Defining the Problem

Faith Church August 30, 2009 Romans 8:18-25

 

Introduction:

-  We are continuing our new series: Finding Hope in the Wonderful Counselor

- we all need hope at various times in our lives . . . every day!

- the issue is: Where are you going to go to get it?

-Last week we defined hope as:

  • Hope = the anxious anticipation of good – (biblical perspective) vs. the world’s definition more as ‘an uncertainty of the outcome’

- while we don’t know what God in His sovereignty will ULTIMATELY do, we know that He will do whatever He pleases to do for His glory and our good!

- that definition comes from Romans 8:18-25 [esp. v. 24-25]

  • Romans 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

- we might not be able to SEE all the ways God can be glorified or we can GROW

- but we have HOPE because of Who God is, what He can do, and what He promised to do

-  Last week we focused on Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor and how He is greater than we could begin to comprehend

- and how He is abundantly qualified to guide and direct our lives because He is GOD!

-  We not only have hope through Him for our salvation, but also our sanctification (i.e. progressive sanctification – the process of being conformed to the image of Christ)

- Therefore, we can look to Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor and find hope in the QUESTIONS He asks

- This week, our study allows us to Find Hope in Defining the Problem

1.  Basically, we’re saying that * There is HOPE in any problem you face if . . .:

1)  You ADMIT the problem exists (acknowledge the facts/truth)

2)  You DEFINE the problem the way He does

3)  You then ACT on the solutions to the problem!

- Your action (response to the definition of the problem) requires 3 things:

  • Level 1: Repentance (a change of the mind)

> explain going in one direction, wrong thinking

  •  Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (that’s referring to repentance that leads to salvation)

- believers in Christ should also repent when they have sinned (clearly violated God’s Word)

  • Luke 17:1 He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!2 "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."

 

- once a person is repents (changes his/her mind) then that leads to the next level:

  • Level 2: Confession (to say the same thing God says about it)

- and that means admitting your sin to God )

  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

- but confess also is to the appropriate people (i.e. those whom you sinned against)

  • Matthew 5:23 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

> usually we don’t have a problem with God, it’s going to our brother/sister (spouse, child, fellow church member, co-worker, neighbor, etc.) that we REALLY struggle

- but that’s due to pride and/or fear of man!

- so a person will have to be humble and be more concerned about that God thinks than what ‘man’ is going to THINK . . . SAY. . . or DO

- That leads us to an important level (that will never happen unless we deal w/ #1 & #2)

  • Level 3: Growth (changing the way you think and act to be like Christ)

- Paul describes the process in a key passage to the church at Ephesus:

  • Ephesians 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

- this is part of the process we defined last week: Progressive Sanctification!

- Now, let’s turn out attention to the Wonderful Counselor and focus on . . .

I.  The Source of His Definitions Give us Hope

- do you remember this big word:  EPISTEMOLOGY?  -- it means:

epistemology = source of truth

* Your source of truth determines your response and your direction to life’s situations

- it affects your decisions and sets the pace for the future as you face other situations

- 28 verses in the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John use the phrase “it is written’

- Here’s a couple of examples:

  • Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"
  • Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.'

- Jesus (& others) was referring to the O.T. writings of the prophets like Moses, David, etc.

> Jesus often quoted OT passages when dealing with problems and answering Q’s

- We now have a complete revelation of God’s Word and God’s will for our lives!

- Paul put it this way in writing to Timothy:

  • 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

 

* Our source of truth is God’s Word!

- it’s all about what the bible says about a subject

- we believe in the sufficiency of the Scripture

  • 2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

[NOTE: READ 2 Peter 1:4-15 – explaining the role of a pastor to ‘stir you up’ – HA!!]

- let’s look at . . .

II.  How the Wonderful Counselor Defined Problems (Examples)

A.  Physical Problems (results of the curse of sin on the body)

Example: Blind Man – John 9 [NOTE:  Guys do what you want, but I’m reading the ENTIRE chapter – it’s awesome]

- this chapter/event illustrates the very point we’re trying to make

-  if it’s physical problem, then deal with the physical (to the degree you/others are able)

-  if it’s a spiritual problem, then deal with the spiritual aspect

- AND. . . if it’s both, then deal with both!

