Psalm 18

Psalm 18

Jasmine Wallis

16/07/2017

Intro/ Background

The title: To the chief musician, A psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies.

 Titles are helpful, in this case the title tells us the who (David),  so we know that it wasn’t Mosses or Solomon, or any of the other writers of Ps; and the why (to give thanks for God’s deliverance.  The Ps itself is almost identical to Samuel 2: 22, and the timeframe is after David’s escape from Saul and his being crowned king. (which Compass Kids studied last terms), but before he sinned by taking Bathsheba and killing her husband Uriah to cover up his adultery. The Samuel-version gets a musical makeover and becomes a psalm for Israel. Psalms is musical poetry, but more importantly it’s gritty and real because it reflects the raw experiences of its various writers, A warts and all, tell all of the highs and lows of being a follower of God.

Ps 18 is David writing with audible relief that his time being chased through the desert by Saul is over, God has prevailed and given David the victory and hence it’s a musical memoir of all that David experienced and his resounding summary:  Now I see in hindsight that All along God had it under control, so watch this space what might He have in store for the future?!

Now I don’t know so much about musical poetry like Psalms, but I do know about books and movies: There’s a rule with writing a best seller or Hollywood Blockbuster called the “3 act plot outline”:

  1. introduction (set up); introduce the characters, get the audience’s pay in
  2. confrontation: something bad happens to one of the characters
  3. resolution, climax, situation gets resolved

also known as introduce a character, put her up a tree; get her down.

Interestingly, David, throws the 3 act plot outline out the window, because in the introduction there’s a spoiler alert: David triumphs in God

Structure to Ps 18

  1. Introduction: Spoiler alert: David triumphs in God
  2. Confrontation: Outnumbered and outgunned:

III. Resolution: God saves David and David gives God the glory and elaborates on the victories God gave him

How would you bring to life your story if I ask you to look back and recall your life… Would it have 3 act plot structure?!nWhatever our story looks like (they will all be unique), I hope that, like David, we nail our colours to the mast as the saying goes. David comes straight out of the blocks with his declaration:  I love you, O Lord! my strength, underpinning the scope of his relationship with God.

Why does David start here? I love you, O Lord! My strength. Surely because it is the most natural response to what he has experienced. When all is said and done. When he sits as the newly anointed king of Israel and looks back, David’s heart knows no bounds for the mercy God poured out on him as he lurched from struggles to struggle. David’s first line foreshadows the end of the story… he’s giving away the ending. Lord you are my everything, trustworthy in the most difficult of circumstances.

“He is my rock, and strength, and fortress, my shield, my deliverer;’’  Think about those words. When do you need a fortress, a shield, a deliverer… ?? Not when things are going well! That’s for sure. The value of a fortress and a shield are during dangerous times of warfare. David is saying: “I have found him to be everything I need through the greatest dangers and difficulties.’’ So David knows what he is talking about, which makes me want to listen to him all the more.

David is telling us “God is the one I’m counting to protect me. He’s not just my plan A, He’s my Plan B and Plan Z. “

That freaks me out, if I’m completely honest! I’m the queen of backups and alternative plans (typical teacher) …. When I read that David relies on God as his one and only hope, or that Jesus sent his disciples out without any money, it makes me uncomfortable. When I read stories from the mission field, from the 10/40 window of how people with no resources 100% rely on God, it challenges me to the depths or should I say shallows of my faith…. God is my everything. What would our lives look like if we lived that out??? Pick up a Heidi Baker book, go have a look on the book table and find something to stir your faith levels.

  1. Confrontation: Outnumbered and outgunned:

From verse 4 we see the situation through the eyes of a man who was been overwhelmed… pretty much everything that could go wrong had gone wrong for David. Cords of death and torrents of destruction. Things don’t look rosy!

I have no idea how we can understand what David writes here, unless we have had some kind of parallel experience. David’s experience was an ongoing nightmare of being relentlessly pursued. His life in danger every day. He doesn’t elaborate on it here, but rather uses some powerful metaphors to give us a word picture of his desperate state.

David had a massive problem and so sort God earnestly to delivery him v6 I called out to the Lord, I cried to God for help.

