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Introduction

  • Paul in Philippians
  • A Christian life should be a joyous life. God wants us to be joyful!

The mystery of a joyful man

  • Philippians, a letter of joy
  • Paul was filled with joy
  • But his circumstances were awful
    • Paul’s circumstances:
      • A prisoner, Philippians 1:13
      • Wearing a chain, Ephesians 6:20
      • Facing possible execution, Philippians 1:21
      • Harassed by enemies, Philippians 1:17
      • Thorn in the flesh, II Corinthians 12:7
      • Periods of deprivation, Philippians 4:12
      • Brethren in trouble, II Corinthians 11:28-29
  • How is this possible?
  • Because he found joy in Christ
    • Philippians 4:4 – If you’re not rejoicing in the Lord, you’re not doing it right!
  • We need to learn from his example
    • Philippians 4:9
    • Things Paul didn’t do:
      • Complain, Philippians 2:14
      • Hold grudges, Philippians 1:15-18
      • Worry about pointless things, Philippians 3:7-8
      • Let his imperfection bother him, Philippians 3:12
      • Dwell on the past, Philippians 3:13
    • Things Paul did:
      • Expressed gratitude, Philippians 1:3
      • Build and nurtured relationships, Philippians 1:7-8
      • Had hope for the future, Philippians 1:18-21
      • Saw the good in his life, Philippians 1:12
      • Was prepared to die, Philippians 1:21
      • Focused on helping others, Philippians 2:3-4
      • Praying about his difficulties, Philippians 4:6-7
      • Thought beautiful thoughts, Philippians 4:8
      • Was content with what he had, Philippians 4:11-13
    • Your joy in the Lord is independent of your circumstances. Once you learn that, you are free!

Conclusion

  • Despite trying circumstances, Paul was able to have great joy.
  • This comes from completely giving oneself to the spirit and life of Christ.
  • If we follow Paul’s example, we can share his joy.

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.


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Introduction

  • Luke 9:51 – Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. We, too, need to be resolute in traveling to spiritual Jerusalem.
  • Luke 9:57-58

Going up to Jerusalem

  • Jesus knew what awaited Him
  • Yet He went willingly
  • If we want to join Him…
  • Then we too much be resolute
  • Luke 13:22 – Jesus taught on the way
    • The path is not a direct one
    • It winds through a lifetime
    • It requires that we teach others along the way
  • Luke 13:31, 33 – “I must press on”
    • Some will try to turn us away
    • They may even be well meaning
    • But we must not get distracted
    • We must live deliberately
    • We too are on a set path
  • Luke 17:11-14 – Jesus helped people on His journey
    • We will meet souls in need
    • We must help them as we can
    • Some will appreciate it
    • Many will not
  • Luke 18:31-34 – Jesus knew exactly what would happen in Jerusalem!
    • We too must be prepared to face what lies ahead
    • Some will not understand our commitment
    • That must not deter us
  • Luke 19:28 – “He went on ahead…”
  • Mark 10:32
    • We should never forget that our Lord has gone ahead of us.
    • He has secured the path
    • There is no need to be afraid
  • Luke 19:36-38
    • We too rejoice that our savior went to Jerusalem
    • He is our blessed king and the bringer of peace
    • Because He suffered there
  • Revelation 21:2, 14 – Have you washed your robe?
    • Will you follow Jesus and go up to Jerusalem?
    • It is a journey that entails service and sacrifice
    • But you don’t want to miss it

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.


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Introduction

  • Deuteronomy 11:26-29
  • Joshua 8:33-34

The curses of disobedience

Did this really happen? Yes!

  • Folded lead tablet from Mt. Ebal
    • A folded lead sheet
    • Found on Mt. Ebal
    • Debris to late bronze age (1400-1200 BC)
    • Inscribed on the inside
    • Written in paleo Hebrew
    • Oldest Hebrew inscription
    • It is a “curse amulet”
    • Writing on the tablet: “Cursed, cursed, cursed – cursed by the God YHW. You will die cursed. Cursed you will surely die. Cursed by YHW – cursed, cursed, cursed.”
      • Writing is a poetic form called chiastic parallelism, where the sentence structure is palindromic.

Did the curses come true? Yes!

  • II Chronicles 34:24-25
  • Babylonian invasion of 586 BC
  • Large Israelite cities were all destroyed
  • The land was emptied
  • The people carried away to captivity

What do we learn?

  • The curses of Deuteronomy 27
    • Cursed is the man who makes a carved idol
    • Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother
    • Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary stone
    • Cursed is he who lets a blind man wander in the road
    • Cursed is he who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow
    • Cursed is he who sleeps with his father’s wife
    • Cursed is he who lies with any animal
    • Cursed is he who strikes down his neighbor in secret
    • Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person
    • Cursed is he who does not put the words of this law into practice
  • That it matters how we honor God
  • That social justice, moral purity, and doing right by others is essential
  • That there are consequences for disobeying God
  • That sin brings a curse
  • It still does
    • The seven woes pronounced by Christ
      • Woe to those who shut the door to the kingdom
      • Woe to hypocrites who make other hypocrites
      • Woe to blind guides who swear dishonestly
      • Woe to nit pickers who ignore justice and mercy
      • Woe to those clean on outside but full of greed
      • Woe to the whitewashed full of wickedness
      • Woe to those who laud martyrs and murder them
  • That is why we need Christ
    • Galatians 3:13

Conclusion

  • Turning our heart from God brings curses in this life and in the life to come.
  • These woes are real and certain.
  • We should hate the disobedience as fervently as we fear these curses.

