April, 30, 2017 Eternity in Their Hearts

Eternity in Their Hearts

           King Solomon expresses in Ecclesiastes 3.11 mankind’s never ending search for something that will bring satisfaction: “God has put eternity in their hearts.” John MacArthur comments: “God made men for his eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction” (MacArthur Study Bible). The continuation of Solomon’s statement gives his understanding that God is infinite in past and future. Consider, then, man’s life-long discovery through His encouragement in Jeremiah 9.23-24: “understand and know Me”.

          Ecclesiastes records Solomon’s search and is an illustration of Jeremiah 13.10. The continual stream of new apps for smartphones, entrepreneurial disruption of established products, and the migration of people from established Christian churches into nonaffiliated individual relationships with God illustrate Solomon’s observation about man’s unending search for satisfaction. (Austrian-born American economist and Harvard professor, Joseph Schumpeter, name such displacement of old with new “creative destruction”.) But, Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12.13-14 is where everyone should arrive, a reversal of the trend of Jeremiah 13.10, although some may remain lost in their imaginations for long times, as Paul criticizes in Acts 17.22-31 (especially verse 27) and in Galatians 1.4.

A. Even the earliest records, before Solomon, express mankind’s search and conclusion.

  1. Adam’s son is referenced as searching for a relationship with God; see Genesis 4.26. Why did this occur at the birth of Enosh?
  2. For instance, Job 19.25-27. Note the actualities Job confidently declares: God lives (how did he know?), man will stand before Him in the flesh (accountability for his ‘Earth-suit’?), his eyes will see God (John 4.24), and his heart ‘yearns’ (NJKV) for God! Does yours? How did Job come to such understandings? Jeremiah 9.23-24?
  3. Paul declares similarly about Abraham in Hebrews 11.9-10; see Genesis 13.3-4. This was Paul’s search, too, as he states in Hebrews 13.14 and describes in Hebrews 12.22-24.
  4. Ezekiel (43.6-7a) envisions being before the “Judge” (Hebrews 12.23) and hearing Him speak words of comfort.
  5. Psalmist King David expresses the same in Psalm 17.15 (“awake in Your likeness”?), 13-14 and 110.1 (even acknowledging the Savior, Son of God!). How did David know these details?
  6. Jesus confirmed the same Good News in Matthew 5.8.
  7. Eternity was in their hearts and remains in ours. How aware are you of this search for God?

B. Jesus reassured His apostles and disciples of the reliability of these statements.

8. In John 14.1-4, Jesus comforts hearts troubled by His earlier declarations that He would soon be leaving Earth for Heaven; see Matthew 16.21-28, Mark 8.31-9.1, Luke 9.22-27, 17.12, 22-23, 20.17-19. Jesus repeats the same message of betrayal, suffering, death, and resurrection. What ‘comfort’ did He offer?

9. In John 13.36, Jesus assured Peter, and us, that he would follow Him later. (How does the ESV rendering of John 14.2 a question (“’If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”’) change the meaning from the rendering of the verse as a declarative statement in the NKJV and NASB?)

10 Peter (2.1.14) would reflect on trusting Jesus’ assurance later. All believers, also, have or will experience Peter’s reflection, as James (2.26) states.

11. In John 16.5, Jesus seems to be surprised that the disciples had not asked where He was going. Why do you think He expressed this? Didn’t they understand or did they?

12. This leads, then, to the question, what is the proper mix of sadness and joyousness when a Christian passes away? What does each recognize? Upon which should we dwell?

13. How does Jesus’ only other comment about Heaven, in Luke 23.43, reflect this? How should Galatians 1.4 impact our consideration?

14. The Lamb’s Book of Life/Book of Life includes the names of all who have received the truth (John 1.12) of John 14.6. This Book is mentioned in Revelation 3.5 and 20.12-15 of the New Testament and, I believe, in Psalm 69.28 and Exodus 32.32-33 of the Old Testament, although some scholars his (OT) means this earthly life.

C. What about you?

  1. Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of this world because you long for the next, where God dwells? Or, have philosophies and bangles come to entrap you; Galatians 1.4? How do you know? Matthew 6.21.
  2. The unholy cannot occupy the holy residence of God; 1 Corinthians 15.50-58.
  3. Man will never be satisfied with his imaginations; for, he longs for the One Whose breath still fills the lungs of each new generation. satan only distracts with temporary satisfaction (2 Corinthians 4.3-4); not long term, because he is incapable of fulfilling man.
  4. Only God can; Jeremiah 13.10 and John 14.2. Does your heart ‘yearn’ like Job’s (27, NKJV)?