We, like David are called to be a people of prayer because our God is prayer-hearing God. God is all powerful, which David recognises. Left alone to defend himself, David knows his own strength wouldn’t cut it. His enemies were too strong, too quick for him; He was outnumbered, out gunned…David had a massive problem (and so sort God earnestly to delivery him), and God’s answer was equally massive!

III. Resolution: God saves David and David gives God the glory  

Time for the exciting resolution: God intercedes and the poetic language David uses leaves us in no doubt that the God we serve is a mighty, blazing with righteous anger…v7-19… the earth shook, there was consuming fire… we’ve got lightning bolts. If we’re going to have any hope of doing justice to this scene – this awesome rescue mission that God mounts- it’s pretty obviously Peter Jackson is going to need to be the director!

David had a massive problem (and so sort God earnestly to delivery him), God’s answer was equally massive! and therefore David’s natural reaction was to respond in kind with great praises.  As we read through the Ps, we see how David highlights God’s deliverance of him as a way of praising God.

And then there’s a sort of intermission, an ad-break of sorts. So David can give us a timely reminder in Verses 20-28 of how God works. God is holy and we need to be His holy people. To stand against sin and the snares that it brings. David shows us how things work in God’s economy…. Cling to God, stick to doing things His way. I think I would have just wanted to kill Saul in the cave, and just be done with it. But David had a bigger vision: God’s work done in God’s way in God’s timing!

Actually, for people who love God and want to be called His, there are rules, God’s rules. Just like how different households have different rules that are set by the parents. My Mum use to say it pretty bluntly “If you want to live under my roof, you need to obey my rules; if you don’t like it you can leave!”

Yes, God in his wisdom has given us rules to live by, to love and protect us and others. Sometimes I don’t like God’s rules… because they’re not always easy to follow and at times it costs more than I want to give. In choosing to stick to God’s ways and wanting to live righteously, it doesn’t mean we must attain perfection, but rather we need to be humble and come before God when we mess up.

And just as well David stuck to God’s script not mine, because the outcome was undoubtedly much better. David was able to maintain his integrity when all around things were going wrong.

Now that the important intermission is finished, we come to Verses 29-49. In the second part of his story, David looks back, with a thankful heart over what God has done for him:

  • deliverance
  • victory and
  • success,

God rescued David, the bad guys got what they deserved and David rightly gives God the glory! It’s the flashback scene, with God firmly as the hero, not David. For sure, David was a warrior and we can trace many contributing factors to David’s ultimate triumph, the most important is the hand of God in them all.

David fought the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and others that came against Israel, he evaded Saul and his men: and yet in all things he points not to his own sword or bow, nor to the valour of his men, but to the favour of God for his victories

David possessed far more the skill and understanding in military affairs than anything beyond his upbringing, and he tells us his secret:

God arms me with strength (v. 32v. 39), He trains my hands for battle, v. 34.).

Resounding we see: God equips those whom he calls.

All throughout David’s story we see God had the situation under control.

It’s interesting to see how David foreshadows Christ – led through wildness experiences, refined and drawn into a closer relationship with God, ready to take on leadership beyond his capabilities, but not beyond his faith. And best of all: God knows David will not try stealing an ounce of His glory.

  1. Looks forward to what else God will do

Now as any good modern story, will do, David sets up the scene for the sequel in the closing moments…. V 50 He gives his king great victories, he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.

Having attested to God’s goodness in his bleak set of circumstances, having come out the other side, David now turns to the future. He has a level of faith expectation that God will not fail those that trust in him. The AMAZING thing is that you and I are in that sequel! We are David’s descendants. In Christ we are the anointed, to whom God will give his victories.

WOW. Did you see that twist coming??? David’s story is our story. He lends it to us so we can take courage that the God who came through for him will also come through for us. David is speaking into our situation as one who knows what it’s like to hang in there tenaciously when things are going badly and it seems like a lost cause.