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.


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Introduction

  • Deuteronomy 11:26-29
  • Joshua 8:30-34

The blessings of obedience

Did this really happen? Yes!

  • The location is there.
  • Its arrangement works.
  • An altar has been found.
  • Other structures have been found.
    • Joshua 1:3
    • Joshua 4:19-20 – Gilgal means “circle.” It’s not necessarily a city or town.
    • Archaeologists found a large stone circle in the right place to be the “Gilgal” mentioned in the text.

Did the blessings come true? Yes!

  • Deuteronomy 28:6-7
    • Late bronze age/early iron age
    • Large Canaanite cities were destroyed
    • Replaced by small settlements of invaders
    • Dietary remains, construction techniques, and inscriptions say …
    • They were Hebrews
  • Joshua 11:10-11 – The ruin of Hazor
    • Archaeologists found a thick layer of destruction and ash when excavating Hazor.
    • Joshua 21:43-45

What do we learn?

  • Deuteronomy 11:26-27
  • The blessings of obedience
    • The blessing of God’s help
    • The blessing of righteousness
    • The blessing of true success
    • The blessing of rest and peace
    • The blessing of a lasting legacy
  • How do we receive them today?
    • Ephesians 1:3
    • John 4:14, 23
    • Blessed are the poor in spirit
    • Blessed are those who mourn
    • Blessed are the gentle
    • Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness
    • Blessed are the merciful
    • Blessed are the pure in heart
    • Blessed are the peacemakers
    • Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness

Conclusion

  • Obeying God from the heart beings blessings in this life and the life to come.
  • These blessings are real and certain.
  • We receive them in Christ.
  • We should choose these blessings and the life of obedience that brings them.

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.


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Introduction

  • Many people see the Bible as a list of rules you can’t break.
  • When we break God’s rules, we cause harm.
  • God’s rules are not arbitrary.

Where’s the harm?

  • Many people reject the morality of the Bible.
  • They see themselves as being a better judge of what is right and wrong.
  • Often, it’s a question of seeing the harm in a particular activity.

What could possibly go wrong?

II Samuel 11 – David’s sin

II Samuel 11:1

  • Where’s the harm in David staying home?
  • The moral obligation of God’s word
    • The most common rejection of Biblical morality is failure to do what God requires.
    • People just don’t see the need.
    • They see no harm in failing to act.
    • Therefore, they feel no responsibility.
    • No harm, no foul, no guilt.

II Samuel 11:11

  • When you’re not with the Lord’s people, you are missed!
  • The harm in failing to do good
    • The danger of idleness, II Samuel 11:2
    • Failure to set a good example, II Samuel 11:4
    • Failure to be grateful, II Samuel 12:7
    • Failure to be content, II Samuel 12:8

II Samuel 11:2

  • Where’s the harm?
    • Matthew 5:28 – It’s already harmful!

II Samuel 11:3

  • Where’s the harm?
    • Proverbs 4:14-15 – Avoid the harm at the beginning!

II Samuel 11:4 – David commits adultery

  • Where’s the harm?

II Samuel 11:5 – Bathsheba is pregnant by David

  • Is this the only harm?
  • Is it enough to avoid this outcome?
  • If we can avoid this, is it okay?

II Samuel 11:6-9

  • It’s hard to manage consequences.
  • Too much is outside our control!

II Samuel 11:13

  • We can’t control other people.

II Samuel 11:14-15 – David conspires to murder Uriah

  • Sin takes us places we never imagined we would go.
  • We often do evil to avoid trouble, but we only cause more.

II Samuel 11:17

  • The harm of sin
    • It comes even if we don’t see it.
    • It comes no matter how hard we try to avoid it.
    • It comes to people we had no intention of harming.

II Samuel 11:26-27

  • Does “getting away with it” mean there’s no harm?
  • “the thing … displeased the Lord” – The world does not recognize this harm, but it’s the worst.

II Samuel 12:9

  • If it is evil in God’s eyes, it really is evil.

II Samuel 12:10

  • A moment of pleasure often leads to a lifetime of pain.

II Samuel 12:11

The harm that David could foresee

  • David’s character was stained
  • A marriage was violated

The harm that David could not foresee

  • Joab’s integrity was compromised
  • Several innocent men were murdered
  • A child lost his life
  • David’s family was thrown into turmoil
  • Two of his sons would be murdered
  • The nation was plunged into civil war

But is this all the harm?

  • II Samuel 12:13 – How could God take away sin? Isaiah 53:5
  • When you have a chance to commit sin, look to the cross!

Where’s the harm?

  • Many reject the morality of the Bible
  • They cannot see the harm in what the Bible calls sin
  • But we are woefully incapable of making such determinations

Where’s the solution?

  • We must follow God’s will.
  • It will keep up from true harm.
  • He will deliver us from the harm of our sins by bearing them Himself.

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.


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© 2022, Mark Watson

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