Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sit – Walk – Stand

(subtitle: Lessons from Ephesians)

Sermon for Golden Triangle Church on the Rock
Pastor Kenneth Bent
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In about AD 60-62, the Apostle Paul was under house arrest, living in his own rented quarters under guard by Roman soldiers. He had appealed to Caesar and so was taken to Rome to have his case heard.

Paul had now been preaching the Gospel and planting churches for nearly 30 years.

According to Acts 28, Paul was allowed to have visitors and could minister without hindrance as far as his confinement permitted.

During this time, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, began writing 3 letters to churches and 1 letter to an individual.

4 men were dispatched to carry the letters.

Imagine 4 men carrying letters in their satchels as they walked past the Roman guards.

4 men carrying letters with life changing, kingdom shaking truths which would ultimately spread throughout the whole Roman Empire and out to the rest of the world.

Truths which would eventually help the gospel and instructions in truth and practical Christian living spread all throughout the Roman empire.

The truth in these letters eventually helped to cause the triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire, leading to the conversion of the Roman Emperor himself – in spite of at least 10 Major waves of persecutions of Christians over the next 260 years.

Imagine Paul saying:

Epaphroditus! – take this letter to the church and believers in Philippi and its environs – it’s about living a victorious Christian life– it teaches about Christ and his condescension on the cross for us and his exaltation in His resurrection, and encourages them to rejoice in the Lord always, to think right thoughts and to keep supporting the work of the gospel by faith even in good times and difficult.

Epaphras! - take this letter to the church at Colossae – it is about Christ being the head of the church and gives truths that will counter false teaching and gives practical Christian living instructions.

Onesimus! - take this letter with you to Philemon – whom you once served as slave, and from whom you ran away….and now that you have believed in Christ – it is time to be reconciled with him as a Christian brother and as his servant. This letter will be an example to others about the price Christ paid for us to get us out of the slave market of our sin, about Christian reconciliation, and how Christ changes us, and will also instruct believers how to act and live out their Christianity in the midst of a pagan society.

Lastly, Titus! – take this letter to the church in Ephesus. It will teach the believers there their Position in Christ and what should be their Practice as Believers.

Or, to put it another way, it will show Christians:

Where they SIT
(in Christ, in the heavenly realm, blessed with all spiritual blessings)

How they should WALK
(knowing what to do, say and how to treat others)

And when and how to make their STAND against the powers of darkness.
(how to fight in spiritual warfare for the advance of the Gospel)

Ephesians was written so believers would gain a better understanding of:


Ephesians 2: 4 ¶ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and SEATED US with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

In other words:

- the HOPE of their CALLING

so that they would learn their

PURPOSE IN CHRIST – How they should WALK and How they should STAND

So that believers can live a life that is worthy of God’s calling and that is glorifying to Him.

Another Outline of Ephesians can be simply stated as:

Chapters 1-3 – Doctrine or Theology – Christian Calling
Chapters 4-6 – Exhortation or Ethics – Christian Conduct


We will follow the outline:

SIT – Ephesians 1 – 3 Our Position in Christ
WALK – Ephesians 4:1 – 6:9 – Our Practice in Christ
STAND – Ephesians 6:10-20 – Our “Panoply” (Armor) in Christ



Salvation blessings are
Determined by the Father
Secured by the Son
Applied by the Holy Spirit

We are blessed in Christ:


Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

The word “chose” here is in the indirect middle (or reflexive) voice, and essentially means that God chose us for Himself for His own pleasure and glory.

We are blessed in Christ:


Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

The phrase “IN CHRIST” is used many times in the New Testament –

20% of these usages occur in the book of Ephesians.


We are blessed in Christ:


Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

25% of all references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament occur in Ephesians.

The Holy Spirit is both an EARNEST – a “down payment” or guarantee that the final installment of salvation and glory is assured – and a SEAL – securing and authenticating a product for a future occasion.

Christians need to learn to “SIT” in their POSITION in CHRIST – resting in the full blessings of the FINISHED WORK of CHRIST in His death, burial and resurrection.

