NEW CHRISTIAN (FOLLOWING JESUS) BASICS:


God has revealed Himself to us as a Father, Son (Jesus Christ), & the Holy Spirit ("Trinity"-Titus 3:4-6), so here are some keys to get to know Him better:

1.  NO BIBLE NO BREAKFAST; NO BIBLE NO BED...MAKE THIS YOU'RE NEW NORM!!
=a. Don't eat breakfast until you've feasted on (read) His Word (the Bible)[a.k.a. Feet Time...For more info on this, click here] & 
=b. Don't go to sleep before you've spent time reading & meditating (thinking) on Scripture (the Bible) [For more info on this, click here]!!
Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3
Psalm 17:15, Mark 1:35
Psalm 119:62, Acts 16:25

2. WITH ONE BIBLE ON YOUR BREAKFAST TABLE, ONE BY YOUR BED (or on your Cell), & ONE ON YOUR TOILET, START READING IN THE BOOK OF JOHN!!  
=a. When you read a verse that rings your bell (or gives a fresh understanding to truth), underline it, think on it, memorize it, &
=b. Then journal about it = write down what God shows you about what you read!!!
Psalm 119:9-11
1 Corinthians 10:11-13

After reading John, go to: FEET & HEART TIME!!

3. GUYS--MAKE JESUS YOUR HERO;  GIRLS--DATE JESUS;  

    ALL--PUT AN EMPTY CHAIR FOR JESUS BY YOUR BED!!
=a. Guys: Show Jesus is your hero in your bedroom, in your talk, & in your actions!!
Ex. Posters, Paraphernalia, brag on Him, learn his stats, etc.! 
=b. Girls: Date Jesus!!
Ex. Talking on the phone, writing notes, etc.!
=c. All:  Visualize Jesus sitting in the chair as you talk (pray) to Him as your best friend!!
=d. As you get more at ease talking to Jesus, you will begin to understand Him speaking to you through His Spirit inside you!!
John 15:13-15, 14:15-17, 25-27

4. PRACTICE THE BUDDY SYSTEM!!
=a. Get w/ 1 or 2 Christian buddies regularly (Accountability Group, etc.) to talk about what God is teaching you & doing in your life!!
Proverbs 27:17
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Hebrews 10:24-25
Galatians 6:2
Ephesians 5:21
=b. Get involved in a bible study group (ex. Weekly Bible Study, Sunday School, Small Group, etc.) at church & at school!!  
1 Timothy 4:7-13
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Heb. 10:25
=c. Your ultimate buddy is Jesus, so practice hearing His voice (the Holy Spirit) & walking in step with Him…in other words, when He speaks to you, do what He tells you!!
1 Kings 19:12
Romans 5:5, 7:6, 8:1-16, 23-26
Galatians 3:14, 4:6, 5:16-25
Ephesians 1:13-17, 2:22, 3:16, 4:23, 5:15-18, 6:12-18
1 Peter 2:21
1 John 2:6

5. SHOW THE WORLD YOU ARE NOW A FOLLOWER OF JESUS!!
=a. Get baptized & involved in a bible-believing church!! 
(talk to the Student Pastor)
Acts 2:41, 8:12
Ex.20:1f, 
Deut.5:1f, 
Hebrews 10:25
=b. Tell others what happened to you!!
Romans 1:16-17
Matthew 10:32-33, 28:19-20
=c. Show others the change in your life!!
Luke 9:23
Colossians 1:6
2 Corinthians 5:17
=d. The biblical principal for becoming a "follower of Jesus" is re-birth (John 3:1-17), which requires regular repentance (confession), which means to turn away from the junk in your life that does not honor God and run after Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!!
Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:20
1 John 1:5-10

 Bible  Studies

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7 MYTHS OF HOMOSEXUALITY


Since we have such a great responsibility to equip and train the young people we minister to and with, then we must empower them to deal with some of the “biggest” issues of our day.  One of the “big” issues that many youth pastors / leaders around the world are dealing with is how to help Christian young people in their youth groups who “come out of the closet.”  Use the following material to teach young people to deal with the enemy’s attack on this generation with the homosexuality fallacy.

MYTH ONE:  “The only prohibitions against homosexuality are in the Old Testament & therefore are not applicable today.”

MYTH TWO:  “Jesus never condemned homosexuality.” 

MYTH THREE:  “The Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is based on a misunderstanding of the text.”

MYTH FOUR:  “Science has proven that people are born gay.”

MYTH FIVE:  “Homosexuals enjoy the same kinds of healthy, monogamous relationships as heterosexuals.”

MYTH SIX:  “Ten percent of the population is homosexual.”

MYTH SEVEN:  “Homosexuality is a fixed desire and cannot be changed.”

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 7 MYTHS

So, what do you say to a Christian who seems completely at peace about their homosexuality? Obviously, you start with what God says.  For a detailed look at what the Bible says about homosexuality, go here: http://www.phil120brown.com/bible-studies.html.  After that, you need to be prepared to deal with these 7 popular myths about homosexuality that not only non-Christians believe, but also many supposed-Christians are shockingly and increasingly embracing in today’s culture.

MYTH ONE:  “The only prohibitions against homosexuality are in the Old Testament and therefore are not applicable today.”

A number of years ago on an episode of the TV show “The West Wing,” fictional president Jeb Bartlett confronted a popular radio psychologist, known for her stance against homosexuality, at a White House reception.  (The psychologist, incidentally, was patterned after radio’s Dr. Laura Schlessinger.)  The exchange went something like this:

         PRESIDENT:  “I understand that you think homosexuality is a sin.”

         DR. LAURA LOOK-ALIKE:  “That’s right.  The Scriptures say homosexuality is an abomination against God.”

         PRESIDENT:  “What Scripture are you talking about”

         DR. LAURA LOOK-ALIKE:  Leviticus 18:22 says ‘You shall not lie with a male as he lies with a female; it is an abomination.’ “

         PRESIDENT:  “I understand you enjoy football.  Yet every time your favorite team touches the ball made of pigskin, they violate           Leviticus 7:21:  ‘And when anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal…that person           shall be cut off from his people.’  And by the way, the outfit you are wearing tonight is an abomination to God according to                   Leviticus 19:19, since it consists of two kinds of material mixed together.  Why do you hold on to one verse of Leviticus and                 dismiss the others as being irrelevant?”

First, let’s give the fictional president credit for knowing his Bible.  It is true that as Christians we no longer live under Old Testament laws.  The purpose of those regulations was to separate Israel from heathen nations.  One way the Israelites demonstrated their distinctiveness was by abstaining from practices common among unbelievers such as eating “unclean” animals, wearing two kinds of material, engaging in homosexual behavior, piercing or tattooing the body, practicing incest, or shaving around temples or ears.  Obviously, some of those behaviors were inherently evil, and others were not.  So how do we decide which of those laws we will obey today and which we will ignore?

The answer is quite easy.  We turn to the New Testament and use it as a guide for our behavior.  The new “testament” (agreement) we now live under retains the moral laws of the Old Testament but discards most of the ceremonial and civil regulations that were peculiar to Israel.  For example, Jesus reaffirmed each of the Ten Commandments except one:  “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”  As Christians, we no longer observe the ceremonial worship laws designed for the Israelites, which included worshiping on the seventh day, Saturday.  Instead, the early Christians began worshiping on the first day of the week (Sunday) in honor of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  For more on Which Old Testament Laws Christians are to Obeyhttp://firstpriority.net/203-qa-with-coach-phil-august-14-2020-which-ot-laws-are-christians-to-obey/

So the real question for Christians is, “Does the New Testament have any prohibitions against homosexuality?”  And the answer is a big “yes.”  Checkout the following scripturesRomans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, and for more, go to the top of this page: http://www.phil120brown.com/bible-studies.html...Homosexuality & the Bible

MYTH TWO:  “Jesus never condemned homosexuality.” 

Actually, Jesus had quite a bit to say about homosexuality. 

1. The Old Testament condemns homosexual conduct in very clear terms in the previous scripture. And Jesus declared that He came “not to destroy the law, or the prophets, but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17, 20), and Jesus quotes the Old Testament hundreds of times!


​2. God created men and women to become “one flesh” in a lifelong marriage relationship (Genesis 2:18-25).  Therefore, any sexual activity outside marriage is sin, and Jesus upheld God’s design for marriage as being between one man and one woman for life:  “Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: ‘Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?’  ‘Haven’t you read the Scriptures?’ Jesus replied. ‘They record that from the beginning God made them male and female.’  And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’  Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together’ ” MATTHEW 19:3-6 (NLT).  By the way, Jesus never “specifically” addressed bestiality, incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, or any other sexual abnormality.  He didn’t need to.  By affirming God’s original design for human sexuality, He automatically condemned any deviation from that standard.

3. There is no difference in authority in Jesus speaking in the Gospels and Jesus speaking through the apostles in the New Testament epistles.  The resurrected Jesus declared to His disciples that it was better for Him to go to the Father, because then the Holy Spirit could come and live in them in a new and powerful way.  Therefore, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus would teach them many things that He could not teach them until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (John 16:7-15).

MYTH THREE:  “The Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is based on a misunderstanding of the text.”

Non-Christian homosexuals are not fazed by the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, because to them, the Bible is just a collection of human musings about God and has no more authority than Aesop’s fables.  But those homosexuals who profess to be Christians have to find a way to reconcile Scripture with homosexuality.  Let’s look at three of the most well-known scripture passages against homosexuality and see how homosexual advocates mis-interpret them:

1.   God’s destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19). 

Some argue that these residents of Sodom were only interested in an innocent “let’s get-to-know-one-another” gathering with the angelic visitors, but the word translated “know” clearly means “to have sexual relations with.”  Others argue that the sin condemned in this passage was not homosexuality, but rape (or forced homosexual activity), but even extra-biblical historians such as Philo and Josephus cite homosexual conduct as the chief behavior for which Sodom was known so that this attempted homosexual attack was the final straw that resulted in God’s destruction of the city.

2. The condemnation of homosexuality as an “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13).

A popular interpretation among gay theologians involves associating “abomination” with idolatry.  Since Leviticus also uses the word “abomination” to describe idolatry, they claim that the real sin involved here is not homosexuality, but homosexuality that is used as a religious ritual in the worship of pagan gods.  There are at least two problems with that interpretation:  First, the other kinds of sexual immorality prohibited in these verses, such as bestiality and incest, had nothing to do with idolatry.  Also, the word “abomination” is used elsewhere in Scripture to describe behavior that has no association with idolatry.  For example, none of the seven “abominations” to the Lord, mentioned in Proverbs 6, are associated with idolatry.

3.   Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality (Romans 1)

Once again, the homosexual apologist tries to put the emphasis here on the context being idolatry …that these people rejected the knowledge of the true God and instead created their own gods so that the supposed-Christian homosexual who worships the true God is not condemned.  While it is true that Paul was describing those who had received, rejected, and replaced the knowledge of the true God with a god of their own creation, this does not diminish the sting of Paul’s indictment of homosexuality…in fact, it increases it.  Moreover, Paul claimed that homosexuality was God’s judgment against those who engage in idolatry (vs. 24).  Paul was also saying that the mind that rebels against the knowledge of God will naturally rebel against the laws of God, including those laws prohibiting homosexuality. 

MYTH FOUR:  “Science has proven that people are born gay.”

Citing three well-known (but, as we will see, highly flawed) studies supposedly proving a genetic link to homosexuality, homosexual advocates argue, “If God created people to be homosexual, why would He condemn them for it?”  This requires both a biological & theological response. 

First, from a biological standpoint, many homosexual proponents point to three studies that prove that homosexuality is an inherited tendency:

1) They cite the hypothalamus study conducted by Dr. Simon LeVay in 1991. 

There were several glaring problems with the study:

(1) 6 of the 16 “heterosexual” brains came from men who had also died of AIDS, calling into question whether they were truly heterosexual. 

(2) If one accepts Dr. LeVay’s assertions concerning a difference in the brain size of homosexuals and heterosexuals, you have to ask whether that variation is the “cause” or “result” of homosexual activity.  It is also possible that AIDS could be responsible for the difference. 

(3) Dr. LeVay’s study has never been replicated, which, as any scientist knows, is essential to confirming a theory. 

(4) Also, Dr. LeVay’s sexual preferences and social agenda to prove a genetic link must bring into question his objectivity.

2) Another study widely reported to indicate a genetic link to homosexuality was the Bailey and Pillard study of twins. 

The problems with the study include:

(1) The representatives in the sample were recruited through solicitations in homosexual publications and organizations, causing doubts about how representative these samples were. 

(2) The fact that nearly half of the sample were not gay indicates that something other than genetics alone causes homosexuality. 

(3) Had the twins lived in separate homes, it would be easier to believe that nature rather than nurture was responsible for their sexual orientation, but they all lived in the same households. 

(4) The fact that twice as many fraternal twins as non-twin siblings were homosexual is hard to understand since fraternal twins do not share any more genetic traits than non-twin siblings.  This raises further suspicion about how representative these sample families were.

3) This last study supposedly involved the discovery of the “gay gene.”  In July 1993, “Science” magazine reported that Dr. Dean Hamer had discovered genetic markers on the X chromosome of thirty-three out of forty non-identical homosexual twin brothers, supposedly proving a genetic link to homosexuality. 

The problems with this study include:

(1) The study has not been replicated, which means it has not yet been verified. 

(2) The presence of such a marker does not automatically prove causation. 

In 1993, William Byne and Bruce Parsons, researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, reviewed all the evidence for the theory of biological causation of homosexuality presented by Dr. LeVay and Drs. Bailey and Pillard, and they concluded in the “Archives of General Psychiatry” that there is no evidence to substantiate a biologic theory (of sexual orientation).

Second, from a theological point of view, proving that homosexuality is the result of genetics does not automatically legitimize homosexual behavior.  Recent studies indicate that a number of behaviors such as alcoholism, violence, and adultery may have genetic roots.  The truth is that ALL tendencies toward sin are inherited.  Our forefather Adam passed down to us an innate desire (sin nature) to rebel against God’s laws (Romans 5:12).  The magnetic pull towards sin that is present in all of us, manifests itself in different ways.  Some are drawn toward adultery, some toward violence, some toward substance abuse, and some toward homosexuality…and the list goes on.  Whether those desires are caused by nature, by nurture, or by some combination of both is ultimately inconsequential, because none of us “gets a pass” from God for rebellious behavior just because it arises from our innate desires, regardless of the cause of those desires.  But there is good news!  Through the power of Jesus Christ, all of us can be set free from acting on those desires!

MYTH FIVE:  “Homosexuals enjoy the same kinds of healthy, monogamous relationships as heterosexuals.”

Whether on news programs or in fictional series, most gay couples on television are portrayed as being in long-term, monogamous relationships, but such relationships are a myth in the real world…with few exceptions.  Dr. J. McIlhaney of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health reports that only 10% of male homosexuals and 25% of female homosexuals could be described as being “close-coupled,” which means they have a lower number of recent sexual partners and less propensity to “cruise” than the average homosexual—an average which is incredibly higher than among the heterosexual population.  According to one study, gays average somewhere between 106 and 1,105 partners a year.  The statistics are astounding and prove that homosexual relationships are neither “normal” nor “healthy.”

MYTH SIX:  “Ten percent of the population is homosexual.”

You have probably heard this statistic cited often, and yet there is absolutely no basis for it.  Where did it come from?  More than fifty years ago, Dr. Alfred Kinsey released a study titled “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” in which he claimed that 10% of the 5,300 men he surveyed claimed to have been homosexual for three years.  But there are several problems with extrapolating that 10% of the entire population is homosexual.  First, these 10% had not necessarily been homosexual all of their lives, nor did they necessarily retain a homosexual orientation for the remainder of their lives.  One’s sexual orientation is not as fixed as we are led to believe.  Also, the sample for this study could hardly be called representative of the population, because 25% were prisoners, a group from which you would naturally expect a higher incidence of homosexuality than normal. 

More recent studies have discredited the 10% myth, but homosexual advocates continue to propagate the 10% number in order to

1) try & normalize homosexuality,

2) cover over the darkest secret associated with this perversion:  child molestation…

In fact, many gay activists try to flaunt the link between homosexuality & pedophilia in order to try & legalize sex between adults & children. 

MYTH SEVEN:  “Homosexuality is a fixed desire and cannot be changed.”

Studies plainly show that a person’s sexual preferences are much more fluid than homosexual advocates would want you to know.  Dr. Irving Bieber, director of the New York Center for Psychoanalytic Training, has treated more than one hundred homosexuals who desired to change their sexual orientation.  His conclusion: “A heterosexual shift is a possibility for all homosexuals who are strongly motivated to change.”  And there is a mountain of evidence to prove it.

In light of these 7 myths, the person that falls into their trap will be sentenced to an existence plagued by physical disease, emotional disorder, and spiritual distance from God. 

The most important questions for any Christian who engages in homosexual conduct are:

1) What does God really think about my behavior? 

2) Am I interpreting the Bible through the lens of my homosexuality, or am I interpreting my homosexuality through the lens of Scripture? 

For a Christian, an honest answer to these questions is the starting place for genuine healing and lasting change.

You can find more details on this, including Footnote info, in chapter 4 of Robert Jeffress’ book “Outrageous Truth...: Seven Absolutes You Can Still Believe.” 

​For techniques on answering objections to scripture in the context of homosexuality, go to http://firstpriority.net/84-qa-with-coach-phil-september-11-2018/

For a detailed Bible Study on Homosexuality, go here:  







WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT TATTOOS?


As a Youth Pastor since 1982, the first time I ever had to really deal with the issue of tattoos was in the early 90's.  In doing so, I discovered the need to address a few questions.

Question #1:  Since tattoos are not mentioned in the New Testament, but they are addressed in the Old Testament, which laws in the Old Testament apply to New Testament Christians?


Answer:  There are 3 types of OT Laws:


1) Ceremonial Law: This type of law related to Israel's worship. (Lev 1:1-13) These laws pointed forward to Jesus Christ and were no longer necessary after Jesus' death and resurrection.


*Though we are no longer bound to them, the principles behind the ceremonial laws, to worship and love God, still apply.


2) Civil Law: This law dictated Israel's daily living (Deut. 24:10-11);
but modern society and culture are so radically different that some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically.


*The principles behind the commands are to guide our conduct.


3) Moral Law: The moral laws are direct commands of God. A good example is the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).


*The moral laws reveal the nature, character, and will of God, and still apply to us today.
**We do not obey the moral law as a way to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God.


For a more detailed explanation of the 3 types of OT Laws, go to Q&A #203.

- https://firstpriority.global/2020/08/14/203-qa-with-coach-phil-august-14-2020-which-ot-laws-are-christians-to-obey/



Question #2: What does the Old Testament say about tattoos?


Answer A: Leviticus 19:28
“You will not make cuttings in your flesh (or on your body), for the dead, nor print marks (tattoos) on you. I am the Lord.”


Let’s consider the three parts of this law as it refers to tattoos: “cuttings in your flesh;” “for the dead;” and “print marks” to try and establish a biblical stance for Christians today.

