I am AlSayr, your unlikely guide into the worlds of religion, myth, and magic. Join us as we take a tough look at the Bible and cut through some tough issues. My first podcast, Free to be just a Christian breaks down the walls and will start you on your way to Freedom in Christ. I hope you will join us for these important topics.
Is Hell really eternal torture? I do not believe so. I think everyone will be pleased with the biblical results from these studies. We will go through religious conspiracies and more.
As soon as God introduced his personal relationship plan to the world, there were those at the ready to oppose it, they are the new Pharisees of this generation. These new Pharisees, men and women alike, trade freedom in Jesus Christ for a religious rule book. They do not have a personal relationship with God or Jesus, but they know somebody who does.
Some have been deceived into believing we need to belong to a certain branch of Christianity to find God. Nothing could be further from the actual truth. God tells us himself that He does not live in buildings made by hands, however, he made room to live in our hearts.
Going Back to Where We Started
Going Back to Where We Started
Going back to where we started – I used to be a serious hunter–as much as my schedule would permit. As my life continued, I especially enjoyed deer hunting. The attraction was not in killing something. Had that been the attraction, I would have quit when I was a novice–the deer fooled or detected me far more often than I detected the deer.
Going back to where we started – The attraction was being in the woods. I loved the quiet. I loved the beauty. I loved seeing creatures that never saw me. Two of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed are sunrise in the woods and sunset in the woods. I love to see God’s creation wake up and God’s creation go to sleep.
Once I was slipping, scouting, and just generally observing in some woods when I suddenly realized I did not know where I was. With the fear of being lost instantly came everything taking on a strange appearance. The familiar became unfamiliar. Immediately I had no clue about direction.
Going back to where we started – I was less than 50 yards from being out of the woods–and did not know it! I almost headed in the wrong direction, back deeper into the woods. When I came to a fence and instantly knew where I was, I marveled at how close I was to being out of the woods and how easily I could have gone deeper into the woods wandering aimlessly around. If I had made that mistake, I could have wandered a long, long time.
Getting back to where I started could have been a long, long journey–simply because I did not know where I was or where I was going.
Going back to where we started – This evening I want to make a simple comparison between the garden of Eden in Genesis 2 and the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21, 22.
Going back to where we started – I want to make a single point: it has been and is a long journey to get back to our beginning.
David Chadwell lesson – Going Back to Where We Started
I. I would like to begin by reading Genesis 2:7-9 and then 2:15-17.
Genesis 2:7-9 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
* Let me call some things to your attention.
* God provided the human being he brought into existence with a home and placed him in that home.
* In that home there was beauty.
* In that home there was security–there was no need for fear.
* In that home there was no need–never was there anxiety of starving.
* In that home there was responsibility–Adam was cultivate and keep the garden (scripture does not say what was involved in doing that).
* There were also prohibitions: there were tragic consequences to eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
* In that early existence there was no knowledge of evil.
* Having the knowledge of evil was not a good thing.
* To understand evil only as it contrasts to good was a destructive understandin...
Solving the problem of Faith
SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF FAITH
Solving the Problem of Faith. What do you do when you have a problem?
“I ask someone who has the right kind of knowledge to help me. If it is a money problem, I ask someone who is good with finances. If it is a car problem, I ask someone who knows about cars. If it is an electrical problem, I ask someone who knows about electricity.”
Solving the Problem of Faith. Well, I have a problem. In some form or fashion, I have been confronting this problem for about 50 years. So I want to put the problem before you. I do not know if any of us will have the answer, but the problem is much more likely to be addressed in our individual lives if we are aware that it exists.
“So, what is this problem we need to be aware of?”
Solving the Problem of Faith. It is a faith problem. The problem is very old. It is so old that it predates the existence of Christianity by over a thousand years. It is a problem that existed in Israel in both the Old and New Testaments. But this problem definitely exists in Christianity today.”
“What is this faith problem that has existed for such a long time?”
The problem: how do you encourage Christians to place faith in God instead of placing their faith in something they substitute for God and calling it faith in God?
Perhaps the problem is best understood by using illustrations.
