Resolutions Worth Keeping

Download MP3

Grace Bible Church

(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click here)

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

December 27, 2009

Resolutions Worth Keeping

Selected Scriptures

Introduction

In the past it was a common practice for people to spend some time at the end of the year evaluating the good and the bad that occurred and make resolutions about how they can improve themselves in the coming year. People desired to change as individuals into better people with an understanding that was the basis for also improving society. Benjamin Franklin wrote down this common thought this way, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

Resolutions are good for us because thoughtful change is good for us, and resolutions require careful thought. You may not need to go through the formality off writing down all the “wherefores” and “therefores,” though that may be a good and helpful exercise, but we should take the time to carefully examine our lives. We should consider both our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses and then make definite plans on how to improve the good points and change and overcome the failures and deficiencies. This should be the Christians’ desire because we are to be striving to become more like Jesus Christ. It is our great hope to be conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and we have confidence it can happen because God who began a good work in us in our redemption is faithful and will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).

However, in pursuing resolutions to become better people we need to make sure that we are actually pursuing what God desires in us rather than falling into the trap of working toward what society values. In our own time the definition of vices has changed radically from the social mores of Benjamin Franklin’s time and even of only a generation ago. What used to be commonly considered to be vices that a mature individual would have set aside, or at lest would have recognized as vices and not something to be proud of or promoted, are now considered to be no big deal or even to be valued with those practicing them to be held in high esteem. The simplest way to illustrate this is to consider the character of those considered to be the heros and good role models of society.

Good character used to matter, but now, whether it is sports figures, entertainment stars, business people or politicians, personal honor and integrity no longer seem to be of concern. Those that current society hold in high esteem often are also characterized by one or more of the following vices: lying, false promises, stealing, fornication or adultery, drunkenness, drug addiction, abuse of others, greed, hypocrisy, rank materialism, pride and arrogance. It is not so much that heros of the past never fell to one of these vices, but rather that if they did fall they recognized it as a vice as to opposed to current society which either ignores or celebrates it.

Romans 12:2 commands us directly as Christians to resist the pressure of the world to conform us into its image and instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Therefore regardless of what our society may or may not advocate, we who are believers have a hope bound up in changing and becoming more godly in the new year. That is why it is good for us to take note of the passing of time and give consideration to what we will be like in the future. We just need to make sure we are pursuing what is actually godly. But that brings up another important question? How do we know what is godly as opposed to what is worldly?

Worldly vs. Godly

In 1 John 2:15-16 the apostle John warns us, “Do not love the world, nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and [also] its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” In this passage John defines that which is worldly by relating it to what arises from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. But what exactly does that mean?

It is easier to recognize the idea of boastful pride of life because it is the opposite of humility. We can all recognize that even when you have achieved something for which you can be proud, a godly person will express that pride with humility rather than with boasting and arrogance. However, the other two elements can be more difficult to clearly identify. The word lust just means strong desire, and let’s be honest, when you are hungry there is a strong desire for food. Is that being worldly? Does that mean that eating when you are hungry is sinful? No one likes to live in an ugly environment. We prefer to be in a place that is beautiful and pleasing to the eyes. At what point does the desire to see that which is beautiful become a worldly lust that is sinful?

This passage gives us two indications of how to make the distinction between worldly and godly. First, John says that these worldly lusts do not come from the Father. Godly desires have their origin in the Father. Worldly lusts do not. They have their origin in Satan, the world and our own selfishness. Second, John says the lusts of this world are passing away while those doing the will of God abide forever. Worldly desires are temporal while godly desires are eternal.

The Origin of Worldly Desires

Origins in Satan: Our adversary, the devil, seeks to tempt us away from following after God. We find specific accounts of Satan as the source of temptation in both Genesis 3 and Matthew 4. In Genesis 3 the devil tempted Eve to take and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by lying to entice her in all three areas – the lust of the flesh, the lust of they eyes and the boastful pride of life. Eve succumbed and fell to the temptation when she “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make [one] wise” (Genesis 3:6). The origin of Eve’s desires were from Satan, not God.

