LifeShape 6 the Hexagon

This information is not original with me, but from a fascinating book I found entitled, “The Passionate Church: The Art of Life-Changing Discipleship.” Since I am a visual learner, I have included my personally designed diagrams along with my own notes to help in my disciple-making and teaching efforts.

Learning to pray according to the model Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer will renew your church’s prayer life.

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, 4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” — Luke 11:1-4

The disciples were full-time students, learning practical faith by watching Jesus in action. We are not told to pray for everything we need for the rest of our lives, but only for today. Using the Model Prayer of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount, let us learn to pray as Jesus did.

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. — Matthew 6:9-13

The Hexagon in the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in Heaven – Here is an important relational concept: Father. Jesus used the Aramaic word Abba, meaning Daddy. This implies the intimacy we have with God. Jesus is teaching us to have this right relationship that He enjoys with the Father, which transcends physical presence. (This is eternal life, that they know You, the one true God – John 17:3)

May Your Name Be Kept Holy – God is very close yet different. We offer reverence and respect to our God who is holy. We acknowledge that He is what we desire to be; we long for Christ-likeness.

May Your Kingdom Come Soon. May Your Will Be Done on Earth As it is in Heaven – Our Father is not just a King, He is the King. We want His kingdom to advance in this world. We desire what You desire. (Glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began – John 17:5).

Give Us Today the Food We Need – Human beings are needy things, and we admit it; food, water, shelter, health, emotional and spiritual needs. Whatever the hunger, He provides. (Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You – John 17:7).

Forgive Us Our Sins As We Have Forgiven Those Whose Sin is Against Us – God has given us some territory that is ours, and we often stray from the territory on to land that belongs to someone else and we incur a debt we cannot pay. When we transgress against another we are saying, “God, what You have given to me is not enough” and we must seek forgiveness. Lord, keep us from being indebted to You in withholding forgiveness from others. (I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do – John 17:4).

Don’t Let Us Yield to Temptation – now the prayer is dealing with our relationship with the Father, and then those around us. Here it changes to where we go out into the world with God’s message. Take us into the world to do Your work, but give us the strength to be in the world but not of the world. (Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth – John 17:17).

Rescue Us From the Evil One – There is an enemy of our soul, who desires that we participate in what is evil. If we are led astray, we will actually end up in the hands of the evil one. The thief comes to kill and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life. (My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one – John 17:15).

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Heaven’s Aroma on Earth

Many say that God is nowhere to be found, with no evidence of His existence. I submit to you that this top 10 list is not the result of a society of people who evolved through the “survival of the fittest.” Morality, compassion, kindness and forgiveness are qualities that are passed down from a personal Being with a plan for His special creation.

Since all we know and experience is this creation that is fallen and under the curse, just imagine what heaven will be like. Beauty, kindness, and love that we see here, as marvelously as we have experienced it, is still cursed. How much greater it will be when we are in God’s presence in eternity?

Quotes:

He is the end of our search, not the means to some further end. Our exceeding joy is he, the Lord–not the streets of gold, or the reunion with relatives or any blessing of heaven. — John Piper

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. — C. S. Lewis

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. — G. K. Chesterton

Top 10 Evidences of Heaven’s Aroma on Earth:

  1. Hope in the midst of cynicism.
  2. Contentment in the midst of adversity.
  3. Genuine care for others in a self-centered world.
  4. Willing sacrifice of all the world holds clear for unseen reward.
  5. Unified community in an angry, fractured culture.
  6. Courage to gamble all of life upon a spiritual vision.
  7. A tenacious joy that is inexpiable in worldly terms.
  8. Supernatural healing of body, mind and spirit.
  9. Love for enemies.
  10. Forgiveness.

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Forgiveness and Grace

I’ve come to understand that Justice is getting what one deserves, mercy is not getting what one deserves and that grace is getting something that we definitely do not deserve. It is unmerited favor, something that only God can do. The closest we can come is probably being a parent; we do things for this little person that they do not deserve, but we do them for no other reason than because we love them. If we desire to become more like Christ (Romans 8:29), we must learn to grow in forgiveness and grace.

