The audio from the preaching this past weekend will appear HERE shortly. It hasn’t been uploaded yet. But I wanted to thank Pastor David Wood from Dacula, GA for his good, challenging preaching. Here are some notes I took at the retreat:
7 Core Values for Pastor Wood’s Church:
- Life is all about Christ, our Lord and our God.
- Worship matters to God.
- The Bible is truth we can count on.
- Our response to the Gospel changes everything.
- We need each other.
- Our mission is global.
- Heaven is real and so is Hell.
Theme of Retreat: Heaven is going to be awesome.
Scripture: Matthew 25.14-30
Memory Verse: Matthew 25.21
Session 1: Well Done. Enter into the Joy of the Lord.
Who will hear well done? See Matthew 25.21, 23. Matthew 24 anticipates Christ’s coming (see Romans 13.11-12). Matthew 25 presents realities of Heaven. Note the phrase: “The kingdom of Heaven is like…” Matthew 25.1-13 sends the message of urgency and preparedness. When the door is closed, it will not be opened. People who do not have oil, don’t get in.
“We do well to thing of the long tomorrow” (A. W. Tozer). See Colossians 3.1-2. We must dwell on things above. This is our great priority. Thinking about Heaven brings perspective to our “below lives”. There are three realities in view:
- Heaven (Dt 26.15; Mt 6.9; Jn 6.42; Acts 1.11; Rev 4.2-3, 8; Rev 19.11-16) – It is where God is. Our passion for God and Heaven are inseparable.
- Hope (2 Cor 5.8). We will connect Heaven with home – at home with the LORD. Delight, joy, and laughter.
- Fulfillment – Your life is meant to accomplish something for God. What you do here prepares the way for what you’ll do in Heaven.
Other notes: Ethnic diversity in Heaven, on King, all living for Him. A city with gates and people moving within and going out. Psalm 16.11 – there is joy in the King’s presence. Heaven is real and it’s going to be awesome. I want to hear, “Well done.” I must have an eternal perspective in a temporal world.
Session 2: How Can I Possibly Be Good?
Fulfillment = “Lord, I want to do whatever You are doing.” I must be faithful in that which is least to have the opportunity to to be responsible for much. See Isaiah 61 and compare with Luke 4. Why did Jesus stop quoting the Isaiah text and not continue on with the information regarding the Day of Vengeance? It is because we are now living in between His two comings.
Talent = the amount of money a person can make over a period of 20 years or more (depending upon if it is gold)
The talent is the grace of the Gospel, something that we could not come up with on our own. There are three characteristics of those who will hear, “Well done.”
- Good – creation is good when it is doing what it should do. My flesh is not good. But I am free through the Spirit to do good.
I didn’t catch the other two characteristics. Pastor Wood spoke of yielding ourselves from Romans 12.1-2. The process of sanctification begins with renewal of the mind. Feed on God’s Word, pray, obey, and think often upon God’s character (awe; 2 Corinthians 3.18).
Battleground: 1) Sinful lust; 2) Sinful anger; 3) Sinful fear. Stop it! Put off the flesh. Put on the new man. Three Resources written by Rand Hummel:
- Lest You Fall: Meditations on Purity
- Turn Away Wrath: Meditations to Control Anger and Bitterness
- Fear Not: Meditations to Overcome Fear, Worry, and Discouragement
Pastor Wood suggested spending one hour a day with God. He suggested five components to that hour:
- Write out a verse.
- Paraphrase it.
- Study the significant words of the verse.
- Personally apply the verse.
- Write out a prayer applying the verse to your specific situation.
Study Resource: Blue Letter Bible
Session 3: Faithful is Faith in Action
What do you do with what you have been given?
- Authority – author; the Lord Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, and He gives the orders.
- Responsibility – response; to manage another’s opportunity; steward
- Accountability – count; reckon (promotion and demotion); to answer for results; evaluation
- Dependability – pend (pendant, pendulum; pending; to hang); able to have a responsibility hung upon your shoulders (yoke); faithfulness
The success of your successor’s successor is the goal of discipleship and a faithful life. Be faithful and leave the results to God. After Pastor Wood preached this sermon, I read the following three central points of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. I found them in this resource: Blomberg, Craig. Interpreting the Parables. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990. Print.
- Like the master, God entrusts all people with a portion of his resources, expecting them to act as good stewards…
- Like the two servants, God’s people will be commended and rewarded when they have faithfully discharged that commission.
- Like the wicked servant, those who fail to use the gift God has given them for his service will be punished by separation from God and all things good.
Session 4: The Servant of the LORD
Paul, James, Peter, John, and all believers are slaves to Christ. Jesus taught us to be slaves by becoming a slave Himself (see John 13; Philippians 2). Matthew 25 is taught by Jesus just a few days before His death. Bondslave:
- Publicly confessed
- Motivated by love for the master
- Slavery – no rights; giving up everything
- It is for life; slaves never offended
- See 1 Corinthians 6.18-20.
Book Recommendation – The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Work by Richard D. Philips
Serve the Lord by tending to the least. In short, identify the need.
Workshop: Helping People with Trials (Jon Bladine)
This blessed me above all that happened at the retreat. “My brethren, count it al joy when you fall into testing.” (James 1.2).
- Be compassionate (1 John 3.16-17; Romans 12.15; Matthew 9.36; 14.14; 15.32; Matthew 20.34) – prayer AND action
- Pray (James 5.16) – ask how you can pray specifically
- Write a note – help them keep a biblical perspective without being insensitive. Write verses out (not just references). Don’t be flippant or belittling (2 Corinthians 1.4)
- Send money to meet financial needs – if you know there is need, send money. If you cannot send money, offer gifts of service.
- How to respond correctly when you are in a trial:
- Spend time with God (make this a priority)
- Speak truth to yourself and to your spouse; counsel yourself rather than talk to yourself
- Do right no matter what.
- Don’t be governed by your emotions.
- Remember Hebrews 13.5-6. Be content not covetous.
- God is your everlasting strength; trust Him (Isaiah 26.4)!
- God knows everything.
- He is powerful enough.
- He loves you.
- Just because they are always positive doesn’t meant they are not struggling.
- Don’t wrongly interpret optimism as a lack of realism.
- Don’t believe that once the worst is over, they will be fine and you may stop praying for them.