How to Develop A Heart After God’s (part 1)

heart-for-GodAnd when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. (Act 13:22)

David may be best known among Bible readers as a man described as one after God’s own heart.  In the text below, as an old man, God describes what He did for this blessed man.

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.  (2Sa 23:1-2)

David was a man promoted and anointed by God BECAUSE he possed a heart after God’s.

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. (Act 13:22)

Please note God’s testimony about David.  Pay particular attention to the phrase, “I have found David…”.

God did not GIVE David a heart after His so He could anoint him King, but rather FOUND David already had a heart after His, so He made him king!

If we wish to be used by God to the fullest, let us develop a heart for and like His so God can “find us” usable in His service.

How to Develop a Heart for God; (part 1) 

Live a Cause – God!Sling

Make your cause to delight in magnifying God’s reputation (1 Sam 17:45-47)

This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; …that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.
(1Sa 17:46-47) 

In a world of nonbelievers, voices are needed to brag on God and declare His power!

Make your cause to despise the reproaching of God and His people (1 Sam 17:26)

…What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? …he should defy the armies of the living God?  (1Sa 17:26)

Let’s not bring reproach upon God and His people by what we DO in our lives.

Let’s not bring reproach upon God and His people by what we DO NOT do in our lives.

Make your cause to desire the King’s reward (1Sam 17:25)

…and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel. (1Sa 17:25)

Desire the reward of the King’s riches …the king will enrich him with great riches, 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  (Mat 6:19-20)

Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  (Heb 11:26)

Desire the reward of the relationship in the King’s family … will give him his daughter…

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Gal 4:7)

Desire the reward of the special rights provided by the King  – freedom…make his father’s house free in Israel.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  (Joh 8:36)

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  (Rom 6:17-18)


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Advertisements

A Church for Which to Thank God (pt2)

power_of_enduring_companies_1536x1536_OriginalThe Enduring Church

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (2Th 1:3-4)

Here Paul is thanking God for the church at Thessalonica for two reasons: for their abounding and enduring. Last time we looked at their abounding, today we will look at their enduring.

Remember, we all must be both abounding and enduring if we are going to accomplish and be all God desires for us.

To endure without abounding is boring and is of no lasting value or impact.

To abound without enduring is no more than a flash in pan and of not much more value than fools gold.

Now, let us see their enduring.

The Reason for Endurance – The Kingdom of God (vs5)

The worthiness of entering the Kingdom of God is assessed (vs5, Luke 9:62)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  (2Th 1:5)

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luk 9:62)

The wondrousness of the Kingdom of God in its entrance

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that sinners may enter

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  (Mat 21:31-32)

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that suffering is often associated with entering

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.  (Act 14:22)

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that spiritual rebirth is required for entrance

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  (Joh 3:3)

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  (Joh 3:5)

The Reflection of Endurance – The Glory of God (vs4, 10)

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.  (2Thes 1:10)

As with all things in our lives, the purpose and intent of all we do is to glorify God.  So must the purpose of our endurance be that God be glorified.  Any praise should be “reflected” back to Him!

The Resistance to Endurance – The Opposition to God (vs4, 5, 6)

The blessings and pleasures of persecutions

Therefore I take pleasure in infirnities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  (2Co 12:10)

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  (Mat 5:10-11)

The glories of tribulations

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  (Rom 5:3)

The Resolve of Endurance – The Power of God (vs4)

It takes the power of God working in our lives to endure. Patience from God and faith in Him is required to endure through the persecutions and tribulations.

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (2Th 1:4)

The Rest in Endurance – The Judgment of God (vs7)

The many that are troubled can take rest in the fact that God will bring all things to view and judge them righteously  We need not fret nor seek our own revenge.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  (2Th 1:7)

 

Endure!  Keep going for Him!  He is soon returning!


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

A Church for Which to Thank God (pt1)

The Abounding Church

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (2Th 1:3-4)

love-and-faithHere Paul is thanking God for the church at Thessalonica. He is not just saying the words, but he is spelling out the reasons he could thank God for them.  We should all desire to be the Christian and the church for which we, and others, can thank God.

