As we travel from the last pages of Ruth to the first pages of Samuel it is important to recognize that we are coming to the end of one era and moving into another. We are stepping from the time of the judges into the age of the prophets and kings. Samuel is the pivotal character between these two epochs of history. He stands as the last judge and the first prophet/king-maker of Israel. And to think he was almost never born.
Here’s what I see in today’s chapters:
I Samuel chapter 1 sermon topics/titles:
1. The Blessing of the Barren Bride: I Sam. 1: 1-28
2. Pain From the Wicked World: I Sam. 1: 4-18
3. Fulfilling the Vow When He Fulfills the Promise: I Sam. 1: 11-28
I Samuel chapter 2 sermon topics/ titles:
1. An Answer For My Enemies: I Sam. 2:1-10
2. Spiritual Abuse: I Sam. 2:12-17
3. A Mother’s Coat and a Father’s Ephod: I Sam. 2: 18, 19
Now tell me what sermon topics or titles you see in these chapters. 🙂
Ruth is the little book full of riches written about the times of the Judges. Ruth was a woman who had lost a lot. She could have given up, instead she turned to God and “risked” all things to obtain everything. She showed such initiative how could God not have blessed her? Here are some sermon ideas I see in today’s chapters.
Ruth chapter 3 sermon topics/ titles:
1. Prepare For Blessing: Ruth 3:1-3
2. “Cover Me Kinsman Redeemer!” Ruth 3:6-9
3. Providing Something to Carry the Blessing: Ruth 3:15
Ruth chapter 4 sermon topics/ titles:
1. Paying the Price of Redemption: Ruth 4:1-6
2. The Blessing of Judah: Ruth 4: 11,12
3. In the Line of Kings: Ruth 4:18-22
Now tell me what you see in these chapters for possible sermon topics. I see at least three more! 🙂
“These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” Jude 1:16
So we have been speaking about a group of people I call “the secret-slipper-inners”. We have spoken ad nauseam about all the traits of this group and now we come to Jude 1:16. I intended just to skip it because we have really covered these traits until even I am bored with them; But the Holy Spirit won’t let me go beyond this one because here’s where it gets dicey. It’s so easy to say let’s pray for those poor souls who don’t realize… but this verse… this verse 16… it’s me.
You see I am a grumbler. When things don’t go my way I become an Israelite fresh out of Egypt. When things go bad I’m the guy who likes to shift the blame. I’m the guy so hung up on approval I’ll stroke the ego of anybody I think can give me a leg up or a hand out. That’s the real me without Jesus. That’s all of us without Jesus. Sometimes that’s even us with Jesus isn’t it?
My point is any of us can be a “secret-slipper-inner.” Most of us probably have been at some point. That’s why Paul wrote to the Galatian church “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Gal. 6:1 NLT
As a friend recently reminded me, we are all in process and we need an everyday grace. Christ was once crucified for our sins but I need his blood to wash me and sanctify me everyday!
Have you been to throne of God recently to receive grace afresh for your journey?
It has been too long since we have practiced the chapter charts together. In my defense there have been so many other things to say that I just didn’t know where to put our little devotional exercises.
God has indeed put me in a spacious place abounding with the presence of the Holy Spirit! I am actually writing this blog on Monday night Oct. 15th in anticipation of a week of abundant blessing that will preclude me writing again until sometime after the 21st. By the time of this posting I hope to be collating the pictures and videos of the second annual C.cada art show and to be packing for a conference in Hyannis. I’ll share all that excitement with you later for now… here is what I see in today’s chapters:
Judges chapter 20 sermon topics/titles:
1. What Will It Take To Unite Us In the Presence Of the Lord? Judges 20:1-11
On Sunday Chai Alpha Campus Ministries from UMASS Amherst came out and shared their ministry with us. They made free lattes for the congregation and shared about the Freedom Cafe they are setting up on the campus.
check out the work of Chai Alpha to the 30,000 UMASS students in Amherst here:
“Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” Jude 1:11 NIV
If you have missed our discussion on the book of Jude up to this point check it out under the “devotions” category, sub-category “Hey Jude”.
We’ve been talking about traits of people who “secretly slip in” to harm the church. Jude 1:11 says that they are destroying themselves in Korah’s rebellion. That is:
apollymi antilogia Kore- OR “They are destroyed and rendered useless by the opposition or rebellion of Korah”
The allusion here is to a story in the Pentateuch where a man named Korah rose up against Aaron and Moses because he felt that the priesthood should be open to anyone who felt a leaning towards the position of power. The problem of course was that God had declared Aaron’s family alone should hold the priesthood in perpetuity.
Korah gathered a good-sized following and confronted God and the rightly appointed leaders of Israel. A show down ensued and naturally God won. The earth opened up and swallowed Korah, all his followers and their families. Sadly that did not put an end to the rebellion. The Bible tells us, “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said. But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the LORD said to Moses, “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown. Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started.” So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.” Nu. 16:41-49 NIV
Rebellion is like black mold; Once it is entrenched it is really hard to get rid of. Sometimes it just takes one man to rebel against God’s rightly delegated authority and before you know it a whole church is rendered useless as a kingdom building tool.
Be wary of those who are given to opposing God’s appointed leaders.
