We live in a country that is on constant guard to preserve the democracy and freedom of its current state. But do we pay as much attention to the security of our souls as we do the security of our nation?
Pastor Skip Heitzig breaks apart the basic components of today's society and looks at the threats that believers face at every level: personally, family, communally, nationally, and globally. This series focuses on what God's word says about each of these levels of society and how we can best follow God's original plan for our lives, our family, and the rest of the world.
|1||1 Chronicles 12:32||Threat Level - Red?|
|2||Matthew 7:21-27||Securing the Foundations|
|3||1 John 5:13||Heaven-Bound and Enjoying the Ride|
|4||2 Samuel 13-18||Fractured Families-Broken Lives|
|5||Joshua 24:14-15||Stop the Dominoes!|
|6||Nehemiah 1-2||How to Prevent Soul Thieves!|
|7||Luke 21:12-19||Is the Church Secure?|
|8||2 Timothy 4:1-4||Casualties on the Battlefield of Truth|
|9||2 Timothy 4:2-8||The Slippery Slope|
|10||Genesis 16||Abraham's Other Son|
|11||Acts 9:1-6||Testimony of a First-Century Terrorist|
|12||Romans 12:1-2||What Now?|
The Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 attack. Designed to inform the public as to the threat of terrorism by color-coded levels, it has now become part of our culture. But radical terrorism isn't our only challenge. In this series we will consider the dangers we face personally, culturally, with our family, nationally and globally. In a culture conditioned by fear, how can we have peace?
I. Realize Your Position, "The sons of Issachar"
A. Ordinary People
B. An Extraordinary Battle
II. Recognize the Peril "Understanding of the Times'
A. Eternal Insecurity
B. Family Irresponsibility
C. Cultural Conformity
D. Spiritual Animosity
E. International Instability
III. Respond to The Prospect "To know what Israel ought to do"
A. Be Informed
B. Be Equipped
C. Be Engaged
1. Why is our present age unique historically? What do you understand about biblical prophecy that makes our present era distinctive? Read Matthew 16:1-3
2. Look at Esther 1:13-14. How can we become more aware & helpful?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued an important statement, "We [speak] often about protecting our nation, protecting our states, protecting our cities. [But we need] to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes." He acknowledged that the country's foundation is the individual and individual homes. But what about the foundation of the home? What about the foundation of each person? How can you be personally secure--forever?
I. Making the Right Speech—False Security (Vss 21-22)
A. The Acknowledgment of the Good Lord
B. The Affirmation of Good Words
C. The Accomplishment of Good Works
II. Missing the Right Stuff—Flimsy Security (Vs 23)
A. Absence of a Lifestyle
B. The Absence of a Relationship
III. Minding the Right Steps—Firm Security (Vss 24-27)
A. Know Him
B. Hearing Him
C. Obey Him
1. Is your relationship with God secure? Are you on solid rock or on shifting sand? What will you do to be sure that your life is on a solid and secure foundation?
2. Those described in verse 22 would be admired in most circles—a lot of good seemed to have been accomplished by them. Why does Jesus speak so harshly concerning them?
Having the assurance of salvation is a prerequisite for enjoying the Christian life. Some don't have that certainty and it shows--they are weighed down by insecurity. Others feel certain that they're saved but they're delusional. Why is it important to know your eternal destination and how can we know? Let's shore up the security of our souls.
I. Why Should We Be Sure? "That you may know"
A. Why Some Are Insecure
B. Why It’s Important to Know
II. How Can We Be Sure? "These things I have written"
A. Are You Obeying His Word? (1 John 2:3-5)
B. Are You Believing His Truth? (1 John 2:21-23)
C. Are You Expecting His Return? (1 John 3:2-3)
D. Are You Conforming to His Standards? (1 John 3:4-10)
E. Are You Loving His Children? (1 John 3:11-14)
1. Do you accept at face value the promises of Scripture regarding your salvation or do you lean more on how you feel at the moment?
