Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: November 2017 (Page 1 of 7)

What A Christian Looks Like

December 1 – Today’s Readings – Titus 1-3 and Proverbs 1

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8)

“These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 2:15-3:2)

What a guide to practical Christian living! Paul goes on and on about how to live and how not to live. He speaks about our marriages, our home lives, our work habits, our social habits, our focus in life, our attitudes towards all authority and our willingness to accept sound doctrine while rejecting the rest. There is so much written here about what a Christian should “look like”. After having read this short book do you have a “picture” in your head of what normal Christianity is? We are to be different from the world. We are to be so different from the world that without saying a word, people can identify us a followers of Jesus. Our words should be a confirmation of what people already know about us. They see Jesus in us just because we are great people to be around. We don’t cheat them – we don’t lie to them – we don’t joke about them – we don’t talk about them disrespectfully behind their backs – we don’t flirt with their wives – we won’t be leading any rebellions against the government – we will do an honest day’s work – we can be trusted with “the till” – if put in charge of the business we will manage as if it was our own – if someone asks our children what we are really like at home they will brag about us truthfully.

These are not just qualifications for leadership in the Church – these are qualifications for us all. The standard is high, but so it should be. Since when is the Church supposed to look like the world? The only way that I know to be a Christian is to decide on a daily basis to walk with the Lord and to make it new, fresh and zealous on a continuous basis. Let’s not get tired of doing good – of living right – of being lovers of people – of being upright in character. This was Paul’s admonition to the Church at the end of his life. Notice, he did not insist we focus on the latest interpretation of the book of Daniel. Paul told the Church to stay away from that kind of stuff. He wanted people to know that the simplicity of a pure Christian life was “where it’s at”.

A PLUG FOR MY FAVORITE HOME MISSIONS PROJECT – The first Tuesday after American thanksgiving is known as “Giving Tuesday” because it is the single biggest donation day of the year. Help Kids On Track meet it’s $ goal today by making a donation. You can do so by linking directly to my special online giving page:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/daves-christmas-wrap/

Questions:

Tell of other ways that we can be a witness to our society without saying a word.
How can we live the life Paul is speaking of without becoming legalistic in our faith?

“I Beat Some Of The Men,And Pulled Out Their Hair.”

November 30 – Today’s Readings – Nehemiah 12-13 and Psalms 150

Chapter 13:23-25 reads, “Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair.”

Here now is a unique style of Pastoral leadership – calling down curses – beating up on the men – pulling out their hair! It certainly is an indication that this man was zealous about getting the nation to serve God. I believe it is also an indication of how God sees the Church’s compromise with the world’s sinful system.

Here’s the scoop – It is “normal” for a Bible believing Christian to be extremely angry with the Devil. The enemy of our souls is continually trying to lead God’s children astray and when he succeeds we should get downright hostile with him. Our “violence” should be expressed in our prayer life as we beseech the Lord on behalf of the wayward Christian. We should also stand in the way of a believer who is being led down the road of sin by the Devil. We should never be afraid to speak up if we see sinful patterns developing in the Church. To not speak – to not act when faced with a sinful situation – is to not love the person or people enough to stand in their way. The Apostle Paul instructed Pastor Timothy, “Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” [1Timothy 5:20]

On a completely unrelated note – did you notice the styles of worship expressed in this passage? Two large “dueling” choirs on opposing walls of the city – all kinds of instruments playing loudly to the Lord – women and children rejoicing – all of them making so much noise that the sound of it could be heard a long ways off. It shouldn’t be just the quality of our sound system that determines the volume of our worship services – it should be the volume of the people! I’ve said it many times before – I believe that we create an irresistible atmosphere for God’s presence when we worship in unity and with a whole heart. The presence of the Lord cannot stay away from a group of people who have turned to Him in unity of worship. One of my dreams for the Church of God is to have the congregation not holding anything back in worship. I believe we would see such a “move of the Spirit” that the entire town would stand up and take notice! Let’s come to corporate worship all “prayed up” and ready to meet God in a supernatural way!

Questions:

1. Is there a New Testament example you can think of where Church leaders were zealous like Nehemiah? (Without pulling out the hair of course.)
2. Have you ever experienced a unity of worship so that the presence of God was evident in a supernatural way? Tell about it.

A Binding Agreement

November 29 – Today’s Readings – Nehemiah 10-11 and Psalms 149

Nehemiah 9:38 and 10:28-29 reads, “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”…“The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand – all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.”

At the end of Chapter 9 and the beginning of Chapter 10 the people entered into an oath to keep the Law of God. They promised to tithe, to keep the Sabbath, to not get involved with the sins and customs of “the world”, and to not neglect the house of God. I’m sure there were other aspects of “the Law” that they promised as well – but we understand the general meaning – these people were committing themselves to obeying God’s Word.

There are many who would scoff at this practice today, citing the fact that none of us can keep the Word by a commitment of our wills alone. This is true. Living according to the Word of God comes by the grace of God and living in a humble attitude of repentance. What benefit then is there to our commitments? Is there any value in deciding to follow and obey Jesus? Is it all up to God? Well of course its all up to God – – well of course its all up to us!