Perhaps you can’t see what God is doing in those situation you’re praying about, in the things that keep you awake at night… that’s ok. Spurgeon says: “When you can’t trace His hand,… trust His heart -”  God is faithful, He’s never failed, He’s not going to fail this time and nothing ever takes Him by surprise. He’s got a plan. – So what should our response be: Watch. Pray. Wait expectantly. Be amazed. And be like David: “Be brave enough to let God write your story.”

Habakkuk: Salvation

“Salvation”

Habakkuk 3:16-19

Alec Wallis

30 October 2016


Question: What does it mean to be saved?

  • Hope and despair

For Judah it was because of their sin

God stopped protect them as He had protected them in the past.

God also then was the one to rise up the Babylonians against Judah because of justice

Therefore the law is paralysed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth

Habakkuk 1:4-6

Habakkuk is showing signs of stress for the judgement that will come

 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.

Habakkuk 3:16

He knows that while he is living in difficult times with the amount of sin of Judah, worse days await

There is a sense of doom coming in the form of the great Babylonian army, the superpower of the day

…..

Today we also live in difficult times

Habakkuk voiced his despair over the sin of Judah

It is easy to fall into despair over the state of the church

There is an unprecedented number of ways the church is under attack

There is persecution against Christians

Isis is a group known for its persecution of Christians

While the church in the west may experience indifference and hatred, we are not experiencing death and destruction like our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

Daily, 273 die for their Christian faith, which translates into 11 each hour. Those numbers don’t even include those who are tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.

Bishop John McAreavey

In the tragedy earlier this week at Dreamworld where four people were killed, it was interesting hearing the comments from Queensland Police assistant commissioner Brian Codd.

He said a boy and girl aged 10 and 13 managed to escape the tragedy “maybe through the providence of God”

While there is despair over the loss of four people there was joy in the miracle of 2 children surviving

The police assistant commissioner was right in attributing God as being in control of the event even if suffering is a part of it.

There is a balance in life between hope and despair

This is what Habakkuk is going through

For him there is the despair of sin and of the prophesised invasion by Babylon

Yet there is also hope in God that he will rescue and save

In life we can fluctuate between hope and despair depending on what is going on in our lives

We like Habakkuk should take heart in knowing God is in control

We find peace in the joy of God our salvation

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habbakuk 3:17,18

  • Judgement and discipline

The major theme of this book is that God brings judgement

God will judge Judah and then the Babylonians

Habakkuk is assured that God’s justice will come to the Babylonians

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.

Habakkuk 3:16

Some groups see disaster as judgement

Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash was punishment for sin, says extremist Westboro Baptist Church group

Christianity Today

 MH17 crash ‘punishment’ for Malaysia Airlines offering alcohol, flight attendants’ dress: Islamic Party

Sydney Morning Herald

Christians should not fear God punishing us for our sins because the punishment has already been paid for

For believers in Jesus, all our sin—past, present, and future—has already been punished on the cross. As Christians, we will never be punished for sin. That was done once for all. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

J.I. Packer

There is a difference between judgement and discipline

The Bible is clear that the church will receive discipline

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Hebrews 12:7-10

My Mum disciplined me for almost electrocuting my brother. She made me touch an electric fence so I would know what happens if I play with electricity. If it was a punishment, it would have been cruel, as the punishment would not have matched the action of a child. The discipline was to keep me and my brother alive by teaching me how dangerous electricity is. I love her for being a mother who taught me hard lessons even though it hurt her in the process.

The book of Habakkuk is about judgement not discipline

The people of Judah were brought to justice because of their sin

We do not live in the days of Habakkuk

God does not punish us for our sins but we will live with the consequences

Praise be to God that we have Jesus who protects us from the judgement we deserve

Praise be to God that we can be disciplined so that we can grow and move from living sinful lives to becoming Christlike.

  • Destruction and salvation

Much of this chapter involves destruction

God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed—but he marches on forever. I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Habakkuk 3:3-7

This is looking to the past of what God did to bring them to the promised land

This book finishes with a beautiful verse on God being our strength

Matthew Henry sums up this chapter with

The prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph.