1) Cuttings in the Flesh

The worship of Baal has been dated to at least before the Exodus, making it contemporary with the time in which Moses was given the law. This Canaanite religion involved many rituals including self-mutilation. One ancient verse describes ritual masochism: “She cuts cheek and chin/She lacerates Her forearms/She plows like a garden Her chest/Like a vale She lacerates the back.” Archeology, backed by biblical texts, indicates the Canaanites would customarily slash their bodies for ritualistic purposes (1 Kings 18:28), especially to mourn their dead and honor their gods.  God did not want His people to hurt themselves gratuitously. Self-mutilation is dangerous and can lead to significant health problems. His people did not enjoy the advantages of 21st-century society: hospitals, doctors, and antibiotics. If self-mutilation went wrong, one could die a painful death or at least create ugly scars, all to please the pagan gods.

          a) Pain: Physical & Mental

People sometimes self-injure themselves for the same reasons they get tattoos: the pain is part of how they cope with difficulty or feel a sense of power for a short period of time. Trying to run one’s life without God is like that first rebellion in the Garden, but while “many are the plans in the mind of a man, [...] it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). He wants us to turn to Him in times of trial and say, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:19). When one’s body is marked by trials, God uses those scars to point out His Sovereign touch — His ultimate healing.

          b) Light vs. Darkness

Cutting and even some methods of tattooing are associated with punishment throughout the ages in many cultures, whether self-inflicted or as a means of torture by others. Inflicting pain — physical or emotional — on one’s self or on someone else is an outpouring of hatred and an exercise in control. Paul writes “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Is obtaining a tattoo about self-punishment? Is the purpose to take control of one’s punishment and salvation? In either case, getting a tattoo is an act of unbelief.

Tattoos born out of self-hatred are legacies of darkness rather than light. The Father wants His children to bear fruit, and a fruitful life is repentant. A fruitful heart looks to Him rather than reliving one’s sorrow, guilt, and shame over and over in the form of a visual reminder and a worldly identifier. “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Self-harm says “Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough. I am responsible for my own salvation.”

2) For the Dead

A popular reason to get a tattoo is in order to honor a loved one who has died. God directed His people to disassociate themselves from Canaanite traditions such as slashing their bodies as a way to “mourn their dead.” What about designing beautiful markings in honor of loved ones who have passed on?  In Luke 9:60, Jesus said to “leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Paul wrote, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Christians grieve for their dead, but they do not worship them.  Not only do they have hope of reuniting with lost loved ones who believed in Christ for salvation, but they have been commanded to have no other Gods; to worship no idols. Talking to a loved one, keeping a shrine to the deceased, making a shrine of one’s body by way of a tattoo: this is idolatry.  David was criticized for breaking his fast after his baby son died, but David replied, “Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?” (2 Samuel 12:23).  The Scriptures never ask Christians to deny the feeling of grief — it is a right and holy sadness.  Yet, some people think too much about those who are gone; they look backward and fail to move forward. If a Christian is considering getting a tattoo as a way of honoring one who has died, of glorifying that person posthumously and identifying with grief more than with Christ, he or she might want to think twice. If the mark is a reminder and testimony of the resurrection and security believers have in Jesus our Redeemer, that’s different.

3) Print Marks

The Hebrew for “imprint” is “qaaqa” which also means “tattoo” or “incision.”  In the Near East, tattoos were used to mark slaves.  If one wore a brand “on his hand or forehead,” he or she was quickly identified as someone’s property.  Even seemingly innocuous marks represent worship. Consider the financial cost, the time commitment, and the pain one endures, not to mention the permanence of a tattoo:  this is no minor undertaking.  Every time someone selects or designs a tattoo, then spends an hour or more getting “inked,” he or she is connecting strongly to the subject in question and might be enslaved to a sin represented by that image.  Look around, and one might see body art idolizing celebrities, death, or even a religion.  Many people wear a “semicolon tattoo” indicating they stand with survivors of suicide and people who suffer from mental health concerns.  No matter the type of brokenness — physical or mental — Christian identity is found not in a diagnosis, but instead in our position as redeemed children of God (Romans 8:16–17).

Any publicly visible image makes that image and associated ideas famous.  It’s important and biblical to support one another, but that support always begins in Christ; we have nothing to give without Him. Even the Cross etched permanently into one’s chest can be an idol if one regards and describes it as a protective device, believing the Cross is protective rather than Christ, imagining that salvation protects one from disease and muggers rather than protecting one for eternity with Jesus.  A believer has the opportunity to use a tattoo to declare Christ’s name, but Christians without tattoos are identifiable without ink on their skin. They are known by the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Their mark is the Holy Spirit.

Leviticus 19 contains statements that echo much of the 10 Commandments.

Topic                                  Leviticus 19      Exodus 20
idolatry                               19:4, 28               20:3
using God's name in vain  19:12                   20:7
the sabbath                        19:3, 30               20:8-12
honoring parents                19:31                   20:12
murder                                19:16                   20:13
adultery                               19:29                   20:14
stealing                               19:11, 13             20:15
lying                                    19:11                   20:16

*The bottom line for God’s warning against cutting and tattooing was because they were rooted and practiced in the (idol) worship of false gods, not the genuine worship of the one true God.



Answer B:  Isaiah 44:5
“Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”


1) Witnessing Tool


Obtaining a tattoo can spark a gospel-centered conversation and act as a missional icebreaker, but it is not as compelling as a heart changed by Jesus.  In this verse, the people of Israel wanted everyone to know that they were completely surrendered to and servants of the Lord God Almighty!  So much so that they wrote it on their hands for all to see.
This is the only verse I can find in the Bible that gives an "exception" to Leviticus 19:28.  And it's sole purpose was for the Israelites to identify themselves as the property and servants of the Lord God Almighty.


*If you are considering getting a tattoo as a tool of evangelism, then you need to ask God to make it perfectly clear for you to know what to do.  Because making yourself a billboard for Jesus is definitely putting yourself out there…maybe ask Him to write it on the wall for you as to what you should do!


2) Art on the Body

Early in the history of Christianity as it spread from Rome into the rest of the world, “tattooing was severely frowned upon.”  In fact, Pope Hadrian banned tattooing, stating that “God made man’s body in His image and to deface it in any way was to deface God’s gift.” In defense of tattoos, we now understand that the image of God is a spiritual one conveyed as “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).

*Wise Christians weigh their motives. 


A good tattoo can be a work of art, no different from a beautiful painting. Like an image hung on one’s living room wall, body art sends a message about personal values. But does it show that Christ is number one? “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  God does not expect His children to be branded as slaves.  And there is nothing wrong with being an art lover. 


So, you need to seek out “fervently” the direction of the Holy Spirit in prayer, by reading His Word, and by asking wise friends. Once that mark has been made it cannot be removed easily, and the price is a hefty one.



Question #3:  Since tattoos are not mentioned in the New Testament, what are some basic biblical principles that would help us deal with the issue of tattoos?


Answer


1) Children are to honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1–2).
For a minor to get a tattoo in violation of his or her parents’ wishes is biblically wrong. Tattoos born of rebellion are sinful.

2) “Outward adornment” is not as important as the development of the “inner self” and should not be the focus of a Christian (1 Peter 3:3–4).
A person who desires a tattoo to garner attention or draw admiration has a vain, selfish, sinful focus.

3) God sees the heart, and our motivation for anything we do should be to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Motivations for getting a tattoo such as “to fit in,” “to stand out,” etc., fall short of the glory of God. The tattoo itself may not be a sin, but the motivation in getting it might be.

4) Our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
How much modification of that temple is appropriate? Is there a line that should not be crossed? Is there a point at which the proliferation of tattoos on one body ceases to be art and starts becoming sinful mutilation? This should be a matter of heavy-duty reflection and honest prayer.

5) We are Christ’s ambassadors, delivering God’s Kingdom message to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20).
What message does the tattoo send, and will it aid or detract from representing Christ and sharing the gospel?

6) Whatever does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
So the person getting the tattoo should be “fully convinced” (Rom. 14:5b) that it is God’s will for them.



CONCLUSION
*For Christians whose bodies already bear the marks of a pre-Christian past (already have tattoos), take comfort: they are still part of a personal testimony.
In conversation with others who sport tattoos, they provide a natural avenue to discussing the gospel and demonstrating that the important change has taken place inwardly, where Christ has exquisitely and tenderly marked the inner person.


*For Christians considering getting a tattoo,first, remember that the only “exception” given in Scripture (Is. 44:5) is a sign of God’s ownership...as a witnessing tool…that could open the door to sharing the Gospel of Jesus, His gift of salvation, and what He’s done in your life.
         Second, you need to be certain you hear God’s voice on the matter, because He made His voice pretty clear when He said to not tattoo your body because it’s idol worship.  If you feel like you have to have a tattoo in order to be a better witness, then you need to work on being a better witness first, long before ever considering getting a tattoo.


For more on "Hearing the Voice of God," go to Q&A #129.

- https://firstpriority.global/2019/08/03/129-qa-with-coach-phil-july-23-2019-hearing-the-voice-of-god/


For more on tattoos, see: "7 Questions You Should Ask before Getting a Tattoo." 

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/7-questions-you-should-ask-before-getting-a-tattoo.html



SOURCES:
https://www.christianity.com/wiki/sin/bible-say-about-tattoos.html
https://www.gotquestions.org/tattoos-sin.html
https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/what-does-the-bible-say-about-tattoos/
https://www.enduringword.com/bible-commentary/leviticus-19
 

FEET TIME & HEART TIME

Spending Time Alone w/ God


​​“Study this Book of Instruction (the Bible) continually. Meditate on it day (AM) and night (PM) so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” JOSHUA 1:8 NLT
Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 17:15, Mark 1:35

NO BIBLE NO BREAKFAST...NO BIBLE NO BED!!!

=a. AM-Don't eat breakfast until you've you've feasted on (read) His Word (the Bible) 

[FEET TIME] and 
=b. PM-Don't go to sleep before you've spent time reading & meditating (thinking) on Scripture (the Word, the Bible)

[HEART TIME]!!!


Make it a priority to daily have:


I. FEET TIME with Jesus (AM-Devo Time) 


As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

LUKE 10:38-42

1. P.R.A.Y.
  P.raise God for how awesome & perfect He is!
  R.epent
(ask forgiveness) for the stuff you've done & not done that does not please God.
  A.sk for God to help others (be specific) & then for yourself.
  Y.ield to God's will for you.


2. READ Devotional Guide & Scripture.  (Ex. YouVersion Bible App)


3. ASK & Journal S.P.A.C.E. Questions about what you just read:
  S.in to confess
  P.romise to claim
  A.ttitude to change
  C.ommand to obey
  E.xample to follow

4. PRAY


II. HEART TIME with Scripture (PM-Reading Time)


2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart

7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.

10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

*11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
PSALM 119:2, 7, 10, *11


1. START with the New Testament because you have become a "follower of Jesus" & you need to get to know the one you have surrendered your life to as Savior & Lord!!!

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

MARK 12:28-31

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  JOHN 1:1-5, 14


To Be Well-Grounded in the New Testament...READ:
1.) First John – 7 times 
(every day for a week)
Theme – assurance of salvation
-Little spiritual growth is possible until a believer settles the fact that they are an eternal child of God.

= 7 days
2.) John – twice (3 chapters a day)
Theme – faith. 
= 14 days
3.) Mark – twice (3 chapters a day)
Theme – life of Christ. 
= 10 days
4.) Ten short Epistles of Paul  (1 book per day)
– Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 
1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, 
Titus, Philemon
Theme – spiritual encouragement for the soul. 
= 10 days
5.) Luke – once (3 chapters a day)
Theme – longest & most detailed info on the life of Christ.
= 8 days
6.) Acts – once (3 chapters a day)
Theme – history of the early church of how the Holy Spirit used the early Christians as they faithfully witnessed throughout the world. 
= 10 days
7.) Romans – once (3 chapters a day)
Theme – Christian doctrine. 
= 6 days
8.) The entire New Testament – twice (3 chapters a day)

Theme – basis of life for a New Testament Christian. 
= 174 days


TOTAL DAYS = 239 days (flexibility to read only 4-5 days per week)

2. Next, do this for a MONTH:
1.) Proverbs - read 1 chapter each day
2.) Psalms - read 5 chapters each day

3. Then, read the whole BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
Ex. Use BiOY App!  https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy


​​4. Then, read the whole Bible CHRONOLOGICALLY:

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological/next  

Legislating Morality


– i.e. making rules or laws to set standards of ethics, conduct, or behavior (what is right and wrong) for a group of people.

According to Webster, the definition of a law is

:  a binding custom or practice of a community

:  a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority.

BACKGROUND OF THE PHRASE “YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE MORALITY”

For centuries, man has been trying to legislate or create laws that govern the morality of people.  Kings, Queens, Czars, Shahs, Chiefs, Premiers, Presidents, Legislators, Governors, Mayors, City Councils, etc., have made laws to tell the people what not to do and what to do in an attempt to control their morality and values…behavior and ethics…conduct and character.

Many of those laws were based on God’s laws that He gave us in the Bible and many were based upon man’s own perception of what he believed we should all be like.  For example, almost every nation, culture, and tribe have laws or rules that say murder is wrong, based upon the commandment that God gave us.  But other rules and laws are not based upon God’s laws, but on man’s ideas such as laws to legitimize sinful lifestyles.

This quote -- "You can't legislate morality" -- that apparently has been around since at least the 19th century, even though it is commonly attributed to the late Barry Goldwater of Arizona, conservative U.S. senator and 1964 presidential candidate, who is supposed to have said it in explanation of his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The late Martin Luther King Jr. offered a famous rebuttal in a speech at Western Michigan University, calling the idea that you can't legislate morality a half-truth.  He said: "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important."

Alan Shlemon said in his 2012 article, “Should Christians Impose Their Moral Standards on Society?”:  “It’s perfectly acceptable to legislate morality. When you think about it, morals are the only thing you can legislate.  For example, we have laws against stealing for one reason:  it’s immoral to take someone’s property.  So, we take that moral rule and establish it in law.  The same is true for laws against murder.  The reason they exist is because we think it’s immoral to kill an innocent human being. So, we take that moral rule and make it against the law to break it.  By legislating that rule, we are legislating morality.  In fact, it’s the moral rule that legitimizes the law’s power to limit freedom.  Without a moral grounding, laws would be unjust.  They would be the raw use of power to get what someone wants, not to do what’s right. That’s called tyranny.”

There isn’t anything else we could legislate but morality. Not unless you believe every act of government is an act of tyranny, which I do not, and I doubt you do either.

You can legislate morality...ask anyone who lives in Dallas who has tried to avoid picking up after their dog.  Dallas enacted a so-called “pooper-scooper law” in 1997.  We can only conclude that the passage of the law and the very existence of the law sent out some kind of moral message telling people what their fellow community members think of them for not scooping.  And it is that message, not any enforcement activity, that has in fact radically altered behavior.  So you can too legislate morality. Think about it.  If you can pass a little ordinance that the city can't even afford to enforce and get people to pick up after their dog, then you can control a lot of bad behavior with laws.

Today in America, we have volumes and volumes of law books filled with man-made laws that are supposed to make us a moral people, but they don’t.  In Genesis 6:5 we read:  5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.  Regardless of all the laws on the books, man’s heart IS wicked and his thoughts evil.  No amount of legislation will ever force man to become more moral.  We all get to choose how we are going to act.  It’s called freedom…but it only works within the boundaries that laws set.

I. WE CANNOT “NOT” LEGISLATE MORALITY

We can’t help but legislate morality.  All legislation is moral. The sooner we recognize this fact, the better.  The truth is that every law and regulation that is proposed, passed, and enforced has inherent in it some idea of the good that it seeks to promote or preserve.  Indeed, no governing authority can in any way be understood to be morally neutral.  Those who think such a backwards understanding is possible could hardly be more wrong.  For, in fact, the opposite is true: You cannot “not” legislate morality.

It is of course true that some laws will be better conceived than others, and many may fail entirely to achieve their purpose. But that they have a purpose, and that the purpose includes at least an implicit moral element, is incontrovertible.  One need only ask of any law or action of government, “What is the law for?”  The answer at some point will include a conception of what is good for the community in which the law holds.  The inversion of the question makes the point even more clearly.  What would provide a rationale for a law or governmental action apart from a moral purpose?

According to Micah Watson, Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Director of the Center for Politics & Religion at Union University in Jackson, TN,

It is a historical irony that the most famous attempt to sever the connection between law and morality illustrates the enduring link between the two. This attempt was made by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in his 1897 address at the graduation of Boston University Law School, “The Path of the Law.”

Holmes argued that high-minded moral concepts only detract from a clear understanding of what law is and what it should do. Holmes proposed to completely eviscerate moral considerations from our understanding of law. “For my own part,” he said, “I often doubt whether it would not be a gain if every word of moral significance could be banished from the law altogether, and other words adopted which should convey legal ideas uncolored by anything outside the law.” To understand law, Holmes declared, we must adopt the point of view of a “bad man” trying to avoid getting in trouble rather than start off with idealistic concepts of moral improvement and the good life.

Unfortunately for Holmes’ argument, his denial of the link between law and morality can only be made by invoking the language of morals and law. To understand the law, he suggests, is to look at the law as the bad man does. But this raises a question: How, might we ask, are we to truly understand what it means to be a “bad man” and what it means to be a “good one”? Is it not telling that Holmes’s very attempt to expurgate morality from the law itself depends on making a moral distinction? If Holmes is using the terms “good” and “bad” merely as descriptive statements about how some men see themselves (the bad men looking to keep out of trouble, and the good men thinking that they are beholden to some external morality), then he is doing more than attempting to separate morality and law; he seems to be denying morality altogether. Yet he explicitly denied any moral skepticism in his address.

But if Holmes is using the normative words as truly normative, then he cannot help but back himself into the logic of morals by requiring us to make a judgment about good and bad men. That is, he requires us not merely to make moral judgments distinguishing between “goodness” and “badness” (and thus better and worse, right and wrong) but also to associate “badness” with those who do not see a link between morals and law. Whatever his intentions might have been, Holmes winds up illustrating the link between the logic of morals and the logic of law.

To legislate, then, is to legislate morality. One can no more avoid legislating morality than one can speak without syntax. One cannot sever morality from the law. Even partisans of the most spartan libertarian conception of the state would themselves employ state power to enforce their vision of the common good. Given this understanding, the term “morals legislation” is, strictly speaking, redundant. The real question is not whether the political community will legislate morality; the question is which vision of morality will be enforced and by what sort of government.

Can you legislate morality?  If we mean by that question, “Can you make people moral through laws?” the answer is plainly no.  If we mean, “Are laws put in place to govern people’s moral behavior?” then the answer is plainly yes.  Morality is actually one of the main things that we must legislate, and my suspicion is that even those who bristle at this statement actually agree. As Frank Turek observed, “It never fails. Whenever some conservative takes a stand on a moral issue, some liberal somewhere will indignantly claim, ‘You can’t legislate morality!’ How many times have you heard that worn-out phrase? Incredibly, it’s not even true.” (From the book Legislating Morality: Is it Wise? Is it Legal? Is it Possible? by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.)