Illustrations #1: let’s begin by asking a Christian we have never met a simple question: “Religiously, what are you?” The person answers, “I am Church of Christ. My family has been Church of Christ for at least three generations. My father was an elder in the Church of Christ of my teen years. My grandfather was a preacher in the Church of Christ. We are just a Church of Christ family.”
Question: is your faith in a religious organization called “The Church of Christ,” or is your faith in the living God who always has been active in His creation?
Perhaps you ask, “What is the difference?” You see the difference far too often. When a congregation of the Church of Christ behaves poorly, it is amazing to note how many people just quit. They do not worship. They make no effort to serve God. They are very ambivalent about what they believe. Often they become religiously bitter and religiously negative. They did not belong to God.
They belonged to the Church of Christ. Their confidence was in the Church of Christ, not in God. They substituted faith in the Church of Christ as a physical religious organization for faith in God.
Illustration #2: we ask a Christian we do not know a series of questions. “Do you go to church here?” Yes I do. I have been coming here for a couple of years. In fact I rarely miss.
“What do you think of worship?” Oh, I rarely miss, but I hardly ever am in the auditorium. I am always here, but I am rarely part of the worship assembly.
“What do you think of classes?” Oh, I am always here, even on Wednesday nights, but I do not go to a class. There is always someone else to talk to or somewhere to go.
“If you do not worship and you do not go to class, why are you here?” I believe it is essential to come. I would not dream of not coming. Being here is very important to salvation. I just do not think it is necessary to worship or go to class.
This person’s confidence is in being at a geographical place at the right time, not in God to be praised and trusted to direct our lifestyle.
Our God Is An Awesome God
* As I said, misplaced confidence is a very old yet very real problem.
* It was a frequent problem in Old Testament Israel.
* Listen to the words of Amos in Amos 5:21-24.
What is the Why
What is the Why
What is the Why? This evening I want to begin our thinking with a “what if” situation.
What is the Why – Here is the situation: you have a friend that you have had for years and years. Though you are very close to your friend, you have never discussed religious concepts with him or her. He or she has never given you an opening for such a discussion. In fact, he or she has made it quite clear in the past that he or she does not want you to talk about religious concepts with him or her.
What is the Why – Since this has been clearly established, you have honored his or her wishes? The two of you have a lot in common. You relate to each other easily. And it is obvious that he or she cares about you deeply as a friend.
What is the Why – One day, quite unexpectedly, he or she talks to you about religion. He or she says, “I have been watching you as a religious person for a long, long time. I do not want you to make an effort to convert me. But I do have a question I want to ask you. It is a religious question. If it is okay to ask you this question, just answer the question.”
You assure him or her that it is quite all right for him or her to ask you a question. You have no idea of what might be asked, but it is okay for him or her to ask anything.
Here is the question: “What is the bottom line, basic objective of being a Christian? What is the basic answer to “why” in seeking to be a religious person? I think I have figured out why you follow Jesus Christ. That is not what I am asking. I am asking that if you go to the most fundamental reason for being religious, why are you religious?”
What would you say? What answer would you give your friend? If you wanted in a truly biblical way to explain to him or her why you choose to be a religious person, what would you say?
Before Israel existed, there were religious people. Israel existed as a religious nation. Christians should exist as religious people–not just a people who have religious habits one day a week. There always have been people who choose to be religious. You choose to be religious.
The question that concerns him or her is why you made that choice. Obviously, your answer will be quite important.
I want to call your attention to three scriptures.
* The first scripture I call to your attention is Exodus 32:9-14.
The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
* Consider the context of the situation.
* In Exodus 20 God gave these slaves He led out of Egypt His core laws which we commonly refer to as the Ten Commandments.
* In Egypt, these slaves existed for generations under the Egyptian influence of the wrong concept of deity.
* The entire experience of securing Israel’s release from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and sustaining them in the wilderness was to change their con...
The Fruit Of The Spirit
The Fruit Of The Spirit
The Fruit Of The Spirit – It was early October. The first frost had not yet come, but the mornings were cool and the evenings were hot. It was that unique time of the year when you shivered in the morning and sweated in the afternoon.