Satan made a similar effort with Jesus in the wilderness as recorded in Matthew 4. The devil is a master of deceit and lies and he used every trick he knew in the effort to get Jesus to stumble and fall into sin. First, it was with the desire for food. After a 40 day fast, Jesus was very hungry so the devil tempted Jesus to make stones into bread so that his hunger could be satisfied. While Jesus’ hunger was a natural reaction to the long fast, to have that hunger satisfied outside of God’s provision would be a sinful desire. Jesus countered the temptation to a sinful desire with a stronger desire of godly origin as expressed in Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Next, the devil sought to entice Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple and having the angels catch Him. This was so that by this miracle Jesus would prove His claim to be God’s son. For Jesus to claim to be God’s son had its origin in God because it was the truth, but to get the people to believe it by the performance of such a spectacular feat had its origin in Satan. Jesus countered the temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus submitted His pride to God the Father and would wait for God’s timing and methods of demonstrating His deity.

The final effort by the devil was to entice Jesus with the desire of the eyes by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying he would give them to Jesus if He would worship him. The desire to have all the kingdoms of the world was a proper one for Jesus because they will ultimately belong to Him as the King of King and Lord of Lords, but the desire to gain them immediately by worshiping the devil was of Satanic origin. Jesus countered saying, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only'” (Deuteronomy 10:20). Jesus would wait for God’s timing and method to receive the kingdoms of the world.

Origin in the World: Sinful desires can also have their origin in the world. As already pointed out from Romans 12:2, the world itself places a great deal of pressure on us to conform to the standards of human society. The Mosaic Law commanded “You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil” (Exodus 23:2). There is a lot of pressure to do whatever the rest of the group is doing. For all the claim to want to be individual and different, people will quickly conform themselves to their social peers. Humans are often no better than lemmings following one another to their own detriment or even destruction. Some of this is from the desire to avoid the criticism, disdain or even hatred of others. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” But some of this is also to gain the acceptance and acclaim of others. Jesus warned in John 5:44, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the [one and] only God?” The desires that arise from the efforts to either avoid conflict with the world or to fit in with it are not from the Father, and therefore are sinful lusts.

Origins in Selfishness. The third origin of sinful lusts come from the selfish desires of the individual, and according to James 1:13-15, it is actually to this kind of lust that Satanic and worldly lusts entice to bring about sin. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust . 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” We do not have to have either Satanic or worldly enticements to fall into sin due to our own selfish desires to gain what we want when we want however we might achieve it. Selfish desires do not have an origin in God and are therefore sinful lusts.

The Origin of Godly Desires

In contrast to sinful lusts, godly desires have their origin in God. Jesus was the perfect example of a man whose personal desires were always in submission to God. We have already seen that in His response to Satan’s temptations in Matthew 4, but that was His manner of life in all respects. There are a series of statements in the gospel of John in which Jesus specifically states the submission of His own will and desires to that of the Father. John 5:19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless [it is] something He sees the Father doing; for whatever [the Father] does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:30, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Jesus said in John 8:28, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 12:49-50, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. 50 “And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

The starting place to have desires that have their origin in God is to follow Jesus’ example and place your will in submission to God’s will. Without that you will not carry out God’s will even when it is very clear to you. The willingness to submit your will to God begins with placing your trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-8 gives a succinct summary of this along with its benefits. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body, And refreshment to your bones.”