Matthew Henry

God brings destruction because of justice

God will always give a means of salvation

e.g. Noah

We as the church are to share a loving Jesus to a dying world

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:15,16

I don’t agree with the previous headlines that God judges sin even on the unrighteousness

I believe we are living in a period of grace until Jesus returns

Therefore the suffering and destruction in this world is not a result of God’s punishment but rather a result of how the church has become less influential and Christians more insular

With God supporting us, we should be increasing our efforts to help others as this verse says

The church is not punished but disciplined e.g. the church in Great Britain that was refined by the Viking invasions

We will have to give an account of what we did here on earth i.e. the parable of the talents

Not only are we to have hope and joy in salvation

We are to share this with others

God uses us to bring His salvation to others

Challenge: Show a loving Jesus to a dying world

Habakkuk: Justice

“Justice”

Habakkuk 2:9-14

Alec Wallis

23 October 2016


Questions: What is justice? How does God’s justice differ from our justice?

  1. God is just

Scales

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight

Proverbs 11:1 ESV

God loves justice

We worship an amazing God who can only be just

We praise God for he is perfect and just

The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Deuteronomy 32:4

We see the theme of justice repeated in the OT

mishpat = a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially

This word occurs over 400 times in the OT and in English becomes “Justice, judgement, ordinance, and other words to do with the legal process”

The Bible shows God being the one who delivers justice

When people sin they sin against God and also against others

Justice is for people who have been wronged

The Lord executes justice for the oppressed,

The Lord gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free.

Psalm 146:7

We see justice in the world such as many of the men responsible for WW2 and atrocities against humanity being sentenced at Nuremburg

The problem for us is that even though we may not be guilty of war crimes like the Nazis were, we are still guilty of sin

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:23

We are all therefore at the mercy of the justice of God

While God loves justice, He also desires to be merciful

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;

He rises to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

The only way God can show us both justice and mercy is the cross

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Romans 5:9

We rejoice because the justice of God is maintained by the punishment we deserve being paid in full and God’s compassion being displayed to us by offering us the gift of grace.

  1. Exile as justice

The issue with justice for Habakkuk is that it is the Babylonians who are bringing justice to Judah

You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish

Habakkuk 1:12

God responds with the listing some of the injustices that need to be punished

Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain

Habakkuk 2:9

Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed

and establishes a town by injustice!

Habakkuk 2:12

God establishes that the people of Judah must be brought to justice for their sin

We see that God is the one who determines the history of nations

Judah is sent into exile but justice comes to the Babylonians too

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.

Habakkuk 3:16

One of the results of the exile is that other nations come to know God

These are the words of King Nebuchadnezzar after Shadrach Meshach and Abednego are rescued from the fire

Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued his servants!

Daniel 3:28

If it were not for the exile, God’s glory would not have been able to be attributed to Him.

It was because of the Jews that they could know who it was.

  1. Refining judgement 

Justice is a good thing as it brings about positive change

The judgement to Judah in the form of exile brought change to Nebuchadnezzar as he realised God was all powerful

Justice does not only deal with sin

Righteousness and justice went beyond the functioning of the court system. They were carried out as a means of legal legislation and social reforms that would proactively care for the weak and protect them

Walton and Hill

Justice brings care and protection for the weak and well as judgement on the wicked

We can rightly see God as a judge

God is judge over the nations and the individuals

His compassion means that his justice brings about reform

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;

He rises to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

We can look forward to God’s justice because He will be gracious and compassionate to us

While we escape the condemnation from sin by the blood of Jesus, we can still face judgement before we die

It is even something we hope for

Correct me, LORD, but only with justice

Jeremiah 10:24

Justice and judgement refine us as they help us to be made accountable

The hope is that judgement and rebuke can led us back to a right relationship in obedience to God

We see throughout the Bible and history of judgement and rebuke bringing positive change

Jonah prophesised over Nineveh that God would bring about judgement on them and they repented and were therefore spared judgement

King David was rebuked by Nathan the prophet for having an affair with Bethsheba then having her husband Uriah killed. While King David still faced God’s judgement, he had turned back to God.