Michael Brown said in one of his recent Town Hall columns,

“To be sure, virtually all of us recognize that the attempt at Prohibition was a failure and that it did not help to improve American morals. And this failed policy is commonly pointed to as proof that morality cannot be legislated.  But do we really believe that the law has no place in restraining immoral or illicit or socially destructive behaviors? Don’t we actually welcome such laws? Or would anyone suggest that we should not have laws against things like human trafficking?  Jeff Jacoby recently reported that, “By a vote of 183-50, town meeting members in Middleborough, Mass., last week approved a bylaw making public cursing a civil offense and authorizing police to enforce the ban by fining offenders $20.”

Whatever your opinion is of this particular bylaw, do you believe that there should be some kind of laws against profane speech in public, at least in some settings?  Can you imagine walking through a grocery store with your children and hearing a public service announcement laced with all kinds of profanity, or taking your family to a ballgame only to hear the announcer repeatedly use the F word, or switching to a news station on the radio only to be greeted with every kind of vile sexual description? Yet when the government (or a local company) regulates speech in any of these settings, it is legislating morality. Should there be no such laws?

What about laws prohibiting public nudity or pornographic displays? Let’s go back to the grocery store where you’re shopping with your kids. Should there be open pornographic displays at the checkout counters, as there are in some European countries? Should there be no restrictions on the amount of flesh these magazines can show? And what about the workers in the store? Should they not be required to keep their clothes on?

Obviously, we’re not talking about laws prohibiting murder or rape, which every sane person recognizes as necessary. (Yes, these legislate morality too.) But even when it comes to laws prohibiting something like public nudity, most everyone (save the nudists and most extreme libertarians among us) recognizes that it’s right to require people to cover up in public. This too is legislating morality.

When it comes to the marriage debate, advocates of same-sex “marriage” often tell us that the government has no right to decide which relationships are moral and which are not, but do these advocates really believe what they are saying?

This past Father’s Day, Ronan Farrow, the 24-year-old son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, tweeted, “Happy father’s day — or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.” As he previously expressed, “He’s my father married to my sister [Soon Yi]. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law.  That is such a moral transgression.” Soon Yi, for her part, “never considered Allen her father or even a father figure, noting that Andrew Previn, Farrow’s former husband was her adoptive father.” 

But let’s put this convoluted family feud aside and ask a more simple question:  Should there be laws against incest?  To give a specific, recent example, was Columbia University professor David Epstein guilty of a crime when he had a three-year consensual affair with his grown daughter? Was this only “a moral transgression,” or was it also a legal transgression?

If you agree that there should be laws against incest (on any level), that means that you agree that morality can and must be legislated. (Advocates of same-sex “marriage” who oppose polygamy and incestuous unions also agree that the government should make certain moral judgments when it comes to marriage.)

As Turek explained, “Morality is about right and wrong, and that’s what laws put into legal form. Can you think of one law which doesn’t declare one behavior right and its opposite wrong? The truth is all laws legislate morality (even speed limits imply a moral right to life). And everyone in politics — conservatives, libertarians and liberals — is trying to legislate morality. The only question is: ‘Whose morality should be legislated?’”  Isn’t that the real question?

II. LEGISLATING AGAINST MORALITY

There is a lot of legislation that can also lead to man becoming less and less moral.  Laws that forbid prayer in schools or teaching about the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ will only result in generations of kids devoid of proper moral instruction.  In the place of biblical moral instruction, our kids are being taught a different religion…Humanism, where we are our own God.  This humanistic worldview and atheistic philosophy “If it feels good do it,” has produced countless examples of immorality that are destroying the very fabric of America like:  that homosexuality is normal, that it’s okay to have sexual relations before and outside of marriage, etc.

Our government has passed laws that label moral biblical teaching as hate language.  If a Christian tries to operate his business according to his faith, he finds that he has violated human and civil rights laws.  In some areas of our nation, they have passed laws that forbid Christians from sharing their faith in public places such as sidewalks and street corners.  Laws have been passed to prevent Christians from protesting outside of some abortion clinics while trying to prevent infanticide. 

But other religions are not targeted…only Christianity…why is that?  Well, it’s simple…according to the Bible:

1. We are all born with a sin nature.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 7:18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

2. We like our sin.

Romans 1:21-32 21 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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

3. We have the freedom to choose to sin or not.

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

These days, our local, state and federal governments are creating more and more laws that only serve to further undermine the moral integrity of the American people.  Then they turn around and wonder why our nation is going down the proverbial moral toilet.  With man’s evil heart and thoughts, it’s hard enough for him to be upright and moral, but when our governments continually pass anti-moral laws, the situation will naturally only get worse.  It’s a proven fact that you can’t make laws that force people to be more moral, but you can certainly legislate against bad behavior that hurts the people of our nation. 

III. WHY WE MUST LEGISLATE MORALITY, BIBLICALLY SPEAKING

Here are just a few of the hundreds of scriptures that could be shared:

James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Proverbs 2 1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 
20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Leviticus 18 1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lordyour God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lordyour God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

19:1-2 1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

Jude 1:4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

1 Peter 3:8-18 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a] 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c]15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Psalm 1 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

Phil Brown  

Phil (1:20) 

Student

Ministry

​Trainer &

Coach

For more Evangelism Strategies & Gospel Presentations, click the following:  https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/folders/17KDeOh0VUEBlvPzQghSTw9xyVG-wIovX

 THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY

Part 1:  INTRODUCTION

Part 2:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY

            I. R.E.A.L. MAN (&Woman) DEFINITION (1st Ideal)

Part 3:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY

            II. THE KNIGHT’S CODE OF CONDUCT (2nd Ideal)

Part 4:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY

            III. A TRANSCENDENT CAUSE (3rd Ideal)

Part 5:  10 STRATEGIES = 

            [5] TACTICALS + {5} EVANGELISTICS

Part 6:  4 ACCOUNTABILITIES

            <4> AREAS OF ACCOUNTABILITY TRAINING



Part 1:  INTRODUCTION
“Finally, brothers & sisters in Christ, whatever is true, whatever is NOBLE (means “to be called upward"), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is ADMIRABLE —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:8-9

Chivalry Motto: “Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King.” – Tennyson

Many Knights also became Milites Christi, “Knights of CHRIST.”  As such they believed they bore responsibilities to the King of Kings, the Kingdom of God, & society as a whole, not just to the earthly kings they served.  This chivalric code of honor formed the moral and social bedrock of noble life; it gave order and substance to an age otherwise in chaos and confusion.
–Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord.  They will be My people & I will be their God, for they will return to Me with all their heart.”  Jeremiah 24:7

I. THE RELEVANCE OF CHIVALRY
  1. Chivalry embodied a well-defined set of IDEALS.
  2. Chivalry outlined a well-defined PROCESS.
  3. Chivalry required rigorous TRAINING.

II. THE NEED FOR MODERN-DAY CHIVALRY
Manhood Crisis: "If we have a crisis in this country, it's more than a fatherless crisis, though.  It’s a crisis of manhood, of masculinity.  It’s affecting our families, our schools, it’s filling our prisons, and it's killing the hearts of our women."
--Donald Miller

Chivalry provides for modern society a model of HOPE for becoming healthy young men with moral & spiritual VISION, despite our own increasingly dark & crude culture.

     1. Definition of Manhood
ILLUS: SAM RAYBURN “Sam, be a man.”
-was an American politician who served as the 43rd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1940-1947, 1949-1953, and 1955-1961, the longest-serving speaker in American history.  He represented Texas' 4th congressional district from 1913-1961.

Unfortunately, nothing is more absent in our day than well-defined masculine IDEALS.
How do you know when you become a man?  Does it come with a driver’s license, a diploma, or a wedding ring?  What are the landmarks, milestones, or ceremonies to guide you in your journey to let you know when manhood begins?

A R.E.A.L. Man…
  Rejects PASSIVITY
  Expects the GREATER REWARD
  Accepts RESPONSIBILITY
  Leads COURAGEOUSLY


A R.E.A.L. Woman…
  Rejects CONFORMITY
  Expects PERFECT LOVE
  Accepts PURITY
  Leads by EXAMPLE

     2. Directional Process that calls you to embrace
        1) maturing towards a SPIRITUALLY healthy young manhood
        2) a moral & spiritual code of HONOR
        3) ideals that become a moral & spiritual BEACON
        4) parameters that motivate you to higher levels of excellence in your SERVICE to Christ.

Count the cost & pursue the high calling of God!

Luke 14:25-35 ”Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'  31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  34"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
*Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.,
9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.,
20-21 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.,
27-30 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.;
2:12-18 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold outC the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.;
3:7-14 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ, 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.  12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
II Thessalonians 1:11-12 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Timothy 1:6-14 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
*II Peter 1:3-15 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

          a. Knighthood (& Princess) Stages

A man of NOBLE CHARACTER, romantic sensibilities, brave deeds…a gentleman with a “code of honor.”  The “word of honor” was the most solemn oath the Knight knew, and this alone became the reason for the most extravagant exploits. 
–Richard Barber, The Knight and Chivalry

              1. PAGE–moving into Middle School/Jr. Hi.
                  - learned about armor, weapons, falconry, & the basics of Knighthood.
              2. SQUIRE–moving into Sr. High.
                  - served his master in the most menial of tasks, competed in tournaments, & perfected the skills he had

                    learned as a page through rigorous discipline.
              3. KNIGHT–graduating from High School.
                  -1-A night-long vigil, a ceremonial bath, and a dubbing, marked the completion of the process; he took his

                       place in the order of knighthood & pledged himself to uphold the code of honor.
                  -2-Each stage builds upon the previous one & leads the young man towards a godly manhood.

          b. Ceremony-Rite of PASSAGE

          c. Symbols-Family Crest / Coat of ARMS

              -Contains, symbolically, all the manhood/biblical messages.
               1. CHIVALRY – Boys to Men
               2. SERVICE to the King – Spiritual Principles






























THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY
Part 2:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY


Chivalry CODE
1. Be LOYAL to the King & one another. 
2. Conduct Yourself like a CHAMPION.
3. Win the LOVE of a Woman. 
4. Practice GENEROSITY.


I. R.E.A.L. MAN DEFINITION (1st Ideal)

What does it mean to be a real man?

     1- How did JESUS define it?
Luke 14:25-35...Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my DISCIPLE. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my DISCIPLE. 28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower...31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king...Will he not first consider the cost?...33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my DISCIPLE.

     2- How did PAUL define it?
I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

*4 Cornerstones of the R.E.A.L. Man Definition
-Calls a man UPWARD!
-To be NOBLE=having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals, rather than IGNOBLE=not honorable in character or purpose.


1. REJECTS Passivity
=spiritual & social ACTION! 
"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing …" - Edmund Burke         
PASSIVITY=acceptance of what happens without active response or resistance. 
ILLUS- Adam & Eve-where was Adam while Eve was being tempted?  Right beside her!
Gen. 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Gen. 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
ILLUS-Jesus praying in the Garden & then going to Cross 

Phil. 2:5-9 -death on a cross…“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…”
ILLUS-Adam vs Jesus: 1 Cor. 15:45 "So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

Biblical Principle:  Defend/Protect/Help those that cannot defend/protect/help themselves.

Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Psalm 82:3 “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
Proverbs 31:9 ”Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Ex.: stopping a bully from picking on someone

Deuteronomy 10:18 “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”
Ex.: abortion-helpless baby

Job 5:4 “His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender.”
Deut. 19:10 "Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed."
Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Jesus was a Man of Action, & we can be too…start here:
2 Chron. 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 

2. EXPECTS the Greater Reward 
=a NOBLE life lived for heavenly reward!
=receiving ETERNAL reward for doing what’s right instead of expecting an earthly reward!

*Mt. 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Phil. 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Heb. 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

     1- What kept Jesus motivated? 

V. 2 -the joy awaiting him.

     2- What motivated Moses?

Heb. 11:24-27  24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.

Jn. 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
1 Cor. 2:9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[d]
1 Tim. 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Tim. 6:6-8 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
Jn. 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Ps. 27:13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

3. ACCEPTS Responsibility
=lives according to a code of HONOR!

Positive =disciplined, DEPENDABLE, & follows through with assignments & projects.

Psalm 40:7-8 I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”
John 4:34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
2 Timothy 1:6-9 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Negative =ADMITS weaknesses & mistakes.

Ezekiel 44:12 But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the CONSEQUENCES for their sins, says the Sovereign LORD.

4. LEADS Courageously
=lives by God’s TRUTH & influences others to do the same!
Positive =INFLUENCES others to do what’s right.

2 Chronicles 34 JOSIAH was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. 3 During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the 12TH YEAR (20 yrs old) he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. 4 He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem.  6 He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions[a] all around them. 7 He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Negative =Does what’s right even if they’re the only one...no matter the CONSEQUENCES.

2 Kgs. 21:19-24 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 He abandoned the LORD, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the LORD’s ways. 23 Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 24 But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.
Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
2 Samuel 10:12 Be courageous!  Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God.  May the LORD’s will be done.”
Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
*1 Corinthians 16:13  Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
1 Cor.11:3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ…


A R.E.A.L. Woman…
  Rejects CONFORMITY
  Expects PERFECT LOVE
  Accepts PURITY
  Leads by EXAMPLE

THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY
Part 3:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY


II. THE KNIGHT’S CODE OF CONDUCT (2nd Ideal)


A. THREE CRITICAL AREAS

   1. A WILL to Obey.
 

       (God the Father’s)
Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.’”

   2. A WORK to Do. 

       (Home, Church, Community, & Career)
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Gil Bailie

Genesis 3:17-19 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Ecclesiastes 2:22-25 ”What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless. 24A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

      1) Discover Your INNER Design
Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

      2) Know Your SPIRITUAL Giftedness
I Peter 4:10 ”Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”

Life is more than a job.

   3. A WOMAN to Love.  

       (Love, Lead, & Honor the Opposite Sex)
Ex. Learn by how you treat your mom, sisters, grandmas, aunts, teachers, etc. 

Genesis 2:18 “The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Ephesians 5:25-31 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

     B. 10 Biblical IDEALS to Live a NOBLE Life

"Nobility is not a birthright, it's defined by one's actions.” -movie “Robinhood” by Robin of Loxley

        1) LOYALTY Hosea 6:6 ”For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

        2) SERVANT LEADERSHIP Mt. 20:26-27 ”Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”

        3) KINDNESS - Prov. 19:22 “What a man desires is unfailing loveB; better to be poor than a liar.”

        4) HUMILITY - Phil. 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

        5) PURITY - 1 Tim. 4:12 “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

        6) HONESTY - Eph.4:25 “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

        7) SELF-DISCIPLINE 1 Tim. 4:7-8 “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

        8) EXCELLENCE - 1 Cor. 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

        9) INTEGRITY - Prov.10:9 “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

        10) PERSEVERANCE - Gal.6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

C. ARMED WITH THREE HERITAGES

    1. HERITAGE of God’s WORD.  (BIBLE-The Most Dependable Book in History)
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. —PSALM 119: 111  

Bibles that are opened, read, studied, memorized, weathered, and worn produce the best results. 

Ephesians 6:17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

       a. In a culture that preaches moral relativism & political correctness, it is easy even for Christians to lose sight of the fact that ABSOLUTE standards of right and wrong behavior are contained in God’s Word.
       b. If we are to be equipped to stand against the moral relativism, we must become convinced that the Bible is not just a book, but the accurate REVELATION of God and His standards to mankind.  
       c. It is best if we are CONVINCED before seeds of doubt are planted by the culture.

2 Tim. 3:16–17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
       

      The BIBLE is defined in 3 Ways:
      1)    BIBLE is REVELATION of God Himself to People.
            (1) It reveals His CHARACTER and presents His message of love & redemption to all mankind. 
            (2) God inspired more than 40 authors to write the Bible over a span of 1,500 years in 3 languages, in 13 countries, covering 3 continents

Heb. 1: 1– 2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in  these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

In Frank Harbor’s book "Reasons for Believing," he makes the excellent point that the Bible could not be the invention of men because “such a theory of human conspiracy is ruled out by the vast time span involved in the writing of the Bible. Not only would such a conspiracy require someone who could make up the fictitious story, it would require legions of actors and civilizations to act out the story in history. No human conspiracy could supervise such a 1,500-year project.”

      2)    BIBLE is RELIABLE.  Besides UNITY of scripture over a couple thousand years…
         3 PROOFS
         (1)  ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence
             a. For example, a recent study of ancient JERICHO concluded that the walls did tumble down as the Bible

                 indicates. 
             b. More than 25,000 archeological sites have been discovered that connect to the Old Testament. 
             c. In fact, not a single archaeological discovery has contradicted or disproved a BIBLICAL assertion. 

         (2) CONSISTENCY of scripture over the many years
             a. New Testament defense:
                (a) Number of Manuscripts
                     1-More than 24,000 partial or complete copies of the New Testament exist today.  
                     2-Homer’s Illiad has 643 existing ancient copies of the original, while both Aristotle’s & Caesar’s works

                        have 9-10 ancient copies of the original.  

                       No one doubts their validity and they are extolled in public schools and universities.

                (b) No. yrs between original & 1st copies.
                     1-The first copy appeared only 25 years after the original.
                     2-Compare this to Homer’s Illiad, for which there is a time span of 500 years between when it was written

                        and the first copy of it.

No book in antiquity can hold a candle to the New Testament when it comes to the (a) number of existing manuscripts or the (b) number of years between the original writings and copies. 

             b. Old Testament defense:
                (a) ARCHAEOLOGICAL Discoveries
The year 1947 marked one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time with the discovery of the famed DEAD SEA SCROLLS. The scrolls were contained in ancient jars found in caves in the valley of the Dead Sea. They date back to between 150 BC & AD 70. In this significant find,
                    1-the entire Book of ISAIAH was found, as well as
                    2-fragments of every book of the Old Testament except ESTHER.  

                (b) Manuscript COPYING Accuracy
When the scrolls were compared to the Masoretic text written some 1,000 years later by Jewish scribes (from which our Old Testament of today is derived), it resulted in remarkable accuracy. This is not surprising given the fact that great care was taken by scribes in copying the original text, because they believed they were documenting the Word of  God & therefore were devoted to extreme accuracy.
They were known to:
                    1-wipe the pen clean before writing the name of GOD,
                    2-copy ONE letter at a time, and
                    3-COUNT the letters of the original & the one copied to confirm accurate transmission. In some cases, if an

                       error was found, the entire copy was destroyed.

         (3) Fulfilled PROPHECIES
             a. Dr. Hugh Ross, a well-known astrophysicist, says that out of approximately 2,500 predictions contained in the Bible concerning the future, some 2,000 have already been fulfilled. Every one of these has been fulfilled in detail without a single error.  Dr. Ross has calculated that the probability of 2,000 predictions coming true without error are 1 in 10 to the 2000th power.  Science considers any probability greater than 1 in 10 to the 50th power as impossible.  So how was it possible? There is only 1 explanation: GOD!
             b. One well-known prophecy contained in the Old Testament concerns the destruction of the city of TYRE. Hundreds of years earlier the prophet Ezekiel claimed the city would be destroyed and the ruins scraped off and dumped into the sea, never to be rebuilt. It happened exactly as predicted. 
             c. Some of the most amazing examples of fulfilled Bible prophecy are those concerning the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For example, Isaiah 52– 53 and Psalm 22 contain details about death by crucifixion some hundreds of years before this form of EXECUTION was ever practiced. 
             d. Entire books have been written that document EVIDENCE supporting the validity of the Bible. 
                 Ex. Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

If we begin to doubt the reliability of the Bible, we will likely also begin to doubt the validity of the claims of Jesus, standards of  right and wrong, and characteristics of God that are recorded in the Bible.  Such doubt will weaken the very foundation of a person’s Christian faith. 

