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Listen to Past Sermons:

LIVE IN GODLY RELATIONSHIPS (03/15/15)



LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD (03/08/15)



REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU (02/15/15)



APPROPRIATE YOUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD (02/09/14)



ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST (02/02/14)



KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (01/19/14)



LET US ENTER INTO GOD’S REST (01/05/14)



WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL (02/29/13)



Make Preserving Your Soul Your First Priority (06/09/13)



Make Your Calling and Election Sure (06/02/13)



Please God — Not People (08/14/11)



Glorify Only in the Lord (08/07/11)



The Walking Dead, but I don't think so (08/2011)



The Challenges of God's Shepherd (07/31/11)



Receive Your Blessing Today (07/24/11)



Seek Not to be Served (07/17/11)



Be Transformed by Who was Transformed (07/10/11)



Know What God Requires (07/03/11)



Share the Gospel (06/26/11)



Believe the Gospel (05/22/11)



Know and Share the Gospel (05/15/11)


 


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Special Announcement From Mrs. Eaton

AUGUST 23, 2015

"SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY"

ACTS 22

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER PAUL CONCLUDED HIS THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY AND CAME TO JERUSALEM.  THERE HE WAS ASKED BY JAMES TO EXPLAIN HIS TEACHINGS OF SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE.  HE WAS ALSO REQUIRED TO PERFORM CERTAIN JEWISH RITUALS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE WAS IN CONFORMITY WITH JEWISH TRADITIONS.  HOWEVER, IN SPITE OF DOING WHAT HE WAS ASKED, CERTAIN JEWS FROM ASIA FALSELY ACCUSED HIM AND PROCEEDED TO BEAT HIM WITH THE INTENT OF KILLING HIM.  BY GOD’S GRACE, HE IS RESCUED BY ROMAN SOLDIERS.  ON HIS WAY INTO THE BARRACKS, HE REQUESTED AND IS GIVEN PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO THE JEWS. 

IN THIS CHAPTER HE SHARES HIS TESTIMONY.  EACH TESTIMONY HAS THREE PARTS.  FIRST, WHO WE WERE BEFORE WE MET THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, HOW WE MET THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND WHAT WE HAVE BECOME SINCE WE MET THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  OUR TESTIMONY MUST BE ALL ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!  ALL OF US SHOULD BE ABLE AND WILLING TO SHARE OUR TESTIMONY.  IT IS THE BEST SERMON WE WILL EVER PREACH. 
 

  1. SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY.  BEFORE HIS CONVERSION PAUL PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS.  HIS INTENTION WAS TO STAMP OUT CHRISTIANITY.  HE HAD PARTICIPATED IN THE KILLING OF STEPHEN.  HE MADE HAVOC OF THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM.  HE HAD PURPOSED IN HIS HEART TO DO THE SAME THING TO THE CHURCH AT DAMASCUS, AND HAD SECURED PERMISSION FROM THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES IN JERUSALEM TO PROCEED WITH HIS PLANS (VV1-5) .

  2. SHARE YOUR TESTIMONYIT WAS ON HIS WAY TO DAMASCUS TO HURT GOD’S PEOPLE, THAT THE RISEN AND GLORIFIED LORD JESUS CHRIST MET HIM.  HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INITIALLY LEFT HIM BLIND, BUT THE LORD SENT ONE OF HIS SERVANTS TO RESTORE HIS SIGHT (VV6-16).
     
  3. SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY.   ANNINIAS, THE SERVANT SENT TO RESTORE PAUL’S SIGHT TOLD PAUL THE REASON WHY THE LORD SAVED HIM.  HOWEVER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF CAME AND TOLD PAUL IN A VISION THAT HIS MINISTRY WOULD NOT BE IN JERUSALEM BUT TO THE GENTILES.  AT THE UTTERANCE OF THE WORD “GENTILES,” THE CROWD WENT WILD WITH RAGE (VV 17-23).
WE CAN NEVER BE SURE HOW OUR AUDIENCE WILL RESPOND WHEN WE SPEAK ON GOD’S BEHALF.  HOWEVER, WE HAVE GOD’S ASSURANCE THAT HIS WORD “ SHALL NOT RETURN UNTO ME VOID, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE, AND IT SHALL PROSPER IN THE THING WHEREUNTO I SENT IT” (ISAIAH 55:11). 