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com 170423

April 23, 2017 Eternity in Their Hearts

Eternity in Their Hearts

    King Solomon expresses in Ecclesiastes 3.11 mankind’s never ending search for something that will bring satisfaction: “God has put eternity in their hearts.” John MacArthur comments: “God made men for his eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction” (MacArthur Study Bible). The continuation of Solomon’s statement gives his understanding that God is infinite in past and future. Consider, then, man’s life-long discovery through His encouragement in Jeremiah 9.23-24: “understand and know Me”.

    Ecclesiastes records Solomon’s search and is an illustration of Jeremiah 13.10. The continual stream of new apps for smartphones, entrepreneurial disruption of established products, and the migration of people from established Christian churches into nonaffiliated individual relationships with God illustrate Solomon’s observation about man’s unending search for satisfaction. (Austrian-born American economist and Harvard professor, Joseph Schumpeter, name such displacement of old with new “creative destruction”.) But, Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12.13-14 is where everyone should arrive, a reversal of the trend of Jeremiah 13.10, although some may remain lost in their imaginations for long times, as Paul criticizes in Acts 17.22-31 (especially verse 27) and in Galatians 1.4.

A. Even the earliest records, before Solomon, express mankind’s search and conclusion.

  1. Adam’s grandson is referenced as searching for a relationship with God; see Genesis 4.26.
  2. For instance, Job 19.25-27. Note the actualities Job confidently declares: God lives (how did he know?), man will stand before Him in the flesh (accountability for his ‘Earth-suit’?), his eyes will see God (John 4.24), and his heart ‘yearns’ (NJKV) for God! Does yours? How did Job come to such understandings? Jeremiah 9.23-24?
  3. Paul declares similarly about Abraham in Hebrews 11.9-10; see Genesis 13.3-4. This was Paul’s search, too, as he states in Hebrews 13.14 and describes in Hebrews 12.22-24.
  4. Ezekiel (43.6-7a) envisions being before the “Judge” (Hebrews 12.23) and hearing Him speak words of comfort.
  5. Psalmist King David expresses the same in Psalm 17.15 (“awake in Your likeness”?), 13-14 and 110.1 (even acknowledging the Savior, Son of God!). How did David know these details?
  6. Jesus confirmed the same Good News in Matthew 5.8.
  7. Eternity was in their hearts and remains in ours. How aware are you of this?

B. Jesus reassured His apostles and disciples of the reliability of these statements.

  1. In John 14.1-4, Jesus comforts hearts troubled by His earlier declarations that He would soon be leaving Earth for Heaven; see Matthew 16.21-28, Mark 8.31-9.1, Luke 9.22-27, 17.12, 22-23, 20.17-19. Jesus repeats the same message of betrayal, suffering, death, and resurrection. What ‘comfort’ did He offer?
  2. In John 13.36, Jesus assured Peter, and us, that he would follow Him later. (How does the ESV rendering of John 14.2 a question (“’If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”’) change the meaning from the rendering of the verse as a declarative statement in the NKJV and NASB?) Peter (2.1.14) would reflect on trusting Jesus’ assurance later.
  3. All believers, also, have or will experience Peter’s reflection, as James (2.26) states.
  4. The Lamb’s Book of Life/Book of Life includes the names of all who have received the truth (John 1.12) of John 14.6. This Book is mentioned in Revelation 3.5 and 20.12-15 of the New Testament and, I believe, in Psalm 69.28 and Exodus 32.32-33 of the Old Testament, although some scholars his (OT) means this earthly life.

C. What about you?

  1. Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of this world because you long for the next, where God dwells? Or, have philosophies and bangles come to entrap you; Galatians 1.4? How do you know? Matthew 6.21.
  2. The unholy cannot occupy the holy residence of God; 1 Corinthians 15.50-58.
  3. Man will never be satisfied with his imaginations; for, he longs for the One Whose breath still fills the lungs of each new generation. satan only distracts with temporary satisfaction (2 Corinthians 4.3-4); not long term, because he is incapable of fulfilling man.
  4. Only God can; Jeremiah 13.10 and John 14.2. Does your heart ‘yearn’ like Job’s (27, NKJV)?