Quotes:

Forgiveness is the final form of love. — Reinhold Niebuhr

The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace. — George McDonald

I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else. — Philip Yancey

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way. — Sara Paddison

Top 10 Ways to Grow in Grace:

  1. Be quick to acknowledge sin and guilt.
  2. Live in the confidence of your divine ownership.
  3. Easily receive God’s forgiveness that invites you into intimacy.
  4. Stop trying to earn God’s favor when you already have it.
  5. Reject false guilt; the enemy’s favorite lie.
  6. Take every opportunity to overlook the failures of others.
  7. Call attention to people’s potential, not their faults.
  8. Speak the truth in gentleness and love.
  9. Don’t pretend to have your life all neatly together.
  10. Be quick to forgive and slow to offend.

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Paul’s Thinking about Sin

Paul uses the word hamartia, the common word for sin, 62 times in his letters. Of these 62, 48 are in Romans. The other 14 in all the rest of Paul’s letters. The word does not occur in Philippians.

Paul insisted on the universality of sin:

  1. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; (Romans 3:9)
  2. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
    1. 1) It was a fact of human experience
      2) It was a fact of history – all sinned after Adam
    2. (1) Nationalistic solidarity
      (2) Men still died before Moses and the Law
      (3) The law produced sin
  3. By defining it
    1. Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law [comes] the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
    2. Now a mediator is not for one [party only]; whereas God is [only] one. (Galatians 3:20)
    3. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (Romans 5:20)
  4. By provoking sin
    1. The forbidden becomes wanted
    2. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin [is] dead. And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. (Romans 7:7-11)

Sin is disobedience:

  1. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
  2. 3. Sin is coming short of God’s expectations – failure in life, not hitting the target.
  3. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

Sin spreads like a disease, like weeds, like cancer: “And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20)

Sin gives birth to death – spiritually:

  1. For sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. (Romans 7:11)
  2. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Sin gives birth to death – physically:

  1. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned– (Romans 5:12)
  2. That, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
  3. Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone [as] slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
  4. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Sin is enslaving:

  1. That, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
  2. Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with [Him,] that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; (Romans 6:6)
  3. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (Romans 6:20)
  4. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
  5. For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. (Romans 7:14)

Sin takes up a residence inside of man: not an external force, or demonic power.

  1. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:20)
  2. But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:23)

Sin hinders the work of Christ and the spread of the Gospel: “Hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:16)

Sin is the opposite of faith: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because [his eating is] not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

Words used for sin:

  1. Hamartia – missing the mark
  2. Adikia – unrighteousness – failing in man’s duty to God
    1. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18)
    2. Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; [they are] gossips, (Romans 1:29)
    3. But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) (Romans 3:5)
    4. And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin [as] instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13)
    5. What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! (Romans 9:14)
    6. Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? (1 Corinthians 6:1)
    7. Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that [your] brethren. (1 Corinthians 6:7-8)
  3. Asebeia – godlessness – disregarding Him
  4. Anomia – disobedience to the Law
    1. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members [as] slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in [further] lawlessness, so now present your members [as] slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. (Romans 6:19)
    2. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (Romans 2:12)
    3. To those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. (1 Corinthians 9:21)
    4. Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
  5. Parakoe – disobedience, failure to hear
    1. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
    2. And we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:6)
  6. Parabasis – a stepping across – crossing the line
    1. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
    2. For the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. (Romans 4:15)
    3. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made. (Galatians 3:19)
  7. Paraptoma – a slip up, a blunder, failure to concentrate
    1. [He] who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
    2. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like [that which came] through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment [arose] from one [transgression] resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift [arose] from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:15-17)
    3. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (Romans 5:20)
    4. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7)
    5. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1)
    6. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians 2:5)
  8. Porosis – process of petrification, remorse is dead
    1. What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; (Romans 11:7)
    2. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; (Romans 11:25)
    3. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14)
    4. Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:18)

The antidote for sin: grace, God never ceased to love men:

  1. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (Romans 5:20)
  2. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.

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Forgive Those Who Judge You

Forgiveness is something that is at the heart of the Christian experience. If it were not for the forgiveness of sin that God offers through the sacrifice of his one and only Son, I’m not all that sure people would be lining up to become followers of Christ. There is a deep need inside every man to be forgiven for the wrong he has done — to others, to himself and ultimately to God.