THEREFORE, LET US SHARE WITH OTHERS THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE AND SALVATION, AND LET US SUPPORT IT WITH OUR OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY. 

REMEMBER YOUR OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY IS THE BEST SERMON YOU WILL EVER PREACH.  PREACH IT!!!
 

AUGUST 16, 2015

"LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER"

ACTS 20:17-38

ON HIS THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY, PAUL SPENT OVER THREE YEARS AT EPHESUS.  GOD DID MANY MIRACLES THROUGH HIM THERE.  THE WHOLE CITY TURNED FROM IDOLATRY TO SERVE THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD. HOWEVER, DEMETRIUS THE SILVERSMITH GOT THE OTHER CRAFTSMEN TO LEAD AN UPROAR AGAINST PAUL AND SO HE DEPARTED. 

IN THIS CHAPTER HE SAILS BY MALTA AND SENT FOR THE ELDERS AT EPHESUS SO THAT HE MIGHT SAY A PROPER GOODBYE.  IN HIS GOODBYE, HE REMINDED THEM HOW THAT IN SPITE OF CONSTANT THREATS TO HIS LIFE, HE HAD PREACHED TO THEM THE GOSPEL OF REPENTANCE.  HE SHARED WITH THEM HIS COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE GOD’S WORK IN THE FACE OF THE DANGERS HE ANTICIPATED.  HE WARNED THEM OF DANGERS THEY THEMSELVES SHOULD EXPECT IN HIS ABSENCE, AND GAVE THEM THE ASSURANCE OF HIS CONSTANT PRAYERS.  FINALLY HE GAVE THEM A BENEDICTION, AND DEMONSTRATED HIS LOVE FOR THEM BY HUGGING AND WEEPING WITH THEM. 
 

  1. LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.   LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.  PAUL REMINDED THE EPHESIANS HOW THAT IN SPITE OF OPPOSITION, HE NOT ONLY PREACHED THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL TO THEM, BUT HAD ALSO MODELED RIGHTEOUSNESS AMONG THEM (VV17-21).

  2. LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHERLET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.  HE SHARED WITH THEM HIS TOTAL COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE PREACHING THE GOSPEL.  HE WOULD NOT BE DETERRED BY  THREATS AND WARNINGS HOWEVER WELL INTENTIONED.  HE INTENDED TO BE FREE “FROM THE BLOOD OF ALL MEN.”  (SEE EZEKIEL 3:17-19) (VV22-27).
     
  3. LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.   LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.  HE REMINDED THEM OF THEIR GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO “FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD.”  THEY WERE TO WATCH FOR “GRIEVOUS WOLVES” BOTH FROM OUTSIDE AND INSIDE THEIR CHURCH COMMUNITY.  HE HAD PREVIOUSLY WARNED THEM OF THIS (VV28-31).
     
  4. LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.   LET US DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.  FINALLY, PAUL SPOKE A BENEDICTION OVER THEM, REMINDED THEM OF THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, PRAYED WITH THEM, HUGGED THEM, AND WEPT WITH THEM (VV32-38).
EVERYONE OF US AT SOMETIME IN OUR LIVES WILL HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO SOMEONE WE DEARLY LOVE.  A CHILD MAY BE LEAVING FOR COLLEGE OR FOR THE ARMED SERVICES.  A FRIEND MAY BE LEAVING FOR ANOTHER CITY, ANOTHER STATE, OR ANOTHER COUNTRY.  IT MAY EVEN BE THAT WE ARE THE ONE WHO IS LEAVING. BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTIES OF LIFE, THERE IS A STRONG PROBABILITY THAT WE MAY NEVER AGAIN SEE OUR LOVED ONES, BE THEY FRIENDS OR RELATIVES.  THE GREATEST ASSURANCE AVAILABLE AT SUCH TIMES IS THE ASSURANCE THAT IF WE NEVER MEET AGAIN IN THIS LIFE, WE WILL MEET AGAIN IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

ALL OUR FRIENDS, RELATIVES, AND ACQUAINTANCES SHOULD SHARE IN THIS ASSURANCE.  THIS ASSURANCE COMES ONLY WHEN WE KNOW OUR SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN BECAUSE WE HAVE ASKED GOD TO PARDON AND FORGIVE OUR SINS.  GOD’S PARDON IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST DIED AND PAID FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD (1 JOHN 2:2). 

