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Sunday Recap for 10/15, Why should we listen to wisdom from others?

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Sunday, October 15, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 8:10-22

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.

11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. 19b And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

We looked at this Big Picture Question from that passage.

Why should we listen to wisdom from others?

  • It an be wisdom from God
  • Forces us to sift our desires
  • Yet, God doesn’t reject us when we don’t

It can be wisdom from God

1 Samuel 8:10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.

11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel.

We should be stuck with the book ends of this section of text….it starts with,

“Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people…..but they refused to obey the voice of Samuel.  Which we know is the voice of God.”

What don’t we see here?  We don’t see any dialogue or interaction with Samuel here, do we?  It really doesn’t matter at all what he said to them.  Their mind was made up and nothing was going to change it.  We need to realize that God often uses others in our lives to speak truth into ours and vice-a-versa.

Forces us to sift our desires

19b And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

As we are seeking wisdom out from those with greater experience and life than us it should bring us to a place a sifting our desires.   Asking hard questions about ourselves

Or said another way, if someone is speaking into our lives, our first response shouldn’t be to dismiss their words but to genuinely hear them…and then begin the process of asking hard questions about them.  Are these words true?  Am I in error?  Have I sinned? What our my motives/desires?  Are they good? Until we have done that hard work and come through it with a clear conscience that you have taken their words and examined them from every angle, there’s work to be done.

Yet, God doesn’t reject us when we don’t

21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

Through all this, and so much more – good and bad, as the history of kings unfold for Israel and Judah, God doesn’t reject his people.  He keeps his covenant, he keeps his promises even though his people, even though we, sin against him, reject his words, his wisdom.  Even though we seek to replace Christ as King in our lives in so many ways.

Ultimately, we know who the true King is, don’t we?  Jesus….In spite of all this stuff going on with God’s people…..He is still sending his son to live for them, to die for them, and to be raised for them.  And this is true for you as well!

Sunday Recap for 10/8, What do we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

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Sunday, October 8, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 7:15-8:19.

1 Samuel 7: 15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

8:1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

What can we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

And we found these three answers:

  1. Worship
  2. Pray
  3. Obey

Worship

1 Samuel 7: 15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

8:1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

Samuel was a good priest, leading the people in worship each year.  He offered sacrifices for their sins, and He judged their conflicts.  Unfortunately, he didn’t lead his family very well, and his sons didn’t follow in the leadership

If we want to understand our motives, we have to keep our hearts grounded in worship so as we don’t fall into mistakes like this where we value our jobs over our families.

Pray

1 Samuel 7: 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

Samuel prays to God when the people demand a king.  What they want is good.  Why they want it is bad.  Prayer sifts through motives.  Here is a simple way to pray:

ACTS

A – Adoration.  Praise God for what you love about Him.

C – Confession.  Confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness.

T – Thanksgiving.  Thank God for the things in your life.

S – Supplication.  Ask God for the needs of your life.

Obey

1 Samuel 7: 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Samuel is told to obey God.  God tells them people they can have the king they want, even if it is rejecting God.  We cannot understand our motives if we are not seeking to obey God.

Big Picture Question:  What can we do when we want something good but for all the wrong reasons?

Truth:  Worship and obedience purify your prayer’s motives.

Application:  Live knowing that God intends for your prayers to be purified by honest worship and intentional obedience.

Action:  Refine your desire through the accountability of someone who will be honest with you.

Sunday Recap for 10/01, What does it mean to be rescued by God?

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Sunday, October 1, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 7:3-17

1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen[a] and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

And we looked at this Big Picture Question:

What does it mean to be rescued by God?

And we found these 3 answers:

  • Personal Repentance
  • Testimony to the World
  • Led by the Church

Personal Repentance

1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

Samuel offers a picture of what repentance looks like.  True repentance is a returning to the Lord with all of your heart.  For the people of God, their returning was putting away their foreign gods. Then they were to direct their hearts to God and serve Him.  Then God delivered them.

That’s putting away, directing and serving, and delivering – a wonderful pattern of repentance.

