Know-it-alls, Performers, and Sorrowers

Listen here.

0:00 Intro

0:19 Know-it-all’s or Love-it-alls

4:18 Are you a performer? by Meribeth Schierbeek

11:04 Resources for Changing our Stories with God’s Story

Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies

A Sentence to Bring Down Abortion by John Ensor

Four Questions to help us answer the crisis of abortion with the Gospel of Life.

The Blessing of Rest by Guy Richard

Hallelujah, Christ will Come Again by Shane and Shane

Visit thestorychanger.life for more resources on changing our story with God’s Story.


Marriage Difficulties, Evangelism Difficulties, Culture Difficulties

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Some solutions to marriage difficulties, evangelism difficulties, and culture difficulties.

0:00 Introduction

0:23 The Difficulties of Marriage

4:32 The Difficulties of Evangelism by Jo De Blois

10:07 Resources for Changing our stories with God’s Story

Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman

Strange New World: A Review of Carl Trueman’s book by Shane Morris

Gospel Light in Latin America’s Darkest Country by Sarah Zylstra

Visit thestorychanger.life for more resources on changing our story with God’s Story.


Changing Jobs, Alarm Clocks, “Catch and Keep” Discipleship

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0:00 Introduction

00:25 How should we view our work?

6:05 What alarm are you hearing? by Meribeth Schierbeek

10:53 Resources for changing our stories with God’s story.

Be Still my Soul by Kari Jobe

More than Catch-and-Release: A Vision for Making Disciples by Matthew Bennett

Complex PTSD: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma by Pete Walker

Visit thestorychanger.life for more resources on changing our story with God’s Story.


Marriage, Love Languages, and Complex PTSD

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0:00 Intro

0:30  “Why did God design marriage?”

5:46 “Which of the five love languages does God enjoy most?”

12:17 Resources for changing our stories with God’s story.

Does God care about our happiness? by Amy Demarcangelo

A Hunger for More: Finding Satisfaction in Jesus When the Good Life Doesn’t Fill You by Amy Demarcaneglo

Complex PTSD and Developmental Trauma Being Well Podcast with Dr Rick Hanson

Jordan Peterson on the Bible not just being true but being the precondition of truth. Watch video here.

Jireh by Maverick City.


“I am the weakest!”

1

INTRODUCTION

“I am the greatest!” boasted heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali before the biggest fight of his life, against Sonny Liston, winning the world title in the seventh round in 1964.

Almost sixty years later, men and women are still claiming to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in different sports. They not only want to be great at something, they want to be the greatest, even the greatest of all time.

What about the Christian life? Are there any circumstances in which we should boast, “I am the greatest”? What’s the best boast for a Christian?

2

BACKGROUND

In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul was losing his ministry influence over the Corinthians because false teachers were boasting about how much better they were than Paul. “We are the greatest!” they boasted. How does Paul respond? He responds with a bad boast and the best boast.

What’s a bad boast?

1. “I AM THE GREATEST” IS A BAD BOAST

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I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast (16-18).

Boasting is foolish

Six times in this chapter, Paul says boasting is foolish (1, 16, 17, 19, 21). The kind of boasting he’s targeting is “boasting according to the flesh” (19). That’s boasting that comes from our sinful nature and it’s foolish because it’s usually expressed in sinful ways for sinful purposes. It’s Muhammad Ali type boasting and many were doing it in the Corinthian church: “Since many boast according to the flesh” (18). Just before Paul wrote this, Augustus Caesar ensured that his funeral inscription would be placed on multiple statues and buildings. It has 35 paragraphs on “Why I love me…”

I will boast as a fool

Having condemned bad boasting, Paul then does it! “Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast” (18). Is Paul sinning when he does this? No. He knows it’s not what Jesus would have done (17), but it’s not coming from his sinful nature and it’s not being expressed in sinful ways for sinful purposes. It’s not a lie, it’s not about self-love, and it’s not about self-promotion. It is truthful, out of love for the Corinthians, and for the glory of God. He’s effectively saying, “Although boasting is so foolish, if you really want me to compete with the false teachers, I’m better than the best of them in a number of areas, and I’ll boast about it if that’s what it takes to recover you from deception. I’ll play the fool to expose the foolishness of my opponents and bring you back to Christ” (1, 5-12). “You expose yourself to their foolish boasting and actions. So listen to my foolishness for a short time” (19-20). He then boasts away in verses 21-23, concluding with “I am talking like a madman” (23).

