Monday, September 25, 2017

The 10 "P" Tests of Actions, Words, and Deeds

10 "P" Tests to Actions, Words, and Deeds[i]

1.   Purity Test - Can I do this to a body where Christ dwells?

1 Cor. 6:19 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? (NRSV)

Can I do this without taking my eyes off Jesus?

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us.
We should not do anything known to intentionally put our bodies, souls, or minds at risk.

2.   Participation Test - Can I do this and keep my eyes on Jesus?

1 John 2 15-17  - 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

We need to look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Heb. 12:2
Love of this World.  What does this tell us about Jealousy?  Following after Cargo?  Etc? 

3.   Polite Test - Will doing this have a good affect on others?

Romans 14:7, 21 - 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself  (NKJV)
21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that will cause your brother or sister to sin.  (NCV)

We should never think that what we do only affects me.  Lots of people are watching us and are influenced by our life. 

4.   Partner Test - Can I invite Christ to do this with me?

Col. 3:17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Think about this question when you want to do something.  If Christ was here would I be comfortable inviting him along with me.  If you are a Christian that's exactly what you are doing. 

What do we watch on the Internet that would be an embarrassment to us if our spouse (or parent) walked in and saw us.  If we wouldn't invite mom or dad to participate in the activity, how much more embarrassment would come if Jesus was beside us?

5.   Public Test - Will doing this give the appearance of doing right?

1 Thes. 5:21-22 - 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV)

Are you doing something that appears to be evil?  What does the unsaved think of what you are doing?  What about your family?

6.   Presence Test - Would I be happy if Christ saw me doing this when he returns?

1 John 2:28 -Yes, my dear children, live in him so that when Christ comes back, we can be without fear and not be ashamed in his presence. (NCV)

Christ is coming back and we are to be ready.  John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, saw the vision that is recorded in the Bible (Book of Revelation) and in Rev 22:20 the testimony of the Lord concludes with these words, "Yes, I am coming soon," to which John replies "Amen. Come Lord Jesus."  John was ready and waiting, do we have the same anticipation.

7.   Problem Test - Will this strengthen my relationship with Christ?

Heb 12:1 - We have around us many people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back.  (NCV)

Remove everything that hinders our relationship with Christ.

8.   Proof Test - Is it good for me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

Romans 12:9 - Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; (NRSV)

Love the good, but hate sin.  My mother use to say that God loves the sinner but he hates sin.  We have to distinguish between the sin and the sinner.

9.   Proclamation Test - Will this help my witness for Christ?

Phil 2:15 - Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God's children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world.  (NCV)

Your testimony is important.  How is your witness to those around you?

10.         Peace test - After praying about it can I do it and have peace?

Phil 4:6-7 - 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   (NRSV)

These 10 tests are just guideline to help us determine what is right, good, and wholesome.  This is a guide I use to assist in determining if any given activity, including my conversation, texting, posting, etc. is appropriate for me. 

[i] Used in PNC Chapel 2014-15 SY

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Peace in Chaos

Peace in Chaos

Texts: Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:14, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27, John 16:33
Supporting Scriptures: Romans 12:17-18, James 3:18, Hebrews 12:14-15, Psalms 133

Our God is a God of peace.  Everyone talks about peace.  Another name for Jesus is Prince of Peace.  When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the Shepherd the Angel said, “Peace on earth.”  Is that true?  Did Jesus birth bring peace on earth? 

After Jesus was born, if you would have been a young mother just delivered your baby and the soldiers came from Herod and took your baby out of your arms and killed him, you would not have thought about peace.  Jesus came into a world of sin.  He came as the deliverer.  He is the peace giver.  He wants us to live in peace. 

Jesus began his first sermon with the blessings.  One of the blessings was Blessed is the Peacemakers for they will be called the Children [Sons & Daughters] of God.

During his last message to his disciples before His death Jesus said, “Peace, I leave with you.”  Then he added, “I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Then Jesus said toward the end of this message, “I have told you these things, so in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

The question is: How do we have peace in the middle of troubles and confusion?

Illustration:  About Cyclone.
We have cyclones in Solomon Islands.  Now when a cyclone passes through, what happens?  It begins to rain a lot.  The wind picks up and really, really, blows hard.  Tree branches will blow down, even houses can and sometimes do blow away.  Sometimes even very strong, permanent homes can blow away.  We build houses with cyclones in mind.  We use cyclone ties and metal straps and bolts to hold houses together to protect against the cyclone.  The Cyclone turns around and around.  In the very center of the cyclone is what they call the “Eye”.  That is the eye of the storm.  What is it like in the eye?  In the eye it is very calm, and still.  When the cyclone is passing by and the eye is right over where you are for a short period of time you experience peace.

