Tag Archives: deception

Don’t Give Up!

Peninsula Community Church

July 19, 2017

Don’t Give Up!

Galatians 6:7-10 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

A number of years ago thieves broke into a posh clothing store in the heart of London, England. When the police arrived and subsequently the store owner, they could not find anything missing from the store. The cash was still in the drawer. Nothing seemed to be missing off of the racks or shelves and the storage room seemed to be intact. The police filed their report and the store owner went back home. It was not until the store opened and customers began to shop that they realized the crime that had been committed. The thieves had switched the price tags on most of the products in the store. Very expensive items were now priced at a very low price and those items that were not very expensive were now over priced.

The enemy of our souls has done a good job at switching the price tags in our life. It started in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time. Since then, his goal has been to switch the price tags and to get us to go after what is not important. We have begun to add value to that which has no value and we have devalued that which is most important. The enemy in the beginning used doubt to get Adam and Eve to reevaluate what was important and what was worthy of value. He switched the price tags and cheapened that which was valuable. He did this by deceiving both Adam and Eve to give into temptation which caused sin to permeate our human nature from that point forward. In 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul noted But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

That is why here in this passage Paul warns the church at Galatia not to be deceived. Paul warns them and he warns us about being deceived into believing what we do does not matter. The word deceived in this context means “to be led astray” or “to take a wrong path.” This is certainly what occurred in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were lead astray by the temptations that were exacted by satan. Paul did not want the church at Galatia to switch the price tags and go after those things that have a false value attached to them. The problem for us in our depraved state of mind is that it is easier to be deceived than we believe.

Scripture deals with the idea of deceitfulness in many ways. Listen to a couple of these verses. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise (1 Corinthians 3:18). Paul also states Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:6). Let no one deceive you in any way (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

John also engaged in this conversation when he made the following comments. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous (1 John 3:7). Even in the Old Testament Moses dealt with the issue of deception. He warned the Children of Israel to take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them (Deuteronomy 11:16). Guarding one’s heart is critical as sin will take advantage of a deceitful heart. Listen to Paul in Romans 7:11. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

If the Bible develops a such a consistent view and ongoing discussion about deceitfulness then it behooves us to take notice. It is for this reason Paul deals with this topic here in Galatians. His desire is that the church at Galatia would not be deceived about the importance of what they sow in life. He wanted them to know that what they invest in is what they will receive in return. He knew they would reap what they sow.

Paul recognized that in this area of sowing we can do one of two things. First, we can sow to the flesh but that brings corruption and destruction. Paul noted that when we sow to the flesh, we reap the flesh. Here is the problem. We sow to the flesh and we reap the flesh and then we sow more to the flesh which leads to reaping more flesh. It is a vicious cycle of sin and destruction. The problem is that we keep sowing the same thing expecting different results. Sometimes we don’t recognize the futility of this until it is too late. The flesh represents that which is sinful and is outside the boundaries that have been established by God Himself. We could spend a great deal of time here discussing this but let us leave it at sowing to the flesh does not add value to our life. It is a means for satan to switch the price tags in our life and to devalue what is important.

The second thing is that we can sow to the Spirit which brings eternal life. To sow in the Spirit causes us to sow more of the Spirit. When we sow to the Spirit we reap spiritual benefits. When we sow righteousness, we will reap righteousness which ends in eternal life. That is the ultimate and most prosperous benefit of sowing seeds to the Spirit. We gain eternal life not just in some distant future but also in the here and now. Because we sow to righteousness, we reap righteousness and we have the privilege of living a full abundant life in Christ.

We must understand that there is a war going on for our souls. The enemy loves to deceive us into thinking that what we do does not matter. He will switch the price tags and make us believe that when we sow to the flesh, we will not suffer any negative benefits. That is a lie because when we live out of a carnal nature we receive the reward of doing that. It is broken lives, lost hope, and sorrow. But sowing in the Spirit brings righteousness and life to us.

It is for that reason, Paul challenges the church at Galatia, do not be weary in doing what is right because at the right time you will reap the benefits of doing good. One of my favorite sayings, when a person seeks my counsel on what to do under difficult situations, is to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. That to me is not some trite saying but one that requires us to do right even though it might cost us and we might get weary in the process of doing what is right. In essence, do not be weary in doing what is right and do not be deceived into doing what is wrong because it is easier.

You see we can become weary in doing the right thing because we do not see immediate results. Paul recognizes a couple of things here. First, reaping the rewards of sowing does not happen overnight. Paul knows the reaping process takes time and he does not want us to get tired and weary in the process. Secondly, we can become discouraged and tired when we do not see the benefits of doing the right thing. We can come to a place where we want to give up. We want to throw in the towel. We begin to believe there is no use in continuing to do the right thing.

Paul in this passage challenged the church at Galatia not to give up or to lose heart. Paul recognized how powerful a tool discouragement can be. We can be discouraged when we do not see fruit in our labors. We can become frustrated at a lack of movement in the right direction. We can be frustrated with our kids who seem to be doing their own thing. We can be frustrated when we have shared Christ with a particular individual and they never come to faith. There is so much that can discourage and frustrate us. But what Paul is saying is do the right thing, do good to others, be patient and you will see the fruit of your labors come to pass.

Too often we give up too soon. We throw in the towel! We fall short and we give into the pressures of life. We begin to believe the lie. In the movie “Facing the Giants” there is a scene where coach Grant Taylor challenges one of his star players, Brock, to step up and lead the team. He challenges him to do the death crawl with one of the players on his back! Coach Grant cheers him and challenges him not to give up. Because of this Brock thinks he can make it to the 50 yard line but ends up in the end zone.