A 25 year-old man who grew up on a local farm got off work on Fridays at noon. He decided he would take his .22 rifle and roam the hollows of the family farm squirrel hunting. By 4 p.m. he had not seen one squirrel, so he headed for his truck. The afternoon was hot as the sunshine beamed down, and he began to sweat heavily.
About half way to the truck, he crossed an old watermelon patch. The good melons were taken to market over a month before. All that was left were the culls that came from the late blooms.
At the edge of the patch was a large white oak tree. On impulse, he decided to lean his gun against the tree, gather 3 or 4 cull watermelons, and quench his thirst by eating the hearts out of the small melons. And that is what he did.
As he sat under the tree, he took his hunting knife, split the melons, and began to eat the sweet center out of each melon. Just as he started eating, a white oak acorn fell on his head. He looked up among the branches of the tree at its acorns, and then he looked across the watermelon patch. He immediately had two thoughts. The first thought: “I sure am glad watermelons do not grow up in trees.” The second thought: “God sure knew what He was doing when He put acorns in trees and watermelons on vines.”
I want to ask you a question: how often do you say to yourself, “God sure knew what he was doing?”
Have you ever read the fruit of the Spirit and said to yourself, “God sure knew what He was doing!”
Listen: Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
How often have you read these two verses and said, “God sure knew what He was doing!”
* I want you to note some things about the context.
* Paul made this statement in his letter to the Christians in Galatia because they were not treating each other right!
* Some of these Christian were using their freedom in Christ to hurt other Christians.
* These people caused problems in Christian-Christian relationships, and then cried out, “I have the right to Christian freedom!” to escape the responsibility or the consequences of their acts.
* Paul declared they had freedom, the freedom to love each other–in Christ Jews could love gentiles and gentiles could love Jews.
* While they had the freedom to love each other, they did not have the freedom to be selfish.
* So they were not to use their freedom in Christ as an excuse to do ungodlike things to other people.
* Pay special attention to a significant contrast.
* It was the contrast between the values and acts of idol worshippers and the values and acts of God worshippers.
* Paul classified the acts of idol worshippers as “deeds of the flesh.”
* He classified the acts of God worshippers as “fruit of the Spirit.”
* It is amazing to note how many of the “deeds of the flesh” focused on selfish indulgence.
* It is equally amazing to note that all of the expressions of the “fruit of the Spirit” focus on the unselfishness of godly relationships.
* Paul made it quite clear to those Christians that the person who converted to God through Christ by personal choice did not think or feel like people who do not belong to God.
* People who belong to God through Christ want a lifestyle led by the Spirit.
* The lifestyle of people who are led by God’s Spirit are at war in their lives with the ...
Is It Worth It
Is It Worth It?
Is It Worth It? – All of us make major investments. The greatest investments we make are investments of ourselves. We invest ourselves in two primary ways: through intense interest and through time.
Is It Worth It? – When it comes to the investment of self, we all make basic investment decisions as we live our lives. Some of us make major investments of ourselves in our families. The wife, or the husband, or the children are a major priority in our lives. Nothing is more important than family.
Is It Worth It? – Some of us make major investments of ourselves in our jobs or our careers. Nothing is more important than succeeding in our job or career. We literally define who we are by the level of success we experience in our career.
Some of us make major investments of ourselves in our lifestyles. The house we live in, the car we drive, the circles we move in, the people we know are an extremely important measurement of who we are. If we cannot use these means of defining ourselves, we think we do not amount to much.
Some of us make major investments of ourselves in our pleasures. The form of pleasure differs greatly from person to person. But, having fun, enjoying life is extremely important. Whatever is necessary to reach a pleasurable high is considered reasonable.
No matter how each of us invests life, the moment always comes when we must ask, “Is it worth it?” Because people now live longer than people used to live, more and more people are asking themselves, “Was it worth it?”
Is It Worth It? – A necessary question everyone who seeks to be a Christian must ask: “Is investing my life in Jesus Christ worth the investment?” Is living for God worth it? When my physical life approaches its end, when I look back at my past and I ask that question, what will be my answer?
The Lord Knows What he is doing
* This morning, I would like for us to consider Paul’s answer to that question. [I challenge you to look at Paul’s life and consider his answer.]
* The early part of Paul’s childhood was spent in the Roman province of Cilicia a few hundred miles north of Israel.