       3)   BIBLE is RELEVANT.
             1 Pet. 1: 24b– 25a The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.
                a. The BIBLE is the best-selling book of all time!
                b. God’s principles set forth in His Word are TIMELESS for all ages. We need to know that God has left us the Bible as an instruction manual for living.
                c. God’s standards, principles, and truths will act as a COMPASS to steer us in the right direction (even when Mom & Dad are not there to help!) and give us the ability to filter right from wrong, good from evil, and wisdom from folly.

Of course, in order for us to partake of this great treasure, we will need to recognize its value and come to depend on it as a source of sustenance in our daily lives. 

Illus:  ABSOLUTE TRUTH
Illus:  FEET Time (AM-Devo) & HEART Time (PM-Read)

According to Barna, 94% of regular Bible readers believe that life has a clear purpose and meaning, versus 76% of nonreaders. 


     2. HERITAGE of PRAYER.
PRAYER is the alternating dance between “faith that moves mountains” and “thy will be done.” —C. S. Lewis  
Illus: KID’s PRAYER “Now I lay me down to sleep…” & 911

          a. PRAYER, simply put, is conversing with God, which leads us to be more in touch with His intended purpose for our lives.
          b. A consistent prayer life can act as a safeguard against mediocrity and a tendency toward a LUKEWARM Christian faith.
          c. Well-balanced “CONVERSATIONS” with God include both talking to God and listening to Him. 

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

P.R.A.Y. Model:
P.raise God for how awesome & perfect He is!  His characteristics!  And thank Him for how He’s blessed you!
R.epent (ask forgiveness) for the stuff you've done & not done that does not please God.
A.sk for God to help others (be specific) & then ask for how you need Him to intervene in your life.
Y.ield to God's will for you, and thank Him for when He answers your prayers.

Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

One of the most difficult things for most when it comes to prayer is learning to stop and LISTEN for the still, quiet voice of God. 

Ps. 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

     3. HERITAGE of FAITH.

Common sense is not FAITH, and FAITH is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense fails. FAITH must be tried before the reality of FAITH is actual.

—Oswald Chambers

Definition of faith is “belief in ACTION.” It is one thing to verbalize our belief in Christ but quite another to act upon that belief.

Hebrews 11:1-3 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Illus:  Hebrews 11=FAITH chapter

A. Top Ten Faith Compromisers:
            1) Not attending CHURCH regularly.

The spiritual foundation established by consistent church attendance leads to a stronger & deeper faith in Jesus. 

Dt. 5:12-15 12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work... 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
Heb. 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

            2) WORSHIPPING only on Sunday.

Many Christians mistakenly assume that “worship” only means singing hymns or choruses on Sunday morning at church. 

Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.
John 4:23 True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

-Jesus & the Samaritan Woman

John 14:23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.

Worship is love for God expressed through consistent obedience.

            3) Worrying or failing to trust God in times of ADVERSITY.

There is no greater peace in life than coming to a place where you can say, “Whatever, Lord. Your will be done.”  

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

            4) Failing to put your MONEY where your mouth is. 
                Ex. Tithing

Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
Acts 10:4 Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel.  And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!

It is not the amount of one’s gift that matters to God, but the act of obedience in giving, one’s attitude in giving, and the level of sacrifice.

Ex. Widow’s gift-Lk. 21:1-4

            5) Being a WHINER.

John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Faith in Christ should bring a new attitude fueled by an overwhelming sense of gratefulness to Him.  The root of whining is discontentment, and discontentment is always a choice. The root of discontentment is ungratefulness to, and lack of faith in, God.  If you find yourself being discontent, a very practical way to address it is to make a mental or physical list of all you have to be thankful for.


Another great antidote to discontentment is to study Philippians 4:10–19, where Paul discusses contentment.

            6) Not sharing your FAITH with others.

Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We minimize the importance of faith in Jesus Christ if we teach our daughters that a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing in life yet fail to share the gospel of Jesus with others. It sends a message that we are only concerned with our own salvation. 

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

            7) Molding your FAITH to fit your life rather than…molding your life to fit your FAITH.

Many Christians treat their faith as an afterthought or minor detail in the scheme of their lives. Their belief in Christ is merely one of many aspects that influence their lives, rather than being the preeminent, foundational aspect of their lives.

In Matt. 26:33, Peter discovered the hard way that believing in Christ is not always easy. When the rubber hit the road, he chose safety over following Jesus. Peter faced a crisis of belief. Was Jesus who He claimed to be? In the end, Peter did determine that, indeed, Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. By the time he proclaimed Christ to thousands on the day of Pentecost, Peter had remolded his life to fit his faith. He was transformed from a “closet Christian” to one of the boldest and most vocal disciples of Christ ever known. 
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

            8) Failing to put your PAST in it’s place.

A failure to adequately understand God’s grace and forgiveness will hinder you from walking in freedom and from sharing the power of the Cross with others. 

Philippians 3:12-14 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
John 8:10-11, 32 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said,  “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            9) Being prideful & LEGALISTIC.

Hosea 6:6 I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me[c] more than I want burnt offerings.
Mt. 15:7-9 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[d]”
1 Cor. 13:2b If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Rules w/out Relationship = REBELLION.

            10) Failing to have daily FEET & HEART TIME.

Isaiah 50:4-5 The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. 5 The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened.  I have not rebelled or turned away.
Ps 1:1-3 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Josh 1:8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Lk. 10:38-42 38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”



THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY
Part 4:  3 IDEALS OF CHIVALRY


III. A TRANSCENDENT CAUSE (3rd Ideal)

A. Three Characteristics
Invest your time in things that are...
     1. Truly HEROIC
                        -Luke 9:23-24

     2. TIMELESS
                        -Hebrews 13:8

     3. Supremely MEANINGFUL
                        -John 14:6, 8:12

B. 7 Battles Worth Fighting
     #1 - CONFORMITY
         Ex. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego-Daniel 3:4-6

     #2 - Self-WORTH
         1) WORLD’S Formula: Worth=
             (1) what you LOOK like
             (2) what you DO
             (3) what others THINK of you

To wish you were born with a different body shape, physical ability, or mental capacity implies to God dissatisfaction with His CREATION.
-Psalm 139:14

         2) GOD’S Formula:
             Worth=who you are in JESUS CHRIST.
             -Psalm 139:17-18
             (1) Discover Your INNER Design
                 Proverbs 22:6
             (2) Know Your SPIRITUAL Giftedness
                 I Peter 4:10

     #3 – Say I DON’T til You Say I DO.
         1) 4 Common Misconceptions
             (1) Everyone is DOING it.
             (2) As long as you LOVE someone it’s okay.
               -I Corinthians 13:5
             (3) It’s not really SEX if you don’t go all the way.
             (4) CONDOMS protect against pregnancy & STD’s.


         2) Top 5 Reasons to Wait
             (1) Your body is not YOUR OWN – it belongs to God.
               -I Cor. 6:18-20, 1 Thes. 4:3-8
             (2) The large majority of teens who have sex before marriage regret it – 72%
             (3) Likelihood of a BAD reputation.
             (4) One in 4 will get a STD.
             (5) 40% of teen girls become pregnant.

     #4 – DATE to Lure or be Pure?
        -Romans 12:2, 14:13-20
        -Ephesians 5:8-10
        -I Timothy 2:9-10

     #5 – Prince Charming: Fact or FAIRY TALE?
        Don’t let CHARM be a substitute for a genuine relationship.
          -Ephesians 3:17-19
          -Proverbs 4:23

     #6 – Made of Ice & Not Very NICE
        (1) ANGER
          -Leviticus 6:32-33
        (2) CLIQUES
          -I Corinthians 15:33
        (3) Locker room GOSSIP
          -Romans 1:29-31
          -Proverbs 11:13, 20:19
          -James 1:2-6
        (4) JEALOUSY

     #7 - _________________________________ = your #1 weakness / struggle.

C. 7 Strategies to Win These Battles (OVERCOMING TEMPTATION)
     1. Take every THOUGHT captive.

Every thought you have will either build you up or knock you down. They will either draw you closer to God and His awesome plans for your life or move you away from Him. That’s why 2 Corinthians 10:5b tells you to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

Be wise enough to evaluate your thoughts and deliberately reject those that don’t align with God’s best for you. When something enters your mind that isn’t good, treat it like a hostile prisoner; capture it, handcuff it, and beat the snot out of it. Be ruthless in this! Ask God for His help and He WILL help you. You know you don’t have what it takes to do this on your own. 

Proverbs 4:23 - Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4 - Do not arouse or awaken love until the time is right.

     2. Feed the right DOG.

There is a good dog and a bad dog inside the heart of every young man. The one you feed the most is the one that wins. Almost every action of your heart and mind serves to feed one of the dogs.  Romans 8:5 addresses these two dogs directly, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” 

The Bible calls these two dogs “flesh” and “Spirit.” One is what you want; the other is what God wants. Make choices every day that feed the right dog and starve the other one. Over time, God’s Spirit in you will grow strong and the fleshy parts of you will grow weak. 

     3. Focus on God more than your SIN.

Some people place so much focus on NOT sinning that they grow tired and weak in the fight. They end up sinning anyway. A better way is to focus on God and His power so that the sin loses its power over you.  Galatians 5:16 puts it like this, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” A young man who actively walks with God will find it much more difficult to walk in sin. As you talk to God and meditate on His Word, your mind will change. Your thoughts will move away from the junk and towards the things of God. 

If you’re going to become the godly young man that God wants you to be, you have to start with your thought life. That means aggressively guarding what you put in your mind. When your thoughts are overly critical of yourself, you need to replace them with how God sees you. (He thinks you are pretty amazing!) When your mind wanders towards impure thoughts about girls, you need to take your thoughts somewhere else. 

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” –Stephen Covey 

     4. Safeguard your TECHNOLOGY. 

Just as David could have done, you need to command your devices to do the right things to protect your eyes. If your family doesn’t use some kind of internet filter or tracking software on your technology, insist that you get some. Welcome it as a gift from God and gladly submit to it. 

When Jesus talked about a man’s tendency to lust, he offered a rather extreme suggestion on how to deal with it.  In Matthew 5:29 he said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”  While we don’t take this literally (please keep your eyes in your head), we can know that we need to take this fight very seriously.  

Example: Porn & masturbation make up the modern-day plague that is devastating the men of your generation. You can’t afford to relax and treat it lightly. 

     5. Bring the STRUGGLE to God.  

When you’re looking at stuff you shouldn’t be looking at, your natural tendency is to hide it. Do it long enough, and you’ll start believing a lie: “You’re a disappointment to God, so don’t bother going to Him with that right now.” The truth is that God knows and sees all. You can’t hide from Him. He wants to help you with the struggle, but He can’t if you keep (foolishly) keeping it from Him.

Instead, invite Him into the fight. When you are tempted, talk to Him. Quote His Word. Cry out for help (Luke 18:7 - And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?; Psalm 9:9 - The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; Psalm 50:15 – Call to Me in your time of trouble & I will deliver you. And you will give Me glory and honor.). Just don’t try to hide. He knows what you’re doing and He still loves you. Jesus has seen (and paid for) the ugliest sins that the world can commit, so He’s not shocked by what you are capable of. Running away from Him is the worst thing you can do. 

     6. Learn to “BOUNCE your eyes” &/or “flee.”

There’s some bad news: you’re likely going to struggle with this until the day you die. So, if sexual temptation is always going to be there, you’re going to need some tools to fight it.  In the course of any given day, you’re going to see sexual images on your computer and the TV.  You’re going to interact with women who are showing too much skin.  You can’t help see it, but your immediate response should be to bounce your eyes and look somewhere else.  This skill was established in scripture.  In Job 31:1, he declares, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job’s commitment can be your commitment. In fact, that might be a good Bible verse for you to memorize.  

Sometimes, it may mean you have to get away from the situation!  The longer you stay, the more your thoughts take you to places you don’t need to go.  That’s why scripture says:

1 Corinthians 6:18 - Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 
1 Timothy 6:11 - But you, young man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 
2 Timothy 2:22 - Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

     7. TALK to somebody.

While you can be tempted to keep your private sins in the dark, it’s actually the worst thing you can do. When you bring this stuff into the light, it’s much easier to deal with. In many ways, it loses it’s power in your life. Plus, you’re no longer alone. 

Take whatever steps you need to create some accountability & to build these new habits. Guarding your eyes takes constant discipline & you can’t ever get lazy. But also choose to walk in God’s grace. He loves you, even when you blow it. In those dark moments, run towards Him, not away from Him. He can handle your sin. The cross assures us of that reality.  We will deal with this more later!

D. 10 Commandments
(Exodus 20, Deut. 5)
     1) God is #1=You shall have no other gods before Me.
     2) SCISSORS=Don’t make any idols.
     3) 3 fingers to LIPS-Watch your words=Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
     4) 4 SUNDAYS in a month=Keep the Sabbath holy.
     5) SALUTE=Honor your father & mother.
     6) GUN=Don’t murder.
     7) 2 SNEAK off=Don’t commit adultery.
     8) Cut-off PINKIE=Don’t steal.
     9) PINOCCHIO=Don’t lie.
     10) GRABBING=Don’t covet.

 

THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY - 
Part 5


10 STRATEGIES = [5] TACTICALS + {5} EVANGELISTICS

A. [5] STRATEGIES OF TACTICAL TRAINING

1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but training in godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

ILLUS: New and more intense pressures that take place in moving into Jr. Hi.

[1.]             INDEPENDENCE

Moving from childhood to adulthood is a process of moving towards more responsibility & independence from PARENTS.  As a result, the danger for many parents is to move from being parents to BUDDIES by giving over the reigns of accountability too quickly.  The danger for teens is to try to yank away these reigns of accountability & therefore removing one of the key methods GOD uses to insure that a young person is ready to assume all the proper responsibilities of godly adulthood.

[2.]             RELATIONSHIPS


Moving from childhood to adulthood is also a process of moving towards deeper relationships with OTHERS, especially the opposite gender.  As a result, the danger for many parents is to surrender too quickly the reigns of properly supervising these male-female relationships.  The danger for teens is to use dating as a method to experiment with INTIMACY, which God reserves for marriage only.

[3.]             TRANSPORTATION

Moving from childhood to adulthood is also a process of maturing in the PRACTICAL areas of life.  As a result, the danger for many parents is to increase independence, decrease accountability, and increase dating relationships and activities by providing the opportunity for their children to drive their own vehicle.  The danger for teens is to use this new-found freedom of driving as an opportunity to experience a higher degree of freedom from their parents control over where they are able to go and the activities they are able to participate in without their parent’s knowledge.  Once again, without the tool of active parenting through accountability, students LOSE.

[4.]             CAREER

Moving from childhood to adulthood is also a process of maturing in other practical areas of life like exploring JOB possibilities and learning the value of hard work.  The danger for many parents is to require a part-time job of their teen in order to help with financial commitments (like paying for a car or insurance) to the degree that they are willing to put their teen into a situation of COMPROMISE without adequate godly parenting input.  For example, many teens are willing to work on Sundays in order to get a certain job, rather than finding the job with an employer who is willing to work around church commitments.  The danger for teens is beginning a life-long habit that will wreak havoc on their spiritual lives and future career.

ILLUS: Employers wanting Christian employees and willing to work around Christian activities and commitments

[5.]             PRIORITIES

Moving from childhood to adulthood is also a process of developing personal ownership of biblical & moral standards & convictions, plus the practical application of putting these into lifestyle PRIORITIES.  The danger for many parents is to surrender too quickly the parental guidance needed to enable teens to carefully maneuver through this minefield of potential life destroyers.  The danger for teens is to make critical life-altering decisions without heeding godly parental GUIDANCE or scriptural truth.

 

B. {5} STRATEGIES OF EVANGELISTIC TRAINING

TWO DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS(to diagnose their spiritual condition)

1. Do you think you will go to Heaven when you die?

2. What do you think it takes for a person to get into Heaven? (What else?)

From their answers, you will know where they stand in eternity & whether to share the Gospel with them.


{1} THE TESTIMONY


(YOUR PERSONAL STORY)

1. Before I met Jesus...

2. How I met Jesus…

3. Since I met Jesus…


{2} THE HAND

(GOSPEL IN YOUR HAND)

You can use the fingers on your hand to remind yourself of the main points of the Gospel.  Learn at least 1 verse of scripture for each finger / point.  * = main scriptures. 

Opening Question:  “Have you ever seen someone use the fingers on their hand to describe what the Bible says it takes for a person to go to Heaven?!”

CATCH PHRASE  FINGER        REMINDER & MEANING                        SCRIPTURE                                                                                                                   
God’s                    Thumb          GOOD News = Love RELATIONSHIP,   *Gen.1:27,*Jn.10:10b,
Desire                                         abundant life on earth and                    *3:16, 14:3, Rom. 1:16,
Illus: Adam & Eve (Paradise)   eternal life in paradise/Heaven.                         

When we see someone give the THUMBS up sign, we know that it means GOOD job, which reminds us that “The GOOD NEWS of the Bible is that it has always been GOD’S DESIRE to have a LOVE RELATIONSHIP with every person on the planet, so that we could have ABUNDANT LIFE on earth & ETERNAL LIFE in HEAVEN (Paradise) after we die!”

Our                        Pointer         3 Fingers Pointing Back at Self =          *Rom. 3:23, *6:23a, *Is. 59:2,
Problem                Finger          All have SINNED, wages of sin is            Prov. 14:12
Illus: Only 3 sins per day         death/Hell, sin separates us from God.

When someone points their finger at us for doing something wrong, they have 3 fingers pointing back at themselves because they are just as guilty of doing wrong things too, which reminds us
that “The reason we don’t all experience this love relationship with God that brings abundant and eternal life, is that OUR PROBLEM is that WE HAVE ALL SINNED, & THE WAGES OF OUR SIN IS DEATH, & OUR SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD, & SIN ENDS US UP IN HELL.”

God’s                    Middle          3 Crosses w/ 1 in middle taller =            *Rom.5:8,*6:23b,*1Tm.2:5-6,
Solution                Finger          Jesus died on the CROSS to pay           1Pet.3:18a,Is.1:18,Jn.14:6,
Illus: Courtroom                        for our sins.                                  10:28, Heb.9:27, Eph. 1:7, 1Cor. 15:2-4

When we look at our middle finger, we notice that the 3 FINGERS in the MIDDLE of our hand can remind us of pictures that we see of 3 CROSSES with the one in the MIDDLE being taller than the other two representing the CROSS that JESUS died on.  This reminds us that “GOD’S SOLUTION to OUR PROBLEM was His Son JESUS DYING ON THE CROSS TO PAY THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS.”