Do you see it? We have to be 100% percent committed to obey and God has to do 100% of the “work”. This is called the grace of God. It’s like a good marriage. 50/50 will never work. Each spouse has to be in it 100%.

We are not nor will we ever be “saved by works” – or by committing to the “Law”. However when we are saved we must set our wills to obey and we will be progressively transformed to the image of Christ by constantly running to the arms of grace. Our good works will be the fruit of our salvation and of our relationship with the Lord.

Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 – “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Questions:

1. Give your own definition of the word “redemption”.
2. Give your own definition of the word “consecration”.
3. Give your own definition of the word “justification”.
4. Give your own definition of the word “sanctification”.

A Convergence Of Good

November 28 – Today’s Readings – Nehemiah 7-9 and Psalms 148

As you read this portion of Scripture today, you no doubt noted the convergence of good things taking place in Israel at this time in history. First the people had been challenged to put sin behind them and begin to live according to God’s plan for the nation. Next, they had been commissioned by the Lord to finish the Temple and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When they completed the walls and fortified the city, they began to meet together, reading the Word of God and repenting for four hours at a time. During these meetings they would receive explanations concerning what the Word meant – they combined this with worship and confession but they also had great fellowship parties!

This combination of action and faith also provides an excellent dynamic for a spiritually mature New Testament Church. I see elements of these things at work in any “alive” modern-day Church. We meet to worship and to understand the Word. We have parties and are willing to roll up our sleeves to accomplish works of service in the community and the Church. We value “the Temple of God” and the “City of God”. The only thing we seem to be missing from Nehemiah’s formula is the repentance! These people would repent for four hours at a time! They would go over the history of sins that Israel had committed and confess them to the Lord – then worship some more. Is there value in this type of repentance? – Digging up the past? – Ancestor’s sins and the nation’s sins?? Well – yes to some degree. There is something special about people taking note of past sins so that they won’t repeat the same failures. It’s called learning from history. If backslidden historical Church groups went out and fought “crusades” it doesn’t mean we have to follow the same sinful (and stupid) ideas and practices. If past denominations fought wars against each other to have the upper hand politically, then we should repent of that attitude so that we can resist the temptation of being too sectarian.

True repentance then is when we consciously turn from sin and the Devil’s kingdom and run to God. Most Christians mark a single day of repentance as the date they “got saved”. This is true because there was grace – there were decisions made – and your acceptance of His love led you to salvation. However, there is another “repentance” that most of us ignore. This is the lifestyle of repentance – an attitude – a living part of our everyday thinking. Repentance is a “living foundation” for the Christian life. We must learn to be instant in repentance. It must become part of our new nature. As soon as the Holy Spirit challenges something in our lives, our first response must be repentance. Is there a need for four-hour repentance sessions? Not typically – although I’ve seen it in the past. Let’s focus instead on continually cultivating a soft, repentant heart before God.

Questions:

1. Give another Bible example of a group of people repenting and getting God’s attention.
2. Is there a modern-day example you can think of where a group of people repented and “revival” followed?

Brocken Down Pieces Of Rubble

November 27 – Today’s Readings – Nehemiah 4-6 and Psalms 147

“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’ Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, ‘What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” [Nehemiah 4:1-3]

“Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” [Nehemiah 4:10]

This was the state of the city of Jerusalem. It was burned with fire – its walls were broken down – there was only rubble everywhere. People were openly mocking the work of God because the job seemed humanly impossible. Yet God called His people to take those burned out rocks, bricks and timbers and rebuild. I can imagine that one crew would be responsible for separating the materials – another crew would wash and scour the large stones – still another would reshape any bricks that were broken. Someone would mix fresh mortar and a fifth crew would mortar the materials into place.

1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…”

We too may have been burned out, broken-down pieces of rubble, but God got a hold of us and began to clean us up – reshape us and build us into a “spiritual house”. Our job is to submit to the master “bricklayer”. Because we are “living stones” we have to hold still long enough to be built into God’s wall. In North America many of God’s “living stones” are refusing to be built into a spiritual house for the Lord. They insist on removing themselves from the wall – trying to make their own walls – deciding on the shape they should be so that they can place themselves in the most visible spots in the wall – making sure that they don’t carry too much weight in the wall – etc.

God’s Church is and has always been built by Jesus and upon Him. He takes those who are willing and places them. The end result will be a beautiful “Jerusalem”, fit for the King. No doubt the enemy will fight hard to keep this spiritual house from being built but, just as God has determined, there will be a New Jerusalem – a dwelling place for The Most High. If at times you look around in Church, and all you can see is a heap of rubble, then you need to see through the eyes of faith. Each “stone” is being transformed – built into the house. Lets enjoy the process.

Questions:

1. Tell about an incident where you felt the master builder pick you up, perhaps knock a sharp edge off and place you in His wall.
2. Give an example of how you were once a burnt out brick, but God began to clean you up.

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