a time to laugh

ernestanderson

Rev. E. Anderson

A KID FUNNY

Pupil: “Teacher, can a fellow be punished for something he hasn’t done?”

Teacher: “No, of course not.”

Pupil: “That’s good, because I haven’t done my homework.”

A TRACTOR FUNNY

A little girl was watching her daddy repair his tractor.

She asked her mother, “What happens to old tractors when they finally stop working?”

Sighing, her mother answered: “Someone sells them to your father, dear.”

A GOLF FUNNY

A certain preacher awoke to perfect golfing weather one Sunday morning. It had been either cold, raining, or too windy for a couple of months and, as he thought it over, the temptation was just too great. He called up one of his deacons and told him, “You all are going to have to cover for me today. I have to go out of town on urgent business.”

He felt a little bit guilty as he drove to another town, but the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, there was no wind at all, and the temperature was just perfect, so he found ways to justify his absence “just this once.”

As he stepped up to the first tee, St. Peter said to the Lord, “Look. Isn’t that one of your men on that golf course? And on a Sunday?”

The Lord said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him.”

The preacher hit a perfect drive, in fact the best he’d ever hit in his life. It soared about 250 yards, bounced twice, hit the green, and rolled right into the cup! St. Peter looked at the Lord, but he didn’t say anything.

The preacher was ecstatic as he quickly teed up for the second hole, where his shot was just as good. He’d made another hole in one — the second one in his life!

At that St. Peter turned to the Lord, “I thought you said you would take care of him,” he demanded.

“I did,” answered the Lord. “Who’s he going to tell?”

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a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

 

 

 

 

Rev. John Willoughby

21. THE CALL OF GOD.

God has a wonderful plan for every individual believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, not only for now, but also throughout eternity.

1/. GOD OFTEN CALLS THE INADEQUATE

I Cor 1:26-31. He will sometimes interrupt our schedule and routine of life to thrust us forth into His great and divine purposes, even though we may feel inadequate. Some examples are:-

* Moses – a shepherd in the desert. (Ex3:l-12). He was sent to release God’s people from slavery vlO and to bring them into the Promised Land v_8. even though he felt that he would not be believed or understood 3:11. 4:1. 10.

*  Samuel – a boy serving in the temple. (I Sam 3:1 -21). He was sent as a great prophet to Israel v20. even though at first he could not hear God speaking to him v6-7.

* Ezekiel – a captive in a foreign land. (Ez 2:1 -7). He was sent to “the children of Israel, a rebellious nation ” (NKJ. v3), in order to give them God’s Word yT, even though he was tempted to fear their response y6.

* Disciples – businessmen and fishermen. Mt 4:18-22. They were called to be sent to the lost (10:1-6), even though they often made mistakes and acted with wrong motives.

*  Saul (who became Paul) – a religious Pharisee. (Acts 9:1-9). He was sent as an apostle to the Gentiles v!5. even though he had previously persecuted the church vl-2.

2/. GOD CALLS US IN LOVE

a) He has called us from the foundation of the world. Eph 1:3-6. 11. The Lord spoke these words to the Prophet Jeremiah (1:4), “1 kne\v you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you -were born I set you apart and appointed you as My spokesman to the world”.

b) He prepares those who will respond to Him. The Psalmist wrote (139:17-18), “How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable. I can’t even count them, they outnumber the grains of sand”. He prepares us:-

*  By forming us for His purposes. Ps 139 13-16.

* By making us His disciples. Mt 4:19.

*  By teaching us His ways. Jn 14:26.

c) He calls us for a purpose. Paul wrote, “He created us anew* in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago ” (Eph 2:10). He calls us>

* To be separated unto Him. I Pet 2:9-10.

*  To be changed into His own likeness. Rom 8:28-30. * To bear fruit to His glory. Jn 15:1-8. 16.