HAVE YOU ASKED GOD TO PARDON AND FORGIVE YOUR SINS, AND HAVE YOU DONE WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT YOUR FRIENDS, RELATIVES, AND ACQUAINTANCES DO THE SAME?  IT IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN SAY A PARTING GOODBYE THAT DEMONSTRATES OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER!
 

AUGUST 9, 2015

"WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS"

ACTS 19:1-20

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER WE SAW THAT PAUL LEFT AQUILA AND PRISCILLA AT EPHESUS, WHERE THEY WERE ABLE TO DISCIPLE APOLLOS, WHILE PAUL COMPLETED HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY.  THIS CHAPTER FINDS PAUL COMING BACK TO EPHESUS ON HIS THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY.  IN THIS PASSAGE WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT IF WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT BEING SAVED WE MUST DO WHATEVER GOD DEMANDS OF US.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAID, “IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTOUSNESS” (MATTHEW 3:5).  IF WE REALLY BELIEVE, THEN WE SHOULD GET BAPTIZED.  WE SHOULD AVOID HARDNESS OF HEART THROUGH RESISTANCE OR NEGLECT.  WE SHOULD BEWARE OF PRETENSE.  FINALLY, WE SHOULD GIVE UP ALL FORMER IDOLS.  WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS. 
 

  1. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS.   THERE ARE MANY WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN BAPTIZED.  AT EPHESUS PAUL MET 12 DISCIPLES WHO HAD RECEIVED JOHN’S BAPTISM.  HOWEVER, WHEN PAUL EXPLAINED THE GOSPEL, THEY WERE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.  THE HOLY SPIRIT THEN FELL ON THEM INDICATING HIS APPROVAL.  WE SHOULD NOT PLAY GAMES WITH GOD.  IF WE SAY WE BELIEVE, THEN WE SHOULD GET BAPTIZED.  THE LORD JESUS DID NOT NEED TO BE BAPTIZED YET HE INSISTED THAT JOHN BAPTIZE HIM (VV1-7).

  2. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDSWE SHOULD AVOID HARDNESS OF HEART.  THIS MAY COME THROUGH RESISTANCE AND OPPOSITION, BUT IT MAY ALSO RESULT FROM NEGLECT AND INDIFFERENCE.  HERE AT EPHESUS THEY OPPOSED AND RESISTED THE GOSPEL.  IN OUR DAY MANY SOULS ARE LOST THROUGH NEGLECT AND INDIFFERENCE.  REGARDLESS OF THE RESPONSE, GOD WILL CONTINUE HIS WORK THROUGH HIS SERVANTS SO THAT THOSE WHO DO BELIEVE WILL RECEIVE HIS BLESSINGS (VV8-12).
     
  3. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS.   WE SHOULD AVOID PRETENSE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAID, “GOD IS A SPIRIT, AND THEY WHO WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH” (JOHN 4:24).  WE SHOULD NEVER PRETEND TO HAVE WHAT WE REALLY DO NOT HAVE.  HERE THE JEWISH PRETENDERS LOST THEIR CLOTHES.  WE COULD LOSE OUR SOULS. (VV13-17).
     
  4. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS.   WE HAVE TO GIVE UP ALL FORMER IDOLS.  IT IS A COMMON CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE THAT “IF THERE BE FIRST A WILLING MIND,” TO OBEY GOD’S WILL, THEN THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME TO OUR ASSISTANCE.  WHEN THE EPHESIANS BELIEVED NOT ONLY DID THEY CONFESS THEIR FORMER SINS, BUT THEY GAVE UP THEIR FORMER LIFESTYLES AND BURNED THEIR BOOKS, LEST THEY SHOULD BE TEMPTED TO USE THEM AGAIN.  THEREFORE “MIGHTILY GREW THE WORD OF GOD AND PREVAILED” (VV18-20).
THERE ARE MANY WHO WISH TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE IN HEAVEN, BUT ARE NOT WILLING TO TAKE THE STEPS NECESSARY TO GET THEM THERE.  FIRST WE MUST BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THAT MEANS WE MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD.  HE CAME FROM HEAVEN AND DIED TO PAY FOR OUR SINS.  HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD AND ASCENDED BACK TO HEAVEN WHERE HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER.  HE SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO IS NOW IN THE WORLD AND WILL REMAIN UNTIL THE CHURCH IS RAPTURED. 