The blessings of our place in Christ:



Ephesians 4:1 – 6:9 tells us how we should walk – in the light of the great blessings we have received

UNITY – 4:1-16

Ephesians 4:1-6:

1 ¶ As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 ¶ Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

HOLINESS – 4:17-32

Ephesians 4: 17 ¶ So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

LOVE - 5:1-6

Ephesians 5:1 ¶ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 ¶ But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

About 1/6 of all occurrences of the word “LOVE” in the New Testament occur in Ephesians. (17 times)

LIGHT – 5:7-14

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light


Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.


Ephesians 6:10 – 20 – tells us how we need to conduct warfare, how to STAND against the schemes of the enemy.

We do it by putting on our spiritual armor.
We do it by establishing ourselves in the strength of the Lord.
We do it by maintaining the correct attitude.






Saturday, July 17, 2010

They Don’t Know


Luke 23
33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Why didn’t these people know what they were doing? They did not know what they were doing because they did not know God.

All manner of evil is possible from those who do not know God.

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

It is unconscionable what people will do when they do not know God.

All over the world today people are being persecuted, tortured and killed for no reason other than their persecutors do not know God.

Here are some headlines from around the world concerning the persecution of Christians … these are a few current events from just the past 45 days or so, June and July, 2010:

BREAKING NEWS: Iran Pastor Facing Execution
A well-known Iranian pastor faces execution after two judges agreed to make him "liable to capital punishment," as part of a crackdown on the growing Protestant church movement in the Islamic nation, Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife learned Tuesday, July 13.

Eight Christians Killed in Nigerian Muslim Attacks
Christians in two states of Nigeria were mourning Wednesday, July 7, the killings of at least eight Christian believers, after Muslim militants reportedly attacked several villages.

BREAKING NEWS: Afghanistan Christians Detained Amid Execution Threats Over 20 Afghan Christians have been detained in Afghanistan after high-level leaders called for the arrest and execution of converts to Christianity in the Islamic nation, an advocacy group said Friday, June 25.

Militants Order Lebanon Christians To Leave; Blast Kills One
Lebanese security forces prepared to crackdown on Islamic insurgents Friday, June 25, after threatening leaflets were found calling on Christians to leave a key port city and a bomb blast that killed at least one person in a predominantly Christian town.

BREAKING NEWS: Iran Crackdown On National Protestant Movement, Members Detained (Exclusive)
Iran's security forces detained eight members of a nationwide Protestant church movement in Tehran Friday, June 19, as part of a government crackdown on the growing number of Christians in the strict Islamic nation, a Christian leader told Worthy News and its news partner BosNewsLife.

Pakistan Christian Worker Dies In Police Custody
Impoverished frail parents were still awaiting justice Monday, June 14, for the death of their son who they and Christian investigators said died of "mental and physical torture" while in police custody in the city of Lahore.

Afghanistan Halts Work Church Groups; Christians Concerned
Christian aid workers in Afghanistan faced legal challenges Wednesday, June 2, after authorities ordered two Western church groups to stop their activities amid suspicions they were converting Muslims to Christianity -- an offense that carries the death penalty under Afghan law.

India Police Detain Hindu Militants Amid Spreading Anti-Christian Violence
Police in India's eastern state of Orissa say they have detained five suspected Hindu militants for their alleged involvement in attacking a devoted young Christian boy and threatening to kill him and his family.

More than 20 million Christians were martyred in the 20th Century. That is more than were martyred in the prior 1900 years combined.

Close to 165,000 Christians are martyred every year. One every 3 minutes.

More than 250 million Christians in over 60 countries around the world live in threat of persecution daily … 60% of these are children.

The video I am about to show is not made by actors and the events are not staged. This video contains images which some may consider objectionable due to the violent nature of the acts captured on film. If you have young children with you here or viewing this broadcast with you, you may want to consider them as we view but a small portion of the persecution and violence perpetrated against Christians in the state of Orissa in Eastern India today.

The Persecution in Orissa: (show video)

All over the world today people are being persecuted, tortured and killed for no reason other than their persecutors do not know God. There is only one answer to this evil – His name is Jesus.

John 15:21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

It is unconscionable what people will do when they do not know God.

How can someone not know God in this day and age? “I thought that all anyone had to do was to call upon the name of the Lord and they would be saved.” Well, that is true however there is a little more to it than that:

Romans 10
13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? …

I cannot stress enough the importance of our world mission’s efforts and keeping the salvation of souls as our highest priority. And unless you think that this cannot happen in America or Europe or Australia, think again.