3/. GOD CALLS US FOR SPECIFIC TASKS

In describing his own ministry, the Apostle Paul gives us an example of the call that is upon every believer. It has three aspects, which we see in Rom 1:1:-

a) The general calling – “Jesus Christ’s slave”. I Cor 6:19-20. Jesus paid the highest price for us – His own life. According to the custom of Paul’s day, if a slave came to the time when he could be set free and he chose not to accept his freedom (because of love for his master), he then received a mark pierced in his ear. This was the sign that he was a ‘love-slave’ to his master for life (Ex 21:5-6). In the same way we can imitate the Apostle Paul and become love slaves of the Lord Jesus, by coming under His complete Lordship.

b) The directional catting – “chosen by God to be an apostle”. Rom 12:3-8. Just as Paul had a calling in a particular direction for his life, so does every believer. There are many different types of functions (callings) in the body of Christ, which will be revealed to us individually, as we seek to walk in obedience as His love slaves.

c) The specific calling – “sent to preach His Good News”. Acts 16:6-10. Paul was sent specifically as an apostle to preach to the Gentiles, unlike Peter who was sent to the Jews. Likewise we may receive a calling similar in function to many other Christians (such as to be a businessman, housewife or teacher), yet there is a specific task for each one of us to do. God loves us individually and as part of His family each one of us is equally important, even though we may be called to different tasks in His Kingdom.

MY COMMITMENT

I realize that God has had a plan for my life even before the foundation of die world. I now make a total commitment to this plan and will follow the Lord all the way. I will teach others also about God’s call for their lives.

 lake

 

 

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

 

 

 

 

Rev. John Willoughby

20. WHEN JESUS RETURNS – THE SECOND COMING

1/. THE PROMISE OF HIS RETURN

I Cor 11:26. Jesus said to His followers, “I-will come again ” (Jn 14:3). His return firstly as Bridegroom and then as King is one of the most important subjects for the Christian. The writers of the New Testament discussed it more than 300 times and the language used was almost always mat it could happen at any time. This future event is certain :-

* The prophets foretold it. Dan 7:13-14.

* Jesus spoke about it. Mt 24:42.

* Angels pointed to it. Acts 1:10-11.

* The early Christians encouraged one another with it. Rev 1:7.

2/. THE MANNER OF HIS RETURN

 

a) Firstly – unexpectantfy and silently as Bridegroom for His Church. Mt 25:1-13. Let us always be waiting and prepared like the “wise virgins “, He will come:-

* Unexpectantly. IThess 5:1-6. Referring to this event, Jesus said, “no one knows the day or the hour-when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son Himself Only the Father knows … you also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Mt 24:36,44).

* For those who are dead in Christ and for those Christians who are alive. IThess 4:13-18. Jesus said of the ‘rapture’ or the taking away of His Church, “Two men will be working together in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill, one will be taken the other left” (Mt 24:40-41).

* To give glorious, resurrection bodies. I Cor 15:35-44. 51-52. Paul wrote, “We are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Saviour. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His awn” (Phil 3:20-21).

* With His reward. Isa40:10. Jesus said, “See I am coming soon and My reward is with Me, to repay all according to their deeds” (Rev 22:12). What a joyous time it will be!

The Bible says that as we look forward to this event, we need to be certain that we are – born again of the Spirit (Jn 3:3-7), ready (Rev 19:7), watching (Lk 21:36), waiting expectantly (Heb 9:28) and clean (I Jn 3:2-3).

b) Secondly – unexpectantly and publicly, as King and Judge of the world. Jude 14-15. Those who have already been raised to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess 4:17) will return with Him. He will come:-

* Like the lightning. Mt 24:27.

* In full view of all. Mt 24:30.

* With great power and glory. Lk21:27.

* To judge and rule the world. Mt 25:31-32. 