JESUS WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, BUT WE WHO RESPOND TO HIS LOVE AND GRACE BY PLACING OUR SOULS IN HIS HANDS, WILL NOT HAVE TO FACE HIM IN JUDGMENT BECAUSE OUR SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. 

GOD DEMANDS THAT WE RESPOND TO HIS WONDERFUL LOVE AND MATCHLESS GRACE.  TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE, WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD DEMANDS.  ARE YOU DOING WHAT GOD DEMANDS?
 

AUGUST 2, 2015

"JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU"

ACTS 18:1-17

IN CHAPTER 17 WE SAW THAT BECAUSE OF THE JEWS FROM THESSOLONICA, PAUL HAD TO LEAVE SILAS AND TIMOTHY AT BEREA AND FLEE TO ATHENS.  ALTHOUGH THERE WERE A FEW WHO BELIEVED, PAUL’S PREACHING AT ATHENS DID NOT BRING THE RESPONSE HE APPARENTLY EXPECTED.  DEPARTING FROM ATHENS, PAUL WENT TO CORINTH WHERE A NUMBER OF EVENTS WOULD DEMONSTRATE NOT ONLY THAT GOD IS OMNISCIENT, BUT THAT HE TENDERLY LOVES, CARES FOR, AND WATCHES OVER, HIS CHILDREN.  JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU. 
 

  1. JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.  IN THE ABSENCE OF SILAS AND TIMOTHY, GOD PROVIDED COMPANIONS FOR PAUL. AT CORINTH PAUL MET A JEWISH COUPLE NAMED AQUILLA AND PRISCILLA WHO WERE EXPELLED FROM ROME.  LIKE PAUL, THEY WERE TENTMAKERS, SO THEY STAYED TOGETHER.  BEFORE SILAS AND TIMOTHY ARRIVED, EVERY SABBATH DAY PAUL WOULD REASON WITH THE JEWS AND GREEKS IN THE SYNAGOGUE, BUT WHEN SILAS AND TIMOTHY ARRIVED, “PAUL WAS PRESSED IN THE SPIRIT, AND TESTIFIED” BOLDLY THAT JESUS WAS CHRIST.  THIS RESULTED IN SUCH STRONG OPPOSITION AND BLASPHEMY THAT PAUL RESOLVED ONCE MORE TO PREACH ONLY TO GENTILES (VV1-6).

  2. JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOUJESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.  HE PROVIDED PAUL WITH THE ASSURANCE OF HIS DIVINE PRESENCE. ALTHOUGH MANY CORINTHIANS BELIEVED, PAUL APPARENTLY FELT THAT HE HAD BEEN TWICE REJECTED.  FIRST BY THE ATHENIAN INTELLECTUALS WHO LAUGHED AT HIM, AND NOW BY THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT WHO BLASPHEMED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THEN PERSONALLY CAME FROM HEAVEN TO CONSOLE AND TO ENCOURAGE HIM.  IN A VISION, THE LORD TOLD HIM NOT TO BE AFRAID BUT TO SPEAK BOLDLY BECAUSE HE HAD MANY PEOPLE IN THAT CITY.  HE WOULD BE WITH HIM AND WOULD ENSURE THAT NO ONE HURT HIM.  PAUL REMAINED THERE ANOTHER 18 MONTHS (VV7-11).
     
  3. JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.   JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.  HE PROVIDED JUDICIAL DELIVERANCE FOR PAUL.  PAUL WAS BROUGHT BEFORE GALLIO THE PROCOUNSEL, BUT BEFORE HE COULD UTTER ONE WORD IN HIS OWN DEFENSE, THE LORD MOVED ON THE UNGODLY JUDGE TO THROW OUT THE CASE AGAINST HIM (VV12-17).
     