The two reasons he was thanking God for them were they were a church that was abounding and enduring.

We all must be both abounding and enduring if we are going to reach the end of our race well and be all God desires for us.

To endure without abounding is boring and is of no lasting value or impact.

To abound without enduring is no more than a flash in pan and of not much more value than fools gold.

First, let us look at where they were commendably abounding and in the next post, we will see how they were enduring.

They were a church Abounding in Faithyour faith groweth exceedingly…

The phrase “growth exceedingly”  means to be ABOVE MEASURE.  The faith referred to here is not a body of beliefs, but rather a “credence given” and a “strong confidence in”.

Let me suggest you begin by knowing your faith

Know first that your faith is the right Person and place.  It must be in Jesus Christ as Saviour and in His Word.  Make sure you are saved.

Then, begin growing your faith.

Faith is buildable and can be, as in this church, abounding!

There is a condition of “No faith” 

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?(Mar 4:40)

Then there is “Small faith”

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  (Mat 6:30)

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  (Mat 8:25-26)

Then some have “Great faith”

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  (Mat 8:8-10)

 

They were a church Abounding in Love – the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 

It was a commended love

Because God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (1Jn 4:16)

Because Christ epitomizes a life of Love.

If we are going to be like Him we must love also.

It was a common love

Note the term “every one” – charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth

We can never be a church God wants us to be unless the love of Christ is expressed by “every one” of us.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (Joh 13:35)

Ask God to help you live a life and to be a member of the church for which people are thankful to God.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Est Bay

 

Three Steps to Santification

maxresdefaultProve all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Th 5:21-24)

From the last post, we saw two keys to the process of sanctification (consecration). We learn from the above verses that it is God’s will that His people be sanctified as we wait for the return of our Savior.

Key 1 – The power of personal sanctification is the sovereign work of God

Key 2 – The practice of personal sanctification is the submission to the will of God

To help us in our journey into personal sanctification and submission to His will, God gives us a three-step process. These steps are listed in our text above.  They are, “Prove All Things”, Hold Fast that Which is Good”, and “Abstain from All Appearance of Evil”.

It is extremely helpful to take these three in order. Too many times our problem is that we skip over the first two and try to accomplish the third.  While we might be able to do so for a short while, we will not be able to maintain the process, or at best, we will do it without joy.

Here is a brief explanation of the three-step process to personal sanctification from 1Thessolonians 5:21-22.

Step 1 = Prove all things

The meaning of proving is to test, determine validity, check its quality, and determine if substance or statement is true or counterfeit

The methods for  proving all things

  • By searching the Scriptures

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Act 17:11)

  • By seeing the fruits

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Mat 7:15-16)

  • By seeking the excellent

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (Php 1:10)

This means we are not satisfied with the mediocre or the “good enough” when it comes to our work and walk with God.  We desire and give our VERY best for Him.

The measure of proving all things – all things…

What part of all do we not understand?  All areas, all practices, all means, “all things”.  Our dress habits, our church attendance habits, all doctrines, all Biblical positions, child disciple, marriage, and relationships, … ALL THINGS

Step 2 = Hold fast that which is good

Once proven good, hold on to the good

  • Hold fast to our integrity

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.  (Job 2:3)

  • Hold fast our profession

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (Heb 4:14)

  • Hold fast our faith

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:6)

  • Hold fast good instruction

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. (Pro 4:13)

Step 3 = Abstain from all appearance of evil

  • We should abstain for temptation’s sake
  • We should abstain for testimonies sake

The Practice of abstaining.  We may need to be cautious and abstain from all appearance of evil as it regards to:

Our passions

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (2Ti 2:22)

Our places

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.  (Pro 4:14-15)

Some people

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. (Psa 26:4-5)

Conclusion – Take all three steps and let God sanctify you.


 

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay 

Agents of God’s Work in Sanctification

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Th 5:21-24)

Sanctification (or consecration) is a twofold operation. Part is God’s work and part is our work. In this discussion, we will briefly look at God’s portion as it states in the above text, “who also will do it.”