Our                        Ring              Wedding Ring = This Intimate              *Rom. 10:9-10, *Luke 9:23
Response-1          Finger           relationship with God is based on        Jn.1:12, 1Jn. 5:12-13
Illus: Repentance=U-turn;        COMMITMENT to Jesus as Lord & Savior.      
Lord=King; Savior=from Hell  (similar to marriage)

When we look at our ring finger, just like MARRIAGE is an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP BASED ON COMMITMENT, this reminds us that “in order to have this INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, OUR RESPONSE is to COMMIT our lives to JESUS as Savior and Lord by 1) turning from our sins & selfishness (repentance) and surrendering our lives to Him as KING & 2) and receiving the forgiveness of our sins (payment) provided by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.”

Our                        Little              One Little Step=FAITH in Jesus         *Eph. 2:8-9,*Rom. 5:1,*Acts 3:19,
Response-2          Finger            alone!                                                    Rom. 1:17, 10:13, Lk. 13:3, Acts
Illus: Chair or Tightrope Walker                                                              26:20, Jas. 2:19, Mt. 7:21

We use our little finger to remind us that it’s a LITTLE STEP: “It is a simple, LITTLE STEP of FAITH to receive JESUS…for by grace we are saved through FAITH in Jesus.  We trust Him with our lives and follow His leading!”  


Closing Questions to ask: 1) Does this make sense? 2) Are you ready to make this most important of decisions right now?  To give them time to think, share your personal testimony (2 min.).  Then, ask the questions again.  If they say they are ready, then lead them in a prayer right back through what you just explained where you say a phrase & they repeat it after you...taking your words & making them theirs...from the bottom of their heart.  


Prayer: Dear God, (repeat) I know that You desire a love relationship with me (repeat) so I can have abundant life here on earth (repeat) & eternal life in Heaven, (repeat) and I understand that my sin is keeping me from it (repeat), but I know that Jesus’ death on the Cross paid for my sin (repeat), etc.  

If they say they have done this before, then ask them to share their testimony. 



{3} THE WHOLE BIBLE IN ONE VERSE






















You can draw this on a piece of paper, napkin, chalk board, dry erase board, the ground, etc.

The opening statement is, “Have you ever seen anyone explain the whole Bible in one verse?!  Check this out!”

1. Write Romans 6:23 across the top.  *The colors are for reference purposes only.

2. Underline “wages,” write it on the left side, & then explain its meaning.  

Wages=It’s what we have earned that we must be paid, according to the law.

3. Continue doing the same with the rest of the words in the verse.  Underline, write it in its spot, then explain it.

Sin=It all began with Adam & Eve when they choose to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil.  All mankind has inherited that same sin nature.  Sin is displeasing God...in other words, bad deeds we have committed against God’s desire or good deeds we have omitted against God’s desire.

Isaiah 59:2-Sin separates us from God

Death=when our physical body ceases to function and our eternal souls live on forever, in this case, in a place called Hell...a physical & spiritual death.

HELL=Is a place created for Satan & his fallen angels/demons, a dark place, of weeping & gnashing of teeth for those doomed there being burned alive forever, totally separated from God & His presence, due to rejecting God.

But=It doesn’t end there, God has a better plan.

4. After “but,” draw the white lines of the two sides with the gap/chasm in the middle and continue writing and explaining the rest of the words in the verse.

Free Gift=it something that you have not earned, doesn’t cost you anything, you just receive it.

God=the Creator of all things who created us in His image to have a love relationship with Him so we could live full & meaningful lives on earth, and then when we die, we get to live forever with Him.

Eternal Life=getting to live forever with God in a place called “Heaven.”

HEAVEN=a place of paradise with God & His angels, a place of completely perfect happiness, peace, & joy.

Ex. Thief on the Cross

1 Thes. 4:17-Rapture…Paradise

Jesus Christ=The Son of God who came to earth, lived a perfect sinless life, died in our place on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin, came back to life three days later, and then ascended to Heaven forty days after that.  He now sits at the right hand of God forever interceding for those who have received Him into their lives as Savior & Lord.

Lord=master, king, boss, leader, etc.

5. Then draw the yellow lines (the Cross = the Bridge).

6. Then write LAW=the words on the left side describe what we have earned according to the Law, God’s law...it’s what we must be paid.

7. Then write LOVE=the rest of words describe God’s solution to the problem, His plan for all who will receive His forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross...a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  (John 3:16)

8. Then ask the person you are witnessing to to point to the spot on the diagram where they think they are or hand them whatever you are writing / drawing with and ask them “Draw a stick figure where you think you are in the diagram:

1)    Are you on the far left because you have rebelled completely against God?

2)    Are you near the left ledge because you have been thinking about whether God really exists or not?  

3)    Are you in the middle, exploring the truths of Jesus: His life, death, resurrection, & ascension?

4)    Or are you on the right side because you have already experienced this love relationship with God through faith in Jesus and are now following Him daily?”

9. Then say “To get from the left side to the right side, it is as easy as 1-2-3 or A-B-C.”  Write & explain each:

1)     Admit=Admit that you know all of this to be true, that you have sinned & know that the wages of your sin is death in a place called Hell.

2)     Believe=Believe in your heart (draw the heart) that Jesus died on the Cross to pay the price for you sin, so that by putting your faith and trust in Him as your Savior and Lord, you can receive this free gift of God...eternal life...which starts at the very moment of accepting Him and continues forever in Heaven in paradise.

3)     Confess=Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior & commit your life to Him! (see Romans 10:9-10). 

10. Ask them “Are you ready to make this decision?  If you are, then I can lead you in a prayer (see Romans 10:13) and you can invite Jesus Christ into your heart and life as Savior and Lord.”  

11. Lead them in a prayer right back through what you just explained in the diagram, where you say a phrase and have them repeat it after you...taking your words & making them theirs...from the bottom of their heart.  


Ex. Dear God, I know that the wages of my sin is death in an eternal place called Hell…etc.




{4} THE ROMAN ROAD

The Roman Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans. It is a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation.

The 1st verse on the Roman Road to salvation is

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is innocent.

The 2nd Scripture on the Roman Road to salvation,

Romans 6:23, teaches us about the consequences of sin - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The punishment that we have earned for our sins is death. Not just physical death, but eternal death!

The 3rd verse on the Roman Road to salvation,

Romans 5:8 declares, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus Christ died for us! Jesus' death paid for the price of our sins. Jesus' resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus' death as the payment for our sins.

The 4th verse on the Roman Road to salvation is

Romans 10:9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are made right with God, and with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Because of Jesus' death on our behalf, all we have to do is believe in Him, trusting in Him and His death as the payment for our sins - and we will be saved!

The 5th verse on the Roman Road to salvation is

Romans 10:13 "for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rescue us from eternal death. Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is available to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  All we have to do is ask…with all your heart!

The final aspect of the Roman Road to salvation is the results of salvation.

Romans 5:1 has this wonderful message, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Through Jesus Christ we can have a relationship of peace with God.

Romans 8:1 teaches us, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Because of Jesus' death on our behalf, we will never be condemned for our sins.

Finally, we have this precious promise of God from

Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Would you like to follow the Roman Road to salvation? If so, here is a simple prayer you can pray to God. Saying this prayer is a way to declare to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ for your salvation. The words themselves will not save you. Only faith in Jesus Christ can provide salvation!

"God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With your help, I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness - the gift of eternal life!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!"

Read more:  http://www.gotquestions.org/Romans-road-salvation.html#ixzz3WJ4jJpcD



{5} THE G.O.S.P.E.L. IN 6 WORDS

OPENING: Ever Wonder About God?  
Have you ever wondered about God? You’re not alone. Most everyone comes to a point in their life where they wonder about God —whether He exists, what He’s like, and what He wants from them.  These are important questions.


Click here (https://www.lifein6words.com) to watch the "Life in 6 Words: The GOSPEL" video, and you will get a glimpse of what the Bible has to say about these questions.  Here’s a brief summary of what you will see on the video:

















You can find a more comprehensive explanation of these six truths here.

Just think, the God of the Universe longs for a personal relationship with you that’s available through Jesus’ work on the cross!  How can you enter into this amazing new relationship with God?  By placing your trust in Jesus alone to pay the price for your sin and open the doorway for you to receive the free gift of eternal life, a life in Christ that starts now and lasts forever.  


Is there anything holding you back from putting your faith in Jesus right now to give you eternal life?

If so, you can learn more here.

You can start a new relationship with God NOW!

The Bible tells us that our heart and soul are transformed when we put our trust in Jesus.  This decision to trust Christ launches you into a new relationship with God.  So, while saying a prayer isn’t what opens the door to this life-transforming relationship with God, a prayer is one way for you to express your new-found faith in Jesus. You might say something like this to God:

“Dear God, I know that my sins have broken my relationship with you and that nothing I could do could ever change that. But right now, I believe that Jesus died in my place and rose again from the dead. I trust in Him to forgive me for my sins. Through faith in Him, I am entering an eternal relationship with you. Thank you for this free gift! Amen.”

Did you just place your faith in God through His Son Jesus?  

If yes, click here: http://www.phil120brown.com/bible-studies.html#NEWCHRISTIAN

TWO CLOSING QUESTIONS

1. Does all of this make sense to you?
2. Are you ready to make this most important of decisions right now?

If yes, then lead them through a prayer going right back through the points you just shared!




THE RETURN TO BIBLICAL CHIVALRY
Part 6:  4 ACCOUNTABILITIES


<4> AREAS OF ACCOUNTABILITY TRAINING
(4 sets of <4’s>)

The Knight & His Round Table

     Proverbs 11:14 - For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
<1.> The Community / School
        
1) If the parent’s presence is weighty, the presence of other significant adults is weightier still.
         2) Enlisting other significant adults results in a depth of friendship that many never experience. 
         3) The Community of other significant adults expands a young person’s spiritual & moral resources.
             Ex. Teachers, Coaches, Scout / TrailLife Leaders, College Students, etc.
 
<2.> The Family
         
1) Biblical Models
         2) Contemporary Models

<3.> The Church / Student Ministry
         
1) Mission Statement  
         2) Sun. Morning Bible Study (Sun. School)
         3) Wednesday Nights
         4) Discipleship Studies
         5) Ministry Opportunities
         6) Activities/Events
               -1-DiscipleNows / Retreats / Conf’s
               -2-Youth Camp
               -3-Missions Opportunities
               -4-Outreach
               -5-Other
         7) Campus Ministry
               -1- First Priority = To unite the Body of Christ on the school campus in order to fulfill the Great Commission.

                     www.fpofamerica.com

                     www.firstpriorityglobal.com
               -2- Fellowship of Christian Athletes =To present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the                           challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships                         and in the fellowship of the church.

                    www.fca.org
               -3- Others: YoungLife, Youth For Christ, Student Venture, Bible Clubs, etc.
         8) Evangelism Training & Opportunities
         9) Parents / Families
             The family is the first line of offense and defense in spiritual things.

<4.> Relationships of ACCOUNTABILITY:
     

    1) WITH GOD  

         Joshua 1:8...meditate on God's Word DAY & NIGHT...& you will be prosperous & successful...

         Psalm 1:1-3...meditate on God's Word DAY & NIGHT...& everything you do will prosper...

            NO BIBLE NO BREAKFAST, NO BIBLE NO BED!

         =Don't eat your first meal of the DAY without first feasting on God's Word (FEET TIME) &

           Don't go to bed at NIGHT until you have spent time reading in God's Word (HEART TIME)!

         A. FEET TIME (AM-Devotional Time)
    
             Luke 10:38-42
             <1> P.R.A.Y.
                 P.raise God for how awesome & perfect He is & His characteristics & thank Him for how He’s blessed you!
                 R.epent (ask forgiveness) for the stuff you've done & not done that does not please God.
                 A.sk for God to help others (be specific) & then ask for how you need Him to intervene in your life.
                 Y.ield to God's will for you, and thank Him for when He answers your prayers.
            <2> Read
                (1) Scripture
                (2) Devotional Book &/or App
            <3> Ask & Journal S.P.A.C.E. Questions:  Is there a...
                Sin to confess
                Promise to claim
                Attitude to change
               Command to obey
                Example to follow
            <4> Pray

         B. HEART TIME (PM-Reading Time)
               Psalm 119:2-11
               Mark 12:28-31
               John 1:1-5, 14
            <1> Start by reading the New Testament for ONE YEAR, because you are a "follower of Jesus" & you need

                   to get to know the one you have surrendered your life to as Savior & Lord!!!
            <2> Next, read Psalms & Proverbs for a MONTH:
                1-Proverbs - read 1 chapter each day
                2-Psalms - read 5 chapters each day
            <3> Then, read the whole Bible in 1 YEAR:
                   Ex. Use BiOY App!  https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy
            <4> Then, read the whole Bible CHRONOLOGICALLY! 
                   https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological/next

      2) WITH OTHERS

            Everyone needs all 4 levels at all times:
           <1> FATHER Figures-spiritual mentors pouring into you.
                  Prov 11:14, 12:15, 15:22
           <2> FRIENDS-spiritual peers pouring into each other.
                  Philippians 4:7-8
           <3> FOLLOWERS-spiritually less mature friends that you are pouring into.
                  2 Timothy 2:2
           <4> FAITH Friends-the spiritually dead that God is using you to pour life into.
                  Matthew 28:19-20  Repent (ask forgiveness) for the stuff you've done & not done that does not please God.


SOURCES: "Raising a Modern-day Knight" by Robert Lewis, "Your Girl" by Vicki Courtney, "The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness" by Barrett Johnson, and Phil Brown.

It is my deep desire and hope that I will never fail my Lord, and that at all times, but especially right now, that I will be full of courage, so that Christ will be exalted in my whole being,

in everything I do or say, whether I live or die.  Philippians 1:20

Phil (1:20)  Brown

For more

Bible Study Topics,

click on one of the following:

Topics

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http://phil120brown.net/

The Meaning of our Christmas Traditions / Customs

“These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.”
Esther 9:28 NIV

“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They donʼt wash their hands before they eat!”  Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Matthew 15:2-3 NIV

Traditions / Customs 

1. Danger = can become a barrier to Christ-centered celebrations
2. Purpose = they are to point us towards X 
(X - greek transliterated = Christ)

Illus-Secular Worldview (liberalism) vs. Biblical Worldview
-Secular world wants to distort & distract from the real meaning of Xmas

   Ex. secular Xmas songs: Chestnuts Roasting, White Xmas, Winter Wonderland, Rudolph,               Let It Snow, I’ll be Home for Xmas, Silver Bells, Rockin’ Around the Xmas Tree, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Do You Hear What I Hear?, Have a Holly Jolly                         Christmas, Home for the Holidays, Happy Holidays, Santa Baby, etc.
      1) Half of the 30 most played holiday songs of the past century were written by liberal                     Jews (Irving Berlin, Mel Torme, Johnny Marks, Rogers & Hammerstein, etc.)

      2) About 75% of all secular Xmas songs were written by liberal Jews, and

      3) Therefore, these songs have nothing to do with Jesus, which is the real meaning of                   Xmas.  (http://jewishworldreview.com/1214/jewz_xmas.php3)

Mt. 1:18-2:12; 5:14-16; Jn. 1:1-14

Illus-Americans did not begin celebrating Xmas with presents, trees, & family gatherings until the 1840’s

3 Seasons of Christmas

I.  ADVENT = time of preparation for Jesus' coming; 
   1. means “the coming”
   2. season of repentance, reflection, & spiritual readiness; 
   3. time to contemplate the meaning of the coming of Jesus to the world 
       (3 comings of Jesus: 1-when He was born, 2-when He came into your life [born again],

        3-when He comes back [Rapture/2nd Coming])
   4. began in the 6th Century, 

   Ex. Advent Wreath (originated w/ the Vikings) 
      A. 3 purple candles = mood of repentance, 
          1st Sun.=Hope
             -Prophets who predicted Messiah’s coming
          2nd Sun.=Peace
             -Bible & its message
          3rd Sun.=Love
             -Mary & her mission
      B. 1 rose candle = 4th Sun.=Joy
          1) new life in X b/c of sacrifice on the Cross
          2) John the Bapt. proclaiming Savior’s coming
      C. 1 white candle = Purity
          1) lit on Xmas Eve 
          2) celebrates Jesus’ birth

       Ex. Advent Calendar 
          1) Began in Germany 1850's, 
          2) Countdown to Xmas

       Ex. Christmas Cards 
          1) Originated in England in the 1800’s
          2) Sent in advance to remind of Advent

II.  CHRISTMAS = celebration of Christ’s birth 

A. Christmas Tree 
    1. It's a Living Cross
    2. Began 1000 yrs ago w/ Vikings,  
    3. Set it up at beginning of Advent
    4. Take it down on Epiphany-Jan. 6 (3rd season of Xmas)
    5. Signifies 4 things:
        1) All 3 seasons of Xmas
        2) The Jesse Tree
             -represents the family tree of Jesus based on Isaiah 11:1
        3) Evergreen 
            (1) represents eternal life (faith)
            (2) represents God’s love never fades
        4) Triangle shape 
             -represents the Trinity

B. Decorations
    1. Lights = Jesus Christ is the light of the world, 
        1) candles symbolize X, 
        2) Christians become the light to the world
    2. Ornaments = represent Wise Men’s gifts
    3. Red Decorations = totality of God’s gift in X’s death, blood
    4. Star = Christ, the light Christians follow
    5. Angel = proclaiming good news of Jesus' birth

C.Gifts 
    1. Celebrating God’s greatest gift...God’s love in human form-X
    2. Give gifts out of love for Him & each other 
    3. Focus on giving not exchanging

   Ex. Wise Men’s Gifts 
       1) Gold = royalty/wealth 
       2) Frankincense = priestly worship 
       3) Myrrh = burial preparation

D. Candy Cane
    1. White = virgin birth, sinless 
    2. Hard = rock, foundation of Church

    3. J = Jesus & the Shepherd Staff 
    4. 3 small red stripes = scourging of Jesus & the Trinity
    5. 1 large red stripe = Jesus' blood shed on the Cross

E. Luminaries 

    = Way of guiding & welcoming X into our hearts & homes by lining sidewalk

F. Christmas Day 
    1. 1st Christmas = Jan. 6, 3rd Century, called 3 Kings Day
    2. Constantine moved Xmas from Jan. 6 to Dec. 25 in 345 AD 
        (represents the Birthday of the Son of God)
    3. Dec. 25 = originally was the Feast of Saturn (Birthday of the Sun),

        also called the Festival of Lights

G. Santa Clause 
    1. Origin-St. Nicholas, born to wealthy parents in Patara, Turkey in 270 AD
    2. Parents died when he was young
    3. Became a pastor
    4. Spent his life giving away family fortune to needy children
        Ex. gave gold for neighbor’s daughter’s dowry
    5. Became the Bishop of Myra
    6. Diocletian imprisoned him in 303
    7. After his release from prison, he attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 where he  

              forcefully argued for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to be included in the Nicene Creed.
    8. Died in 343 on Dec. 6 (Catholic Church declared it Boxing Day-collection for poor in      

            Nicholas' honor)

    9. So whenever you see a Santa Claus, let it remind you of one of the greatest examples of    

      what it means to be a Christian!!  Let’s not let our society steal away any of the “real”            

      meanings behind our Christmas traditions! ​

III.  EPIPHANY = remembrance of God's revelation to the world in the God-Man Jesus
    1. 3rd Season of Christmas

    2. Jan. 6 = 3 Kings day (Magi/Wise Men)
    3. Day to take Xmas tree & decorations down
    4. 12 Days of Xmas is from Dec. 25 til Jan. 6...from Xmas day to Epiphany. 