Other Examples:

  • Matthew 11:1- 5 [READ – it gives descriptions of how Jesus helped people struggling with physical issues]

- there is another passage that gives a summary of these physical problems being dealt with:

  • Matthew 15:30 And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. 31 So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

- you might be thinking, how do I get hope from all this?

* Hope: The Wonderful Counselor is also the Great Physician – and He can heal anyone of anything at any time if He so chooses!

- and He can be glorified either way . . . and we can GROW either way!

- of course, we always want the healing, but if we respond well, others can SEE Jesus at work in our life and be drawn to Him

B. Spiritual Problems

- what we are going to do is take a brief look at how Jesus defined problems – the TERMS He used to communicate the problem(s)

- it probably won’t surprise you that the one of the most common terms Jesus used to define problems is the word…

  • Sinful

- He referred to the current generation of the 1st century, while He was on this earth:

  • Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

- of course, the definition of sinful means . ..

  • sinful = to miss the mark

>  the mark is the holiness of God (perfection – God is without sin)

- we are born with ‘foolishness’ is bound in the heart of a child

- we come forth from the womb ‘speaking lies’

- we are as Paul stated;

  • Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

* Hope: Holiness is possible through Jesus!

- but if we act like we’re in Genesis 3 instead of 1 John 1, we will have NO HOPE!

- if we define that problem as ‘sinful’ (repent and confess it) then we can start changing!

NOTE: Many want the BENEFITS of change but they don’t want to go through the PROCESS!

- Jesus referred to this next word in Mark 8:

  • Adultery

- Jesus defined the problem very clearly:

  • Matthew 5:27 You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY';  28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  30 "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.

- a lot of people in our culture don’t like that term – the call it an ‘affair’ (somewhat mild)

ILL: Using biblical terminology in counseling – don’t call it an ‘affair’ – call it adultery

       >  people don’t like to admit that – which again, is rooted in pride!

* Hope: Marital loyalty is possible with His help!

- as long as you make excuse and try to soften the definition, your marriage wont’ grow!

- GUYS:  if you love your wife as Christ loved the church . . . you will be faithful

- GALS:  if you fulfill your role as wife (fitting helper and respect your husband) you will be faithful to him

- and if/when there is a problem, call it what it is, repent, confess it, and get busy CHANGING

- when it comes to address the truth, or failing to do what you said you would do, Jesus defined the problem as a person being a . . .

  • Liar:

- Jesus had not hesitation pointing out the main problem and/or the source of the problem

- now, Adam did what he did and look what happened . . . the curse of sin

- but Jesus also associated our problem of a lack of truthfulness with another individual – and Jesus called him what he is:

  • John 8:42-59 [READ]

* Hope: The Wonderful Counselor is also the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life!

- the truth is, we have to admit our sinfulness and deal with it in light of God’s word, if we don’t then John’s words are a warning to us

  • 1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

- Jesus also defined some people having a very distinct problem:

  • Foolish

- this the Greek word: moros = English word ‘moron’

  • Matthew 7:26 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

 - we know the rest of the story about this foolish person . . .

. . . the storms came, the rain came down, the winds blew, and washed his house away (i.e. destruction comes from failing to build on a solid foundation – i.e. the rock

>  Proverbs is full of examples of the foolish person [I have those verses contrasting the ‘foolish’ and ‘wisdom’ and ‘fools’ and ‘wise’

* Jesus used an example in Matthew 25:1-13 and Luke 24:24-27

  • Luke 24:24 “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see." 25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"  27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Q: Is there hope for a fool? 

A: YES

*  Hope:  The Wonderful Counselor is the only wise God our savior !

