Review

Last month, we introduced a new series called “Hustle.”

It calls out the hurried tempo of our lives.

And it asks us to invest time with God.

Which in turn aligns our pace and priorities to match the Heavenly Father’s.

So, This message places a strong emphasis on slowing down so that we can prioritize our time with God.

But we had to put this all in a much broader context.

So, We looked at the Industrial Revolution and its impact on our fast-paced, technology-driven lives.

The Industrial Revolution was a “process of change” that shifted our economy from one based on agriculture and handicrafts to one based on industry and machine manufacturing. (encyclopedia Britannica).

When you farm and make things with your hands, life moves at the pace of nature.

Technology is a response to the limitations of the natural world

Humanity creates technology to improve the natural world but without addressing the root cause of the world’s disorder.

Wounds from the past, especially from childhood, can fuel our drive toward success.

Many successful people are wounded.

Two Major Judgments

2 Peter 3:1–2 (ESV): 1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,

A Generation of Mockers

2 Peter 3:3 (ESV): 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

2 Peter 3:4 (ESV): 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

You’re not your true self until you find Christ.

Don’t Forget the Meaning of the Rainbow

2 Peter 3:5-6 (ESV): 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

2 Peter 3:7 (ESV): 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:8 (ESV): 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God’s Not Slow. He’s Patient.

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV): 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Luke 16:27–31 (ESV): 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”

2 Peter 3:10 (ESV): 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Matthew 24:38–39 (ESV): 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Stay Woke

Matthew 24:42–51 (ESV): 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

Review

 

The Industrial Revolution was a “process of change” that shifted our economy from one based on agriculture and handicrafts to one based on industry and machine manufacturing. (Encyclopedia Britannica).

When you farm and make things with your hands, life moves at the pace of nature.

Why was nature so punitive?

  1. Because the ground and everything that came from it was cursed
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Genesis 3:17 (ESV): 17. . .cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 

Genesis 3:19 (ESV): 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread. . .

2. Because of sin

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3. Because of the aftermath of the flood

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Genesis 6:3 (ESV): 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

Technology As False Savior

Technology is a response to the limitations of the natural world

  • Humanity creates technology to improve the natural world without addressing the root cause of the world’s disorder.
  • Mark 8:36 (ESV): 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Modern Success as a False Positive

Last Days Culture

  • Matthew 24:38–39 (ESV): 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
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  • Matthew 24:12 (ESV): 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
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  • 2 Timothy 3:1–5 (ESV): 1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
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Reviewing the Concept of “Grown”

Addressing the Wounds in Our Lives

  • Matthew 18:7 (NKJV): 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

        • We are often tempted to sin because someone has offended us.
        • Offenses are inevitable.
          • Matthew 18:21–22 (ESV): 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
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          • Mark 11:25 (ESV): 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
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          • Matthew 6:12 (ESV): 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
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          • Unforgiveness is a sin, and it leads to other kinds of sin.
        • Matthew 18:6 (ESV): 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
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        • Ephesians 6:4 (ESV): 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
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  • Proverbs 4:23 (ESV): 23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 

  • Leviticus 5:4–6 (ESV): 4 or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; 5 when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, 6 he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.

 

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

Review

Introduction

The Industrial Revolution Defined

We are children of the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution was a “process of change” that shifted our economy from one based on agriculture and handicrafts to one based on industry and machine manufacturing. (encyclopedia Britannia).

Life Before Modern Technology

When you farm and make things with your hands, life moves at the pace of nature.

Life Under a Cursed Earth

Genesis 3:17 (ESV): 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life

Genesis 3:18–19 (ESV): 18  thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

(Genesis 3:19 (ESV): 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”)

The curse extends beyond the ground to everything that emerges from it.

Romans 8:19–22 (NLT): 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Romans 8:23 (NLT): 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.)

Poor Stewards of Long Life

Genesis 6:3 (ESV): 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

Genesis 6:5 (ESV): 5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Romans 12:21 (ESV): 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jude 14–15 (ESV): 14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Genesis 5:24 (ESV): 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

How the Flood Changed the Physical Environment

The purpose of the flood was to change the physical environment so that humans could no longer live for hundreds of years.