2. What's the difference between self-effort (working for your salvation) and passing the tests outlines in 1 John?
The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.
I. A Ruptured Home (2 Samuel 13)
A. Chaotic Relationships (Vss1-2, 11-14)
B. Passive Parenting (Vs 7, 21)
II. A Rebel Son
A. Violence (13: 28-29)
B. Subversion (15: 1-6)
III. A Remorseful Dad
A. Proximity without Intimacy (14:21-24, 28-29)
B. Dissension without Resolution (18:33)
Joshua's last State-of-the-Union address to Israel was timely. As leader of that nation he knew his people, and he knew there were forces threatening their spiritual survival. He could already begin to see the "domino effect" of compromise happening in his own day. "Put away the gods your fathers served" (vs14), he admonished them. Then as a leader, both of the country and of his own home, he made his own resolve to serve God with his family. Let's consider what this same kind of steadfast determination could mean today for securing our families. Find out how you can help stop the Dominoes.
I. Joshua—Chairman of a Nation (Vss 1-13)
A. His Position
B. His Priorities
II. Joshua’s Challenge to the People (Vs 14-15a)
A. The Need to Choose
B. The Need to Separate
III. Joshua’s Choice About His Family (Vs 15b)
A. It Was Personal
B. It Was Communal
1. Honestly evaluate your family situation: How satisfying is it? How tense do you feel when around certain individuals in it? Is it spiritual, healthy and vibrant?
2. Is the family even that big of a priority to you? How much time do you spend thinking about the relationships in it? What things have you done to improve those relationships?
3. Pray sincerely about: including struggling kids in your family's activities, being a big brother/big sister to mentor a child, adopting a child into your home.
The Christian is not to be "conformed to this world, but transformed" (Romans 12:2). This value system that the Bible calls the "world" imposes itself on us twenty-four-seven. It beckons to us to lower our standards of righteousness and conform to its unrighteous standard. Just as enemies and thieves were threatening to invade Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah, "soul thieves" are breaching the walls of our homes and eroding the souls of those inside. What can we do? Find out how to prevent Soul Thieves.
I. Ask the Right Questions (Nehemiah 1: 1-2)
A. His Concern
B. Their Condition
II. Have the Right Reaction (Nehemiah 1: 3-4)
A. Demonstrate Your Alarm
B. Determine Your Course
II. Take the Right Action
A. Spiritually (Nehemiah 1: 5-11)
B. Practically (Nehemiah 2: 1-6)
1. How are the gates of your home? What things do you allow to be seen or heard by your family (TV, movies, videos, music)? What values have you communicated to the others in your home about what is acceptable and not acceptable?
2. How are you nurturing and strengthening your soul to withstand the attacks of soul thieves? What things can be done to ensure you're being transformed by Christ rather than being conformed to this world?
There is an aggressive, consistently growing, vocal and active attack on the church in our culture. In a society where every viewpoint is tolerated and every ideology is celebrated, there is one that is becoming unacceptable--the Christian viewpoint. Once we were marginalized; now we are attacked. What are we to make of this? How secure is the church of Christ? What can we expect in the future and how should we respond to those who want to silence us?
I. An Unexpected Future (vss 12-17)
A. Hated by the Religious Establishment
B. Hated by the Secular World
C. Betrayed by Family
II. An Unavoidable Factor: "for My name's sake" (vss 12, 17)
A. Because of Christ’s Person
B. Because of Christ’s Message
III. His Unwavering Followers (vss 18-19)
A. Rest in His Promises
B. Remain Perseverant
1. When was the last time you were persecuted (verbally or physically) for your faith? How did you respond? What was the outcome?
2. How have your expectations of being a follower of Christ changed over time? How can you best prepare for future trials?
One of the most probing questions Jesus asked about His future return was this, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Today the historic Christian faith is being attacked, not just by outsiders, but insiders--by so-called Christians! Emergent-church philosophies espouse sentiments like, "Well, your truth isn't everyone else's truth." The idea of absolute truth is considered to be passe and harsh. What are we to make of all this?