3/. THE RESULTS OF HIS GLORIOUS RETURN

Jesus will rule on earth for 1,000 years (Rev 20:4-6) and His elect will rule with Him (Mt 25:14-30). During this time – Satan and all demons will be bound (Rev 20:1-3) and there will be peace and righteousness for all (Isa 2:3-4). At die end of the thousand years – Satan will be released for a short period of time and will lead a rebellion, after which he will be cast into “the lake of fire ” to suffer forever (Rev 20:7-10), every enemy will be destroyed (I Cor 15:24-26) and all humans since Adam will be judged (Rev 20:11 -15). His Kingdom will men continue on into eternity with a “new heavens and earth ” (Rev 21:1).

MY COMMITMENT

The second coming of Jesus is my great hope for the future. I will tell as many people as possible about Jesus, my Saviour, before He returns. I am committed to Him and look with excitement for that wonderful.

lake 6

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

 

 

 

 

Rev. John Willoughby

19. HEAVEN.

1/. THE NATURE OF HEAVEN

I Cor 2:9-10. Paul wrote in the same letter, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now ” (13:12). Heaven is a place far beyond anything we can possibly conceive. Though the Bible doesn’t describe all of the details of what it is like, it does give us some clues as to its nature. It is

a) A place of God’s glory. Dan 7:9-10. We can see from this Scripture, firstly that it is the dwelling place of God. Moses wrote, “Look down from Your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless Your people …. ” (Dt 26:15). Secondly that it is where God’s throne room is located. We read in Ps 103:19, “The Lord has made the heavens His throne; from there He rules over everything”.

b) A place untainted by evil – Rev 21:27. The nature of heaven is a product of the very nature of God. The Book of Revelation describes the New Jerusalem, coming out of heaven, as a place without:- night (22:5), curse (22:3), pain, crying, sorrow and death (21:4).

c) A place where the righteous dwell Mt 13:43. Jesus said,“I assure you. unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God’ and ”the truth is. no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit ‘ (Jn 3:3. 5). We see here a clear qualification for all those who will live there. Paul encouraged us with these words.    When we die and leave these bodies – we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself     ‘ (2 Cor 5:1).

d) A place of continual worship. Rev 19:1-6. John wrote,   Then 1 looked again and 1 heard the singing of thousands and millions of angels around the throne …. And they sang in a mighty chorus, ‘The Lamb is worthy — the Lamb who was killed. He is w orthv to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing'” (Rev 511-12)

e) A place that will never end – I Pet 13-4 Peter wrote of the “called and chosen ” in II Pet 1:10-11, “Godwill open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

2/. OUR PRESENT LINKS WITH HEAVEN

As believers, we live our lives in a special relationship with heaven because: –

* We have been sent by the One who lives there Jn 17:16. 18. Paul wrote, “We are Christ’s ambassadors ” ( 2 Cor 5:20).

* We belong there. Heb 12:22-23 Paul also wrote, “We are citizens of heaven where our Lord Jesus Christ lives” (Phil 3:20).

* We have our source of life there Col 3:1-4. In Eph 1:3 we read, “How we praise God …. Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, because we belong to Christ”.

* We have our names recorded there. Phil 4:3. Jesus said, “rejoice because your names are written in heaven ” (Lk 10:20. NKJ).

* We have our eyes fixed there, n Cor 4:17-18. Abraham, “was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God ” (Heb 11:10).

* We have our treasure there. Mt 6:19-21. Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19:21).

* We are being called there. Jn 14:1-3. Paul wrote, “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us up to heaven ” (Phil 3:14).

MY COMMITMENT

I realize my life here on earth is only temporary and I decide today to set my affections on things in heaven, not on the things of earth. I will share with others the good news about this wonderful eternal home Jesus offers to all who believe on Him.

 flowers 3

 

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby

18. PRAYER.

Ps 91:15-16. Our prayers are very important and can release the most dynamic, history changing power this  world has ever known.

1/. GENERAL GUIDANCE IN PRAYER

a) Our time. The Bible gives many examples of people who prayed and as a result saw great miracles of God’s power in many different situations. Paul wrote, “pray without ceasing” (I Thess 5:17. NKJ), but we also need to put aside regular times. The heroes of faith put times aside specifically for prayer – often in the morning, noon and evening (Ps 55:16-17). The best example of a daily pattern of regular, whole-hearted prayer, can be found in the Lord Jesus Himself. He prayed:-

*  Early in the morning. Mk 1:35.