  • Genesis 1:6–7 (ESV): 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

  • Genesis 2:8 (ESV): 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.)

  • Genesis 1:8 (ESV): 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

  • Genesis 1:1 (ESV): 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

  • Genesis 2:5–6 (ESV): 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—

  • Genesis 7:11 (ESV): 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.

Humanity Taking Matters in Its Own Hands

Romans 8:23 (NLT): 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.)

  • The Industrial Revolution was a “process of change” that shifted our economy from one based on agriculture and handicrafts to one based on industry and machine manufacturing. (encyclopedia Britannia).
      • 2 Peter 3:5–7 (ESV): 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

The Holy Spirit is Our Way Out

Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV): 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

2 Corinthians 1:21–22 (ESV): 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

 

Introduction

We need to move to the rhythm of the Father’s heartbeat.

The Holy Spirit Helps Us See

The Holy Spirit is a gift to us from the Father through Jesus. (John 14:16–17 (ESV): 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.)

  • The Holy Spirit is actively advocating for you, making available ongoing divine assistance.
  • Notice that Jesus calls Him the Spirit of truth

Proverbs 4:18–19 (ESV): 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

What happens at dawn?

  • With the Holy Spirit, you can walk in the light even when your natural circumstances leave you in the dark.

The main way the Holy Spirit leads you is through the Word of God.

  • Psalm 119:105 (ESV): 105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
  • You’re not serious about hearing from God if you’re not serious about studying and meditating on the Word.

Proverbs 4:18–19 (ESV): 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.)

Hidden Costs

The world has convinced us to pursue success at the expense of our health.

  • We’re not exercising options. We’re making trade-offs.

The Example of Eve

  • Genesis 3:4–7 (ESV): 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
  • Genesis 3:22 (ESV): 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

Why “No” is Good for Us

Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV): 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

  • Receiving and acting on the truth is a sign of growth.
  • Telling the truth is a sign of maturity.

The Power of Taste

2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV): 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

  • Sound teaching must be endured.
  • Sound teaching does not help us on our terms.
  • Job 34:3 (ESV): 3 for the ear tests words as the palate tastes food.
  • Psalm 34:8 (ESV): 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

 

Introduction

Reviewing This Year’s Theme Passage

Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV): 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The Sign of Spiritual Immaturity

Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV): 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

It’s possible to be a biological adult while you are still a spiritual child.

When you are influenced by everything you hear, you are spiritually immature.

Paul calls the things we’re hearing in the culture doctrines:

A Digital World Not Our Own

For every good use of technology there is an evil use of technology.

The Power of The Matrix

The Movie Has Become Real Life

We’re Brand New

Trickery on Steroids

Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV): 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

The Pace of Deception

The Deception of Progress

The Allure and Danger of the Hustle

The Truth Serum

Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV): 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

  • Receiving and acting on the truth is a sign of growth.
  • Telling the truth is a sign of maturity.

The Power of Taste

2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV): 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

  • Sound teaching must be endured.
  • Sound teaching does not help us on our terms.

Job 34:3 (ESV): 3 for the ear tests words as the palate tastes food.

Psalm 34:8 (ESV): 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

 

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© Pastor Chris Sonksen, 2024

Introduction

Easter: A Brief Historical Background

The term “pagan” “is ‘derived from the Late Latin paganus, which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.’ A polytheistic nature-base belief system, Pagan Federation International contends that ‘paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity [which] remains active throughout much of the world today.’”(“Beyond the Easter Bunny: The True Origins and History of Easter”https://www.gaia.com/article/beyond-the-easter-bunny-the-true-origins-and-history-of-easter?utm_source=Google+Search+Paid&utm_medium=TROAS&utm_campaign=1-9-dynamic-general-english-NA&utm_term=not-applicable&gad_source=1&gbraid=0AAAAADxuDlieYspphVuBAgHnJnPZvgY48&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8J6wBhDXARIsAPo7QA-EtWIl8ltaekZgvMNvoM3LzmxzqpeoC0YHLaHbLKxdSYcpAFVRBAsaAr2kEALw_wcB)