A rich man refused to spoil his son, Zach, throughout his childhood. He lived well below his means, refusing to buy his son the latest gear all the time, even though he could afford it. In his teen years, Zach started saying to his Dad, “I wish you were as successful and rich as Joe’s Dad. He’s really made it in life and they’ve got all the latest stuff. I wish he was my Dad.” His Dad took Zach to the computer and showed him his bank accounts and investment accounts with millions of dollars in them. “I hate doing this son, and I hoped I’d never have to. But I don’t want to lose your love to a lie, and therefore I’ll compete with Joe’s Dad to win your heart back.” That’s what Paul did and why.

CHANGING OUR STORIES WITH GOD’S STORY

Five questions to identify a bad boast:

  • Is this coming from my sinful nature or my God-given holy nature?
  • Am I lying or telling the truth?
  • Am I aiming at the good of my hearers or my own good?
  • Is this for the glory of God or my glory?

WHEN WE SAY “I AM THE GREATEST”
GOD SAYS “YOU ARE THE WORST”

If “I am the greatest” is the worst boast, what’s the best boast?

2. “I AM THE WEAKEST” IS THE BEST BOAST

4

I am the weakest

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (29-30).

As Don Carson suggests, his opponents expected him to say something like: ““I have established more churches; I have preached the gospel in more lands and to more ethnic groups; I have traveled more miles; I have won more converts; I have written more books; I have raised more money; I have dominated more councils; I have walked with God more fervently and seen more visions; I have commanded the greatest crowds and performed the most spectacular miracles.”

Instead, Paul lists his weaknesses, the very weaknesses that would have disqualified him in the eyes of the “super-apostles”, in verses 23-28:

  • I was weakened by constant hard work (23)
  • I was weakened by multiple punishments (23-25)
  • I was weakened by dangerous travels (25-26)
  • I was weakened by dangerous people (26)
  • I was weakened by painful poverty (27)
  • I was weakened by mental stress (28)
  • I was weakened by feelings of empathy (29)

This was an ironic parody of Caesar’s funeral oration. Suffering, not success, authenticated Paul’s ministry.

I have divine strength

The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying (31).

How does God know he’s not lying. It’s not only because he knew the facts of Paul’s weakness; he’d also felt the weight of Paul’s dependence in his weakness. He’d strengthened Paul in such a way that God’s support and approval was obvious to all. No one in these circumstances would have or could have continued to serve God without God’s evident help throughout. He finishes the chapter with a specific example of God’s obvious deliverance (32-33).

CHANGING OUR STORIES WITH GOD’S STORY

Boast in your weakness: We’re tempted to use credibility and celebrity to advance the Gospel. Unless we absolutely have to, we should generally boast in our weakness for our good, our hearers good, and God’s glory

Boast in Christ’s strength: Tell of the many times that God has strengthened you in your weakness. “Yet not I, but through Christ in me.”

FIND YOUR WEAKNESS TO
FIND GOD’S STRENGTH

SUMMARY

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 5.12.48 PM

6

A NEW CHAPTER

  • Gospel: Are you still trying to impress God and others by boasting of your strengths? Is it not time to give it up and trust in Christ’s strength?
  • Jesus: Jesus was crucified in weakness and therefore raised in power (2 Cor. 13:4). Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).
  • Discipleship: If we disciple out of weakness, we attract the weak.
  • Monday: Embrace weakness and embrace the weak.
  • Praise: How amazing that the all-powerful God is not interested in GOAT’s but WOAT’s.

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Saviour He will stay
I labour on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed

  •  Prayer: Almighty God show me my weakness so that I can find and boast in your strength.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What strength are you tempted to boast about?

2. Can you imagine any circumstances or reason when boasting would be appropriate?

3. How can you tell when you (or someone else) is boasting

4. What would your list of weaknesses look like?

5. How will you help someone this week to embrace their weakness?

6. How does this passage make you love Jesus’s weakness more?

PDF OF SERMON NOTES


The Pleasure of Giving

1

INTRODUCTION

What do you think would make you happier? Getting a million dollars or giving away a million dollars. Probably most of us would say “Getting a million dollars.” But Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving makes us happier than getting. How? How can giving make us happier than getting?