What are you giving Jesus for His birthday? (Mt. 25:40)
   -Wrap an empty present & put under the Xmas tree to represent what you need to give to           Jesus to be more Christ-like &/or what you are giving to Jesus for His bday!
   i.e. give $ to missions, food/gifts to needy, visit elderly, etc.

Illus.: Poem “Twas the Night before Jesus Came”
‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house, 
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.  
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care 
In hopes that Jesus would not come there. 
The children were dressing to crawl into bed, 

Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. 
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap 
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap. 
When out of the East there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang to my feet to see what was The matter. 
Away to the window I flew like a flash 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash! 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear 
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here. 
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray 
I knew in a moment this must be The Day! 
The light of His face made me cover my head 
It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said. 
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth 
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself. 
In the Book of Life which He held in His Hand 
Was written the name of every saved man. 
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; 
When He said "It's not here" My head hung in shame! 
The people whose names had been written with love 
He gathered to take to His Father above. 
With those who were ready He rose without a sound 
While all the rest were left standing around. 
I fell to my knees, but it was too late; 
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate. 
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight; 
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight. 
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; 
The coming of Jesus is drawing near. 
There's only one life and when comes the last call 
We'll find that the Bible was true after ALL! 

-Source unknown


​​Christmas Facts or Fiction? 

(Printoff & circle the letter of the correct answer.)
1. Who did the angel of the Lord tell of the birth of the Savior?  a) Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, & the Magi, b) Joseph, Mary, & the shepherds, c) Joseph & Mary, d) Herod.
2. For the journey to Bethlehem, Mary & Joseph: a) walked, b) Joseph, walked; Mary rode a donkey, c) rode a bus, d) Who knows?
3. When Mary became pregnant, Mary & Joseph were: a) married, b) just friends, c) engaged, d) none of the above.
4. When Mary became pregnant: a) Joseph married her, b) Joseph wanted to dissolve their relationship, c) Mary left Nazareth for a while, d) both b and c.
5. Christmas has always been observed: a) on Dec. 25, b) on Jan. 6, c) at Grandma’s house, d) none of the above.
6. How many wise men came to see Jesus?  a) 1, b) 2, c) 3, d) Who knows?
7. Who directed Mary & Joseph to go to Bethlehem?  a) Herod, b) an angel, c) Caesar, d) the IRS.
8. Just what is a heavenly host?  a) an angelic choir, b) the welcoming angel in heaven, c) an array of angels, d) none of the above.
9. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?  a) a multitude, b) two…Gabriel & Michael, c) one, d) Who knows?
10. What song did the angels sing?  a) “O Little Town of Bethlehem” b) “Joy to the World” c) “Glory to God in the Highest” d) none of the above.
11. Baby Jesus was born in a: a) cave, b) manger, c) Bethlehem suburb, d) none of the above.
12. Joseph’s family was from: a) Jerusalem, b) Nazareth, c) Bethlehem, d) none of the above.
13. What animals were present at Jesus’ birth?  a) cows, sheep, & camels, b) cows, sheep, & donkeys, c) lions, tigers, & bears, d) Who knows?
14. What is a manger anyway?  a) a barn, b) a place for hay, c) a feeding trough, d) a Bible term for the church nursery.
15. When did baby Jesus cry?  a) when he opened the wise men’s gifts, b) whenever babies usually cried, c) when the cattle started lowing, d) “no crying he makes.”
16. Who saw the star over Bethlehem?  a) Mary & Joseph, b) shepherds, c) three kings, d) none of the above.
17. What in the world are Magi?  a) Eastern Kings, b) bankers, c) astrologers, d) school teachers.
18. When the wise men brought their gifts to Jesus, they found him in: a) a manger, b) a house, c) Vacation Bible School, d) none of the above.
19. How many shepherds came to see Jesus?  a) 1, b) 2, c) 3, d) Who knows?
20. What sign were the shepherds to look for?  a) a star over the stable, b) a barn outlined with Christmas lights, c) a baby in a manger, d) both a and c.
21. What did the innkeeper say to Mary & Joseph?  a) “I have a stable out back” b) “Come back after the holidays” c) “There’s no room in the inn” d) none of the above.
22. Where did Mary & Joseph go when they left Bethlehem?  a) Nazareth, b) Egypt, c) Rome, d) Jerusalem.
23. According to Jewish tradition, when was Jesus given his name?  a) When the angel spoke to Mary & Joseph, b) When he was born, c) By the Mexican Magi named Jesus, d) On the day of his consecration to the Lord at the Jerusalem Temple.
24. On the eighth day at the Jerusalem Temple, who praised God & gave thanks for Jesus?  a) Sampson, b) Samuel, c) Simeon, d) Simeon & Anna.
25. In what books of the Bible will you find these fascinating facts?  a) Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, b) Matthew & Luke, c) Mark & Matthew, d) Matthew, Mark, & Luke.

SCORING
24-25 correct – Congratulations!  You can separate fact from fiction.
21-23 correct – Not bad!  Truth wins over tradition.
16-20 correct – Uh oh!  You’ve seen too many Christmas plays.
15 or below correct – Ouch!

ANSWERS
1. b) See Mt. 1:20-25, Lk. 1:26-38, 2:8-12.
2. d) The Bible gives no record of their means of travel.
3. c) See Mt. 1:18.
4. d) See Mt. 1:19; Lk. 1:39, 56.
5. d) Dec. 25 was selected in 345 a.d. by Constantine.
6. d) See Mt. 2:1-11.  The Bible doesn’t say how many – only that Magi came bringing gold, frankincense, & myrrh.
7. c) See Lk. 2:1.
8. c)
9. c) See Lk. 2:10.
10. d) See Lk. 2:13.  They didn’t sing; they spoke.  Ok, if you picked c, you get 1 point.
11. d) See Lk. 2:7.  We aren’t told where Jesus was born, only that after his birth he was laid in a manger.
12. c) See Lk. 2:4.
13. d) The Bible doesn’t say anything about animals being present.
14. c) A trough or an open box in which feed for livestock is placed.
15. b) He was fully human as well as fully God.
16. d) Three kings are not mentioned in the Bible, only in songs.
17. c) Astrologers who dabbled in the natural sciences.
18. b) See Mt. 2:11.
19. d) See Lk. 2:8-20.  The Bible doesn’t say.
20. c) See Lk. 2:12.
21. d) An innkeeper is never mentioned in the Bible.
22. d) See Lk. 2:21-22.
23. d) See Lk. 2:21-25.
24. d) See Lk. 2:25-38.
25. b) Mt. 1:18 – 2:12, Lk. 1:26-56; 2:1-38

 

If you need info on how to know God, then start here.

​​​"No Matter What, I've Got Your B.A.C.K.!" - Part 1

I. DEFINITION

OPENING ILLUS:  What does this phrase mean to you?

John 13:35-By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Romans 12:16-Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud...Do not be conceited.


“One another” appears 238 times in NT



B.ENEFIT of the Doubt!

-1- Innocent til proven guilty.


ILLUS: Courtroom.

Romans 14:13-Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
Ephesians 4:32-Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:13-Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

-2- Trust & fight back 2 back against the real enemy.


ILLUS: Roman Soldiers had no armor in the back to make their suit lighter & then they could fight more effectively as they fought back-to-back with their partner.

Ephesians 6:12-For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.



A.LL 4 One, One 4 All!

ILLUS: 3 Musketeers.


-1- Blood family.


ILLUS: Fighting with your sibling til someone else tries to hurt them!

Romans 8:17-Now if we are His children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
John 1:12-Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
John 11:52-and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
1 John 3:1
-How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

-2- Oneness, unity, community.

John 17:20-23-“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


ILLUS: Oneness to the same level as the Trinity?!


1 Corinthians 1:10
-I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Ephesians 5:21-Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1 Peter 3:8-Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 John 1:7-But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 4:12-No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.



C.OMMITED to Care!

-1- Committed to 1 another, even when we don't feel like it.


ILLUS: Fake it til you make it!

Romans 12:10-Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 15:7
-Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
2 Corinthians 13:12-Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Galatians 5:13-You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2-Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Peter 4:9-Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 5:5-Young people, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

-2- Love one another...Jesus commanded it.

John 13:34-35-“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


ILLUS: Jesus said the true test of a disciple was loving one another...unconditionally.


Romans 13:8-Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
1 Peter 1:22-Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.



K.EEP our Tongue in Check!

-1- Speak encouraging words of life.


ILLUS: Putting others down to try to make ourselves look better.

Ephesians 4:29-Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
James 1:26-If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
James 3:6-The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
1 Peter 3:10-For,“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
Hebrews 10:24-And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:25-Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
James 4:11-Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Romans 15:14-I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Colossians 3:16-Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 3:13-But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

-2- Don't give an inch to gossip.


ILLUS: If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all.

Proverbs 16:28-A perverse person stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Romans 1:29-They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
2 Corinthians 12:20-For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

CONCLUSION:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13-Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails...13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 John 2:28-And now, dear children, continue in Christ, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.


CLOSING ILLUS: We are not commanded to love the lost at such a level as this…this is for other Christians!



"No Matter What, I've Got Your B.A.C.K.!" – Part 2

II. DISUNITY

1. Warnings against divisions in the church

1 Corinthians 1:10  
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,[c] by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 

Romans 12:16-18  16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 16:17-18  17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.

2 Corinthians 12:20  For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior.

Ephesians 4:1-6, 31-32  Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


James 4:11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[
d

2. Acceptable differences in the church

a. In secondary matters of conscience, Christians are to respect rather than judge each other. These things need not impair the essential unity that is in Christ:

Rom 14:1-3,5-6
1Cor 8:9-13


b. In varieties of spiritual gifts:

1Cor 12:4-6,14-25
Gal 2:7


3. Necessary divisions in the church

a. Between the true Gospel and heretical alternatives:

2Cor 11:2-6,13-15;
Gal 1:6-9;
Col 2:8,16-19;
1Tim 4:1-6;
1Jn 2:18-19;
2Jn 9-11;
Jude 18-20


b. Between those truly committed to Jesus Christ, and those apparently part of the church but living sinful lives:

*Mt 18:15-17
15 “If another believer[a] sins against you,[b] go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.

*1Cor 5:9-13 9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[j] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive [or slanders], or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”[k]

*2Thes 3:6, 11-14 6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers[c] who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received[d] from us. 11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. 14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.[e]

1Tim 6:3-5

*2Tim 3:1-9 1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of[a] vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long.  Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres

*Titus 3:9-119 Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees[b] or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

2Pet 1:20-21
2Pet 2:1-3
Rev 2:20,24
Rev 3:1,4


c. Over essential Gospel principles:

Acts 15:2,5-6,19;
Gal 2:11



 
"No Matter What, I've Got Your B.A.C.K.!" - Part 3

III. DIRECTIVES

1. God’s Heart: UNITY / COMMUNITY.

“…that they may be one...”

[John 17:20-23]

2. God’s Process: DISCIPLESHIP.

“…one friend sharpens another...”

[Proverbs 27: 17]

3. God’s Command: LOVE.

“Love one another...”

[John 15:11-15]

4. God’s Plan: PARTNERSHIP / ACCOUNTABILITY.

“It is better to have a partner...”

[Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12]

5. God’s Call: EVANGELISM.            


“…make disciples of all nations...”

[Matthew 28:18-20]




“No Matter What, I've Got Your B.A.C.K.”
 - Part 4


COVENANT

I. DEFINITION

Jn 13:35, Rom 12:16, 1Cor 13:4-8, 13, 1Jn 2:28

B.ENEFIT of the Doubt!

   -1- Innocent til proven guilty.
    Rom 14:13, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13

   -2- Trust & fight back 2 back against the real enemy. 

    Eph 6:12

A.LL 4 One, One 4 All!

   -1- Blood family.

    Rom 8:17, Jn 1:12, 11:52, 1Jn 3:1

   -2- Oneness, unity, community. 
    Jn 17:20-23, 1Cor 1:10, Eph 5:21, 1 Pet 3:8, 1 Jn 1:7, 4:12


C.OMMITTED to Care!

   -1- Committed to one another, even when we don't feel like it. 
    Rom.12:10, 15:7, 2Cor.13:12, Gal 5:13, Eph.4:2, 1Pet.4:9, 5:5

   -2- Love one another...Jesus commanded it. 
    Jn 13:34-35, Rom 13:8, 1Pet 1:22


K.EEP our Tongue in Check!

   -1- Speak encouraging words of life. 
    Eph 4:29, Jas 1:26, 3:6, 4:11, 1Pet 3:10, Heb 3:13, 10:24-25, Rom 15:14,

    Col 3:16, 1Thes 5:11

   -2- Don't give an inch to gossip.
    Prov 16:28, Rom 1:29, 2Cor 12:20


II. DISUNITY

1. Warnings against divisions in the church.
    1Co 1:10, Ro 12:16; 16:17-18, 2Co 12:20, Eph 4:31, Jas 4:11

2. Acceptable differences in the church:

    a. In secondary matters of conscience, Christians are to respect rather than

        judge each other. These things need not impair the essential unity that is in

       Christ: 

       Rom 14:1-3,5-6, 1Cor 8:9-13

    b. In varieties of spiritual gifts: 
       1Cor 12:4-6,14-25, Gal 2:7

3. Necessary divisions in the church:

    a. Between the true Gospel and heretical alternatives:
        2Cor 11:2-6,13-15, Gal 1:6-9, Col 2:8,16-19, 1Ti 4:1-6, 1Jn 2:18-19, 2Jn

        9-11, Jude 18-20

    b. Between those truly committed to Jesus Christ, and those apparently part

        of the church but living lukewarm lives:
        Mt 18:15-17, 1Co 5:9-13, 2Th 3:6, 11-14, 1Ti 6:3-5, 2Ti 3:1-9, Titus 3:9-

        11, 2Pe 1:20-21;  2:1-3, Rev 2:20, 24, 3:1, 4, 16

    c. Over essential Gospel principles: 
        Acts 15:2,5-6,19, Gal 2:11

III. DIRECTIVES

1. God’s Heart: UNITY / COMMUNITY.
    John 17:20-23

2. God’s Process: DISCIPLESHIP.
    Proverbs 27:17

3. God’s Command: LOVE.
    John 15:11-15

4. God’s Plan: PARTNERSHIP / ACCOUNTABILITY.
    Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

5. God’s Call: EVANGELISM.    
    Matthew 28:18-20



By signing this COVENANT, I am committing to the above truths & principles from God’s Word.  If I break this COVENANT, I hereby give permission to the other signees to hold me accountable.


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The following info is the Bible Study material on HOMOSEXUALITY & THE BIBLE that we used at the city-wide DiscipleNow in Nashville, Arkansas in 2008...+some updates.  I thought this might be helpful due to the Supreme Court's decision in June of 2015, where they made one of the most "unconstitutional" decisions they could possibly have ever made.  The Supreme Court ruled

5-4 in the Obergefell v. Hodges case on June 26, 2015, that state-level same-sex marriage

bans are unconstitutional and concluded that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue

marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They voted by the narrowest of margins (5-4) to allow

gay marriage, which over-ruled 32 states that had already voted to NOT redefine traditional

marriage (of which California was the first to vote NO!) and the other 18 states were in the

process of doing similarly (https://www.usnews.com/debate-club/will-obamas-support-of-gay-marriage-help-him-politically/state-by-state-americans-dont-want-gay-marriage). 


Imagine 5 people in black robes saying to an entire nation, a constitutional Republic, that it was “unconstitutional” for the citizens of a country “of the people, by the people, and for the people”

to vote to NOT redefine marriage, which for the history of most of the world had always been between one man and one woman.  And they never explained "how" it was unconstitutional...

Here are some comments made by a couple of key leaders at the time that reflected the viewpoint of the overwhelming majority of Americans: 


Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate at the time Mike Huckabee called it "an out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."


Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, said the justices "have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court's previous decisions reserved to the people of the states."


HOMOSEXUALITY & THE BIBLE

I. INTRODUCTION


Since the early 1970’s, homosexuality has become an open and controversial issue in our society. Before then, homosexuality was not openly discussed and was almost universally viewed by society as sin. In the "anything goes" atmosphere of the 1960's and 70's, it was only a matter of time before other lifestyles would become accepted. 

Before 1973, American psychiatrists considered same-sex attraction (homosexuality) as abnormal behavior and offered treatment accordingly. But a decision that year reversed this long-held stand. No longer was same-sex attraction classified as abnormal.  Similar decisions had already been made in other Western nations. In a span of 30 years, people practicing homosexual acts would go from being considered criminals by society to being accepted, if not fully embraced, by much of the heterosexual community. 

In 1973, the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of disorders and declared it was "a normal, if divergent lifestyle." States began to repeal sodomy laws. By 1978, 59% of Americans thought homosexuality was "not acceptable at all," and by 1994 it dropped to 39%. (These statistics were reported in National Review 9/1/98, p.24.) By 1995, 29 states had repealed sodomy laws for consenting adults. As we enter the 21st century, Americans are being told by the news media, educational institutions, entertainment productions and performers, and government officials that homosexuality should not just be tolerated, but should be affirmed and embraced as an acceptable lifestyle. Even the nation's churches—held to be society's most conservative social institution—are divided over the issue. 


II. FOUNDATION

It needs to be emphasized that when God says something is sin, He is NOT saying, “I’m very arbitrary, and I don’t want you to have too much fun. So you can’t do these fun things.”  God, the One Who made us, knows what brings joy, peace, and health to our lives. And He knows what takes away those things and destroys lives.  So, knowing what He knows, God says, in effect, “I created you. I know what’s best for you. There are some kinds of behavior that will bring pain, ruin, depression, destruction, and death into your life and the lives of those around you. I call these things sin. If you want peace, joy and life, turn from these things.”

God is a God of love.  He loves all sinners, no matter what sin we may be committing at the time.  It is because of His love for sinners that He warns us of the tragic and terrible consequences of those sins.


III. EVIDENCE FROM SCRIPTURE

Let's examine six primary Biblical passages that deal directly with homosexuality. We begin with the scriptural account of the events described in the ancient city of Sodom. 

OLD TESTAMENT

1. In the Old Testament, homosexual behavior is considered one of the most heinous of sins. KJV=King James Version; NLT=New Living Translation

GENESIS 19:4-11 (KJV):  "Now before they lay down … the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.' So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, 'Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.' And they said, 'Stand back!' Then they said, 'This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.' So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door."               

(NLT) 4 But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. 5 They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”  6 So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. 7 “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.”  9 “Stand back!” they shouted. “This fellow came to town as an outsider, and now he’s acting like our judge! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!” And they lunged toward Lot to break down the door.  10 But the two angels[a]reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. 11 Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.

The sin of homosexuality has become known as sodomy in reference to this sinful activity in Sodom.

*see also Judges 19:12-25

2. In Leviticus, homosexuality is referred to as an “abomination.” The Hebrew word (towebah) implies a very gross sin. A sin that is especially detestable and disgusting. It is considered to be extreme wickedness.  

LEVITICUS 18:22 (KJV): "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."                  

(NLT) “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. 

3. In fact, it is one of the sins that carries the punishment of the death penalty.

LEVITICUS 20:13 (KJV): "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."                    