> God can change ANYBODY who is willing to humble themselves and listen to His Counsel and DO what He tells us to do because

- I really like the way the book of Jude ends:

  • Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

- AND . . . if you lack wisdom – you can ASK for it:

  • James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

- let’s look a couple of other problems Jesus defined:

  • Little Faith (unbelief) – doubting God

- here are several examples of the use of this terminology:

  • Matthew 6:30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
  • Mark 6:6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.
  • Matthew 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
  • Matthew 16:8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, "You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
  • Matthew 14:29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

* This is a major issue because our faith truly reflects our view of God!

Hope: The Wonderful Counselor tells us where we can get FAITH!

- the context of Mark 11 – Jesus speaking to the 12 about bearing fruit

  •  Mark 11:22 And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God.”

- other verses where Jesus was pointing out the issue of strong faith:

 

  • Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.
  • Luke 18:42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."
  • Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.

- I want to close with this important definition of a problem

- when Jesus spoke of problems . . .

  • Out of the heart (the real source of problems!)

- this is truly the root of all spiritual problems

  • Matthew 15:16 Jesus said, "Are you still lacking in understanding also?  17 "Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?  18 "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
  • Luke 6:45 "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

- we need the truth of God’s Word to REVEAL the true condition of our heart

  • Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

- we can’t even trust our own opinion of what’s going on in our hearts!!

- we need a reliable source of truth to REVEAL the true condition of our heart

* Hope: The Wonderful Counselor knows your heart and can help you change it!

  • Ezekiel 11:5 Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and He said to me, "Say, 'Thus says the LORD, "So you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts.”

Conclusion:

- we could study other definition of the problem:

  • Hardness of heart – Matthew 19:8; Mark 16:14
  • Wicked
  • Lazy
  • Jesus even properly defined His ‘family’ in Mark 9:46-50

Q: How do you define problems? (truthfully or do you make excuses?)

Q: Are you willing to accept the truth, admit your wrong, and act in obedience so you can solve the problem and change?

- There is HOPE – an anxious anticipation of good – in recognizing how Jesus defined problems and then presented the answers to those problems!


 

Finding Hope in the Wonderful Counselor

Hope in Defining the Problem

 

Introduction:

  • Hope = the _____________ _______________ of good

 

  • Romans 8:24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

 

* There is HOPE in any problem you face if . . .:

1)  You ___________ the problem exists (acknowledge the facts/truth)

 

2)  You ___________ the problem the way He does

 

3)  You then _______ on the solutions to the problem!

 

  • Level 1: ______________ (a change of the mind)

 

  • Level 2: ______________ (to say the same thing God says about it)

 

  • Level 3: _____________ (changing the way you think and act to be like Christ)

 

I.  The ______________ of His Definitions Give us Hope

 

epistemology = __________ of ___________

 

* Your _____________ of truth determines your ________________ and your ______________ to life’s situations

 

* Our source of truth is _________ _______!

 

II.  How the Wonderful Counselor Defined Problems (Examples)

A.  _______________ Problems (results of the curse of sin on the body)

Example: _________ _________ – John 9

 

Other Examples:

 

* Hope: The Wonderful Counselor is also the ___________ ______________ – and He can heal anyone of anything at any time if He so chooses!

 

 

B. _______________ Problems

  • _______________
  • sinful = to _______ the _________

 

 

* Hope: _______________ is possible through Jesus!

 

  • _______________

 

 

* Hope: Marital ________________ is possible with His help!

 

 

  • _______________

 

 

*  Hope: The Wonderful Counselor is also the Way, the ____________, and the Life!

 

  • _______________

moros = English word ‘_____________

 

 

* Jesus used an example in ________________ and Luke 24:24-27

 

*  Hope:  The Wonderful Counselor is the only __________ God our savior !

 

  • __________________ (unbelief) – doubting God

 

 

* Hope: The Wonderful Counselor tells us where we can get _____________!

 

  • Out of the ________________ (the real source of problems!)

 

 

*  Hope: The Wonderful Counselor ____________ your heart and can help you change it!

 

Conclusion:

Q: How do you ____________ problems?

Q: Are you willing to ____________ the truth, _______________ your wrong, and _______ in obedience so you can solve the problem and change?

Faith Church