We cannot allow for one generation to slip into spiritual unconsciousness and lethargy. We must be ever sober, ever vigilant, ever moving forward in our work to enhance and advance the Kingdom of God in our community and communities like ours around the world.

There is only one answer and it is Jesus Christ, Messiah of the Jews and Savior of the World. Salvation by His blood sacrifice and submission to His Lordship is the hope of the world.

We are told to turn the other cheek when we are persecuted, but we are not told to turn our heads when others are being tortured and killed. We who are not being persecuted are told to take a different approach.

1. Proverbs 31
8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

2. Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

3. Matthew 28:18-20 Go & Tell & Teach

If you do not … who will? If you do not love the world and your enemies enough to tell them about Jesus, you need to hear the story again yourself.

You see … They just don’t know … They just haven’t heard … Yet!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday America


It is certain that God governs in the affairs of man.

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

234 years ago on this date 56 brave visionaries fixed their signatures to a newly written document entitled ‘The Declaration of Independence’. These men, the forefathers of our nation, deserve a high position of honor and respect for their courage and commitment. With their signatures they knew they were signing their death warrants and would be hunted down, arrested and executed if possible by the British. These men were:

Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
John Hancock

With this Declaration of Independence a new nation was birthed under the guiding principles contained therein, the most memorable and quotable being:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The last sentence of that July 4, 1776 Declaration signed by these 56 men reads:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

This was not the first time men were willing to risk their lives for this divine cause we call, The United States of America.

I hold in my hand a book wherein is written the words spoken by Christopher Columbus as recorded in his “Book of Prophecies”. Let me read as you consider his heart and the call of God which he believed was on his life.

It was the Lord who put into my mind – I could feel His hand upon me – the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies … All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me … There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures … For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied … No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service … the fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time – this is what convinces me.

As well, a little more than 100 years after Christopher Columbus sailed, there were those who formed, wrote and adopted The First Charter of Virginia, April 10, 1606, which included:

… for the furtherance of so noble a work which may by the providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian religion to such a people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, …

In 1620, The Mayflower Compact included such wording and reason for the undertaking of these adventures:

… having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith …

1639, The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut contained:

… the Word of God requires … an orderly and decent government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of all people …to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess … the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced among us …

On July 4, 1775, one year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, General George Washington’s Orders, as commander of the Armies of the Revolution, were thus:

The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the Army which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness. And in like manner he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense …

On July 7, 1787, 81 year old Benjamin Franklin rose and spoke in an attempt to break the 5 week deadlock of the Constitutional Convention, by imploring these men to stop, pray and seek Divine guidance. In his argument he offered:

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire cannot rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel:

John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, the first Vice President of the United States, and the Second President of the United States, a diplomat without equal, wrote in a letter:

The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in His truth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost.

There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government – but what is administered by the Holy Ghost.

There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion, perdition, or, in more orthodox words, Damnation.

Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a framer of the Bill of Rights wrote:

I am grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ our Lord, he has conferred on my beloved country.

Thomas Jefferson, credited with writing the bulk of the Declaration of Independence, who was also a signer of the Declaration and went on to become the Third President of the United States, 1801 – 1809, wrote in 1816:

I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Christ.

He would explain such doctrines in a later letter in 1822:

The Doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.
1. That there is only one God, and He all perfect.
2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

John Jay, one of the three men most responsible for the content of the Constitution of the United States of America and the first Supreme Court Justice as appointed by President George Washington, wrote in a letter dated October 12, 1816,

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

It is still evident in this day that God guides in the affairs of man. And:

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Our nation is a Christian nation, founded on the Judeo Christian principles of the Holy Bible, God’s Word of Truth.

On this day, especially on this day, July 4th, the day on which we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America, we should not forget the lives, work and wishes of our founding fathers.

Along with them we should also be moved to pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to preserve the ideals upon which this nation was first adopted, the ideals of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine guidance of the Holy Ghost.

I agree with our very first Chief Justice of the United States of America, Chief Justice John Jay, who knew the Constitution of the United States and the intent of the original framers better than anyone else who has ever lived …

Providence has been given to us, “we the people”, the choice of our rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer those who embody Christian faith and practice for our rulers.

God will continue to bless America as America continues to be a blessing to Him! And listen to me people … ‘You are America!’

Happy Birthday America and Thank You God!