Testimony to the World

1 Samuel 7:5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

The people of God repent and the world takes notice. Samuel calls them to repent at Mizpah.  Mizpah means “may God be between me and thee while we are apart” and harkens back to Jacob’s story in Genesis 31.  That is where Samuel calls them to repent.  He wants them to remember that God had no left them.

So, when we remember that God has been faithful to us, we repent.  When we repent, the world should take notice.

Led by the Church

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen[a] and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

Samuel faithfully led the people of God throughout his entire life, and God provides His people church leadership today for them to day to day experience rescue.

Big Picture Question:  What does it mean to be rescued by God?

Truth:  God’s rescue of Christians through repentance and church leadership leads to a powerful testimony to the world.

Application:  Live knowing that your repentance and commitment to the church are the most powerful testimony you can have to the world.

Action:  Have great faith that God is working through you and this church to change the world.

Sunday Recap for 9/24 Big Picture Question: How should the holiness of God change us?

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Sunday, September 24, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 6 – 7:2

1 Samuel 6:1 The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand does not turn away from you.” 4 And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land. 6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed? 7 Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8 And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way 9 and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone beside which they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them,[a] and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

7:1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

We looked at this Big Picture Question from that passage.

How should the holiness of God change our lives?

  • It makes us aware of our sin.
  • It rescues His people.
  • It teaches us a holy fear

It makes us aware of our sin.

1 Samuel 6:1The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why his hand does not turn away from you.” 4 And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you and your gods and your land. 6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed? 7 Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8 And take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off and let it go its way 9 and watch. If it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by coincidence.”

The Philistines understood that they angered the almighty God.  But they thought God could be paid off like the false deities they worshiped.  They fashioned golden offerings to God but missed out on repentance.

When we become aware of the holiness of God, we can’t pay Him off.  He desires and calls us to repentance.

It rescues His people.

1 Samuel 6:10 The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

17 These are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron, 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone beside which they set down the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

Without doing anything on their own, God sends the Ark back to the people of God.  And with the cows and the cart, they make a quick sacrifice to offer to God.  This rescue from God is just like Jesus’ sacrifice.  God’s holiness meets His justice and pours out grace and the people of God are provided all they need to be forgiven.

It teaches us a holy fear.

1 Samuel 6:19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”

7:1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

It appears as if some of the people of God took God’s holiness lightly.  They looked in the Ark, and God put them to death.  As gracious as God is, we can never take God’s holiness lightly.  There is no grace if there is not also God’s holiness.

Big Picture Question:  How should the holiness of God change our lives?

Truth: God rescues you as you have a holy fear of His holiness. 

Application:  Fearfully study God’s holiness so that you will forever and graciously be changed into the image of Jesus.

Action:  Confess one sin this week to a trusted friend who understand the holy fear of God.

Sunday Recap for 9/17 Big Picture Question: What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess?

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Sunday, September 17, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 5.

1 Samuel 5:1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.[a] When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.[b] 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

In those verses, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess?

And we found these 3 answers:

  • All other systems fail.
  • The church has a voice.
  • God is holy.

All other systems will fail.

1 Samuel 5:1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

The Philistines took the Ark of God captive and placed it in the temple of Dagon, their warrior, fishy, fertility god.  Yet, God causes Dagon to fall over, and they prop him back up.  Then God breaks off Dagon’s hands and head.  God demonstrates that He will not be controlled by anyone or anything.  He demonstrates that the religion of Dagon is false.

We must own this truth.  Every system in this world will fall before god.  No government will continue in heaven.  No economy, and no other religion.  All things will come under the subjection of God.

The church has a voice

1 Samuel5:6 The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?” They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

God inflicts tumors on multiple cities of the Philistines. Each city that gets the ark suffers, and the people ask what they should do.  The church must realize that the world is suffering and going to suffer.  And when they cry out what to do, the church must provide the vision of repenting and crying out in faith to Jesus.

God is holy

1 Samuel 5:9 But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

God is holy, and He brings judgement for sin.  Again, the church is called by God to proclaim Jesus so that many, many will cry out in faith.