The second part of having your desires originate in God is to seek Him and learn His ways. A common theme found in the Psalms is the desire for God to lead and for Him to teach the psalmist His ways. For example, Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day,” and Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do Thy will, For Thou art my God; Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

How can we know learn God’s ways so that we follow His desires and not sinful lusts? Psalm 119:9-11 addresses that issue. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping [it] according to Thy word. 10 With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments. 11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.” A delight in the law of the Lord and meditating on it is a characteristic of the blessed man of Psalm 1. In the New Testament we find similar admonitions in verses such as 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”

The third aspect of making sure your desires are originating in God and not in sinful lusts is to make sure you are walking in the Spirit of God and not in the flesh. Paul makes it clear what this means in Galatians 5:16-26. He begins with the admonition, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” He continues on in verse 19 to list out some of the evident deeds of the flesh which include; “immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” People who are characterized by any of these things demonstrate they are controlled by sinful lusts rather than the Spirit of God and so they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul then goes on to list the fruit of the Spirit which characterizes those who are following God’s will. They are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The manner in which you live your life demonstrates whether you are walking in sinful desires or those that have their origin in God.

Temporal and Eternal Desires

The second indicator John gives of whether a desire is worldly and sinful or godly is whether it is something temporal or eternal. Since 2 Peter 3 tells us that one day this physical world will be completely and utterly destroyed by fire so that a new heaven and earth will have to be created, does that mean that any desire for anything on this earth is worldly? I don’t believe that is John’s point since he also talks about those with the world’s goods meeting the physical needs of others (1 John 3:17-18) . Paul makes a similar point in Ephesians 4:28 saying “but rather let him labor , performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have [something] to share with him who has need.” I also don’t think that is John’s point since there are many commands in Scripture concerning the use of wealth including Proverbs 13:22 which states, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children ‘s children , And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”

The issue of temporal or eternal when it comes to whether a desire is worldly or godly is one of motivation. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In Colossians 3:17 Paul stated the same principle this way, “And whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” He added in verse 23 this statement concerning labor, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

There is an even stronger related argument that Paul gives in 1 Timothy 4:1-5. “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 [men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” There are those that advocate abstaining from marriage and certain foods because they think that those things are somehow evil or at least less spiritual than abstaining from them. He warns about this same mindset in Colossians 2:16-23 for there are those “delighting in self-abasement” and decrees such as “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” The truth is that this is a false spirituality that has its origin in the demonic. The physical relationship between a husband and wife has its origin in God in holy matrimony. We are to recognize that the physical things we receive in life on this earth were created by God and are good. We simply need to receive them with gratitude for they are sanctified by the means of the word of God and prayer.

The issue of temporal verses eternal actually revolves around giving thanksgiving and glory to God. You can eat to the glory of God or you can eat for yourself. One is eternal and a proper desire while the other is temporal and a fleshy lust. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor including beautiful things to the glory of God, or you can pursue the things of this world for your own pleasure. One is eternal and a proper desire while the other is temporal and a fleshy lust. You can boast in the Lord and what He enables you to accomplish, or you can boast in your own achievements for your own glory. One is eternal and a proper desire while the other is temporal and a fleshy lust.

Legalism, Licentiousness and Discernment

These principles help us to separate what is godly from what is worldly, but they are still not always easy to apply. Why? First, because the temptations that arise from the devil, the world and within ourselves are strong and usually attack us at our weakest points. It is good that we have God’s promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13.“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” Second, humans have a broad ability to twist truth into error so that even efforts to pursue what is supposed to be godliness will actually be worldly. We tend to go to the extremes of either legalism or license.

Legalism: In legalism, the principles of Scripture are reduced into specific applications and whether something is worldly or godly is then judged by those specifics. For example, in the subject of music, the legalist would set up a standard that particular genres of music and certain musical instruments are unacceptable and others acceptable. Violins are good while drums are bad. Rock is evil while classical orchestra is good. Entertainment choices would be limited with certain types or those with particular ratings being out of bounds and other acceptable. You can’t go to a theater, but you can watch things in your own home. You can see a movie with a G or PG rating, but nothing R or above.

