06-10-12 Sunday Main

Freedom from/Freedom to: Freed to Love IX.mp3

Stir it up! – N/A

Key Texts:

  • Deut. 30:6
  • II Thess. 3:5
  • Phil. 3:3-21
  • 2 Cor. 12:1-10

Review:

This week reviewed a lot, re-establishing the truths we’ve uncovered up to this point from the three parables of the lost sheep, lost coin & lost son.

There is much relational truth in these passages. Who we think we are and who we think our father is – are unveiled in these verses. Thank God though, that the story does not end there – it goes on to describe who we really are, who our father really is and how He longs to commune with us that we might really see, know and believe.

This is our 9th week of teaching on the love of God and I believe that I am beginning to see the light of “enlightenment” shine in several of your eyes.

Of all the truths we have learned, the two that are the most important are how God really sees us and that we MUST BE DETERMINED if we are to hear his voice in the feast telling us who we really are – that we might believe.

 

In these examples we can see both ourselves and our Father God. The truths revealed in these parables speak to the point and purpose of creation itself and allows us to peer into the very heart of God.

The topic this week was “The Good Son”. I thought we could take the parables a step further by adding a third son, who was characterized by doing the right thing. I used Paul as my template for this son and described his “goodness” credentials in Phil. 3:3-21. Now by goodness I do not mean goodness in compared to God nor perfection, just a general earthly goodness. He was diligent, obedient and zealous for what was right (at least as he understood it). We discovered that Paul was that this way before his conversion through a sense of diligence. We also discovered that Paul was this way after his conversion by means of Grace.

We did not get far enough into this teaching to see how Paul lived within and by the grace of God to be the “good son”, but we did compare his situation and responses to them to the other two sons in the parable of the “lost son” (prodigal).

Below are some simple comparisons between these three sons.

What would the 3rd son look like if approached with the same temptations of the other sons?

 

What where the temptations of the other sons?

 

(All temptation has a truth at it’s root. For each of us, our wounds have been the result of the enemy lying to us, but if it were completely a lie – we would not believe it. He usually finds something true about you and then “INTERPRETS IT FOR YOU” and THAT is the lie you believe.)

 

1. The “lost” son heard –

  • You are the second son and are only getting a small portion of the inheritance. If you stay here, you will never have something to call your own and you will always be living in the shadow of your brother’s greatness.

The conclusions the enemy influenced the “lost son” to believe:

  • You need to go out from your father’s house and make a name for yourself.
  • If you continue here, all you will be doing is further adding to your brother’s greatness and the greatness of his estate.
  • He was not content with earthly lot.
  • he was looking for identity through self-accomplishments.

 

Result: looking for an identity outside of his union with his father.

 

2. The “at home” son heard –

  • You are the 1st born, it falls to you to be the responsible one. Set an example for your brother – be “the son” you father can brag about to the neighbors. If you do not “perform” you could loose everything.

The conclusions the enemy influenced the “at home” son to believe:

  • Everything I am doing – I’m doing for the image of my  father.
  • Everything I toil over is owned by someone else.
  • All I ever do is work, work, work!
  • When will I ever have anything that is mine alone.
  • When will my life just be about me and not about my father and that brother of mine.

 

The Result: looking for an identity outside of his union with his father.

 

3. The “good” son heard-

  • God sent you as the “only” Apostle (other than Barnabas) called to the Gentiles?
  • You are more zealous for your people the Jews than any of the other Apostles, why did you get stuck with being sent to the Gentiles?
  • Every other Apostle gets paid for their labor, but because I am among Gentiles I cannot afford to request payment lest they think I am in it for the money.
  • Every time I even try to talk to the Jewish community I get persecuted, beaten or worse.

The conclusions the enemy influenced Paul to believe:

  • I should give up.
  • This isn’t fair.
  • This is punishment for persecuting the Jewish Christians.
  • This is too hard.
  • I’ve given up to much!
  • I’ve paid too high a price!

What the “good” son actually believed:

  • The enemy is attacking me and hindering my progress.
  • I count all things loss for the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus.
  • Everything I had was empty mountains of trash in comparison with Life in Christ.
  • I embrace my weakness, because it is there that I fellowship with Christ.
  • I take pleasure in persecutions for His Name sake, because then His glory rests upon me.

The Result: He found his identity in His Father and found deep fulfillment in his calling.

The Difference:

  • Paul went TO his Father to reason – he did not reason alone.
  • He embraced the truth in the lie – and there found God’s strength.
  • I AM weak – BUT I am NOT alone – my Father is with me and infuses His strength into me.

This is why God’s influence upon your heart is SO vital. You have got to hear Him daily!


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!