Big Picture Question:  What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess

Truth:  God uses the church’s proclamation of his holiness to bring every knee and tongue into submission.

Application:  Live knowing that God is actively working to proclaim His holiness in your life to the world.

Action:  This week, remove one thing from your life that is not in submission to the holiness of God – if it isn’t painful, it doesn’t count.  If it isn’t something you love, it doesn’t count.

Sunday Recap for 9/10 Big Picture Question: How do we make God’s grace evident to the world?

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Sunday, September 10, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Titus 2:11-14,

“For the grace of God has been made evident, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

And we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How do we make God’s grace evident to the world?

And found these answers:

  • Worship
  • Community
  • Service

Worship

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has been made evident, bringing salvation for all people,”

Though God has always been gracious, his grace was made most clear and most evident at the death and resurrection of the church.  And that grace has appeared to all types of people – none are excluded merely by a category.  At Evident Grace, we seek to make the grace of Jesus evident in our worship services.  We desire Christians to enjoy their salvation and non-Christians to cry out for salvation.

Community

Titus 2:12-13 “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

The grace of God trains us to renounce this work and wait for the appearance of Jesus. This best happens in the community of the church that Jesus created.  At Evident Grace, we want to grow in the training of renouncing this world and waiting for Jesus in 4 ways:  church membership, (eg)Groups, discipleship, and giving.

Service

Titus 2:14 “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

As Jesus gave Himself up for us, He redeems us to be zealous for a life of service and good works.  At EG, we seek to serve in 4 ways:  within the church, in our community in acts of mercy, partnering with other churches, and in world missions

Truth:  Evident Grace exists to make God’s grace evident to the world through worship, community, and service.

Application:  Live knowing that you are a part of a church that desires to continually proclaim God’s grace to a broken and sinful world.

Action:  You were created for worship, born into the community of the church, and called to serve.

Personal Testimony

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At Evident Grace Fellowship, we make every effort we can to enable our folks to worship.  We are blessed to have families with children who have special needs.  They have taught us so much, and we are doing everything we can to make worship for those families as easy as possible.

Recently, we received this note from one of our families, and they asked us to share it with the larger community…

We are incredibly blessed and thankful to call Evident Grace Fellowship our home church. For more than 3 years we have attended and held membership at EG. Despite periods of being unable to attend due to the special needs of some of our children, Pastor Gordon Duncan, the elders, our assistant pastor, and the body of our church have always accommodated the special needs, welcomed us, embraced us, prayed with us and for us, and truly represented the body of Christ helping its members.

Recently, the church moved locations, and every week, our church has added an improvement to help accommodate everyone’s needs in our church. Just yesterday (Sunday service), I had to attend church with my 4 girls (6 and under) by myself and one daughter was graciously loved on despite having a rough morning. Another daughter in a wheelchair and on a feeding tube went into a Sunday school class without me because the volunteer staff at EG had the confidence and grace to care for her.  She was able to separate from me without being upset.

I was then able to sit and listen to a sermon for the first time in months outside in the lobby with a table and chairs while my infant made as much noise as she needed to without disturbing the congregation.  This was possible because our pastors have worked hard to accommodate those who can’t be in the service, whether by volunteer service to the church or because of little ones, etc.

After each sermon, our church body congregates for fellowship and refreshments. During this time one can see the love and unique faith each member of our church has. We are so blessed to have found Evident Grace. We look forward to the continual growth and blessing of our amazing church body.

Sunday Recap for 9/3: Who should be a church officer?

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You can find the audio of the service at http://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=9317156377

Sunday 9/3, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question.

Big Picture Question:  Who should be a church officer?

We found our answers in 1 Timothy 3:1-13

1 Timothy 3:  This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. 7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. 11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. 13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

We found these two answers to our Big Picture Question:

Who should be a church officer?

  • Elders should be reputable managers of their home.
  • Deacons should be full of Dignity given to serve.

Elders should be reputable managers of their home.

1 Timothy 3:  This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greed 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.  7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Deacons should be full of Dignity given to serve.

8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.  11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.  12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. 13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Big Picture Question:  Who should be a church officer?

