September 10, 2011
Living Proof Live Simulcast in Lubbock, Texas
Whatever you're dealing with, somebody else is too. Just like all temptation is common to man, so all struggles are common to man. Let Jesus get into that business.
Luke 1:1-4 (Theme verses)
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, in the company of those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Do your pursuing of God in the company of others! And make that good company.
2 Timothy 4:6-12
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
Only Luke was with Paul at this point. All of his beloved friends (Luke and Demus mentioned as such in Colossians 4:14) had abandoned him and gone off. So Luke had to be the one Paul was dictating to. Imagine how Luke felt when Paul said "The time has come for my departure..." and then "Luke is the only one with me." Do you think he paused for a minute as he wrote when Paul got to those parts? Maybe his eyes filled with tears a little bit for the deepness of their friendship. He and Paul were clearly best friends at that point.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
You can see here where Luke (the writer of Acts) comes into the picture because of the change from they they they to we we we.
Beth spoke some about Paul and Luke meeting when Paul was in Galatia with an illness (Galatians 4:13) and that Luke, the Physician, basically gave up what he was doing and left to go with Paul. She said it was similar to a doctor these days just going home with a client because he loved him so much. She asked - how many of you love your doctor this way: "I *LOVE* my doctor... LOVE him" ? But how many of you, your doctor just loves you so much that "I just love you so much, I'm going to go ahead and come home with you and stay with you for years to take care of you" ? That's what it was like for Paul and Luke. "Luke put the 'company' back in 'accompanied.'"
These days it's hard to actually be alone with somebody because of technology and the fact that we are constantly social-networking to the point that we don't pay attention to the people we are face to face with. I think Beth just wanted everyone to think about the implications of that.
The point of all of this is point #1:
We were created for good company.
2 Timothy 2 :22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
We have to also learn to be good company. This is how:
1 Peter 1:22
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Don't just try to do obedience on your own, though. You will fall into a cycle of confession/destruction. Get Jesus involved - DO NOT separate the sinful part of your life out from the rest of what you share with him, do not hide it in the dark. Tell Christ what you need, shine his light on it, and ask him what to do. Memorize applicable scripture to combat whatever you are struggling with and it will REform your heart (disobedience DEforms the heart). (I myself can testify to the power of memorizing scripture and using it when I'm tempted to sin. Ask me if you want to know!!)
At this point, Beth gave a little bit of her testimony saying that she truly believes she would not be alive if it weren't for Christ. She was caught up in a really harmful cycle of looking for ways to self-destruct, and she said that it was not an exaggeration that out of the 180,000 women viewing the simulcast, NOBODY, including the women in the correctional facilities, had made as stupid of choices as she had. She was really transparent and said she couldn't ever look down on someone because she herself has most likely been that someone.
Back to point #1. Our closest fellowship, our best friends, must be people who have purified souls, who call on God, who practically live out God's will. The rest of the people in our lives, we should still love deeply, but we have to use the Philippians 1:9 principle
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.
Use discernment and care with the other people in your life or you will get torn up.
When you are trying to minister to someone who is really emotionally troubled ("wigged out" "I've been that woman"), you need to do that in a small group, not by yourself or it will turn you inside out.
To be continued...!