Licentiousness: In license the opposite happens. Certain principles of Scripture are expanded so that practically everything is included as acceptable. This is often under the belief they are strong enough to handle it and it is only restricted for the weaker brother. However, the licentious person will ignore other principles of scripture such as doing all for the glory of God as already mentioned, 1 Corinthians 10:12 which precedes God’s promise to provide a way of escape for temptation, “Therefore let him who things he stands take heed lest he falls.” They also ignore other basic principles such as Romans 16:19 “to be wise in what is good and innocent (simple / ignorant) in what is evil,” and Psalm 101:3, “I will set no worthless (wicked / vile) thing before my eyes.” For the licentious, the criteria for music, entertainment and anything else is actually based on whether they like it or not.

Discernment: Because of the danger of going in either direction, and an individual can be legalistic on some issues while licentious in others, we need to be people of discernment. To discern is to be able to distinguish between. The ability to detect, recognize and identify things as separate and distinct. God would have us develop discernment between what is worldly and what is godly. We need to be able to make a distinction between that which has its origin in God and that which has its origin in Satan, the world or our own selfishness. We must learn to recognize that which is eternal and a godly desire and that which is temporal and a sinful lust.

It has become my solid conviction over the years of ministry as a pastor that the vast majority of our society has no interest in godly discernment because they want to pursue their sinful activities with as little guilt as possible. I also believe that many who profess to believe in Jesus Christ and claim to be His followers are just the same because their manner of life differs little from non-Christians except perhaps they are not as blatant about their sin and are much better at justifying themselves. I have also found Biblical, godly discernment in short supply even among those that regularly attend church. Why? Because many of you give plenty of outward evidence of being enamored and entrapped by the world. How can I say that?

Let me ask you a series of questions and you answer them in your own heart.

1) Does Philippians 4:8 actually guide your entertainment choices as positive characteristics you seek (whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise worthy), or do you simply to see whatever is currently playing or popular?

2) Do you actively seek the counsel of the godly and shun the counsel of the ungodly as described in Psalm 1? This includes the people you personally ask for advice as well as what you pick up as advice from media programs, the internet, books and magazines.

3) Is your understanding of God according to Biblical truth and your desire to serve Him increased by what you allow yourself to read, see, hear, and experience? Or do they give you an unbiblical understanding of God and what it means to be His servant.

While we should strive to be innocent or even ignorant of evil and wise concerning good (Romans 16:19), this does not mean that we will be able to avoid all exposure to things that are evil. We may even purposely read, watch or listen to some things in order to expose and refute the errors in them. The greatest danger comes when we are not discerning about what we expose ourselves too and then accept instead of properly critique and refute errors.

Let me give you some relevant examples.

First, some years ago the movie “Bruce Almighty” was shown to the youth group of another local church under the illusion it would give them more compassion for God because He has a tough job. All it gave them was a blasphemous portrayal of a false god quite unlike the God of the Bible.

I have read reviews of The Shack by those claiming to be Christians as a wonderful allegory that made them feel God was more approachable by dealing with the problem of evil. However, the book presents the triune Godhead as modalistic, which is heresy, while confusing the separate roles of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In addition, the book also presents a pluralistic view of salvation rather than by God’s grace alone through Christ alone by faith alone. It emphasizes a relationship with God while diminishing the authority and importance of scripture. There cannot be a relationship with God without the foundation of truth. (See: http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4709781/k.5551/Critique_of_The_Shack.htm). If you read the book and did not pick out its theological fallacies, then you are reading without discernment and placing yourself in danger. We are to be discerning like the Bereans of Acts 17 about everything we read, watch or hear.

Jonathan mentioned the book and movie The Twilight Saga in his sermon a few weeks ago. While even a lot of the Christian review sites are positive toward the film since it is “one of the cleaner teen movies to come out in a long time,” and gives quite a few topics that could be positively discussed later, that does not mean it is good and can be seen without discernment. Jonathan pointed out how the skewed view of male / female relationships have resulted in a lot of girls, teens and young women having fantasies of finding their “Edward” which I would classify as the “Cinderella Syndrome” on steroids. The bigger problem I am concerned about is why so many Christian girls, teens and young women list The Twilight Saga series as among their favorite books or movies? Is this story about the relationship between a vampire, a mythical entity – though this one is relatively good, and a young woman really better than the thousands and thousands of books and hundreds of movies that portray genuine romance between people in a God honoring way? Even of greater importance is the question of why these young Christian females are not listing their favorite books to be those that draw a person into a greater understanding, relationship with and service to the God of Bible? Why is a fictional and unrealistic romance having such a strong influence on even Christian girls and even more so for a lot of them than Christian books and God honoring films?