Living as a Christian in a Pagan World

Jesus Helps Us Set Our Priorities

  • Matthew 6:31–33 (ESV): 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    • Matthew 6:31 (ESV): 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

    • Matthew 6:32 (ESV): 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

    • Matthew 6:33 (ESV): 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Jesus Promises Us Rest from the Toil

  • Romans 5:1–5 (ESV): 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The Promises of the Holy Spirit

  • John 14:16 (ESV): 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

  • John 14:17 (ESV): 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

  • John 14:26 (ESV): 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    • he will teach you all things
    • and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
  • John 14:27 (ESV): 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

1 Corinthians 2:12 (ESV): 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV): 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV): 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The Power of Speaking in Tongues

  • 1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV): 1Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:2 (ESV): 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (ESV): 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:6 (ESV): 6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

1 Corinthians 14:13–15 (ESV): 13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:14 (ESV): 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV):1 5 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Romans 8:11 (ESV): 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

 

Introduction

2 Timothy 4:1–2 (ESV): 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

The PK Situation

How the Culture of Toil Affects the Church

How to Address the Catch-22s of a Busy Schedule

A Tale of Two Parents

1 Samuel 1:6 (ESV): 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.

1 Samuel 1:10 (ESV): 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.

1 Samuel 1:11 (ESV): 11 And she vowed a vow. . .

1 Samuel 1:11 (ESV): 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

1 Samuel 3:1 (ESV): 1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. . .

1 Samuel 3:7 (ESV): 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

Ezekiel 18:20 (ESV): 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.)

Galatians 6:9 (ESV): 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

1 Samuel 2:15–17 (ESV): 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

1 Samuel 2:22–25 (ESV): 22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.

1 Samuel 2:29 (ESV): 29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’

1 Samuel 3:13 (ESV): 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.

1 Samuel 3:26 (ESV): 26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

Review

Proverbs 18:14 (ESV): 14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?)

Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV): 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  • Come
  • Take
  • Learn

We find rest in the process of spiritual formation.

Spiritual formation is the process of God forming our inner life in such a way that it is more and more like Christ.

And while it is God who does the forming, it is a process that is enabled by our participation in spiritual disciplines (e.g. prayer, fasting, scriptural meditation, submission, service).

The Great Exchange

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV): 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

A Capacity to Receive

Spiritual formation is a process that expands our capacity to receive from God.

The False Gospel of Toil

The Origin of the Spirit of Toil

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV): 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 1:31 (ESV): 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.)

Life Without the Holy Spirit is Toxic

When Adam and Eve sinned, the Holy Spirit left the premises.

Psalm 51:10–11 (ESV): 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Male Behavior Without the Holy Spirit

Female Behavior Without the Holy Spirit

The Guiding Principle of Our Contemporary Life of Toil

The Holy Spirit Fulfills the Promise of Rest

Jesus’ promise for rest is a just another way of Him promising the Holy Spirit.

  • John 14:16–17 (ESV): 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
  • John 16:13–14 (ESV): 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024

Review

“A process through which people are inwardly transformed in such a way that the personality and deeds of Jesus Christ naturally flow out from them when and wherever they are. In other words, it can be understood as the process by which true Christlikeness is established in the very depths of our being.” –Dallas Willard

Galatians 4:19 (NASB1995): My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—

Introduction

Jesus’ Offers Us Rest

Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV): 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Proverbs 18:14 (ESV): 14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

“But Macho, how does this transformation actually take place? Yeah I know it’s from God. I know it’s not something I can accomplish in my own strength, but why am I not experiencing the transformation that I deeply desire? I love God, I come to church, I read my Bible, what more am I supposed to do?”–Macho Ortega

Three Instructions

Jesus’ offer of rest is presented within the context of three instructions:

  • Come
  • Take
  • Learn

Come to Jesus

Matthew 11:28 (ESV): 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

When you don’t respond to Jesus’ invitation, you are cutting yourself off from the means by which He will give you rest.

Reasons We Don’t Come to Jesus

  • We want to retain power
    • We prefer control over submission
  • We don’t want to open our hearts
    • We prefer protection over vulnerability
  • We are afraid of the unknown
    • We prefer certainty over mystery

Take His Yoke

Matthew 11:29 (ESV): 29 Take my yoke upon you. . .