I find people from my childhood and youth and the first thing in my heart is, “I’m sorry.” I remember who I was back then and the things I have done. I’ve changed, and express how sorry I am for my former actions and words. The experience brings peace. If we desire authentic and lasting peace, it comes only through a right relationship with God and others.

Paul writes to the Ephesians that Christ himself is our peace; He has broken down every wall that divides and separates (Ephesians 2:14). Think about how the lack of forgiveness divides and separates, and the end result is a lack of peace in our hearts and lives. Forgiveness does not condone what the other person has done to us, but it allows us to get past it and start fresh. When we are the one who messed up, and others look on in judgment, it is their responsibility to search deep within to find the compassion of God to forgive and allow the relationship to be renewed.

Job lost everything and suffered greatly; he’s the classic example of a man who suffered greatly for no other reason than he was a faithful servant of the living God. His so-called friends came by and proceeded to discuss the theology of why this evil was happening to Job. He must be a great sinner, more than anyone else, for such bad stuff to be happening to him (Job 4:8 for example). What a statement of judgment and condemnation. Job is getting what he deserves. So, if anyone had a reason to hold a grudge, it was Job. He could have held a grudge against his friends for the way they treated him, and even a grudge against God for treating him the way he did. But catch what happens in this verse:

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

Job’s friends did not understand how a godly person could ever go through his degree of suffering unless God was judging him for his sin. But his friends were wrong and God intervened. God says, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” (Job 42:7).

Not much has really changed after thousands of years. Those in the church often wrongly equate trouble and hardship with sin (what have I done to deserve this?). Sometimes this can be true since actions have consequences, but often trouble is simply a consequence of the fall of mankind, or a call on one’s life (like Joseph in Egypt or Paul’s hardships – 2 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Joseph was required to forgive his brothers. Jesus was required to forgive Judas and the disciples for betrayal. You and I are required to forgive those who wrongfully judge us. This forgiveness is often THE most important step in gaining restoration in our own lives.

Job 42:10 reveals that it was not until Job prayed for his friends that he was restored in the things he had lost. Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? It may be the missing piece of your puzzle for restoration.

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Return of the King

Absalom is dead, David is back in charge, and he needs to make his way back to Jerusalem. Today we need to take a look at forgiveness, starting over, getting back to where you belong, and rewards for faithfulness in 2 Samuel 19.

  • When have you felt motivated to ask for someone else’s forgiveness? Or to grant forgiveness?
  • Over the past year, have you received more favors or granted more favors?
  • In politics and sporting events, do you tend to support:
    • Whoever is ahead at the start?
    • Whoever is behind at the end?
    • Whoever’s victory favors you the most?
    • Whoever wins, that person was your choice all along?

Let’s dig into the text for today:

  1. If you had previously backed Absalom, why would you now reconfirm David as king? (2 Samuel 19:8-10) Notice that the king was once more accessible to the people (2 Samuel 19:8)
  2. What was the quarreling about? (2 Samuel 19:9, 10) Judah was hesitant about David’s return, perhaps because of the part they played in Absalom’s insurrection (2 Samuel 15:10-11)
  3. What is it about David’s appeal (2 Samuel 19:11-13) that secures your vote of confidence? What major change is listed in 2 Samuel 19:13? (David hopes to secure allegiance of those who followed Absalom and Amasa, especially Judah, but also the animosity of Joab for taking his position, 2 Samuel 20:8-10).
  4. Why did the men of Judah come to Gilgal? (2 Samuel 19:15)
  5. Why do you think Shemei behaves the way he does? 2 Samuel 19:16-20; 16:5-14
  6. Compare 2 Samuel 19:21 and 2 Samuel 16: 9. Abishai, Joab’s brother, was looking for a way to kill Shemei for what he did (2 Samuel 16:5-8).
  7. Shemei confessed his sin and is spared (2 Samuel 19:16) What eventually happens to him? (1 Kings 2:8, 9, 36-46)
  8. How and why does David’s response vary from Abishai’s? (2 Samuel 19:21-23, 16:9-12) What did David mean by his remark in 2 Samuel 19:22?
  9. How does Mephibosheth’s story line up with what Ziba’s (2 Samuel 19:24-30, 16:3)
  10. Who do you find more credible, Mephibosheth or Ziba? Who does David believe, or does it matter? Name a time when you were totally misunderstood, or misrepresented.
  11. Why does David seek to reward Barzillai, to stay with David in Jerusalem? (2 Samuel 19:24-30) Why is that offer refused? (2 Samuel 19:34-37)
  12. What face-saving alternative is then proposed and accepted? (2 Samuel 19:38)
  13. As Chimham is singled out for a special favor, how would you feel toward your two benefactors? Who was this guy? (1 Kings 2:7, Jeremiah 41:17)
  14. Why are the men of Israel so upset? (2 Samuel 19:41-43) What’s at stake besides hurt pride? What is the problem between Israel and Judah? (Israel complained that Judah had kidnapped David from them. This hostility leads to the rebellion of Sheba and eventually the division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12:1-24).