*  All night. Lk6:12-13.

*  At times of great need. Lk 22:39-44.

b)  Our attitude. Jesus said, ” When, you pray” (Mt 6:5). We have been invited into intimate prayer by none other than the Lord Himself. Our attitude should be:-

*  Right motivation. Mt 6.5-6.

*  A right relationship with God as Father. Lk 11:11-13.

*  A real trust in the Lord. Ps 55:16-17.

*  A real honesty and openness. I Jn 1:5-7.

*  A forgiving heart. Mk 11:25.

As we express our feelings and burdens in conversation with God, it can be in the form of adoration (Ps 34:1 -4), confession (I Jn 1:9), request (Mt 7:7-8) and thanksgiving (Eph 5:20).

c)  Our subjects. Mt6:9-l3. Jesus said, “Watch and pray” (Lk 21:36 NKJ):-

*  Lest we give in to temptation. Mt 26:41.

*  For workers m God’s harvest field. Lk 10:2.

*  For those in authority. I Tim 2:1-2.

*  For our enemies. Lk 6:28.

* For ourselves I Chron 4:10.

*  For sick and distraught fellow Christians. Jms 5 14-16.

*  For those ensnared by sin. 1 Jn 5:16.

*  For other Christians and for Christ’s ministers. Eph 6:18-20. 2. The Holy Spirit in prayer.

Rom 8:26. Part of the Holy Spirit’s purpose in prayer is to teach us (Lk 12:12), to guide us (Rom 8:27) and to help us in our faith (Eph 3:16-17) He will sometimes anoint a believer’s prayer in a special way – this is called “praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20). It can be in our own language or by using the special gift of “speaking in other tongues” (I Cor 12:7-10).

2/. DISCOURAGEMENT IN PRAYER

Mt 7:7-8. God says.   He hears the prayers of the righteous” (Prov 15:29). We can often become discouraged, if we see few or no results Jesus said.   Keep on asking, looking and knocking“. Daniel was a righteous man, but when he prayed the answers were held up by Satanic forces of darkness (Dan 10:12-13). In the same way our prayers can be held up Sometimes, however, we ask for the wrong reasons (Jms 4:3) or we do not see the answer immediately because of God’s timing.

3/. THE CHURCH IN UNITED PRAYER

Mt 1819 There is tremendous power, when two people pray in unity, how much more so when all God’s people come together i Acts 424, 31). Today He is calling His people together to pray in order to fulfil the church’s great mission – to change individual lives, families, communities, cities and nations.

MY COMMITMENT

I realize the wonderful blessing of prayer, not only in my relationship with God, but also the supernatural results that follow. I commit myself to make prayer a priority in my life and to tell others of its importance.

                                                                                                            tree scene

 

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby

17. WORSHIP

It is wonderful that we are able to bless our Creator through praise and worship.

1/. OUR PRAISE

Ps 34:1-3. The psalmist wrote, ” With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name for ever” (Ps 86:12). We can show our great appreciation of God anytime and anywhere. We praise God:-

* Because of who He is – He is worthy. Ps 47:6-7.

* Because of what He does – with a thankful heart. Ps 103:1-5.

*  At all times – no matter our feelings. Ps 34:1.

* In every circumstance – when convenient or inconvenient. I Thess 5:16-18.