Truth: God has graciously gifted the church with elders and dignity who lead the church and their homes with dignity.

Application:  Live knowing that God prepares Godly leadership to greater enable you to be the church.

Action:  Pray for Godly leaders who will equip you to grow in Godliness in both the home and in the community.

Sunday Recap 8/20 Big Picture Question: Where is hope when things seem to be at their worst

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Sunday, August 20, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 4:12-22 asked this Big Picture Question:

Where is there hope when things seem to be at their worst? 

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • Some still cry
  • God keeps His promises
  • Some long for the glory of God

Some still cry

I Samuel 4:12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli.

The ark of God has been captured.  30,000 people have died, and one lone soldier returns to tell everyone.  When he tells the city of Shiloh what has happened, they all cry out to God.  This is as bad as a circumstance as one can imagine.  The proper response is to cry out to God.  The beginning of our hope in the worst of circumstances is to cry out to God for His help and His glory.

God keeps His promises

I Samuel 4:15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

The soldier tells Eli all that happened.  When Eli hears that the ark has been captured, all the soldiers have died, and that his sons have passed, he falls over backwards and dies.  God has twice promised that Eli and his household would be judged for their sin.  While this is not the type of promise of God we typically would memorize, it is an example of how God keeps His faithfulness to His promises.  In our worst of times, the beginning of our hope is to look to God’s promises.  His faithfulness gives us hope.

Some long for the glory of God

I Samuel 4:19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her.

20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

When Eli’s daughter in law learns of all the tragedy, she goes into labor, gives birth, names her child “Ichabod”, and dies.  Ichabod means that the glory of God has departed.  This woman longed for the glory of God to return to His people.  When we long for the glory of God, we endure difficulty more patiently because we believe God is working something for His glory and our good.

Big Picture Question:  Where is there hope when things seem to be at their worst? 

Truth:  Even during the worst of this world, God keeps His promises and assures the hearts of those who cry out for His glory.

Application:  Live knowing that we will be most attuned to God’s faithfulness as we cry out and long for His glory.

Action:  Pray that God would comfort your heart with a longing for His glory.

Sunday Recap for 8/13 Big Picture Question: How does God protect His holiness and power?

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Sunday, August 13, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this question in our sermon:

Big Picture Question:  How does God protect His Holiness and His Glory?

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • He disciplines sin
  • He uses sin sinlessly
  • He judges sin

He disciplines sin.

1 Samuel 4:1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.  Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle.

3 And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”

Israel goes into battle, and they lose badly.  4,000 men die, and they ask the right question, “Why did we lose?”  But instead of seeking God’s counsel and even repenting over sins, they choose to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield – the same Ark that is guarded behind the curtain in worship, the same Ark that the priests should protect.  But, Hophni and Phineas disregard those things.  They bring the Ark out anyway.

God is disciplining His people.  They are led sinfully by these two priests who have corrupted worship in the temple and even brought sexual sin into the temple…and God is disciplining them.  These 2 have hijacked the power and holiness of God, and they have hijacked the power of God, and God is discipling His people because of it.

He uses sin sinlessly

1 Samuel 4:4 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

5 As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”

And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, 7 the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. 9 Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

Israel attempts to use the Ark of the Covenant to win a battle. God will have none of it, and and the Philistines are more emboldened.  The use of the Ark was sinful, but God is going to use it to bring about His own purposes.

When we struggle with this concept, we must remember that the trial of Jesus was sin.  The mocking of Jesus was sin.  The death of Jesus was a sin, but God used it sinlessly to bring about our salvation.

He judges sin

1 Samuel 4:10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

This time, 30,000 people die.  God judges the sin of Hophni and Phineas.  They misused the holiness and power of God, and God judged them for it.  God will judge sin.

Big Picture Question:  How does God protect His Holiness and His Glory?

Truth:  God protects His holiness and glory by discipling the sin of His children and judging the sin of those who don’t know Him.

Application:  Live knowing that God uses sin sinlessly to ultimately bring glory to Himself.

Action:  Don’t try to connect every circumstance in this world to a sin.  Seek repentance for yourself, and pray for repentance for others.

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