I.              Our Peace is in Jesus.  Not in the World
a.    The World is a stormy place.
                                              i.     We face family crisis.
1.    Spouse problem
2.    Children will not obey and cause you pain
3.    You or someone you know will face sickness or death.
                                             ii.     There are selfish people, who want their own way
                                           iii.     Even Christian Brother and Sisters will oppose you
                                           iv.     Rascals or thieves will break in and steal from you
                                             v.     There will always be people lying to you
                                           vi.     There will be land issues and problems
                                          vii.     There will always be people discouraging you.
                                        viii.     Even some will physically attack you.
                                           ix.     There will even be people attacking your integrity “I thought you were a Christian, but” or “If you were a Christian you wouldn’t act like that.”
b.    That is just within your own surroundings, but when we listen to the news we see what is happening to some people.
                                              i.     Christian Martyrs – More this past century than ever in the history of mankind.  Where is the “Prince of Peace”?  Why doesn’t he protect the Christians?
                                             ii.     It seems like every week there is a terrorist attack somewhere in the world.
                                           iii.     People are fleeing their home and country, living in refugee centers, because of wars and trouble in their homeland.
                                           iv.     Christian mothers in Sudan are having their young children stolen and sold as slaves.  This is happening right now.
                                             v.     Prostitution, sexual perversion, and pornography are on the rise.
                                           vi.     Any Saturday night you could run into many drunks.  People looking for Peace.  They are trying to wash away their troubles. The Casinos and clubs are full of people who want peace, happiness, calm in the midst of the storms of life.  They all desire peace, but are going to the wrong place in search of that peace.
                                          vii.     Some of these things do not make it on the news but they are just as real.
II.            Peace of the World is different from HIS peace.  Jesus is the true Peace Giver.
a.    According to the scriptures the world will only enjoy peace during the millennial rule of Christ.
b.    The World will not have lasting peace before Jesus' return.
c.    Our peace does not depend on what the World does.
d.    Our Peace is in Jesus
                                              i.     At the center of the storm is Jesus.  As at the center of the cyclone is the eye, so is Jesus at the center of the storms.
                                             ii.     Keep our hand in his.
III.          Does that mean we do nothing, but just pray and take everything as it comes?  NO, Definitely NOT.
a.    Peace is active.  We sow seeds of peace.  The Bible says in James 3:18. “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”  Sow peace.  The trouble is we sow trouble.  We sow lying, we call our children names.  We get angry with our husbands.
b.    Peacemaking requires action.  It requires prayer for sure, but it must be followed by action. 
                                              i.     Reconciliation – if you wrong someone.  If you stole something compensate it or pay back.  People will come to church and they will say God has forgiven me why don’t you forgive. 
                                             ii.     Turning the other Cheek {often misquoted as turning is not doing nothing and passively allowing them to hit the other cheek but it is offering the other cheek}
                                           iii.     Not returning evil for evil.
                                           iv.     Confrontation in Love.  Love is not weak.
IV.          Fathers and Mothers you have been blessed - in you arms and home are the future leaders of the world.  You must train those future leaders.   You train in many ways but the most effective is in you demonstration of a consistent life.  Your lifestyle should match your words.  Your children will follow your actions more than your talk.
V.            We are promised troubles, because we live in the World. 
a.    We want to miss the troubles.  How can we live without troubles?  We can’t.  In the Sermon on the Mount right after Jesus said Blessed are the Peacemakers, He said, blessed are you when you are persecuted “(For righteousness sake)”. 
b.    Sometimes we face problems because of our own foolishness and we blame God.   Is persecution a blessing?  Jesus said it is.  Is Jesus a liar?  If not than your persecution should be looked at as a blessing, that is if your persecution is the result of your righteous living.
VI.          Jesus has overcome the world.  This world is passing away, but the Bible says the Word of God will never pass away.  He has overcome the world and He wants you to overcome.  He wants to make you a "child" of peace.

Where is your hope?  Where are you looking for peace and security?  Are you looking to the Gov’t?  UN, NATO, or Overseas?  Your spouse or family?  Or are you looking to Jesus? 

It’s easy for us to say, rest in Jesus.  Or Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  In Hebrews it instructs us to “Pursue peace with everyone and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  The Bible also says, “As much as it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  Peace is a command of God.  It is for His followers.  I don’t have a way to make everyone like me.  Thank God my inner Peace does not require all people to like me or agree with me.

Peace is an inner peace and does not depend on the surrounding circumstances.  It’s that inner peace that would allow Jesus from the Cross to say, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”  Then Thomas as he was martyred a short time later repeated the same words.  It was because he had the peace.  We are called to carry the cross of Jesus.  That cross is a sign of suffering but also a sign of peace and victory through death.  The Prince of Peace provides peace for life and peace all the way to heaven.

The storms on the outside are not the most dangerous.  It is the white ants (termites) on the inside.  Our spiritual house can withstand the crises from the outside.  What destroys the Christian is one's attitude.  If you let sour attitudes come in these will destroy you.   Get rid of the 'termites' of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.  Strengthen your spiritual house by committing to being a man or woman of the Word, of Prayer, and of total devotion to God.  In that way when the crises come against you, you are more equipped to withstand the trials and storms of life.

Psalms 119:165 says: "Great peace have they who love your law and nothing can make them stumble."  [NIV]

by Rev. George Miller