2/. OUR WORSHIP

Jn 4:23-24. Worship expresses our love and adoration It is possible to admire someone and appreciate what they do, without being in love with them. In the same way our worship of God expresses our love for Him. The religious rituals and ceremonies of Israel in the Old Testament became detestable to the Lord, because their hearts were far from Him (Isa 29:13). Today also He is only interested in the genuine and sincere worship from the heart.

a) Worship Him in Spirit. II Cor 3:17. True worship takes place when “the inner man”, in response to the promptings of God’s Spirit (Eph 3:16), expresses love and adoration to God. This can take the form of spoken words, a love-song or silent adoration. It is an action of the Holy Spirit, so only those who have been born again of the Spint can truly worship God (Jn 3:5-8).

b) Worship Him in truth. I Pet 2:4-5. 9-10. As a “royal priesthood” our form of worship should be Biblical. Under the Old Covenant there was much preparation of the priests, before they could go into the Holy Place to worship the Lord – sacrifice, Cleansing, anointing and special clothing (Ex 30:17-38). In the same way, we need to prepare our hearts daily, as we come into His Presence. Jesus gave us clear direction concerning this in Mt 5:23-24.

3/. EXPRESSIONS OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP IN SCRIPTURE

a) With our voices. Ps42:4. The psalmist wrote, “Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem ” (Ps 9:11).

b) With our hands. Ps 150:3-5. We use our hands by raising them, “Thus I will bless You while I live; 1 will lift up my hands in Your Name ” ( Ps 63:4. NKJ) and by clapping, “Come everyone and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise ” (Ps 47:1).

c) With our bodies. Ps 30:11. Our expressions of worship can include kneeling and bowing, “Come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Ps 95:6. NKJ) or by simply standing before Him, “bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord” (Ps 134:1).

4/. THE BATTLEGROUND OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP

Satan probably led the choirs of heaven before his fall (Ez 28:13) and thus he hates us praising God. Opposition

comes from:-

a)  Our feelings. Ps 119:164. David had the answer to this, when he covenanted with God to praise Him, no matter what he felt like    My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast: I will sing and give praise ” (Ps 57.7. NKJ)

b) Demonic powers Ps 149:5-8. Certainly these   nobles” and   kings” could not be earthly rulers, but rather ”powers of darkness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). The Lord has given us victory over both our feelings and demonic powers, that we might praise and worship Him.

MY COMMITMENT

The greatest thing I will ever do in this life or in eternity is to praise and worship God. I determine today to be a true worshipper and to make this my supreme goal in life. I will tell others of this wonderful blessing.

 flowers 5

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

 Rev. John Willoughby

16. KINGDOM LIVING.

1/. A NEW KINGDOM

Col 1:13. We have been delivered from Satan’s dominion (rulership or headship) and are now under a new authority – that of the Lord Jesus. As a believer begins to grow in his new life in the Lord, he soon discovers that the only way to enjoy living in God’s Kingdom is in right relationship with Jesus. At the very beginning this takes two distinct forms:-

a) Jesus as Saviour. We cannot know God as Father or Friend, until we have first had a revelation of Jesus as Saviour. He has saved us from:-

*  God’s judgement. IThess 5:9.

*  Satan’s power over sin and death. I Jn 3:8. Heb 2:14.

* Our own selfish desires. II Cor 5:15.

b) Jesus as Lord. I Cor 8:6. Paul wrote, “just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him” (Col 2:6). Once we are inside His Kingdom, the relationship takes on a dramatic change, for we can now know the King, not only as Saviour, but also as Lord of our lives. We then find that His dominion brings us out of the chaos of sin into divine order and peace (Col 2:9-10).

2/. SUBJECTS OF THE KING

a) Example of the King. Jn 13:5-17. Jesus, though King of the Kingdom, became a servant. He is the example of what a true citizen of His Kingdom should be like. He came to do His Father’s will and in His everyday experiences, He displayed what the true lifestyle of the Kingdom should be. Jesus said, “Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant” (Lk 22:27).

b) Servants of the King. Jn 12:26. As members of Christ’s Kingdom, we enter into a Master/servant relationship, for as His disciples we are to have that same servant heart as the King. Many Christians do not like the concept of being a servant, because it seems to make one person inferior to another.

In the Bible, however, we see the opposite is true:-

* In slavery to God – there is freedom from sin, Rom 6:16-23.