The Vikings were unstoppable from the 8th to 11th centuries

One of the major factors that caused them to settle down was Christianity

Many of those they captured converted the Vikings

Some scholars see that just as God used Babylon to bring judgement and refinement to Judah, God also did the same with the Vikings bringing judgement on the British

The Vikings would not have been attracted to churches or monasteries had not these centres succumbed to luxury … a consequence of the invasions was their indirect cleansing and refinement of the Christian movement

Ralph Winter

We therefore must rejoice in the justice and judgement of God

If we are the oppressed, God will care and protect us

If we are sinning, God will judge us so that we can be refined by turning back to God.

Challenge: To pray for God’s judgement so the world will come to a knowledge of the glory of the Lord

 

Habakkuk: Complaint

“Complaint”

Habakkuk 1:1-4

Alec Wallis

16 October 2016


  • Introduction

Prophecy was God speaking to His people

Prophecy is not prediction, it is the proclamation of God’s plan

Walton and Hill

Here is a timeline of the prophets

The prophets can be separated into major and minor prophets

The minor prophets were minor in length not minor in importance

Because Habakkuk is only 3 chapters he is a minor prophet

Almost nothing is known about him. Every other prophet has more information than him

The only details we know are the important ones that he was a prophet in Judah before going into exile

Also, scholars therefore see the book of Habakkuk predating the battle of Carchemish were the Babylonians defeat the Assyrians to become a world superpower

The raising up of the Babylonian army is seen in Habakkuk as the will of God

I am raising up the Babylonians,

that ruthless and impetuous people,

who sweep across the whole earth

to seize dwellings not their own.

Habakkuk 1:6

King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylon’s not only defeats the Assyrians but then sends Judah into exile.

The book therefore has some interesting themes such as God using an evil nation to bring judgement on the evil of Judah

  • Lament

Earlier this year we looked at lament in the psalms

A lament is a repeated cry of pain, rage, sorrow, and grief that emerges in the midst of suffering and alienation

John Swinton

The Psalms are full of lament but the prophets also experienced lament

This is a picture of Jeremiah, often known as the weeping prophet, who is lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem

Unlike most prophets, Habakkuk is the one who begins the conversation

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah

Isaiah 38:4

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah

Jeremiah 32:36

 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel

1 Samuel 15:10

What we have instead are these words to begin

How long, Lord, must I call for help,

but you do not listen?

Habakkuk 1:2

This chapter has two complaints from Habakkuk

The first asks God to respond

Why do you make me look at injustice?

Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Destruction and violence are before me;

there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Habakkuk 1:3

God responds with the plan to bring justice with the Babylonians

I am raising up the Babylonians,

that ruthless and impetuous people,

who sweep across the whole earth

to seize dwellings not their own.

Habakkuk 1:6

Lament at the end of this book gives way to praise

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17,18

Habakkuk acknowledges the suffering that awaits him

In spite of what is to come, he will still follow God

This is at the heart of lament – we know what is wrong in the world but we still belong to God not matter how bad things are

  • God answers

One of the important points of this book is that God responds to Habakkuk

This is a key difference to the psalms where it is only the people speaking and not God

Because God responds and has a message for Habakkuk, it becomes prophecy

Maybe the next time you take your issues to God, you should have a pen and paper because God may respond to you like He did to Habakkuk

Habakkuk is to be commended for his faith

I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the LORD will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint.

Habakkuk 2:1 GNB

Habakkuk is expecting God to answer him

God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them

Matthew Henry

My Grandad was not healed of his stroke, even though many people prayed that he would be. There was a sense that God answered the prayers by allowing Grandad to continue living and praying for us and being a blessing to us.

Challenge: To take our complaints to God and wait for His response

Evangelism: Investing

“Investing”

A series on evangelism

Alec Wallis

2 October 2016


1)     Investing in heaven

Investing = to use, give, or devote (money, time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something

Worldly investment is about money

The Bible is clear about not chasing after money

 Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven … for your heart will always be where your riches are

Matthew 6:19-21

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:7

What can we store up in heaven if we can’t take any material possessions with us?

Christian investment is about people

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:19

We may use money to invest in people but there are things more important than money

The ONLY thing we take to heaven is souls

Sid Roth

Therefore if we are to think of biblical investment, one thing we should be doing is investing in people by evangelism and discipleship

In this passage we see Barnabas investing in Mark

2)     People like Mark

Mark was young

He was also the nephew of Barnabas

He wrote the gospel of Mark

He deserted Paul and Barnabas

Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.

