Sunday Morning Bible Study
April 17, 2016
He was practicing the worship of Molech where a metal idol with its arms outstretched was heated in a fire, and then a live baby was placed in its arms.
The name comes from “toph”, or “drum”, because the cries of the babies were drowned out with a drum.
Josiah removed the idols, and the place became the garbage dump for the city where fires were kept continually burning to consume garbage, animal carcasses, and dead bodies.
This became the ideal picture of what we call “hell”, the eternal fire.
(Romans 6:23a NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…
Hell is the ultimate death, the ultimate separation from God.
If you don’t think that eternal hell is the appropriate penalty for your sin, they you underestimate the severity of your rebellion against a holy, just God.
In truth, we all are usually quite glad about this.
Aren’t you glad to know that even if a wicked person gets away with their evil while on earth, that they will one day face God and be punished for their sins?
What we don’t like is the reality that we too are sinners.
God doesn’t actually want ANYONE to go to hell.
God sent His own Son Jesus to die on the cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins.
God offers forgiveness for our sins if we are willing to accept Jesus’ payment for our sins.
God did all of this because He loves us.
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The only way you will go to hell is if you reject God’s payment for your sins, if you reject Jesus Christ.
This is why Jesus said,
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
He is the only One to pay for our sins.
Our fear of the wrong kinds of things can cause us to do silly things.
Jesus has just warned His disciples about hypocrisy, and I think one of the core components about why we pretend to be something we’re really not is because of fear.
We’re afraid to be who we really are.
Perhaps we’re afraid of rejection.
For some of you, that means facing the reality of heaven and hell, and realizing that getting right with God is more important than any other relationship you will ever have.
For some of you, it’s not a “fear of God” as much as it is a “love for God” that you need to get straight.
(John 14:15 NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
In reality, if we get things right with God, we don’t need to be afraid of anyone else.
(Genesis 8:1 NKJV) Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.
It would be another six months before they were able to disembark.
I had grown up in the Baptist church, and went to seminary thinking that I’d probably end up a Baptist pastor.
By the time school finished, our pastor had left the church and I wasn’t liking my prospects in the Baptist denomination.
Deb and I felt that God was leading us to become a part of the Calvary Chapel movement. We loved the way God was working through Calvary Chapel and we loved their style of ministry.
But that meant getting a full time secular job while we waited to see where God would put us into ministry.
It was hard getting a job. It was the beginning of the Reagan Recession, and jobs were hard to find. I was told over and over again that I was either underqualified because I didn’t have any experience in the place I was applying for, or I was overqualified because I was applying for a job that didn’t need a Master’s degree.
I remember struggling with feeling like God had forgotten me, that perhaps I had made a mistake in some of my choices.
I remember once going out onto the jetty at Newport Beach in between job interviews, sitting there in my nice interview clothes, and feeling so depressed. God responded by having a large wave surprise me, break on the rocks, and soak me. I had to laugh.
God had not forgotten me, I eventually got a job as a teller trainee at the Bank of Newport, and Deb and I became involved in ministry at Calvary Chapel of Anaheim. Ten years after that we started Calvary Fullerton.
About seven or eight years ago I was struggling with some of the difficult things that were going on in the church. My secretary, Laurie, told me I had a phone message, and it was from some guy named Chris from Boyden Beach in Florida. I returned the phone call. It was a guy I’ve never met. He said he had been praying and that my name came to his mind, and that God wanted him to be praying for me. He didn’t ask me for anything. He didn’t ask me to vote for anything. He didn’t try to sell me something. He just told me that God wanted him to be praying for me.
I can’t tell you how awed I was to think that God cared enough about me to put my name on the heart of a total stranger.
You are not forgotten. He knows you by name.
Allow us to say it straight: Money fights between couples are rarely about money. So if you want to minimize a currency conflict, trace it back to the fear that’s fueling it.
Instead of fighting over the amount of money that was spent on who-knows-what, shift the focus toward what really matters:
(1) your fear of not having influence in important issues impacting your life
(2) your fear of not having security in your future
(3) your fear of having no respect shown for your values
(4) your fear of not realizing your dreams.
Did you notice how much conflict comes from “fear”?
Address these issues with your spouse and get on the same page.
I think it’s important that we do our part and act responsibly with our finances.
Learning to trust God about your financial future doesn’t get you off the hook from doing your part, like working.
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 NKJV) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
It’s important not to get caught in the trap of comparing your finances to others and ending up always wanting “more” than God thinks you need.
(Philippians 4:11–13 NLT) —11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
If you are doing your part in handling your finances, you need to remember my hummingbird.
God will take care of you.
(Isaiah 12:2a NKJV) Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid;
(Hebrews 11:8 NKJV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Sometimes we have to step out in faith like Abraham, even when we don’t know exactly what’s up ahead.
Regarding this verse, F.B. Meyer wrote,
Whither he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that he went with God. He leant not so much upon the promises as upon the Promiser. He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself. O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; willinghood to rise up, leave all, and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth's best cannot bear comparison with Heaven's least.
Missionary L.B. Cowman wrote,
It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your God on any venture of faith. Tear into smallest pieces any itinerary for the journey which your imagination may have drawn up.
Nothing will fall out as you expect.
Your guide will keep to no beaten path. He will lead you by a way such as you never dreamed your eyes would look upon. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.