A yoke is an ancient technology used to increase the amount of weight that could be moved or carried by a human or animal.

From texancultures.utsa:

“A yoke is a wooden beam used to help carry or pull heavy objects by distributing the weight evenly on both shoulders and can be used by humans and animals a like. There are three main types of yokes and it depends on what it is being used by. The first type of yoke is used by humans. A yoke used by humans would be a single beam of wood that sits on their shoulders where the back meets with the neck. The other two are for animals, one for a single animal and the other for two. If a single animal were to use a yoke then it would be made similar to that of the ones used by humans, but a with loop hold it in place around their neck. The two animal yoke, which is referred to as a team yoke, would be a longer beam of wood and have two loops, one for each animal.

“Animal yokes allow animals to pull farming equipment, like a plow, along with wagons and carriages. The animals most commonly used to pull farm equipment, wagons, and carriages are horses, donkeys, mules, and oxen.”

https://texancultures.utsa.edu/collections-blog/object-yoke/#:~:text=A%20yoke%20is%20a%20wooden,yoke%20is%20used%20by%20humans.

Leon Morris:

“In the New Testament yoke is always used metaphorically and signifies bondage or submission to authority of some kind.” [ Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 296.]

The irony of the yoke is that it helps with burdens, but it is also a symbol of burden.

Now there’s another thing to keep in mind within the cultural context of the world in which Jesus lived:

The word “yoke” was used in figures of speech to describe the hypocrisy and unreasonable expectations of the Pharisees (a sect of Jewish religious leaders and scholars) who created numerous laws beyond the Scripture that were impractical for people to follow.

Leon Morris:

“ ‘The yoke of the law’ and kindred expressions are common among the Jews. . . The rabbis spoke lovingly about ‘the yoke of the law,’ and there can be no doubt that for them it was a singular blessing. But their delight in the law was not necessarily shared by the common people, to whom it may well have appeared much more burdensome than the rabbis thought. ‘The arbitrary demands of Pharisaic legalism and the uncertainties of ever-proliferating case law’ (AB, p. 146) point to a situation where what was a delight to the legal experts was intolerable to ordinary people.” [Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 296.]

  • The life of ease is a life of submission.
  • Jesus won’t abuse you
  • Jesus is carrying yoke and burden with you

Christ’s Yoke is a Simple Work Machine

Simple machine: “any of several devices with few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and the magnitude of a force in order to perform work. They are the simplest mechanisms known that can use leverage (or mechanical advantage) to increase force. The simple machines are the inclined plane, lever, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, and screw.”–Encyclopedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/technology/simple-machine

  • Faith is like a simple work machine.
  • Mustard Seed faith: small faith, great results.
  • If we take on what Jesus asks us to carry, it will be comparatively lighter than whatever we are currently being burdened with.
  • We will be relieved by making the business of the Kingdom our priority.
  • Kingdom work will not be burden us further, but less.

You Don’t Have the Option of NOT Being Yoked

Macho Ortega: “Spiritual formation is not exclusively a Christian Thing. It’s a HUMAN thing.”–Macho Ortega

John Mark Comer: “Spiritual formation is not optional. Every thought you think, every emotion you let shape your behavior, every attitude you let rest in your body. Every decision you make, each word you speak, every relationship you enter into… the habits that make up our days, whether or not you have social media (if you do, how you use it). How you respond to pain and suffering, how you handle failure or success… All these things and more are forming us into a particular shape. Stasis is not on the menu; we are either being transformed into the love and beauty of Jesus or malformed by the entropy of sin and death. to believe otherwise is an illusion and to give no thought to this is to come dangerously close to wasting your life”– John Mark Comer

Whose Yoke Are you in Right Now?

Relationships

Pain

Bitterness

Unforgiveness

Vain Philosophies

Private Thinking

  • Proverbs 14:12 (ESV): 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
  • Proverbs 3:7 (ESV): 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

Learn from Jesus

Matthew 11:29 (ESV): 29 . . . learn from me. . .

We find rest in the process of spiritual formation.

 

© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024