How to Get the Benefits From Sermons

Listening to Sermons:
Two potential errors that we commonly made when listening to Sundays Sermons.
  • One is to listen for another person. If only so and so is here, this message is great for him or her. So we ordered the message CDs to give that person in mind,
  • The other is to just appreciate the enlightenment and new understanding from the message and forget to apply it into our lives.

Whether we just listen for another person or just for our mind, we fail the reap the true benefits of the message because we fail to apply them for our own lives.
We recall the parable of building on sands and rocks that Jesus preached (Luke 6:46–49).
May we be careful to listen well (throw away the rubbish if any) and to apply what we learned and get healthy growth for ourselves.

Then when the other person sees our ourselves, they may be drawn to ask us for the secrets. 
Changing others begins with changing ourselves first.

Lim Liat (c) 28 Feb 2019


Discovery Bible Study with Multi-views Method - Be Enlightened More

By shifting our point view we can discover more from the passage we are studying. This is especially applicable to the study of parables. Let's work with some examples:
1.  The Parable of the Pearl of great price.
  • Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV) 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The teaching is clear - what is of most value will be worth higher than all the rest. We are to give all that we have just to gain this most valuable thing.

The tradition interpretation: 

The pearl, and the treasure in verse 44 represent Jesus Christ.
We are the merchant searching for treasure and we found it (Recall the "I've Found It" of the Billy Graham Crusades in the '70s).
So, we have Paul's life as our example in:
  • Philippians 3:8 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 
Another Possible Interpretation:

By switching the roles: the pearl is us(sinners) and the merchant is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave of His all more, to suffer for us,  just to gain us. We are worth as much as all of God!
  • Php 2:5-8  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  (6)  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  (7)  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  (8)  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The 2nd interpretation gives us the example and the empowerment to accomplish the 1st. It is Christ who enables us to give our all to gain Him, who has given Himself to gain us. So we have:
  • Galatians 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
2. A better understanding of "Robbing God" of Malachi 3:8
  • Mal 3:8  Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
The traditional interpretation is obvious as stated in the verse. We are robbing God because our tithes belong to God. 

A deeper understanding is to ask, does God need our tithes? Where did the tithes go? Why does God demand our tithes? The answer is obvious, it is for our benefits. Whatever God commands is always for our benefits. This is revealed in verse 
  • Mal 3:11  I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts
So our tithes give God the rights to protect the rest and the long term growth of our wealth! So, what how are we robbing God if we don't give our tithes?

The answer is "You are robbing God of the opportunity to bless you!" which is essentially robbing yourself if you don't give your tithes.

3. The Mustard Seed Parable of Matthew 13:31-32

  • “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 

The principle taught is the principle of amplification and multiplication:

  • just one smallest of all plant seeds (don't judge by outward appearance nor of size)
  • sowed in a field.
  • give time to grow
  • become the largest of all plants 
  • to be a tree to give homes to birds
What does the seed stand for?
Jesus did not tell us specifically and hence Jesus is telling us that is a Kingdom Principle and is applicable to many things.

What things?

Many use the seed as faith. A small seed of faith as a start to accomplish great things for God.

Many also use the seed as money. Money is given away like a seed being sowed and whereby bring forth a great harvest of profitable returns.

The seed could also be an idea. When sowed, meaning, being realized as an innovation or an invention, that brings many benefits to all and great wealth to the inventor or entrepreneur.

In summary, at times, we can to learn more and understand better when we extend our viewpoints. There is only one caution - never overextending to conflict with the original meanings of the text within the context. Always find verses to support your interpretations.

  • Matthew 13:52-54  (CEV) 52 So he told them, “Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”

Lim Liat (c) 17 Feb 2019

For more on Kingdom Laws see Kingdom Laws & Principles

Breakthrough Prayer with the Format like a Court Case

An effective prayer could take the format of a court proceeding as an advocate presenting his case before a judge.
A pastor and a friend shared about the following three ways of praying:

  1.  Father-Son Relationship: We pray to our Father to present our needs to Him.
  2.  Friendship: We pray for our friend needs as a stand-in. This is intercessory.
  3.  Judge-Plaintiff Relationship: We present our case before the Judge as an advocate.
Is there any basis for type 3 format of prayer?

We have the Old Testament verses:

  • “Come now and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow …” (Isaiah 1:18)
  • “Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.” (Isaiah 43:25)
We find God encouraging us to reason with Him and give Him reasons for Him to forgive us.  Abraham did that when he pleaded for Sodom(Genesis 18:16-33). Moses did that for his people (Numbers 14:11-20).

However, we also find:
  • Pro 26:2  Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. 
So firstly, we have the good news that we are protected from any curse that does not have any valid reason to catch hold of us. We can live safely and are protected.

Secondly, we have the danger part implied in the inverse of the verse. The curse can stay if there is any valid cause.  Peter warned us that the devil is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is hunting for any cause to attack us.

While God is love, excessively by man standard. God is also just. God will have to extend that justice to the devil too. So if the devil can find any legitimate reason such as our sin, he can attack us and block our prayers from being answered. This is also the reason why Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, has to become a man to die on the cross to pay for our sins and to arise to give us new lives. 

In prayers for healing, unforgiveness is often a cause that blocks the healing from taking place.  In the Lord's prayer, "forgive us our sins as we have forgiven others" (Matthew 6:9-13) and Paul in Eph 4:32 "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you".  Healing usually takes place after the person concerned had forgiven some particular others.

Thirdly, no matter what was the cause, as we discover it, we can plead the blood of Jesus to cover and remove it as Jesus had paid the price for our deliverance. The Lord's Prayer Petition#7 is "But deliver us from evil."

Fourthly, the difficulty lies in the cause, may not be due to us but due to our relatives or people around us and also to our forefathers who we did not even know at all. Such are known as the generational curses which could transfer 3 to 4 generations (Exodus 20:4-6). In such cases, our elders may know, and we can also rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal to us.

Whatever, we can count on God. 

  • Heb 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
Jesus has enabled us to confidently go to the throne of grace to receive mercy, not even plead, and to get the grace empowerment, to get our needs fulfilled.

How does such prayer look like? Below are two posts that give us the details:
Finally, after reading this, please do not be alarmed so that you spend time digging into your past to find any curses or sins. You should only do the digging when you are led to or when you are finding you are not getting your answers after some long period of praying.

Lim Liat (c) 19 Feb 2019