Acts 15:38

He was someone who did not have a good track record

It was because of Mark that Paul and Barnabas parted ways

They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus.

Acts 15:39

We are not exactly sure what happens on the trip with Barnabas and Mark

This is the last we ever hear of Barnabas but not the last we hear of Mark

We do know that Paul changes his mind about Mark later on

 Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

2 Timothy 4:11

It is a great thing for a person to have someone who believes in them. Barnabas believed in Mark and in the end Mark justified that belief.

William Barclay

We therefore must find the people like Mark that we know

People that we can invest time in sharing the gospel with

In doing so they may be like Mark and continue on with ministry after us

3)     People like Barnabas

Barnabas was actually called Joseph

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4:36.37

Barnabas must have been a special character to be given this name

There are people in the world like Barnabas

There are those out there who make it a habit to support others

Barnabas did not give up on Mark

Instead he fought for Mark and continued to encourage him

History shows that Barnabas made the right choice in choosing to invest in Mark

This was not the first time Barnabas invested in someone

When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Acts 9:26-27

Barnabas had already vouched for Paul

Would have been an interesting conversation then when Barnabas was trying to vouch for Mark

Paul had a title. Barnabas had a testimony

Tony Campolo

My Grandad and him investing in me

We need to be people who follow Barnabas’ example of investing in people

We need to encourage people like Barnabas did for Paul and for Mark

When we invest in people we will find our reward on Earth (Mark went on to do great things) and in heaven (where our treasure is stored)

Challenge: Find people to invest in with the gospel

Evangelism: Community

“Community”

A series on evangelism

Alec Wallis

25 September 2016

Acts 2:42-47


Question: What does it mean to be a part of a community?

1)     Understanding communities

In this passage we see the first church or community of believers created

We are also introduced to the word Koinonia, translated in English as fellowship, which appears first here in the Bible

Koinōnía – properly, what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship (partnership, community)

Appears later in Paul’s writings too

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 1:7

We therefore have fellowship with each other and with Christ

The Bible emphasises the importance of community

Let us not give up meeting together

Hebrews 10:25

We are called to be in fellowship with one another in the community of the church

Some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.

Charles Spurgeon

Community is the context in which we connect with each other

There are additional communities we find ourselves in

Biblical community is first of all the sharing of a common life in Christ.

Jerry Bridges

Other ways of defining community are:
– geographic e.g. Hurstville, Sydney, Australia
– cultural e.g. family, ethnic, national
– social e.g. friends, school, sports team, work, church

2)     Hurstville community

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

This is how we should truly see people in our community

Paul was saying that there was unity for all who have Christ

This means that those who do not have Christ and those who do should be how we distinguish each other when it comes to evangelism.

Demographics of Hurstville

Based on figures from the last census, 52.5 per cent of Hurstville’s population reported their heritage as Chinese. Other suburbs came close – Burwood (41 per cent), Eastwood (36.5 per cent) and Haymarket (36 per cent) – but none tipped the scales past halfway.

Sydney Morning Herald

With more than half of its residents reporting Chinese ancestry, it is the only suburb across all of NSW where one community of non-English migrants outnumbers everyone else combined.

Sydney Morning Herald

While we should see people not by their ethnic background but if they are saved or not – how was share the gospel must be cultural relevant e.g. in the heart language.

A NZ church surrounded by Taiwanese migrants who did not see the need for a Chinese speaking congregation or even an English class. They thought that people could learn English by attending a service

Partnership with GCCC

3)     Our church community

Coming back to the passage in Acts

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved

This passage is a great checklist for what we should have in our church

Teaching

Fellowship

Communion

Prayer

Holy Spirit

Generosity

Meeting together

Eating together

Joy

Praise

+

God adds to them

It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that makes us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.

Jerry Bridges

Our role as a church is to invite people into our community

The spring fair was a great occasion for our church to connect with members of the Hurstville community

Challenge: To continue in fellowship with our church community and invite others to join us

 

 

Evangelism: Invitation

“Invitation”

A series on evangelism

Alec Wallis

18 September 2016


Invitation is a form of evangelism

Question: Why are invitations important?