* His childhood was spent in the city of Tarsus, which was the principle city of that area (Acts 22:3).
* Tarsus, when Paul lived there, was a very old city–it was an important trade city 2000 years before Paul was born.
* During Paul’s lifetime, Tarsus was the capital city of the province.
* Tarsus held a position that many cities envied and aspired to: it had autonomy as a free city; it could govern itself.
* Tarsus was an important city.
* On an earlier occasion, Anthony met Cleopatra there.
* Caesar Augustus exempted Tarsus from Roman taxes.
* It was a university city whose school devoted itself to the study of liberal arts and philosophy.
* It was a wealthy city that had a reputation for its linen and a special material made from goats’ hair.
* Childhood in Tarsus probably provided Paul an interesting environment for personal development.
* He grew up living in an important place.
* The trade that he learned [a trade he used as a Christian adult to support himself as a missionary when circumstances required self-support] was tent-maker which perhaps meant he knew how to use the special cloth made from goats’ hair.
* Far more important than those two, he was a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 22:25-29).
* That means that at least his father had been awarded citizenship or had been given opportunity to purchase citizenship.
* Roman citizenship was a highly prized possession th...
My Opinion Of Me
MY OPINION OF ME
My Opinion Of Me – Gods Message on the web . What do you think of yourself? Chances are that the way you look at yourself is a real paradox. In some ways, we hold ourselves in very high esteem. There has been and is considerable emphasis in this society on self-esteem. In some ways, we hold ourselves in contempt. There has been and is considerable contempt in this society for failure. If we focus on self-esteem, we think about our value. If we focus on our failures, we hold ourselves in contempt.
My Opinion Of Me – If we look at ourselves through glasses that magnify our value, we tend to be arrogant and presumptuous. If we look at ourselves through glasses that see only our weakness, we tend to be defeated and believe we are worthless.
My Opinion Of Me – The problem: most of us tend to move in one of those two directions. Being a Christian does not make us immune to the problem. Either we tend to have such a high opinion of ourselves that we seek to control and dominate everyone. Or, we feel so inferior that we have no confidence.
My Opinion Of Me – God challenges us to have His view of us. The closer we come to God, the more we change the way we look at ourselves. The more we change the way we look at ourselves, the more we change the way we look at others.
* The man or woman who walks with God must change the way he or she looks at self. (That change is fundamental to Christian existence.)
* More than once Jesus’ twelve disciples debated among themselves which of them was the most important.
* Luke 22:24-30 states they had that discussion the last night of Jesus’ earthly life.
* In fact, the discussion was so intense that evening, Luke called it a dispute.
* Jesus stated some facts about his kingdom they were to remember.
* Fact one: his kingdom did not function as other kingdoms did.
* Fact two: in other kingdoms, those who possess authority or were older were served.
* Fact three: In his kingdom, the situation is distinctly different.
* Fact four: in his kingdom, the one who serves is more significant than the one who is served.
* Jesus reminded them that he and his treatment of them was an example.
* He used his power to serve others and to serve them.
* Though they called him their master and acknowledged they were merely disciples, that very evening he would wash their feet (John 13:12-17).
* The way we look at ourselves, the opinion we have of ourselves, is one of the enormous problems most of us struggle with in our lives.
* “I” want “you” to verify my significance and importance.
* In order for “me” to feel significant, “you” must serve “me.”
* For “me” to serve you is demeaning, but for “you” to serve “me” verifies my importance.
* I want you to focus on a statement Jesus made in Luke 17:10.
* But, in order to have a contextual focus, we must begin our understanding in Luke 16:10.
* Jesus made a statement on the unacceptability and undesirability of a person who belonged to God placing his or her trust in money.
* God will not entrust someone with eternal wealth if that person does not manage small things in God’s interests.
* No person can give primary allegiance to two controlling, opposing forces in his or her life–both God and wealth cannot control your life.
* Some Pharisees (important religious influences) heard Jesus and ridiculed what he said.
* They loved money, and they (in their estimation) belonged to God–there was no conflict between the two.
* Jesus said, “You use what people think to justify yourse...
Focusing on a relationship with God instead of Corporate Worship. The way God wanted it.