*  In being a sen-ant of God – there is greatness. Mt 20:25-28.

* In humility before God – there is exaltation. Mt 23:12.

c) Submission to the King. Lk 7:1-10. The Roman centurion [military leader over 100 soldiers] understood the principle of submission, for as he came under the authority of the Roman Emperor, so he was able to exercise authority. He therefore saw that as Jesus was obedient to the Higher Authority of His Father, so He could give a command and it would be done (v8). We see by this principle that we too have authority to the extent we are inan attitude of submission and obedience to God, who has all power.

This submission to God’s will, should not be given reluctantly, because of fear or duty, but rather: –

* Because of all God has done for us. Rom 11:36-12:1.

* Because of our love for Him. Jn 14:15.

* Because in doing so, we find fulfilment. Ps 40:8. 3. Fruit of the Kingdom.

I Thess2:10-12. We are created by God to live in the fullness of His Kingdom. The result or fruit of this is the natural outworking of the miracle of new birth, which the Holy Spirit has performed in us. Paul wrote, “We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord and you will continually do good, kind things for others ” (Col 1:9-10). The fruit of the Kingdom is explained in a number of scriptures as, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ” (Gal 5 22-23). “Right living ” (Heb 12:11), that which is, “good, right and true” (Eph 5:9) and “living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). What blessing can flow through our lives, as we live in obedience to Him!

MY COMMITMENT

I realize that I am to submit my life to the service of others, just as Jesus did. I commit myself to being a willing, joyful servant of Christ and others.

deer

 

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby

15. GENEROSITY

Jn 3:16. God has put into motion spiritual laws, which govern life – one of these is the law of generosity. It teaches us that, “whoever sows generously will also reap generously. ” (II Cor 9:6).

1/. PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD

The Bible says, “We ‘work together as partners -who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building — not ours ” (I Cor 3:9). It is important for us to understand where our responsibilities lie.

a) Ownership of all-is with God. IChron29:10-12. The Bible says, ” The heavens are Yours and the earth is Yours; everything in the world is Yours – You created it all” (Ps 89:11). Everything belongs to God, including all we have – possessions, careers, families. He has given us all of these things to enjoy (I Tim 6:17), however, when we realise that they still belong to Him, we can rest in the assurance that God also has ultimate responsibility for them.

b) Stewardship of what we have – is with us. I Cor 6:19-20. Unlike an owner, a steward manages that which belongs to someone else. Therefore as God’s stewards we have an obligation to be faithful in taking care of all we have for Him and He will hold us responsible for this (Mt 25:14-30). When we understand the Owner-steward relationship it becomes easy to give. Before God, stewardship covers every single thing that belongs to us – our time (Col 4:5), our talents and abilities (I Pet 4:10), our possessions (Mt 6:19-21), our finances (Mt 6:24) and the message of the Gospel (I Cor 9:16-17). Many Christians still struggle to tithe, but the action that releases us into the full blessings of good stewardship is surrender – the unreserved submission of one’s entire life, possessions and plans to God’s will and purpose.

2/. GENEROSITY IN THE EARLY CHURCH

Acts 2:44-45. 4:32. The attitude of the early Christians laid the foundation for every expression of giving that was to come later. It expressed their understanding of stewardship – that everything ultimately belongs to God and the words of Jesus, “// is more blessed to give than to receive ” (Acts 20:35) became a reality.

a) They supported the needy. Acts 6:1-3. Special men were chosen to serve as deacons, who made it their ministry to channel all the giving to where there was a practical need.

b) They gave sacrificially to one another. II Cor 8:1-4. When some Christians were in need, others supported them.

* They worked to be able to give. Eph 4:28.

* Giving was the proof of their love. IJn 3:17-18.

c) They supported ministries. Phil 4:15-18. The Apostle Paul, while travelling to establish new churches, sometimes worked with his hands to provide his own support (II Thess 3:7-9). On other occasions the Christians showed the true spirit of giving, which God commends, by supporting him and other ministries.