1) Inviting people is essential

When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately

Acts 18:26

Priscilla and Aquila’s heart to help

They invited Apollos to their home to teach him the way of Christ

They wanted to make Apollos comfortable

They were able to open their home

Apollos shows his heart to be willing to be corrected by others

No doubt being invited would have made it easier

Jesus also was into inviting people

Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:19

Jesus invites us to follow him in saving others

Jesus invites us to be his disciples and therefore we are invited to heaven

Jesus also teaches us how to invite others

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Luke 14:12-14

Jesus is stressing the need to invite those who have no means of paying us back

When we invite, if for physical or spiritual needs, it must be completely unselfish

Invitation flier for the men’s breakfast

This is an example of an invitation Jan and Grace made for people to come to the men’s breakfast we had at our church

Myself and others posted these fliers in many letterboxes, gave them to different people, and they were available at English class and toddler time.

We were hoping that by meeting a physical need of food that people’s spiritual need to hear the gospel would be met

Brings us on to our next point

2) Stepping stones

There are some people who are truly seeking truth

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Seekers: Non-Christians who have some interest in Christianity are sometimes called “seekers” (because although they haven’t found Christ yet, they are “seeking” him)

In the skit, my character was a seeker because they asked Ivor’s character to know more about church

Evangelism would be so much easier if everyone was a seeker

Engels scale

The engels scale was designed to help people understand that everyone is at different stages in their walk with Jesus

Some do not know anything about their creator while others have a great love for following Jesus

Priscilla and Aquila were at an advantage because Apollos already had an understanding of scripture

He even knew who Jesus was but only knew the baptism of John

There were gaps that Priscilla and Aquila were about to teach so that Apollos was able

Seekers are people who if you invite them to church they are more likely to say yes than others are

Many people today do not care or are even anti-Christianity

Some people in the Western world would be a one on the scale but that is increasing

This scale tends to look at the knowledge factor rather than the attitude factor

Therefore we need different ‘stepping stones’ to get people closer along the engels scale and closer to becoming a Christian and attending a church

The spring fair we had yesterday may not result directly in people coming to church today but it at least allowed people to meet with us and therefore have some understanding of who attends our church.

3) Practical invitation

One question we could ask ourselves is do we want others to be saved?

Most Christians I have met would say yes

This is what Spurgeon says about the others:

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!

Charles Spurgeon

Many churches wait for people to come through the doors

They may see our sign or our website and attend which is great

We cannot have the mindset that evangelism is limited to signs and ads

Our church has different outreaches that we can invite people to

  • Toddler time on Wednesday mornings
  • English class on Saturday mornings

We must invite people to join us – even if they say no

John asking his neighbour to the men’s breakfast

That is why men’s breakfast and other similar activities are something we as a church need to support

They create easier opportunities for people to attend something in addition to the Sunday service

We must be ok with people saying no

Our responsibility is not to be successful when we invite – it is to invite

Too many Christians think it is better not to invite because in case they send the person in the wrong direction

On average it takes seven people to have conversations about Jesus before a person becomes a Christian

On average it takes seven years for a person to go from hearing about Jesus to becoming a Christian

One of the great things about Priscilla and Aquila is that their investment in Apollos did bear fruit

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow

1 Corinthians 3:6

Apollos went on to do such great ministry that Paul uses him as an example

There are times when our efforts are not in vain

As this verse also acknowledges sometimes we may not see the fruit

Paul planted the seed that Apollos watered so Paul may not have seen the result of his evangelism whereas Apollos did.

We may not be the seventh person to have the conversation that leads to conversion but we may be for many people one of those who helps move them closer to Jesus

Let us continue to be bold and strive to invite people even if we get refused

Challenge: To invite people to church events and to church

God’s immutability

11 September 2016

Alec Wallis

English – download

Why does God kill?

28 August 2016

Alec Wallis

English – download

Theology of Baptism

14 August 2016

Alec Wallis

Series – Baptism

English – download