2

BACKGROUND

Each of the commandments reveal and reflect God’s character. This one reveals God as the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) and calls us to reveal and reflect God as givers of good and perfect gifts. If we do we’ll find profound pleasure in giving just as God does.

This looks like an easy commandment to obey.

1. THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO OBEY THIS COMMANDMENT

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We start by looking at what the Reformed confessions and catechisms teach about what this commandment requires and forbids. Here’s a synthesis of the Heidelberg Catechisms 110-111, Shorter Catechism 74-75, and Larger Catechism 141-142 as they summarize and simplify the Bible’s teaching

 GET LAWFULLY

Required

  • Truth, faithfulness, and justice
    • in contracts and commerce
    • between man and man

Forbidden

  • Theft, robbery, man-stealing, and receiving anything that is stolen.
  • Fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks.
  • Injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust.

GIVE FREELY

Required

  • Giving and lending freely,
    • according to our abilities,
    • and the necessities of others.

STEWARD CAREFULLY

Required

  • A provident care and study to
    • get, keep, use, and dispose these things
    • which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature
    • and suitable to our condition.
  • Frugality (prudence/moderation)

Forbidden

  • All abuse or squandering of his gifts.
  • And all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate.
  • Prodigality (outrageous extravagance)

WORK DILIGENTLY

Required

  • A lawful calling
  • and diligence in it;

Forbidden

  • Unlawful callings
  • Idleness
  • Wasteful gaming

SUE RELUCTANTLY

Required

  • Avoid
    • unnecessary lawsuits,
    • suretiship (taking legal liability for another’s debts)
  • or other like engagements.

Forbidden

  • Vexatious lawsuits
  • Unjust disclosures

LOVE FINANCIALLY

Required

  • Endeavor, by all just and lawful means,
  • to procure, preserve, and promote
  • the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.

Forbidden

  • Oppression, extortion, unreasonable interest rates, bribery
  • Buying up of commodities to enhance the price.
  • All other unjust or sinful ways of
    • taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him,
    • or of enriching ourselves;

ENJOY THANKFULLY

Forbidden

  • Defrauding ourselves of
    • the due use and comfort
    • of that estate which God hath given us.

CHANGING OUR STORIES WITH GOD’S STORY

Get lawfully: An honest dollar is better than a dishonest million.

Give freely: Not slowly, reluctantly, or transactionally but cheerfully.

Steward carefully: Steward your personal world and the physical world.

Work diligently: Laziness is stealing. A poor work ethic reflects our view of God.

Sue reluctantly: Enter into legal obligations and disputes with extreme care.

Love financially: Ask, “How can I help others towards financial success?” (1 John 3:17-18).

Enjoy thankfully: God enjoys giving us gifts and therefore we should enjoy receiving them (1 Tim. 6:17)

WE GET FROM GOD TO GIVE TO GOD

I can enjoy thankfully but how do I get joy in the other areas?

2. THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO FIND PLEASURE IN GIVING

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive” goes against all our culture tells us. Let me help you believe and act upon it by giving you eight reasons why it is more blessed to give money than to get it. All God’s laws are given to enhance and elevate our lives, so obeying this one will not spoil or ruin our happiness but rather increase it.

Giving Exhibits God’s Heart

And although God’s gifts are unprecedented, unrepeatable, and unbeatable, we are still called to copy God’s giving, to be mini-pictures of his infinitely large heart. What a privilege and honor to be his image bearers in this way. The larger our hearts, the larger the picture we paint of God’s character. What do people think of God when they think of the way we use our money or work?

Giving Illustrates God’s Salvation

At the heart of the gospel is sacrificial self-giving. That’s why when the apostle Paul wanted to encourage the Corinthians to give more, he pointed them to the person and work of Christ ( 2 Cor. 8:9). When we give sacrificially, painfully, and lovingly, we draw a small-scale picture of the gospel message.

Giving Trusts God’s Provision

The biggest deterrent to giving is fear, the fear that if I give away too much, I won’t have enough for this or that. When we give sacrificially, above and beyond what is comfortable and easy, we express our faith and trust in God to provide for us and our families. Cast your crumbs upon the water and enjoy seeing multiple loaves returning (Eccl. 11:1). It is such a delight to see God fulfill his promise of provision when we obey Him.

Giving Widens God’s Smile

The Lord loves “a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). It delights him to see his people gladly opening their hearts and hands to provide for the needs of his church and indeed of all his creatures. Nothing makes a Christian happier than knowing that she’s made God happy, and happy giving means a happy God.