God’s call today is don’t give up! You might be weary! You might be tired! But don’t give up. The answer is on its way and you will receive the fruit of righteousness. Do not be weary in well doing! Like Coach Grant, God is cheering us on! He is for us! If He is for us who can be against us. Press on and don’t give up.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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God’s Gift of Family

Peninsula Community Church

November 25, 2012

God’s Gift of Family – An Introduction

One of the things I have found about families is that almost every family has that one person who is different. Sometimes there is one member that is the trouble maker or they march to a different beat. For other families there are those who are the “black sheep” who put a black mark on an otherwise normal family. We all have these family members. But over the next couple of weeks we will observe that Christ also had family members that fit the above description.

Text: Matthew 1:1-6 – The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah …

My goal over the next several weeks is to focus on the five women Matthew references in his genealogy. But before do that, I would like to make some preliminary observations about the text. My desire is that through this series you we will see and recognize and bring to light the awesomeness of God’s grace and mercy.

If we do a quick read on this text we can miss much that is hidden within these words. So, today, we will mine some of the truths that exist within these words. To understand them we must dig beyond just the words that are written to understand the historical and Judaic meaning of the passage.

As we dig into the meaning of this passage, we must first recognize a specific reference that Matthew makes. First, it is important to note that including women in a Jewish genealogy was not a common practice in those days. In most of the genealogies of the day the emphasis was upon the man as evidenced in Luke’s record of the genealogy of Christ. The reason given for this most often was that the Jew was looking for Messiah to come and they knew that Messiah was to be a man. It was for this reason that the emphasis was most often on the male role. In this study it is also interesting to note who Matthew did not include. He did not include Sarah, Leah, Rachel and many others who may have presented Christ’s family in a better light.

Secondly, it is critical to note that Matthew’s gospel focused on the kingdom of God. This is important because it has been said that if you want to understand the kingdom you must read Matthew’s gospel. Matthew, in God’s wisdom, presented the kingdom of God as a future event that would be consummated in Christ’s second coming and the establishment of His kingdom for eternity. Matthew also emphasized that God’s kingdom was present now and could be experienced now by those who would follow God’s commands through obedience. This is seen in the Lord’s Prayer Christ prayed “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is also interesting to note that Matthew on a number of occasions presented an illustration of what the kingdom of God would look like when he would state “The kingdom of Heaven or of God is like….” And then he would resent a scenario.

There is a critical need for believers to realize that the kingdom of God is evident now and the full power of the kingdom is available to them. We can call on God to reveal his kingdom power into every situation that we face. When His kingdom is revealed we experience His grace and His power. Things happen when God’s Kingdom comes.

In reference to this passage, however, we have another truth that is evident. By including these women in the text Matthew is reminding us that the Kingdom of God is open to all who will come to Him. It does not matter about one’s past or what one may have done in the past. The door of the Kingdom is open to them. Secondly this is a reminder that the Kingdom is not open to just the Jew but to the Gentile as well. The Kingdom is available to the Jew and the Gentile; the slave and the free; and both man and woman.

Thirdly, in Matthew’s gospel he focuses on the women in these stories but by implication it also focuses on the families of these women and their male counterpoint. The fact is God’s family is filled with dysfunctional people who are not much different than us today. In fact, many of the stories of the Old Testament could be torn right from the pages of our newspapers, movie scripts, TV programs and the latest steamy novel. It should be an encouragement to us today that God allowed us a glimpse into His family. It should encourage us that He allows the curtain to be pulled back so we can see His family up close and personal.

That brings us to a fourth observation. The Holy Spirit is not afraid to deal with some uncomfortable issues in the Scripture. He could have chosen to ignore these stories or he could have pressed the delete button and removed these stories from the Bible. But rather, He addresses those things that relate to real life.

For educators and psychologists there is a term they use called “disequilibrium.” What they say is that we often learn more when we face things that unsettle us or that shake us out of our comfort zone. It is at this moment that we must either adjust our paradigm of understanding or we adjust our emotions to accept the issue.

It is interesting to me how the stories related to these women cause us to ask questions and deal with issues that we would not normally deal with in Scripture. Let’s briefly look at these ladies:

Tamar – Tamar’s first husband, Er died. He was taken by God because of his evil ways. Her second husband, Onan, died, as well as, a result of disobedience and the evilness of his ways. Judah, Er and Onan’s father, had promised her his third son who was too young to be married. He unfortunately did not keep his word and Tamar took things into her own hands and dressed up like a prostitute because she knew that Judah would succumb to the temptation of prostitution. He did and she trapped him by his actions. This sounds like a story from modern TV or the movies doesn’t it.

Rahab – Rahab was a prostitute. While Rahab was a prostitute God used her to guide Israel to victory. Rahab was such a critical part of the history of Israel that she is listed in the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11.

Ruth – Ruth was a foreigner who lost her husband and was left in essence without a home or a future but there was a kinsman redeemer. And she became the mother of Boaz who became the father of David.

Bathsheba – Bathsheba lost both her husband and her son because of David’s dishonesty and lies. While Bathsheba was not completely innocent she submitted to the wishes of the king which if she had disobeyed him her own life would have been at stake.

Mary – And finally, we have Mary who was different from most of these other ladies. She was an innocent young girl who should have never have been chosen. She was in essence a nobody but she was a somebody chosen by God to be the mother of His only Son.

Finally, all of these stories remind us of the grace and mercy of God. It is so awesome that these stories are a part of Christ’s family. Each of these dysfunctional families and situations are welcomed and invited to be a part of the kingdom and is a part of Christ’s heritage and family. Each of these women was a great grandmother of Christ. They were a part of His family. Each of us has similar those stories in our families. These stories remind us that the dysfunctional and broken are welcomed into the kingdom. They are invited into the family of God. That includes us. We are all invited but not all will accept the invitation.

 

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