(NLT) “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.” 

NEW TESTAMENT

4. In the New Testament, homosexuality is still included with the most heinous of sins. Of course, the glorious news in the New Testament is that even those who commit the most horrible of sins can be forgiven and restored, in Christ Jesus.  
Of course, this is done in repentance (turning away) from such sins and turning to Jesus.

5. In Romans chapter one, homosexual behavior is considered “dishonoring” (v. 24), associated with idolatry (v. 25), a “vile affection” (v. 26), “against nature” (v. 26), “unseemly”--[Greek: indecent or shameful] (v. 27), “reprobate” [Greek: depraved or rejected] (v. 28), “not convenient” [Greek: not proper, inappropriate] (v. 28)

ROMANS 1:21-28 (KJV):  21 because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;                               

(NLT) 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 

6. 1 Corinthians 6 lists homosexuality with all kinds of “unrighteousness” (v. 9), including fornication, adultery, idolatry, theft, drunkenness, etc.  And reminds us that people who do these things, UNLESS CLEANSED AND FORGIVEN THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, cannot enter the kingdom of God.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10 (KJV): "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."                                       

(NLT) 9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 

7. In 1 Timothy 1, homosexual behavior is listed in a group of sins considered to be especially terrible (e.g., murderers of parents, whoremongers, kidnappers, liars).

1 TIMOTHY 1:9-11 (KJV): "… the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust."               

(NLT) 9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God. 

8. It is totally bogus for some modern apologists to argue for the acceptance of homosexual behavior, simply because Jesus never specifically mentions the word "homosexuality."  In fact, Jesus does address homosexuality in a clear insightful way:

1) The Old Testament condemns homosexual conduct in very clear terms in the previous scripture.  And Jesus declared that He came “not to destroy the law, or the prophets,” but “to fulfill” them (Mt. 5:17, 20) and Jesus quotes the Old Testament hundreds of times!

2) God created men and women to become “one flesh” in a lifelong marriage relationship. (Gen. 2:18-25)  Therefore, any sexual activity outside of biblical marriage (pre-marital sexual activity [which would include oral], adultery, & homosexuality)  is sin, and Jesus endorsed God’s design for marriage as being between one man and one woman for life: 

MATTHEW 19:3-6 (NLT):  3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

3) Also, there is no difference in authority in Jesus speaking in the Gospels and Jesus speaking through the apostles in the New Testament epistles.  The resurrected Jesus declared to His disciples that it was better for Him to go to the Father, because then the Holy Spirit could come and live in them in a new and powerful way.  Therefore, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus would teach them many things that He could not teach them until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. (Jn. 16:7-15)

IV. APPLICATION

A. Sometimes people ask, “Why is homosexual behavior sin? What harm does it do?”

1. Well, for one thing, it distorts and perverts the very sacred institution of marriage and sexual relations within marriage. God created man and woman. He instituted marriage between a man and a woman to demonstrate the spiritual relationship between God and His people.  It is a very profound institution and type of spiritual truth. To attempt to change what God instituted for such a profound purpose is a very serious mistake.

2. Also, it doesn’t require much research to discover what a tragic threat homosexual behavior is to the health of its practitioners.
 Life expectancy of homosexual practitioners is greatly reduced. The likelihood of practitioners contracting serious diseases (such as AIDS and Hepatitis) is much higher than it is in the general population. The degree of depression and the number of suicide attempts is much higher among homosexual practitioners than it is in the general population.

An epidemiological study from Vancouver, Canada of data tabulated between 1987 and 1992 for AIDS-related deaths reveals that male homosexual or bisexual practitioners lost up to 20 years of life expectancy. The study concluded that if 3 percent of the population studied were gay or bisexual, the probability of a 20-year-old gay or bisexual man living to 65 years was only 32 percent, compared to 78 percent for men in general.  The damaging effects of cigarette smoking pale in comparison--cigarette smokers lose on average about 13.5 years of life expectancy.

The impact on length of life may be even greater than reported in the Canadian study. First, HIV/AIDS is underreported by as much as 15-20 percent, so it is likely that not all AIDS-related deaths were accounted for in the study. Second, there are additional major causes of death related to gay sex. For example, suicide rates among a San Francisco cohort were 3.4 times higher than the general U.S. male population in 1987. Other potentially fatal ailments such as syphilis, anal cancer, and Hepatitis B and C also affect gay and bisexual men disproportionately. (For documentation see http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html#17

B. Often defenders of homosexual lifestyles say, “They cannot help it. It’s just the way they are made.”  They believe that it is easy for heterosexuals to condemn homosexuality because heterosexuals do not experience those desires.  Many homosexuals believe that it is a genetic predisposition, therefore cannot be denied.

1. Of course, in our day there is strong debate about this issue.  However, the evidence is overwhelming that many who once felt they were genetically and eternally bound to homosexuality now testify that they have been gloriously set free from it.

2. It may be true that most of us are not tempted toward homosexuality.  But there are other areas of life for which we do experience predisposed weakness. That does not give us justification for yielding to those temptations.  

For example, some men may feel genetically predisposed to have sex with many different women.  They feel that it is just the way they are built.  They feel that they cannot help it.  But God says that kind of behavior is wrong and that those urges must be denied.  Even though there may be many who feel strong temptations in that direction and others who are not tempted at all in that direction.

Others may feel a predisposition to steal things (kleptomania) or to drunkenness (alcoholism) or to lie (compulsive lying), but God requires that they overcome those urges and obey Him.  And He will give them grace to do exactly that.

It is no different with those who experience homosexual predispositions and urges. Those urges may be quite real.  But God requires that they be resisted and overcome.  In other words, just because we have weaknesses does not mean that we have excuses.  Victory over all of these things is possible and necessary.  And there are many, many living testimonies of that victory.

3.  God made all of us with free moral agency; we choose what we will think, believe and do.  We are not robots incapable of making our own choices or governing our own behavior.  The very fact that people are called homosexuals is at its very foundation a twisted worldview.   According to the principles of God’s Word, people are not homosexuals; they choose to give in to the sin of homosexuality.  People are not alcoholics; they choose to give in to the sin of drunkenness.  People are not adulterers; they choose to give in to the sin of adultery.  And so on.

4.  One's environment has been proven to have a great impact on a person's developing sexuality.  Moreover, studies of identical twins where one twin is homosexual and the other is not, proves that homosexuality isn't governed by genetic makeup.  These factors show that homosexuality is a choice, not a result of birth.  

5. Regardless of any conditions that may predispose a person to homosexuality, we are all expected to make moral decisions regardless of our circumstances.  When we determine to follow God's instructions, we must live up to all His standards.  God doesn't permit us to rewrite His rules simply because we are naturally inclined to premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, or any other sin.  Besides, who we are and what we do cannot be separated (Mk. 12:28-31, Jn. 15:8, 2 Cor. 5:17-21, Jas. 2:14-20).

6. And speaking of the way we human beings are made, the Bible reveals that we all (regardless of our sexual orientation) have a predisposition to sin.
 We have minds that from childhood are set against God and His ways (Jeremiah 17:9).  As a result, we all sin (Romans 3:23).  The challenge for each of us in responding to God is to repent of our sins—to change our lives, with His help, in conforming to His standards (Romans 12:1-2).  When we commit our lives to God, He can change our lives.

7. So yes, they were born that way…with a sin nature that has temptations towards homosexuality that are to be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit, just like all other temptations.

C. How can you ask someone to give up homosexual behavior when they have such strong homosexual desires?

God would not command us to repent of sin if He were not willing and able to give us the strength and grace to have victory over sin.  Again, there are many people with changed lives that will gladly testify to the power of God for victory over homosexuality. God specializes in changing lives.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV): For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.       

(NLT) 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  

Ephesians 6:13 (KJV): Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.                 

(NLT) 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 

2 Corinthians 3:5 (KJV): Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.               

(NLT) 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV): And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                        

(NLT) 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 

1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV): And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.         

(NLT) 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 

Paul apparently knew former homosexuals in the church at Corinth.  So the message that homosexuality can be changed is not new.  Homosexuals have been experiencing change since the Bible was written.  God's Word takes the approach of hating the sin but loving the sinner (compare John 3:16).

For those who wish to obey God in this matter, there is additional help. There are organizations of men and women who once yielded to the sin of homosexual behavior, became convicted, repented, experienced God’s forgiveness, and are living victorious lives. Visit the website of Exodus International for more help: http://www.exodus.to.

D. How should Christians treat homosexuals?

 1. Understand our role:  To be Abraham, Not God 

Genesis 18:  23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

2. Communicate the Truth about Sin with a Broken Heart. 

Explain that God created each of us with a unique purpose and plan.  Sexual immorality, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is not a part of God’s plan.


3. Avoid Bumper-Sticker Theology. 


For example, "God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve."  Even though it is a true statement that is meant to sound cute, it can come across as uncaring.

4. Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin…Especially Your Own Sin.

Christians are to LOVE homosexuals, but HATE the SIN of homosexuality…and our own SIN.  Is it wrong to flag down a driver and plead with him to turn around when a bridge is out?  Do we hate smokers when we encourage them to quit smoking?  Do we hate alcoholics when we encourage them to quit drinking?  Do we hate people with anger problems when we encourage them to learn to control their tempers?  Do we hate bulimics and anorexics because we encourage them to change their destructive thinking about their appearance and eating patterns?  Do we hate gamblers when we encourage them to conquer the gambling habit for the sake of their future and their families?

If someone engages in behavior of any kind that turns out to be damaging or destructive to themselves or to others, the most loving and compassionate thing you can do for them is to encourage them to stop the behavior.  We are to be "salt & light."

God demonstrates and speaks of His love for each of us throughout the Bible, even though the Bible uses words like “against nature,” “abomination,” and “dishonor” to describe homosexual behavior.  Christians are called to love and act redemptively toward people participating in a homosexual lifestyle, but not to condone or accept their sexual conduct.

5. Share the Gospel.

According to 1 Corinthians 6:11, there were Christians in Corinth who had been transformed and delivered from sexual perversion by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Salvation changed homosexual behavior 2,000 years ago, and it still can today!  For more, click here.

6. Don’t go along out of curiosity or on a dare.

You don’t need to prove anything.  You don’t need to prove you care for them by going with them to any place with a homosexual atmosphere.  Instead, invite them to church activities and secular events that are neutral in the area of sexual behavior.

E. Why Is Homosexuality Gaining Acceptance Today?

With the preponderance of evidence from God’s Word obviously forbidding homosexuality, why is it gaining acceptance and justification within our society today?


There are moral, social, and psychological reasons for homosexuality, and therefore it has become one of our society's most controversial and openly discussed issues. 

1. Rejection or ignorance of God's Word is the foundational reason for all of our society's relationship problems—including homosexuality. 


The result is leading people into many different sins... which harm the family structure and affect the development of interpersonal relationships. As a by-product, some people in stressed families, develop homosexual attraction, and try to fulfill their needs through homosexual acts.  Society is more accepting of homosexuality, because God's Laws - explaining the way for human beings to meet their physical and emotional needs—are not properly understood or believed. This rejection of God's instructions is partly due to the false teaching of evolution—leading society away from understanding and respecting God's supreme authority. 

2. Another reason for acceptance is open discussion about homosexuality, which has led to an increased awareness of human distress & sinful activity. 


Over time, society has responded to this distress by tolerating homosexual relationships.  Christians must reach out to homosexuals and speak the truth in love.

F. How are we supposed to deal with homosexual temptation? 

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV): “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”          

(NLT) 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 


James 1:13-15 (KJV): "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.”    

(NLT) 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 

1. The Bible reveals that God has a long term compassionate plan that makes possible, through Jesus Christ, the chance for salvation for all human beings.  From scripture, it is indicated that the only hope for human beings is to ultimately learn to trust—God first, and then we can experience the kind of loving, fulfilling, trusting relationships that God wants for everyone.  God wants to teach all people—including homosexuals—what His great plan for humankind is...that they will someday learn to fulfill their needs out of a love relationship with His son Jesus. 

2. For some people, resisting homosexual temptations can be very difficult, and also can involve emotional pain.  Homosexuals struggling to overcome and live as Christians need the encouragement and support of other Christians, including counsel with caring ministers, to help them to build strong Christian bonded friendships, in order to successfully make changes in their lives. God designed all human beings with the need for love and affirmation.  He does not want people who struggle with homosexual attraction to have to live in isolation, pain or social distress.  Just like any bad habit or addiction, it will not be easy to overcome, but the reward is well worth it!

V. CONCLUSION

God has proven over and over again that He can give victory over every kind of sin, including homosexual behavior.  He loves homosexual sinners (as He loves all sinners, and as all Christians should love them).  He stands ready to forgive.  He simply requires that we agree with Him about our sin, instead of excusing it, rationalizing it, and arguing with Him about it.  When we agree with Him, and humbly come to Him in genuine repentance, He always forgives and pours out His grace on us, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  For info on the 7 Myths of Homosexuality, go here:  

VI. DISCUSSION

1. In the Genesis 19:4-11 passage, what were the residents of Sodom demanding?
-Why do you think laws against sodomy in the U. S. have been so easily repealed? 

2. In the Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 passages, what was the penalty for homosexual acts under Israel's civil law?  
-Does the same penalty apply in Christianity? Why or why not?

3. In the Romans1:21-28 passage, what was God's response to their behavior? 
-What does it mean "gave them up to"? 
-Does the scripture indicate that the behavior which follows is a step up or a step down?  
-What effects did their choices have on their mind?  Read verse 28 and comment.  
-In what way is homosexuality "against nature"?  
-Who created "nature"?  
-Knowing who created nature and that homosexuality is against nature, what logical conclusion can one make about God's approval or disapproval of homosexuality? 

4. In the 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 passage, what does it mean that they will “not inherit the kingdom of God”?
-How is it possible for anyone guilty of any of the sins listed in these verses to overcome and change? Read verse 11 and then answer.

5. What do the cultural institutions (schools, colleges, newspapers, churches, etc.) in your community proclaim about the acceptability of the homosexual lifestyle?

6. How do your peers look upon homosexuals? 

VII. FOR FURTHER STUDY

1. Books/Booklets

“The Map-A Journey to Freedom” – CDRom 
“Truth & Tolerance-Finding Godly Sexuality in a Culture of Confusion” –DVD 
“Truth & Tolerance-A Guide for Outreach to Gay-Identified Students” – booklet
“Truth & Tolerance-A Student’s Guide to Homosexuality” – booklet
“Truth & Tolerance-A Youth Leader’s Resource for Addressing Homosexuality” – booklet
“The Truth Comes Out-The Roots and Causes of Male Homosexuality” – booklet 
“The Heart of the Matter-The Roots and Causes of Female Homosexuality” – booklet
“Straight Answers-Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality”– booklet
“Teaching Captivity-How the Pro-Gay Agenda is Affecting Our Schools...And How You Can Make a Difference” – booklet 
“How Should We Respond?  An Exhortation to the Church on Loving the Homosexual” – booklet
“Responding to Pro-Gay Theology-What Does the Bible Really Say?” – booklet
“When a Loved One Says ‘I’m Gay’ “ – booklet
“Do I Have to be...?  The Truth About God, Sexuality, and Change” – booklet
“Emotional Dependency for Guys” – booklet 
“101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality” by Mike Haley
“Chasing Elephants” by Brent Crowe
“Mercury Rising” by Jay Strack and Richard Land

"Outrageous Truth...7 Absolutes You Can Still Believe" by Robert Jeffress

• There is a copy of each of these in Phil Brown’s library.

2. Websites

www.exodus.to
www.exodusyouth.net
www.livehope.org
www.aboundingjoy.com
www.focusonthefamily.com
www.family.org

http://www.familylife.com/homosexuality-and-same-sex-marriage?utm_source=FamilyLife+Main+email+list&utm_campaign=ca9391007b-DR_SupremeCourtSSmarriage_Ruling_June26_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_55c1003dec-ca9391007b-35788293
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/june-web-only/here-we-stand-evangelical-declaration-on-marriage.html?paging=off
http://www.afa.net/action-alerts/gay-marriage-three-things-your-church-must-do-immediately-to-protect-itself/
http://sbctoday.com/chutzpah-and-the-supreme-court/


3. WRONG Teen Assumptions from our Culture

1) Porn is a given. 
2) Sex is expected. 
3) Homosexuality is accepted. 


Illus: Unfettered access to the web is like covering a bedroom floor w/ Playboy magazines & telling them not to look

Ex. 60% of Christian teens have sex before graduation because of these influences from our culture. 


4. What about sexual sin mentioned in the Old Testament that required stoning or punishment by death?  For example, Deut. 22:13-21.

No, as Christians, we don't support killing anyone for any sin. The Old Testament (Old Covenant) law was written to guide the Hebrew people and to keep evil away from God's people. Stoning was a punishment for several different sins under the Old Covenant including adultery, cursing God's name, rebelling against parents, homosexuality, being a prostitute, etc.  When Christ came, He came to pay for our sin on the Cross, and through His payment, God extends grace to anyone who will repent and follow Him.  We are now under a New Covenant of grace.  For example, when the woman was caught in adultery, Jesus didn't condemn her but told her to go and sin no more.  He offers the same grace to all who have sinned, whatever the sin. God still hates sin, but instead of death, He offers us grace and forgiveness.


VIII. SUMMARY DISCUSSIONS OF HOMOSEXUALITY BY FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK

1. Jay 
- (2012) I am deeply saddened, embarrassed, heart sick, and disturbed to hear that people of the same gender can now obtain a marriage license in Arkansas and carry out a charade they (and the law of our state) call “marriage.” Make no mistake, two individuals cannot truly be “married” except by some fiction created in the minds of ungodly persons who choose to ignore God and His word. I fear the eternal fate of people who consciously make such choices and completely ignore what God‘s word has to say about it, particularly in Romans 1:18-32 for example. This is a conscious and deliberate affront to a Holy and Righteous God. Oh Lord, forgive our nation for denying your truth and living in abject rebellion against you.  

It is not about judgment. It is about obedience! This has nothing to do with my love for my fellow man. God does forgive, but forgiveness only comes to repentant sinners. He does not forgive those who live in rebellion and do not repent. Conscious and deliberate violation of His law and His rules is rebellion. That is sin. Stop and read the passage I cited. I didn't make it up. Those are not my words, they are God's words. My fear is that too many people think God is simply a God of forgiveness and not a God of justice and judgment. Hebrews says He is a "consuming fire." Americanized Christianity has created a god who is soft on sin. While that would be nice, that is not the God of the Bible.

I understand what you're saying Austin, and I am sure many feel that way. And they have that right. But what you're also saying is that the Bible doesn't apply to everyone, and I believe it does. Just because someone chooses not to believe a fact does not make the fact untrue. Thus, while I concur that everyone has a right to choose (even to choose to go to hell for that matter) the acknowledgment by government of a right contrary to scripture is troubling to me because I believe it leads people away from Christ and God's word. The other troubling thing is that I have read that down through history, the decision of every civilization that accepted homosexuality signaled the end of that civilization. I believe that God will not honor such a nation.

