My True Love Transforms Me from the Inside Out

Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB)

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Philippians 1:6 (NASB)

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.


Saints Alive!

Philippians 1:1-7 (KJV)

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Always in every prayer off mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.


No Person Can Serve Both God and Money

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Have you ever known a person who has suffered a financial loss with a shrug and says, "Here today, gone tomorrow," or "Easy come, easy go”? Those folks may be living closer to the truth than we realize. After telling a parable in the first portion of this chapter, Jesus gives some explicit teaching as to how His disciples are to live. You can’t serve both God and money. At the beginning of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby, a very wealthy couple, Daisy and Tom are described in this manner: "They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together." By the end of the book, after the husband of Tom's mistress has shot Gatsby and then committed suicide, the narrator explains: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess.”

  1. Serving wealth instead of God creates many messes in life.
    “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil: and those longing for wealth… have pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Tim. 6:10). The Word of God gives us a clear sense of these griefs.
    1. The grief of not living… (Luke 8:14). In the parable of the sower, Jesus says people who hear the Word of God, but are caught up in a desire for riches are like seeds thrown onto thorny ground – “they are choked by the cares, riches, and pleasures of life."
    2. The grief of not resting… (Luke 12:29-34). Jesus said, "Do not be of anxious mind (about material things) … but provide for yourselves treasure in the heavens (relationships) where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
    3. The grief of not seeing… (Luke 16:19-23). "There was a certain rich man who fared well… but died and was buried. And in hell, he lifted up his eyes…" Riches have a way of blinding a person.
  2. Serving God means wealth becomes the means for His purpose for my life.
    “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of your wealth, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Your wealth can’t get you to heaven, but it can definitely keep you out of heaven. You can’t serve both God in this life and your wealth.
  3. As a follower of Christ, I am to use my wealth to serve God and His people.
    We are a steward of God. A servant of Christ. A steward takes in with one hand and distributes with the other according to his master’s will (Matt. 6:19-21, 33). The proper use of our earthly goods, from the proper motives, is an evidence of God’s grace in us.
    1. Is it a practice of mine to view all I have as God’s?
    2. Is it a practice of mine to prayerfully consider how I invest God’s resources?
    3. Is it a practice of mine to respond quickly and generously as the Spirit prompts me?
      “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future” (I Tim. 6:17-19).
  4. The starting place for serving God and not wealth is in the small things.
    “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). Start with the small and be content with it.

The Early Church and Persecution

Five Key Dates to Remember

A.D. 30: The death of Christ

A.D. 50: The Jerusalem Council where the early church declared the gospel was for Gentiles as well as Jews (Acts 15).

A.D. 64: Rome burns (As a result Peter and Paul lose their lives at the hands of Nero).

A.D. 70: Jerusalem falls as Rome destroys the city and the Temple. Many Jews flee to Masada and make their last stand against the Roman government on this mountain.

A.D. 100: The death of the last of the 12 apostles—John (the only one to die of natural causes).


I Am Forgiven

Philippians 4:1-11 (KJV)

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are hones, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.


Grace Wins

Luke 13:18-21 (NASB)

So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”

And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”


What Everyone Needs To Know About Trials

James 1:5-12 (KJV)

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.


Scoffers in These Last Days

Jude 16-19 (KJV)

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

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