Returning to a former relationship is not always easy. Switching to another side is not easy either. Going home isn’t always fun when infighting awaits you. David is still God’s chosen leader; he’s back in the Promised Land, and doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. Next week we will look at some unfinished business.

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Refuse to be a Target

The Men of Steel looked into this topic; how often do we wrestle with God?

  1. The Enemy within Me
  2. God Sparing Your Life
  3. Refuse to be a Target
  4. God Wrestles with You… Alone
  5. Why Does God Wrestle with Men?
  6. The Reality of the Spirit Realm

Men, if we don’t confront our frailty and capacity for sin, we will always have a target on our back, just ripe for the enemy to shoot his flaming arrows into and make us fall – Ephesians 6:16. Beware guys; this is another depressing post about being on your guard against the enemy. This is part three of the wrestling match series.

I read a great book years ago called, Ordering Your Private World. Years later the same author wrote another book called, Rebuilding Your Broken World. The basis for the first book was to help Christians order their lives in such a way that they live on purpose and for God. The second book was written after the restoration process the author went through due to a moral failure. He mentions the one thing he could never see himself doing was committing adultery… and that’s what took him down. A prominent pastor and author did not see himself as vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.

We need to admit to ourselves that we are vulnerable. There’s something in every man of steel that acts like kryptonite, which has a sole purpose of bringing each of us down. If you don’t believe that you can commit a certain sin, you remain vulnerable to it. Why? Because if we are so sure we will never do it, we never set up safeguards against it. Without safeguards, you are vulnerable to any sin.

  • You never thought you could get that angry.
  • You never thought you could get that aggressive.
  • You never thought you could have an affair.
  • You never thought you could be that weak.
  • You never thought you could be addicted to porn.
  • You never thought you could be an alcoholic.
  • You never thought you could leave your family.
  • You never thought you could be that hurtful.

For many men, they never thought they could… so they did. You’ve got to look square in the mirror and say to yourself, “I could commit every sin.” Whatever your problem may be, there’s always a problem behind your problem, and the Bible calls that problem sin.

  • What is it that makes a 40 year old married man try to act like he’s 20 and single?
  • What makes a man try to drown his trouble in alcohol or illegal drugs?
  • Why does a man need to prove himself by doing daredevil stunts?

It’s called our sin nature! This is the part of you that wants to do the bad stuff rather than what is right. When we accept Christ, this old nature is trying to fight back for control in your life. But it is this sin nature that is supposed to be put to death while we are made alive in Christ – Galatians 2:20. If we continue to sin, it shows where our loyalties really lie – 1 John 3:8.

If you’ve messed up… forgiveness is ready for all who submit to Christ, putting their faith in Him and allowing His Spirit to help us to repent of our sin. It’s a conscious effort to repent, which is to turn from sin and turn toward God. Remember that He is ready and able to forgive – 1 John 1:9. Restoration of relationships takes more time, because while we are forgiven for our past sin, the consequence of our sin may remain for a long time.

I’m glad that you are a part of the Men of Steel. It shows a commitment to being the best man that you can be, for God’s sake, for your wife’s sake and your kids’ sake.

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