God supernaturally declares us and positionally makes us sanctified. He also provides the spiritual power for us to live holy in this present world.  Here are two key statements to help us understand this relationship.

KEY 1 – The power of personal sanctification is the sovereign work of God

KEY 2 – The practice of personal sanctification is the submission to the will of God

See below three “Agents of Sanctification” God uses to accomplish His work of consecration in our lives.

One agent is the Spirit of God

This work of the Spirit begins at and with our salvation

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (2Th 2:13)
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1Co 6:11)

The work of the Spirit then begets obedience

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1Pe 1:2)

Another agent is The Word of God (John 17:17)

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17)
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11)

A third agent is the blood of God

God foreshadowed the work of the blood of Christ in sanctifying us through His instructions for the building and operation of the tabernacle.  He then clarifies and reinforces this illustration in Hebrews.

And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. (Lev 8:30)
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. (Heb 13:12)
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Rev 1:5)

Allow God’s work of sanctification in your life.  Let Him begin today.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Truly the Greatest Story Ever Told

ch-01-001The true Christmas story is more than a young lady gives birth to a son in a barn that will grow up to change the world.

  • That in itself is a marvelous story.
  • That in itself is a cute story.
  • That in itself is a touching story of no room, taxes, angels, and the wise men.
  • That in itself is a suspenseful story as Joseph is awakened by God told in the middle of the night to flee for the life of the Child.
  • That in itself is a heartbreaking story as Herod kills all babies 2 years and younger

But what makes the story so great is when we see it in panoramic view. When we see it for what it is, it truly is the greatest story ever told!

This greatest story ever told is captured in just one verse:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Joh 3:16)

It is the greatest story ever told because it is orchestrated by the greatest POWER – “For God…”   

Not  “the force” or the power of a Jedi, but the real power of Jehovah!

Not the “essence of creation” but the CREATOR!

It is the greatest story ever told because it is spawned from the greatest PASSION – “…so loved…”

God performed and gave us this story; not from a debt to us, not to satisfy His ego, but simply because of His great love!

He declared it in this text,  “so loved…”

He defined it by illustration

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13)

He demonstrated it on the cross

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:7-8)

It is the greatest story ever told because it meets the greatest PROBLEM  – “…not perish…”

Meaning that we not perish in the place called hell because of our sin.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5:12)

For the wages of sin is death; … (Rom 6:23)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)

It is the greatest story ever told because He made  the greatest PROVISION – “…gave His only begotten son..”

It was provided at the greatest cost – His only son 

It was provided for the greatest coverage – all the world  

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Co 5:14-15)

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:2)

It is the greatest story ever told because through it God CAN make the greatest Promise – “…not perish, but have everlasting life.”

…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you have not received the greatest gift provided through the greatest story, please do so today.  Repent, believe, call, and receive Him!


Visit us online at the Lighthouse of the East Bay

 

A Second Continuing Requirement – Pray without ceasing

8ac179844155a1814ce63e352ac85378Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. (1Th 5:16-17)

As we approach the second coming of the Lord, God gives us (as He did the church at Thessalonica) some things we need to be found continually doing.

The first was “rejoice evermore”

The second requirement is that we are to “pray without ceasing”

Why should we pray without ceasing?

One reason is that we are always open to temptation.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mat 26:41)

A second reason is that others around us always need our intercession.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (1Sa 12:23)

The principles of praying without ceasing

Never stop your prayers

Pray with importunity

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luk 11:8)

Pray without impatience, – not to faint! 

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luk 18:1)

Never suspend your prayers

Never let holidays, vacations, or extra work keep you from your prayers. With time off or extra long work hours, pray MORE not LESS!

Never sacrifice your prayers

By perversion 

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18)

By pride

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 18:11-14)

By plotting – by reasoning and deception

Instead of relying on prayer, we resort to cheating, lying, and deception. I call it the Jacob syndrome

The practice of praying without ceasing

Pray in all PLACES  

If I cannot pray there I must not go there.

Pray in all PERFORMANCES

If I am doing something and I cannot sincerely pray in it… or over it, I must not do it!

 

He who prays the most lives the best.


Visit us online at LBCEastBay.com