3. GOD’S PRINCIPLES OF GENEROSITY

In I Cor 10:11, we are told to learn from Israel’s example and to apply the principles given them by God, avoiding their mistakes and rebellion. In the area of giving, we find some excellent guidelines in the Old Testament that can help us today.

a) God expects us to tithe of our income. Mai 3:8-12. Let us note from these verses that we “rob God”, if we do not tithe (v8) and the result of this is a “curse ” (v9). If we “bring all the tithes into the storehouse ” (church which we attend), great blessings result (vlO-12). Jesus said, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving- large or small – it will be used to measure what is given hack to you” (Lk 6:38).

b) We are to give the first and best to the Lord. Prov 3:9-10. Under the old covenant when offering sacrifices to the Lord, they always needed to give an animal, which was without blemish – the best of their flocks. How much more so do we, who live under a “better covenant” need to give our best. The Bible says, “a generous man devises generous things and by generosity he shall stand’ (Is 32:8).

MY COMMITMENT

I realize the importance of having a generous heart and attitude towards others. Today I commit myself to begin a life of giving, by starting to tithe (a tenth of my income) to the Lord’s work. I will also.

 flowers 5

a beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby

14. FELLOWSHIP

Heb 10:24-25. In order to get to know the other members of God’s family, we need to have fellowship with them, not only at the different meetings of the church, but also in one another’s homes or at places of recreation.

1/. THE PURPOSE OF FELLOWSHIP

I Jn 1:3. Our fellowship with one another is founded on our common commitment and fellowship with Christ. Out of this comes:-

a) A loving commitment to one another. Jn 13:34-35. In the original language the word translated as “love ” means a sacrificial love. Such a commitment will not be effected by the other person’s inconsistent behaviour. Paul wrote. “Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other” (Rom 12:10).

b) A desire to walk in the light with our fellow believers. Mt 18:15. John wrote, “if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin ” (I Jn 1:7). Our fellowship embraces the need to be open, honest and truthful with one another. We can only know people to the extent we are all prepared to reveal ourselves, which takes humility. This at times may mean:-

* Being obedient to the light of God’s Word, when challenged by its truth.

* Removing any masks or false coverings.

* Confessing our own sins to others or lovingly covering another’s sin.

c) A desire to encourage one another in the faith. Heb 3:12-13. This will often involve encouraging one another in times of suffering and difficulty. Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica, “encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (I Thess 5:11).

d) A genuine interest in one another’s well-being. Phil 2:3-4. There should be no hidden motives of self gain and our desire should be to give, not to get. John wrote, “Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other, let us really show it by our actions ” (I Jn 3:18).

e) A willingness to lay down our life for other believers. Jn 15:12-13. Paul wrote,“Greet Priscilla and Aquila. They have been co-workers in my ministry for Christ Jesus. In fact they risked their lives for me. I am not the only one who is thankful to them, so are all the Gentile churches ” (Rom 16:3-4). Our life involves more than our physical comforts, it also includes our time, our personal interests and preferences etc.

f) A desire to share our possessions. Jms 2:15-17. In Acts 4:32 we read, “All the believers were of one heart and mind and they felt that what they owned was not their own, they shared everything they had “. Out of the unity of “heart and mind” comes a desire to share our possessions with one another.

g) A desire to practice hospitality. I Pet 4:9. Hospitality is a means of sharing and building up relationships. Paul encouraged the Christians at Rome to, ”get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or if they need lodging, for the night” (Rom 12:13).

2. THE RESULTS OF FELLOWSHIP

Acts 2:41-47. The fellowship in v42 results in:- A fear of God with miraculous signs (v43). All needs are met through a generosity of spirit (v44-45). A unity and joy (v46). Favour with the people and a great increase of converts (v47). Jesus prayed to His Father, “I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one, as We are -1 in them and You in Me, all being perfected in one. Then the world will know that You sent Me and will understand that you love them, as much as you love Me” (Jn 17:22-23). Our unity and loving fellowship will have far reaching effects.