Giving Advances God’s Kingdom

Think of what blessing results when we fund the mission of Christ’s church. We are paying salaries of ministers and missionaries; we are funding resources for outreach, evangelism, and discipleship. But above all we are investing in the spiritual and eternal welfare of people from every nation, tribe, kindred, and tongue. Our dollars are changing homes, relationships, countries, and even the eternal destiny of many souls. Although most of us can’t trace the impact of every dollar we donate, God traces it, and I believe that in heaven He will reveal all the lives our money has touched through the years and even bring us together with those who have been blessed by our giving—and those who have blessed us by their giving.

Giving Promotes God’s Sanctification of Us

Giving promotes not only God’s work through us but also God’s work in us, our sanctification. Giving money, especially when it pains us, is work that requires much self-denial and self-crucifixion. Every act of giving weakens and breaks our sinful and selfish nature, empowering God’s work of grace in our hearts. Yes, dollars leave our pockets, but sin also leaves our hearts. And that’s a great deal. Priceless actually.

Giving Praises God’s character

Giving in a right spirit is an act of worship. It is rendering God a tribute of praise. It is saying, “You gave me everything, and here is a small expression of my gratitude and praise for all your good gifts. It is only a token, a sample of what I really feel, but you know the heart that lies behind it.” David sang, “What shall I render to the Lord / For all his benefits toward me?” (Ps. 116:12).

Giving Increases our Happiness

“But, but,” you say, “it sounds as if God gets all the benefits from my giving. What blessing do I get from it?” If the previous seven reasons don’t make your heart overflow with joy, here’s one more that should do it. God has baked blessing into giving, as even secular research is confirming. Here are some findings from recent research:

  • Giving away a tenth of our income improves personal finances: “Researchers compared tithers to non-tithers using nine financial health indicators, and found that tithers were better off in every category.”
  • Spending money on someone else makes you happier: Students who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves.
  • Spending money on shared experiences produces more happiness than selfish purchases: Money spent on doing things together produced more happiness than buying things
  • Giving increases health and well-being: It gives a sense of meaning, increases physical activity, strengthens social bonds, improves immune function, and even slows down aging.
  • Giving increases love for and from others: Giving connects people and cultivates a sense of community.
  • Giving money or time to charity increases subjective well-being: The emotional return as much as is enjoyed by a doubling of household income
  • Volunteering reduces depression: Such giving of time also increases longevity, raises mood, improves time management skills, and enhances relationships.

CHANGING OUR STORIES WITH GOD’S STORY

Get joy from God’s joy: We can get great joy in the way giving makes God happy. He rejoices when his character is exhibited, his Gospel is illustrated, his provision is trusted, his love is exercised, his kingdom is advanced, his people are holier, and his character is praised.

Get joy from your heart: We can get joy in how God’s blessing on giving improves our finances, changes our spending purposes and patterns, increases our health and psychology, grows love for others. improves our emotions, and reduces depression.

GIVE WITH JOY, GET MORE JOY

SUMMARY

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 11.37.29 AM

6

A NEW CHAPTER

Parents: Be open with your kids about your finances so that you can disciple them in their finances and teach them how to honor God.

Teens: Give to God from the first income you get. It does not get easier the more you earn.

Young Married: Save 20% of your income rather than budgeting to spend 100% of income. This will give you margin for the inevitable surprises and build savings for family and retirement.

Lazy: You are stealing glory from God, money from your employer, and joy from yourself.

Wealthy: Enjoy without guilt and give without resentment.

Seniors: How are you stewarding your assets? There are many Christian organizations, like the Barnabas Foundation that can help you apply this command in your death.

Thieves: Remember the thief on the cross gave nothing but got full salvation (Luke 23:33-43)

Discipleship: Watch out for new Financial discipleship program from Pastor Jean.

Prayer: Giver of every good and perfect gift, give us your giving heart so that we can give with more heart and so get more for our hearts.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What makes it hard for you to give to God and others?

2. When have you found pleasure in giving?

3. In what ways did the width of this command surprise you? Which of the seven practices are you strong in and which are you weak in?

4. How does this command apply to your stewardship of the environment?

5. How did this sermon change your view of God?

6. How will this sermon change your work ethic, financial planning, giving?

PDF OF SERMON NOTES