“Likewise also these [filthy] dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 1:8,9
In our study through the book of Jude we have been discussing the nature of people who pose a danger to the church even though on the surface they may seem like religious pillars. If you have missed any of the discussion segments, they can be found here.
Jude points out, one way the rebellion which characterizes the secret-slipper-inner manifests, is in treating the spirit world (even the dark spirit world) as a common thing that we humans are equal to. So we have movies like…
And television shows like…
While these Hollywood offerings have little to do with the church, a similar mindset has slipped into the church. I am concerned with some believers concentration on the Devil. I believe in a literal devil. I believe in spiritual warfare. I believe that there are many times when we are called to resist the Devil. But I believe that spiritual warfare is best fought in worship focused on the greatness of Jesus from a position of waiting on the Lord. I believe that the best way to resist the Devil is to submit to God.
Many brothers and sister are being led astray by a teaching that makes them believe that because they have been filled with the Spirit they now have the chops to “give the Devil a black eye.” But that is what the seven sons of Sceva did in the book of Acts.
A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. Acts 19:13-15
While the Holy Spirit who dwells in us is incomparably greater than the Devil who dwells in the world, He did not take up residence in us for the purpose of confronting the enemy. He entered into us so that we could be bold witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8). He entered into us for the purpose of causing healing and miracles to follow the preaching of the gospel.
Personally I am greatly encouraged by the knowledge that I don’t need to waste time focusing on the devil. I need all the time I have to worship Jesus!
“In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.” Jude 1:8
We have spent the last several posts talking about the signals that indicate a “secret-slipper-inner” has taken up residence in a church. Those signals are reiterated here in verse 8. If you missed the discussion, it can be found here:
What I want to talk about today is not what behavior typifies the “secret-slipper-inner” but how they managed to become a danger to the church in the first place.
The Bible in Jude 1:8 calls the “secret-slipper-inner” a dreamer or according to the KJV a “filthy dreamer”. The Greek expression is “houtos kai enypniazomai-” roughly translated that is “the men who are beguiled by their sensual dreams.”
Do you remember this song?
This is a perfect example of “houtos kai enypniazomai-“.
Sometimes when we think of “filthy dreams” we think of those dreams we wake up from saying “Wow I am glad that I really didn’t do that.” But Jude isn’t talking about some dream we have because we haven’t guarded our hearts properly or because we ate crazy before bed (how could he be our night time dreams are not generally under our control and these filthy dreamers are very clearly making conscious choices). When Jude speaks of filthy dreamers he is talking about people who have chosen a mindset that leads to unbelief, rebellion and sexual promiscuity because it disregards God altogether. Paul identified it when he wrote: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” Romans 1:21-24 NIV
Our culture is rife with the idea that all religions are equal…all roads lead to Heaven…there are many paths one destination…that we should
What we have to realize is that this is not a God dream. God is not for freedom of religion. Jesus did not create many paths to Heaven. God is not discovered in all gods. Heaven is only open to those who will repent of their sin and accept Jesus as the only son of God crucified and raised back to life on the third day!
Now, to some “tolerant” ears this message may sound harsh and rather unloving or un- good- newsish; But then it’s not our good news. It’s God’s good news.
The good news was never meant to be that “all roads lead to Heaven.”
It was always “Hey I’ve made A ROAD! TAKE IT!”
I suppose in the days ahead we are going to hear a lot more of the “all roads” jargon. I imagine we will even be pushed to accept it. All who press us in this direction are “houtos kai enypniazomai-“.
“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.” Jude 1:6 NLT
The second sign of the “secret-slipper-inner” is that they are like “the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority.”
This verse is referring to Satan and the angels who followed him in rebellion against God. The Bible indicates that those beings we refer to as demons today were once angels who chose to declare war on God in hopes of deposing Him. Satan himself was an angel called Lucifer…“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14: 12-15 KJV
I cannot imagine being likened to the devil but God says the “secret-slipper-inners” are like Satan in that they emulate his rebellion against authority.
I once worked briefly with a young man who made it his habit to undermine our manager by not following through with his responsibilities and then reporting our manager for dereliction of duty. The rest of us could easily see the fatal flaw in the young man’s plan but for some reason he thought he had the clout to take on people above his pay grade. He was soon displaced.
Secret-slipper-inners are men or women who are constantly trying to destroy the authority of their church leadership. They are not just complainers they are underminers. The saddest truth though is that they are often good at building consensus and wherever they go division seems to ride their wake. I wonder how many church splits could have been avoided if Jude verse 6 had been committed to memory.
Have you ever wished you could gather back the words you have spoken and hide them away never to be known by anyone? Have you ever made a commitment and then cursed yourself for not considering the possible ramifications? These are the “Why did I ever open my big mouth” moments. Our stories today have a little to teach about those rash moments and the devastation they can cause. In light of them it’s easy to understand why we are to “let your words be few”.
Here’s what I see:
Judges chapter 10 sermon topics/titles:
1. Little Mentioned Faithful: Judges 10:1-3
2. Repeating Folly: Judges 10: 6-11
3. When God Sings LIke Gloria Gaynor: Judges 10:12-17
Judges chapter 11 sermon topics/ titles:
1.” Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?” Judges 11: 1-7
2. the Importance Of Unmasking the Lie: Judges 11: 12-27
3. Walking In Anointing and Stupidity: Judges 11: 29-39