MY COMMITMENT

I now understand the importance of having fellowship continually with other Christians. Today I commit myself to being a part of a group of believers to whom I will give my loyalty, my love and my service.

squirrel (2)

beginner’s course

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

Rev. John Willoughby

13. TEMPTATION

1/. KNOW OUR ENEMY AND HIS TACTICS

a) In the beginning. Gen 3:6. The Bible says, “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” (I Jn 2:16. NKJ). It was in the areas of the world and the flesh that Satan won his original victory in the temptation of the first man and woman. Let us compare Eve’s temptation (Gen 3:6) with this verse, “Good  fo rfood” — “lust of the flesh”, “Pleasant to the eye ” — “lust of the eyes ” and “Desirable to make one wise ” — “pride of life “.

b) His character. It is important for us to know his character and the tactics that he uses against us, so that we are not outwitted. His name means ‘Adversary’. The Bible describes him as a deceiver (Rev 12:9), a tempter (Mt 4:1-11), a liar (Jn 8:44), a slanderer and accuser (Rev 12:10), an oppressor (Acts 10:38), a hinderer (I Thess 2:18), a roaring lion (I Pet 5:8) and he can transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor 11:14).

c) He deceives and tempts us today. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, Satan has been the ruler of this world (Jn 14:30) and has tempted Adam’s offspring in two major areas: –

* The desires of the world. Jms4:4. The Bible says, “Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you ” (I Jn 2:15). He will seek to tempt a believer to become absorbed in the world system – by making the material blessings that the world offers a central desire, by making honour and recognition of this world an important goal and by making our security rest upon the acceptance and friendship of the world rather than on God.

* The desires of the flesh. Gal 5:19-21. Our old nature retains a desire to sin and we also live in a physical body that is subject to natural appetites and desires. Satan will use these to try and get us to place greater importance on our fleshly desires, than upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us. Sometimes we like our sins and it is easy for Satan to take advantage – for he knows our weaknesses. The Bible says, “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires ” (Jms 1:14).

2/. KNOW OUR VICTORY IN CHRIST

As Christians we are called to live in victory through Christ – over the world. (I Jn 5:4), over the flesh (Gal 5:16) and over the enemy (Eph 6:11, 13).

a) Through His life. Lk4:l-13. Jesus won a great victory over Satan’s temptations to change stones to bread (v3) – “lust of the flesh “, a vision of the kingdoms of the world (v6) – “Just of the eyes ” and casting Himself from the pinnacle of the temple, without harming Himself (v9) – “pride of life “. Jesus was tempted in everything, exactly as we are, “yet was without sin ” (Heb 4:15).

b) Through His death and resurrection. Rom 6:8-14. Through faith in Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection, we are delivered from the results of sin and from the power of sin (Rom 6:6-14). We are now free to choose to walk in obedience to God.

c) Through a daily walk in His grace. Based on the foundation of the great victory He won for us, we can now defeat any attack from the enemy in the following ways:-

* Do not be ignorant of Christ’s work – know that the victory is already won. Hos 4:6.

* Do not be blind to Satan’s schemes – resist him. Jms 4:7.

* Do not walk in the flesh – be led by the Spirit. Gal 5:22-25.

* Do not turn a blind eye to temptation – recognise it for what it is. Jms 1:14-16.

* Do not give in to temptation – recognise that there is a way of escape. I Cor 10:13.

* Do not look to the ways of the world – keep a godly focus in life. Col 3:1-2.

* Do not enter the enemy’s trap – keep away from obvious areas of temptation. Ps 101:3.

* Do not be discouraged, when you fail – receive God’s forgiveness and continue in the faith. Un 1:7-9.

MY COMMITMENT

I thank God for His promise to deliver me during times of temptation. I commit myself to respond to His help, which is always available, so that I can live in victory. I will share this truth with others also.

flowers 5

 

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