose.
Where’d Everybody Go?
John 6:66-69
Jn 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”
After Jesus fed the 5,000 …
The multitude left.
The disciples remained.
What made the difference?
Bought In – or Sold Out?
2 Tim 1:8-18
12 Paul: “I know … He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him (my deposit) until that day.”
14 To Timothy: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure (good deposit) which has been entrusted to you.”
15 All in Asia, such as Phygelus and Hermogenes, “turned away.”
16 Onesiphorus “often refreshed me; not ashamed of my chains; eagerly searched for me …”
2 Ti 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 15 You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17 but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— 18 the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.
“Cheap Grace”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“Cheap grace” is “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession.”
“Cheap grace” is “grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
The Cost of Discipleship
Your relationship to Jesus Christ is worth exactly what it cost you to get it and exactly what you would sacrifice to keep it.
I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord – Timothy Dwight (1752-1817)
I love Thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode,
The Church our blest Redeemer bought
With His own precious blood.
I love Thy Church, O God!
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye
And graven on Thy hand.
For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be given
Till toils and cares shall end.
Beyond my highest joy
I prize her heavenly ways,
Her sweet communion, solemn vows,
Her hymns of love and praise.
Sure as Thy truth shall last,
To Zion shall be given
The brightest glories earth can yield,
And brighter bliss of heaven.
Col 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
Count the Cost First
and You Will Last.
Luke 14:28-30

Lk 14:28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’