Because of these observations I want to list out for you some resolutions that are worth keeping in the new year for they will develop in you the discernment needed to resist worldliness and live a more godly life.

Resolutions Worth Keeping

1) If you are not a Christian as defined by the Bible – a person who is a born-again believer in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ

A) I will humbly seek to know the truth of God. (Isaiah 55:6).

  1. B) I will make diligent effort to understand the claims Jesus Christ has made concerning Himself and His promises toward those that become His followers and those that reject Him (John 3:1-21).

C) I will follow the truth where it leads me.

2) If you are uncertain about what you believe

  1. A) I will humbly examine myself to determine what I actually do believe at the present time (2 Corinthians 13:5)

B) If I determine I am not a Christian, I will follow the resolutions under Category 1. C) If I am a Christian I will follow the resolutions of Category 2.

2) If you are a Biblical believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. A) I resolve to do my best to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37)

I will strive to learn the commands of the Lord and obey them (John 14:21) I will strive to develop the mind of Christ within me (2 Corinthians 2:16) and bring my every thought to be captive to Him (2 Corinthians 10:15). B) I resolve to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39) I will learn & put into practice the many “one another” commands (love, build up, be of same mind, accept, admonish, care for, serve, forbear, be kind, be subject to, comfort, regard as more important, not lie to, encourage, stimulate to love and good deeds, etc.). I will pray for my enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) C) I resolve to live in godliness instead of worldliness (Tit 2:11-14) I will resist being conformed to this world by living for Christ as a living sacrifice who is being transformed by a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2) I will put aside worldly vices of the old self and flesh while putting on the godly attributes of the new self including living by the Spirit and exhibiting His fruit (Colossians 3; Ephesians 4; Galatians 5). I will set my mind on things above instead of the things of this earth (Colossians 3:2)

Sermon Notes

– 12/27/2009

Resolutions Worth Keeping – Selected Scriptures

Introduction

Resolutions are good for us because thoughtful ___________ is good for us, and resolutions require that

The great hope of the Christian is to be ___________ and be like Jesus Christ

Christians are commanded to resist the pressure of the world and to be _____________by a renewed mind

Worldly vs. Godly

1 John 2:15-16

The boastful pride of life is easier to recognize because it is the opposite of ________________

Lust means “strong desire,” and ungodly _________of the flesh and of the eyes can be harder to recognize

Worldly desires do not come from God the Father, and they are _____________ , not eternal

Worldly Desires Originating in Satan

Genesis 3 – the _____tempted Eve to take and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by lying

Eve succumbed to the enticements and ________ to the temptation and sinned – Genesis 3:6

The _____tempted Jesus to provide His own food and satisfy His hunger. Jesus waited for God to ______

The devil tempted Jesus to prove His __________ and gain the acclaim of men by a showcase miracle.

Jesus would not put God to the _________ – Deuteronomy 6:16

The devil tempted Jesus with the ____________of the world. Jesus would _______only God – Deut. 10:20

Worldly Desires Originating in the World

Romans 12:2

Exodus 23:2 – there is a lot of pressure to follow the __________.

