Pastor Dan opened us up with a hymn titled “Take Time to be Holy”, words by William D. Longstaff, music by George C Stebbins.
- At first glance, the words may sound a little corny but it’s such a good reminder to us that we need to commit time to seek the Lord, seek His word, minister to others, make friends with God’s people
- A little bit of background: William D. Longstaff Inherited a shipping business from his parents (they were ship owners), and used his financial means to support the missions efforts of D.L. Moody and others.
- While he led the busy life of a businessman, he had a desire to honor and glorify God with his life.
- Let us be reminded of the practical call for people of God to exercise common sense wisdom in our walk with the Lord, namely that it takes time to build our relationship with God.
Pastor Dan then led us in a devotional of 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
- The Wisdom of God is distinct from, and surpasses the wisdom of the world
- There is a temptation to try to make the gospel cater to the world, so that it is acceptable to the world
- The reality is that the gospel is other-worldly, and the wisdom of God is at odds with the wisdom of world; until God transforms the heart of a sinner, they will never comprehend (think about the audiences of Jesus’s time, even the disciples)
- We can have great confidence in the sure truth of scripture, which is the mind of Christ (the mind of God) that the Spirit has given us as believers.
- Whether the world understands or not does not change the truth of God’s word.
- One example: the age of the earth. The world is not millions of years old, but thousands of years old as the genealogies of Genesis tell us.
- The world will never understand creation, the end times, and God’s sovereign plans for history.
- The whole world was moving towards Christ’s first coming, and now is moving towards Christ’s second coming
- We only understand this by the revelation of God.
- The gospel of God does not need worldly wisdom to do its work
- Paul’s confidence is in what the Spirit can do, not confidence in his own oratory abilities.
- This is because when the gospel of God encounters the elect, there is an amazing outcome: salvation! This is how the gospel of God is power for everyone who believes.
- An illustration: If you’ve ever had a broken water pipe, there’s a repair kit that is a putty that consists of 2 different parts. It is initially soft and malleable but when the two parts are combined it becomes something totally different (a rock hard compound that adheres to the pipe to seal the leak)
- All we have to do is preach the gospel in gentleness and respect, trusting that the gospel has the power to completely transform those whom God has chosen to save.
- At the end of the day, the gospel doesn’t make sense to the world apart from the Spirit of God. But for the elect, it is understandable and produces salvation.
- This confidence in the gospel is also seen in Paul’s ministry at Athens
- Acts 17:16 – Paul was escorted to Athens, and as he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him, he observed the idolatry and preached the gospel
- He preached while “on vacation” to “educated” people – he was in an unfamiliar city, one with a reputation of being a highly educated city, yet preached with all boldness in spite of how the Athenians responded.
- Would we have the mind of Christ, see things as Christ would, and act as Christ would
To summarize Matthew 5: the premise is in verse 20, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” and that is fleshed out throughout the chapter. The key verse in Matthew 6 is verse 1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus, talking to His disciples (rather than the crowds—He still presents God as their Father), makes strong contrasts between the absence of God in the Pharisees’ practices and the righteousness of believers, which is for God’s eyes only.
Our memory verses for this week, Matthew 6:1-6, are a 3-part section on hypocritical vs. God-pleasing righteousness:
- Vv2-4: you have no reward if you practice this kind of giving to the poor. You either get the honor from men or you get the acknowledgement from God (which is what we want as believers); you can’t have it both ways
- Vv5: all the hypocrites accomplishes with his prayer is to be seen by men
- Vv3-4, 6: “do not let your left hand…” and “close your door and pray…in secret” not to be taken literally, as though we must do these things in a secretive manner. The point is that our motives are pure and that we live out our faith for God’s eyes only, and not be hypocrites who act like these are for God when in reality it is for men’s applause.
Creation was easy to recount because of the seven day sequence. Adam and Eve account is more challenging to remember the specifics so Pastor Dan prepared an acronym to help with this: ACTSS for this story and COMA for the story of Cain and Abel.
Reviewing Adam and Eve – ACTSS
- Adam and Eve
- Sent out
Some general notes on the handouts: Square brackets are things that you’re saying as you’re leading them along, text in bold are quotes, and the bold text is italicized when it’s paraphrased
Notes on ACTSS:
- Command – the command is a positive command, not a prohibitive one. It’s like Adam and Eve had a buffet, and could eat from any tree, except for one tree (can also use the teacher’s chair analogy).
- Temptation – When you say, “she gave also to her husband…” instead of holding your hand out to the side, you can use both hands and illustrate the handing off from one hand to the other
- Pause and take the time to make sure that the kids understand that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit they disobeyed God, that they didn’t trust God, and that this is bad.
- Seed – some translations use the word “crush”, but in Greek it’s the same word in both instances, and that’s why NASB translates both instances as bruise. However, it is important to note that what Satan experiences is fatal; a blow to the heel is not.
- Sent out – “sent him out…” we are point outward
Cain and Abel – COMA
Notes on Ancestry:
- What this passage shows us is the clear generational connection from Adam to Noah – it traces back to the very beginning of time without any gaps! This tells the Israelites (and us) that the events of the bible are not a reality that is disconnected from the real world.
- Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, died the year of the flood
- Methuselah lived at the same time as Adam, the very first man who could testify of God, yet didn’t walk with God.
- This tells you the immensity of the sin of man
- How did Noah know God? He had a source of understanding of the truth of God, through his grandfather knew Adam.