But where does law and government come from? The basis for our law in America came from God's law. If we revert to what "seems" fair or equal aren't we denying the very basis of our morality for what "we think" is fair? But doesn't life itself teach us that life is not fair and we aren't equal. There has to be a standard for our laws, for morality itself. If it is not God's law then it becomes what people think, and may become what some liberal leader thinks. Don't you see? If we deny the application of God's law we have abdicated our standard and adopted no standard. Chaos is the ultimate result. A standard of morality may seem harsh, but without it you don't have any morality at all. You say same sex couples deserve equal rights, but upon what do you base that statement? Your "feeling" of what is fair? What would God say about it? Have you read the Old Testament? What rights did homosexuals have in God's word? Do we trust God or not? Has God changed his mind on this?

David - The fact is that this nation was founded on the principles of scripture and for the purpose of the freedom to worship the God of the Bible as we saw fit.  However, we left that long ago, we haven't been a Christian nation for quite some time; this decision is more proof of that.  Very few people have a mooring to anything for their truth, even Christians.  We only want God when our buildings get blown up or there is a hurricane; then we call out to Him.  No one cares what He has to say about how we live.  I'm with you, Jay and it is very frightening times to live in the USA.

Jay to Austin - But, that is not the issue. You're talking about rules for people here, not governments. Of course, Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second, like it, (as you stated) is to love your neighbor as yourself. No arguments from me here. We all have our plates full keeping these two. And I am not as compassionate as I should be, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, the issue is not about whether I love my brother. We are discussing the law of our land. That is my point. Perhaps we just agree to disagree, but I don't think we are on the same point. Yes, I should personally treat people fairly and equally, but the law of our land began based on God's law and is now departing from it. That is my concern ... along with how God will respond to our disregard of His standards. Thanks Austin Ray for the dialogue. Please soak on what I have said.

Jennie - Thank you, Jay, for your boldness in speaking the truth with love. Speaking of love, when Jesus declared in the Gospels, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" as the second greatest commandment, He was actually quoting Leviticus 19:18, where He (the Lord) first commanded that to His people. Jesus' first century audience was very familiar with this passage, and would have known what too many today conveniently forget... The sentence immediately prior to that command, in Lev. 19:17, says "You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him." Godly love cares enough about someone to tell them the truth, especially when what they are doing is harmful, and has been declared (judged) by God to be wrong.


2. Phil - According to the Bible, we are all sinners & in God's eyes sin is sin: ex. Homosexuality, Lying, Adultery, Disobeying Parents, etc. The Good News is that God loves us anyway... unconditionally and offers forgiveness & eternal life in Heaven through faith in His Son Jesus Christ! So yes, Christians, let's support Chick-fil-A on Wed., Aug. 1st (2012), but let's also remember to show God's love in word & deed to the homosexuals that are attacking Chick-fil-A, especially on Fri., Aug. 3rd @ Chick-fil-A!  God wants all people to experience His forgiveness, so let's be Messengers of the Good News of Jesus & the Cross! 

Dan - and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. raising 3 boys to be good and Godly husbands and Dads in this day is hard. I wish others shared and reinforced these beliefs because God said He does not want anyone to cause the child to fall unto sin and it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the ocean. As much as I love my boys I know God loves them even more.


(For the rest of this section, Leslie is the one trying to promote homosexuality as no longer a sin, but her comments have been removed due to their R-rated, hostile, & cruel nature.)

Phil - Leslie, Our opinion doesn't matter when it's in contradiction to God's Word...it's what God says that counts. Let's start with the indisputable fact that God created marriage & He said it was between one man & one woman for a lifetime. God also said that adultery/sexual immorality is sexual activity w/ someone who is not your mate. Sin is a choice, but no sin is unforgivable. People that commit the sin of homosexuality are no different than someone who commits the sin of drunkenness...both are born w/ a sin nature that is in their DNA...a tendency towards that particular weakness in that area of temptation...however, just because it's a "tendency" or weakness doesn't mean they don't still get to choose. A "born again" relationship w/ Jesus as Lord & Savior completes us & enables us through the presence & power of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation & live a life that pleases Him...& yet we still get to choose to sin...& yet God still loves & forgives! Wow!

Nana - amen i love those words... God still loves and forgives, without His love and forgiveness we are nothing

Phil - Well, Leslie, I don't have it all figured out, but I have spent a lifetime studying & teaching God's Word to teenagers...and you cannot use it to try to prove anything you want, unless you take it out of context & rewrite it. Sounds like your issue is with God Himself & His inspired, inerrant, infallible, perfect Word...the Bible. God is truth & it's in His Word that He reveals Himself & His love to us so we can know & love Him & His Truth.


In 2 Timothy 3 it says: 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Phil-Hmm...interesting that a fellow Ouachita Bapt Univ alumni feels sorry for me because I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God...

Mark - Stay with it Phil!  When debate turns personal usually the person being tacky has ran outta what they consider fact. You're a good man with a very good understanding of God's word. Don't let anyone tell you anything other than that.

Phil - Reade, I appreciate ur input, but the discussion Leslie & I have been having has nothing to do with Chick-fil-A...she has an issue w/ God & His Word & she needs to settle it in her own heart that the Bible is God's revelation of His Truth & Love to mankind throughout the ages...but also specifically to her...He loves her & us that much!

Phil - Leslie, There is only one point of view...God says the Bible is His inspired Word. You don't have to believe Him, that's your prerogative, so your problem is with Him, not me. I don't have an opinion here, I just take God at His Word.

- Well we finally agree on something...Jesus is love...but He showed it not only thru His life but also thru His death on the Cross when He paid the price for the SINS of the world.

- Sorry, but you can't have "Jesus is love" without also having "Jesus is our Judge"...two sides of the same coin.

Tina - Leslie, the gay sexual act is the sin... And there is a saying "love the sinner hate the sin"... Having lust in our hearts is a sin... Any sexual acts that are not with the spouse is a sin, whether it be with the same sex or not.

Phil - So Leslie, you think that the Bible is only "inspired" in spots right? You obviously disagree with the spots where God calls homosexuality a sin. So who is inspired to spot the spots if the whole thing is not the inspired Word of God? It's either all His Word or none of it is. None of us qualify to be God's judge.

- You keep getting it wrong accusing me of being a judge...God is the Judge & the very essence of Love. You've got to take up your offense with Him...
- My opinion doesn't matter in this deal...u gotta take it up w/ God Himself.
- Well maybe you ought to read His love letter to you a little more often...it's pretty clear.
- Awesome! Read Romans 1:18-32
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

- And 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Also read 1 Timothy 1:3-11
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

- Those are just a few of the New Testament scriptures for you to wrestle with God over. There are lots of Old Testament scriptures too but you already knew that…
- I'm afraid He's the one you gotta wrestle with over this, because He's the authority, not man...He inspired His Word to be written & it's His Truth. If you don't like it, then you are gonna have to take it up with Him.
- Let me correct you one more time...NEVER ONCE in this entire discussion can you accurately accuse me of being a judge, much less a harsh judge. I've lovingly simply referred you to what God says. Your refusal to be honest with God that you disagree with His Word is a problem between you and Him...my opinion does not matter, but His does.
- If you read the Bible as much as you say, then you already know that there are dozens of other places in scripture (Old & New Testament) where God tells us homosexuality is a sin, and His biblical design for marriage = one man plus one woman for a lifetime....so the issue still comes back to between you and God & whether you're willing to be honest with Him in your doubt.

Mark - the image of God is both male and female and is reflected in a godly union between male and female where the creative power of God is, His life-giving, His self-giving and His moral nature are perfectly expressed. This is only possible in a heterosexual union.  When God created a partner for Adam He created Eve—not another Adam. This means that perfect partnership requires some level of difference as well as a level of similarity so great that Adam could cry out loudly, ”This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." Sexual intimacy between a man and a woman is the normal method of male/female bonding (emotionally and physically) because it corresponds to the design of our bodies and because it is the normal means by which offspring are created.

If God had intended the human race to be fulfilled through both heterosexual and homosexual marriage, He would have designed our bodies to allow reproduction through both means and made both means of sexual intercourse healthy and natural. Homosexual anal intercourse carries a high risk of disease, this is recognized in Scripture where gay men are said to receive in their bodies the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:27).

Phil - All, For whoever is still paying attention to this discussion, I'm not smart enough to think that I know better than God Almighty. His ways are higher than our ways!  So I think I'll stick w/ what God says in His Word...the whole thing!  I don't know anybody that is smarter than God, even though there are obviously many that think they are.  None of us were there when God started all this with Adam & Eve or understand why He did it the way He did.  So since God doesn't answer to us anyway, I'm just gonna continue enjoying His Love & Forgiveness while continuing to demonstrate & speak of the same to everyone I meet!

Mark - sometimes you just gotta boil all the fat off to get to the meat.  I too have many friends who are gay.  Nothing I have posted speaks to them being good or wholesome people.  It's not for me to judge them, nor for them to judge me.  Simply put.  Only God can judge me.  But I do have an opinion, one thing I will add is just because something is good or nice that does not mean it is right.  Just the same, just because we as a society make something legal that also does not make it right.  Again I have yet to say gay = a bad person.

Opinions come off as judgmental no matter how you put it.  All the debate conversation blah blah blah is not gonna change a thing with this issue.  That I can assure you.  Best bet is for everyone to let God deal with all of us and our sins.  And in the time between now and then, just do our best to get along.  I'm done.

Phil - to Leslie, sorry to disappoint you, but since none of the points you've tried to make are valid biblically (& that's what matters), then they have no merit...so therefore none of your points upset me.  I do admit that I am disappointed.  I can't understand how someone can claim to be a Christian, claim to read the Bible, & at the same time not even believe half the New Testament & parts of the Old.  I can't imagine reading the Bible & being the judge of which parts are true & which parts are false.  God's Truth is not based on our opinion & is universal, timeless, & constant...i.e. true for all people, places, & times.  His Truth is based on His very nature...which is not subject to our opinion, Praise the Lord...


It is totally bogus for some modern apologists to argue for the acceptance of homosexual behavior, simply because Jesus never specifically mentions homosexuality...because Jesus does address homosexuality in a clear insightful way!

1) The Old Testament condemns homosexual conduct in very clear terms in the previous scripture.  And Jesus declared that He came “not to destroy the law, or the prophets,” but “to fulfill” them (Mt. 5:17, 20) and Jesus quotes the Old Testament hundreds of times!
2) God created men and women to become “one flesh” in a lifelong marriage relationship. (Gen. 2:18-25)  Therefore, any sexual activity outside marriage is sin, and Jesus endorsed God’s design for marriage as being between one man and one woman for life

MATTHEW 19:3-6 (NLT):  3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Phil - to Leslie, in this whole discussion, you've been the one that's been mean, called others mean names, cursed, etc.  Never once have I responded in kind.  You can't call someone judgemental just because they actually believe the whole Bible.  Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.  You can call them other names like "Follower of Christ" or "Biblical Christian" or whatever.  In all actuality, you've been the judgmental one here.  And you know it's true.  It's all written here for the world to see.  So if you think it's not true, then go back & re-read your comments. 

So probably what we need to do here is this...you love the homosexuals your way & I'll love them my way, and we'll let God be the Judge, cuz He already is anyway.  Hope to see you at Chick-fil-A today and Friday.

- If you think people that claim to be homosexuals are born that way, then I agree!  It is truly in their DNA. The Bible calls it our sin nature or human nature or old nature (Romans 7:18, 25, etc.). Since the Bible calls homosexuality a sin (Genesis 1:27-28, Gen. 19, Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18, Leviticus 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Romans 1:18-32, Matthew 15:19-20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20, 1 Cor. 7:2, 1 Timothy 1:3-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, etc.), we need to remember that it's no worse than any other sin, like drunkenness, lying, adultery, disobeying parents, murder, stealing, etc. But the Bible says that once a person has been "born again" (John 3:1-17), that the Holy Spirit of God lives inside them to teach & empower them to live a life that honors God. So there is no difference between the person that struggles with the temptation towards homosexuality or the one that struggles with drunkenness, for example (or place the one you struggle with here). They both have a tendency or weakness in a particular area because of their sin nature. The old sin nature doesn't disappear when the new Spirit nature comes. So the struggle is still there, but whichever nature you feed the most will prevail (Rom. 12:2, Ps. 119:11, 1 Cor. 10:13).


So the bottom line is that we still get to choose whether or not we are going to give in to temptation or give in to the Holy Spirit & please God.  So the statement that "homosexuals (or alcoholics or drug addicts or etc.) are born that way & therefore cannot help themselves" is TRUE!  They are born with that particular sin tendency or temptation and it takes the Holy Spirit & the Word of God & fellow Christians to truly help them.  And of course, as humans, we enjoy our sin, because it's all about pleasing ourselves or else no one would sin.  So until a person is "born again" (John 3:1-17), they can be a good person & do good things, but they will never please the Lord God until they surrender their life to Jesus by faith to be their Savior(saved from the consequences of sin, which is death & hell [Rom. 6:23, 3:23])and Lord(King, Master, Ruler, Boss, etc.).

MARRIAGE = one man + one woman for a lifetime. 


SEXUAL IMMORALITY / FORNICATION / ADULTERY / HOMOSEXUALITY = sexual activity with someone who is not your spouse biblically. 


Besides, how can two men or two women be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28)? They cannot, because God didn't create us that way.  He is the Master Designer & when we choose to do things His way, wow...we get abundant life:  love, forgiveness, peace, joy, real happiness, etc.! (John 10:10, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:7)

- Besides, my feelings really don't matter in this deal, it's what God says that matters...Genesis 1:27-28, Gen. 19, Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18, Leviticus 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Romans 1:18-32, Matthew 15:19-20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20, 1 Cor. 7:2, 1 Timothy 1:3-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, etc.

- Wow, that is so convenient to call people haters & judgers because they disagree with you and stand on the side of the whole counsel of God's Word...Cuz from my point of view (& every other person that has posted on this), it still looks like you are the one spewing hate & judgment.  Don't lash out at me...your issue is with God and His Word...the following were not written by Paul

Genesis 1:27-28:  27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Gen. 19:3-7, 12-13:  4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." 6 So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him.

7 “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing.
12 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,

13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.
Leviticus 18:22: “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13: "'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18: “You shall not commit adultery."

Matthew 15:19-20: 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

Paul - The thing I find interesting is that the very people who claim to be for tolerance, are intolerant of my freedom of speech, and even expression of my faith. How ironic. Then, they make up labels, rather than developing a coherent argument to support their position. I believe that God's standards are what they are, whether I like it or somebody else likes it, or not! Frequently, they cannot buttress their position with Scripture because they are all wrapped up in feelings. I refuse to let the freedom of speech I enjoy to be squelched in the public square. But that is ok, progressives aren't able to reproduce very effectively, in one or two more generations, we will out produce them and win politically too.

Catrice - Good job Phil. I agree. If people can't keep an open mind then they will never grow with Christ. I pray that these people will open their minds and stop being judgmental towards Christians.  The Bible does not lie. It's all black and white in front of us if they will just read it in the Bible and stop being so hostile.

Shawn - John 15:18 if the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you 19 if you were of the world, the world would love his own but because you are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.

Phil - to ALL - Did anybody else notice the inequity in the mainstream media coverage of Chick-fil-A on Wed. vs Fri. (or anytime they cover any topic dealing with religion or moral issues in politics...you ALWAYS have to question what they say & verify the truth from a neutral source because they have a clear "liberal" agenda)?  We were in St. Louis watching the Fri. evening news and they vaguely mentioned what happened Wed. with the thousands showing up at each Chick-fil-A in the U.S. in support of the biblical definition of marriage, but made a big deal about 3 lesbians at a St. Louis Chick-fil-A holding up signs...I guess we just have to be even more determined that as we show the love of Jesus while sharing His truth, that we realize that the only hope for our Nation is that God would bring one more great Awakening & Revival...

Adam - God created man and woman in His image. His first commandment to man and woman was to be fruitful and multiply. I also know the saying that says love the sinner but hate the sin inside of them. All throughout the bible, it is clearly stated that homosexuality is a sin. God leaves no gray area in this regard. But again I am saying that I only detest the sin. I myself have many gay friends that I care for and love. These friends are human beings that are capable of love and compassion and every other emotion we humans are capable of feeling. But they are living in sin.


I now refer to a comment made by Leslie. You made a statement that you have gay friends who are together and feel love for each other and respect each other. It is true that they feel this way and that others can see that they feel that way with each other. But it is an illusion. A false sense of feeling. And this is why. These people are living in sin and who is the father of sin? Satan is. And Satan is also known as the father of lies and deception. Because these people are living in sin they are under his influence and are being deceived into believing that they feel true love and respect for each other. But it is a lie. A lie weaved by the master of lies. And as long as they continue to live in sin they will be influenced by these lies. It is because of this that God used people like Samuel, Paul, and many other prophets to spread his word and to record his word for future generations to understand that homosexuality is wrong and that as long as people live that way they will never feel true love that only God himself can provide.

And now I come to my last point. This point is directed to all those that call themselves Christians and defend sins like homosexuality and put other Christians down when they try to preach the Word of God. Jesus taught us love but he also taught us that those who openly go against the Word of God and lead other followers astray are worse than any other in this world. They are enemies of God and will be judged accordingly by Him. And for proof of this point all you need do is look in the bible and it proves itself. God utterly destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for its sexual immorality and all the other sins committed there.


In Noah's time God flooded the entire earth and wiped out every human being and animal except Noah's family and two of each animal. He did this because of the immorality of the world. And also Noah's son, when he looked upon his father when he was drunk and naked, he and the rest of his lineage were cursed. All of his descendants were cursed because he looked upon his father when he was naked. Because he looked upon his father in lust. Even Jesus showed his fury and anger at people who led others astray from God. When the merchants sold their wares in the temple Jesus drove them out with whips and overturned their tables. When Jesus witnessed the high priests of the temple acting without respect to God and his teachings he called them serpents and whitewashed tombs. Any who defend any type of sin and lead others away from God and his ways are considered enemies of God and will suffer for an eternity in separation from God.


This was the main point of most of Paul's letters to the early church. He wrote the letters because God put it on his heart to lead the church in God's ways and because his letters taught future readers a lesson. But in all of this I do not judge anybody. That is God's job, not mine. I am only reiterating what the entire bible is saying. I myself am in no way a perfect person. I have my faults and failures but I am able to see God's message in this. And I do not feel any hatred or anger toward homosexuals or those who defend them. I only feel pity. For we all will be judged by what we do, by how we act, and by what we believe in.

Ashton - Phil, I totally agree with everything you've said. I'm proud of you because even though you've had every reason to lose your temper, you've only commented with love and truth. Stating the written word is in no way, shape, or form judgmental. No sin is greater than another. This makes me, and every other person just as sinful as homosexuals. But, I recognize my sin and repent and realize that EVERY word of the Bible is truth! Yes, man physically wrote the book, but he was instructed by God. I will not choose the parts of the Bible that suit me. I choose to believe it all, whatever persecution may follow. I call what God instructed a sin, a sin. And that does not in any way make me judgmental. God love homosexuals, thieves, murderers, adulterers, drunkards, etc.. all the same. But that doesn't mean they're not sinners. 1 Peter 3:15-16-"Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then as people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ." And I strongly urge people who condone ANY sin and try to sway others from the BIBLE TRUTH (which is the only truth there is) to read 2 Peter 2.