I. A Prevalent Condition (vs 1)
II. A Coming Evaluation (vs 1)
A. Jesus Will Come
B. Jesus Will Judge
III. A Present Obligation (vs 2)
A. The Great Need
B. The Various Expressions
IV. A Future Renunciation (vss 3-4)
A. What They Refuse
B. What They Want
1. Why is it the natural propensity of mankind to turn away from truth and plunge into error? How have you noticed that tendency in your own life?
2. Name two personal benefits you have discovered from feeding off the truth in your own life. What difference has it made?
Here's a question: Is everyone who can say "Baahhh" necessarily a sheep? Is every person who throws around the name of Jesus a disciple? In our series on Homeland Security we have considered how to be secure spiritually, relationally, morally and even socially. But what about the future of the church? What kind of Christian legacy are we passing on to the next generation?
I. The Call to Know Truth (Vs 2)
II. The Consequences of Neglecting Truth (vss 3-4)
III. The Command to Nurture Truth (Vss 5-8)
1. What are some of the top tendencies you see among today's Christians?
2. When was the last time you remember encountering some false idea or false teacher? How did you recognize this and how did you handle the situation?
3. What's wrong with this statement, "You believe your way and I believe my way"?
Every Muslim reveres Ishmael as the son of Abraham more so than Isaac (whom the Bible calls the son of promise). In fact, Muslims claim that Islam began with Abraham and his son Ishmael, thus claiming that it is older than both Judaism and Christianity. According to the Koran, Ishmael is called both, "an apostle and a prophet". How does this biblical story relate to the modern threat of radical Islam? How does this ancient account in Genesis 16 tie in with the spread of extremist ideas of jihad?
I. His Nativity (Vss 1-9)
II. His Numbers (Vs 10)
III. His Name (Vs 11)
IV. His Nature (Vs 12)
A. Fierce Independence "A Wild Man"
B. Firm Defiance "His hand shall be against every man"
C. Strong Presence, "Shall dwell in the presence of his brethren"
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how concerned are you about the issue raised today? How much do you know about this religion espoused by 1.3 billion people worldwide?
2. Pray this week for 2 things: Discernment to protect against the threat of radical Islam and love to reach out and win some of them to Christ (more on this next week).
Historians still talk about the amazing transformation of Saul of Tarsus. He was once rabidly hostile to the early Christians, terrorizing them in Jerusalem and in attempting to do the same in Syria. Paul's life shouts to us that no one is too hard, too lost or too far-gone to be saved. If we could really believe that last sentence, it would change forever how we deal with people. Let's consider how God might use us to reach out to the Islamic world with the gospel.
I. An Impossible Case? (Vs 1-2)
II. An Incredible Conversion (Vss 3-16)
A. A Sudden Interruption (Vs 3)
B. A Searching Question (Vs 4)
C. A Simmering Conviction (Vss 5-6)
D. A Serious Mission (Vss 7-16)
1. Why do you think you have considered certain people as "impossible cases" when it comes to salvation? Read Luke 1:37 and pray for them through the lens of that truth.
2. Pray this week for the Muslim World. And when you turn on the news and hear of uprisings in the Middle East or other parts of the world, learn to pray immediately that God would change hardened hearts towards His Son.
For the past 11 weeks we have probed the scriptures to find peace in times of terror. We've considered the dangers we face personally, culturally, nationally and within our own family. Today we bring all the pieces together to wrap up with a final application. I'll be joined with a few friends of mine to help me as we think about what to do now!
I. A Practical Presentation (Vs 1)
A. Must Be A Lifestyle: "A living sacrifice"
B. Must Be a Rational Choice, "Your reasonable service"
II. An Inward Transformation (Vs 2)
A. Resist Conforming: "Don't be conformed to this world"
B. Renewed Thinking: "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind"
Note: Thanks to all who helped make this series so unique. Your feedback has been most helpful and inspiring to me. Thanks also to a wonderful team who weekly helped research, plan and video the elements that made this series come alive.