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com 170423

April 9, 2017 “So What is Your Story?”

“So, what’s your story?”

This line from the movie, Pretty Woman, focuses Christians upon the critical element of our effectiveness in witnessing to others in this world. Each of our life-stories is unique in many ways to which other persons can relate. The Holy Spirit knows which story will be important to the one He is drawing to Christ and connects us, on an airplane, in a restaurant, at the gym, etc. Is your story ready to tell? As Jesus said, “‘you shall be witnessed to Me’” (Acts 1.8, NKJV). And, Peter (1.3.15) reminds us to always be ready to give inquirers a reason for our faith

A. Content

  1. Soren Kierkegaard framed our perspectives in his quote: “Life is lived forward but understood backward.”
  2. God’s favorite expression of this perspective was “remember”, as in Joshua 4:20-24, Isaiah 44:21-23, Psalm 77.11-15, and Deuteronomy 8:18 & 29.2-10.
  3. What would the Apostles and disciples of Jesus remember?
    1. Mark 6:30-44: Feeding 5,000 men and their families!
    2. Mark 6:53-56: Healing all who believed He could!
    3. Mark 4:35-41: Calming the raging sea and blustery wind!
    4. Mark 5:21-43: Restoring life within the little girl!
    5. John 15:24: Manifestations of God that the Pharisees missed!
    6. John 19:28-30: Finishing His task of saving followers eternally!
    7. Acts 1:3: Observing Jesus’ “many infallible proofs” after His resurrection!

See John 20:1-21:25, Luke 24:13-53, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

  1. So, what’s your story about Jesus providing food you did not have, healing your aching body, calming your troubled mind, resurrection a damaged relationship, and convincing you of His finished work for your eternal salvation? Remember!
  2. Your content will communicate your gratitude and be infectious to those with similar life experiences. They are looking for the hope you have found!

B.  Power

  1. The Source of our success in life and for witnessing is found in God’s words to Zerubbabel, in Zechariah 4.6: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.’”
  2. Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples to await the Holy Spirit’s entrance and to receive His power; Acts 1.4-8.
  3. Thus, their stories would become empowered to connect to the needs of their hearers.

[A similar illustration of this is Paul’s pronouncement of protocol in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. God’s power is most important to be experienced by others.]

  1. Allow me to give a personal illustration.
    1. God sat Erin in the seat beside me on my flight last Saturday morning from Atlanta to Nashville. She was coming to visit her mother who was in town for a meeting over the weekend. Erin will graduate in May with a Master of Arts in Social Work with an emphasis on mental health. Although I was tired from a long flight from the Middle East and just wanted to listen to a podcast, the Holy Spirit urged me to converse with Erin, who was reading a book. After several Holy nudges and an opportune announcement, I began to inquiry about her degree and future work. The Holy Spirit engaged us through a discussion of the causes of mental illness. This allowed me to posit the place of sin as a cause. Dialogue led to God’s righteousness requirement when He will judge the world in the end of time. Her demeanor expressed engagement. She had stated earlier her disdain for “religion” and for people who tried to convince others away from their personal connections with God. The Holy Spirit had me on that edge. In the end, she understood that the works of her childhood Catholic traditions and personal adult philosophies would not answer satisfactorily God’s final question: why should I let you into Heaven? She had heard John 14:6 but was unwilling, then, to accept Jesus’ salvation. But, I was confident that my words had been guided by the Holy Spirit to address a contemplation she had been reviewing.
    2. The Holy Spirit affirmed that I had completed His assignment of me to only water seed that He had planted. Knowing that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55.11), I pray for the person He will send to harvest the crop of Erin’s salvation! Please join my prayers for Erin.

C. Content + Power = Reconciliation

  1. In Acts 1.8, Jesus says that the content of the stories of the Apostles and disciples will become empowered by the Holy Spirit so that ‘”you SHALL be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (NKJV; my emphasis).
  2. Jerusalem is where you are best know by your behavior; home and place of work.
  3. Judea and Samaria are friends and acquaintances of vary closeness to you.
  4. The ‘end of the earth’ is where people don’t know you: another part of this town, another city in the state, another state in this nation, or another nation of this world.
  5. You will witness in each of these proximities because the Holy Spirit knows your story and the parts that will connect with someone He is leading to faith in Jesus.
  6. So, how does your story connect you to Jesus?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com