Sometimes to avoid ____________(John 15:19). Sometimes to gain the ________of men (John 5:44)

Worldly Desires Originating in Selfishness

James 1:13-15

We can fall to the temptation to sin without the _________ of either the devil or the world

The Origin of Godly Desires

Jesus submitted His ___________ to that of the Father – John 5:19; 30; 6:38; 12:49-50

We must submit ____________ to God’s will, and that begins with trusting Him – Proverbs 3:5-8

We must seek the Lord and ___________ His ways – Psalm 25:5; 143:10

We learn to follow God’s desires by learning His ___________ – Psalm 119:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:15

We must walk in the ___________ and not the flesh – Galatians 5:16-26

Temporal and Eternal Desires

Temporal is not referring to the ___________earth vs heaven – 2 Peter 3; 1 John 3; Eph. 4:28; Prov. 13:22

Temporal vs Eternal is about ____________- 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17, 23-24; 1 Tim. 4:1-5

We are to recognize the physical things we have on this earth come from God who is to be ____________

You can have ____________________ of the flesh, eyes and pride – or they can be sinful lusts.

Legalism, Licentiousness and Discernment

Enticements of the devil, the world and our own selfishness can be ____________.

God is faithful to provide a way of ______from temptation that we may be able to endure it – 1 Cor. 10:13

Humans have a broad ability to twist truth into __________and make efforts to be godly into worldliness

In legalism, the principles of Scripture are _______into specific applications which becomes the standard

In license principles of Scripture are ___________so that practically everything is included as acceptable.

The licentious ______some principles of scripture in favor of others – 1 Cor. 10:12; Rom. 16:19; Ps 101:3

Discernment

: To discern is to __________, recognize and identify things as separate and distinct

The vast majority of society has no interest in godly discernment to avoid as much _________as possible

Many professing Christians live in the same manner as _______________ – they reject godly discernment

There is a lack of discernment even among many ______going Christians who are enamored by the world

1) Does _______________ actually guide your entertainment choices as positive characteristics you seek?

2) Do you actively seek the counsel of the godly & shun the counsel of the ungodly as in _____________?

3) Is your Biblical understanding of God & desire to serve Him ________by what you read, see, and hear?

The danger is not so much in being exposed to evil it self, but in exposure without being _____________

We are to be discerning like the _______________ of Acts 17 about everything we read, watch or hear.

Resolutions Worth Keeping

1) If you are not a Christian as defined by the Bible:

  1. A) I will humbly seek to know the truth of God. (Isaiah 55:6).
  2. B) I will make diligent effort to understand the claims Jesus Christ has made concerning Himself and His promises toward those that become His followers and those that reject Him (John 3:1-21).
  3. C) I will follow the truth where it leads me.

2) If you are uncertain about what you believe

  1. A) I will humbly examine myself to determine what I actually do believe at the present time (2 Cor. 13:5)
  2. B) If I determine I am not a Christian, I will follow the resolutions under Category 1.
  3. C) If I am a Christian I will follow the resolutions under Category 2.

2) If you are a Biblical believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. A) I resolve to do my best to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37)

I will strive to learn the commands of the Lord and obey them (John 14:21)

I will strive to develop the mind of Christ within me (2 Corinthians 2:16) and bring my every thought to be captive to Him (2 Corinthians 10:15).

  1. B) I resolve to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39)

I will learn & put into practice the many “one another” commands (love, build up, be of same mind, accept, admonish, care for, serve, forbear, be kind, be subject to, comfort, regard as more important, not lie to, encourage, stimulate to love and good deeds, etc.).

I will pray for my enemies (Matthew 5:43-48)

  1. C) I resolve to live in godliness instead of worldliness (Titus 2:11-14)

I will resist being conformed to this world by living for Christ as a living sacrifice who is being transformed by a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2)

I will put aside worldly vices of the old self and flesh while putting on the godly attributes of the new self including living by the Spirit and exhibiting His fruit (Colossians 3; Ephesians 4; Galatians 5).

I will set my mind on things above instead of the things of this earth (Colossians 3:2)

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times the words “worldly” and “godly” are mentioned. 3) Talk with your parents about your resolutions for 2010?

THINK ABOUT IT!

Go through the resolutions listed above and consider which ones apply to you and then begin working on them today – you should never wait to pursue godliness!

Grace Bible Church Home Page | This Week’s Sermon | Sermon Archives

For comments, please e-mail  Church office