  4. JESUS LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.   HE PROVIDED APOLLOS, “AN ELOQUENT MAN, AND MIGHTY IN THE SCRIPTURES” (V24), TO ARTICULATE AND TO DEFEND, PAUL’S TEACHINGS TO THE JEWS AT CORINTH.  PAUL’S MEETING WITH AQUILA AND PRISCILLA HIS WIFE WAS BY DIVINE APPOINTMENT.  PAUL WOULD LATER LEAVE THEM AT EPHESUS WHERE THEY WOULD MEET AND DISCIPLE APOLLOS WHO HAD RECEIVED ONLY JOHN’S BAPTISM.  APOLLOS LATER PROCEEDED TO CORINTH AND “MIGHTILY CONVINCED THE JEWS, AND THAT PUBLICLY, SHEWING BY THE SCRIPTURES THAT JESUS WAS CHRIST” (VV24-28).
THERE ARE THOSE WHO SOMETIMES WONDER HOW WE AS CHRISTIANS CAN LOVE AND WORSHIP A GOD WE CANNOT SEE.  THE FACT IS THAT “THOUGH NOW [WE] SEE HIM NOT, YET BELIEVING, [WE] REJOICE WITH JOY UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY; RECEIVING THE END OF [OUR] FAITH, EVEN THE SALVATION OF [OUR] SOULS” (1 PETER 1:8-9).  AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAID TO THOMAS, “THOMAS, BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN ME, YOU HAVE BELIEVED: BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED’ (JOHN 20:29).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAID THAT HE WOULD “MANIFEST” HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO SHOW THROUGH OBEDIENCE, THAT THEY LOVE HIM (JOHN 14:21). 

OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH IS NOT ONE OF BLIND BELIEF.  WE EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ON A DAILY BASIS, AND SEE HIS MIGHTY HAND AT WORK IN OUR LIVES.  IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HIM PERSONALLY, ASK HIM RIGHT NOW TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS AND TO BECOME YOUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR!
 

MARCH 15, 2015

"LIVE IN GODLY RELATIONSHIPS"

EPHESIANS 5:22-6:1-20

EARLIER IN CHAPTER 5, WE SAW HOW WE SHOULD BEHAVE TOWARDS GOD.  WE WERE TO WALK IN LOVE, IN LIGHT, AND IN WISDOM.  THE EPISTLE NOW FOCUSES ON HOW WE ARE TO RELATE TO OTHERS BOTH INSIDE, AND OUTSIDE OUR FAMILIES.   HUSBANDS ARE APPOINTED AS HEADS OF THEIR FAMILIES, AND WIVES SHOULD RESPECT THEM AS SUCH.  IN TURN, HUSBANDS SHOULD LOVE THEIR WIVES AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH, AND PROMOTE THEIR WIVES BEST INTEREST.  HUSBANDS AND WIVES ARE NOT SEPARATE INDIVIDUALS BUT ONE FLESH.  CHILDREN SHOULD OBEY THEIR PARENTS, AND PARENTS SHOULD RAISE GOD FEARING CHILDREN.  FINALLY, IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN OUR FIGHT AGAINST THE ENEMY, EVERYONE SHOULD BE EQUIPPED WITH THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. 
 

  1. LET US LIVE IN GODLY RELATIONSHIPS.  WIVES ARE REQUIRED TO LET THEIR HUSBANDS LEAD.  HOWEVER, THE HUSBANDS LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE DONE WITH THE SACRIFICIAL LOVE THAT CHRIST HAS FOR THE CHURCH.  MARRIAGE IS A MYSTERY PATTERNED AFTER THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH (CHAPTER 5:22-30).

  2. LET US LIVE IN GODLY RELATIONSHIPS.  CHILDREN SHOULD BE OBEDIENT TO THEIR PARENTS IN THE LORD, AND SHOULD HONOR THEIR FATHER AND MOTHER, WHO IN TURN SHOULD “BRING THEM UP IN THE NURTURE AND ADMONITION OF THE LORD.”  SERVANTS SHOULD BE OBEDIENT TO THEIR MASTERS, AND MASTERS SHOULD REMEMBER THAT THEY ALSO HAVE A MASTER IN HEAVEN (CHAPTER 6:1-9).
     
  3. LET US LIVE IN GODLY RELATIONSHIPS.   THE CHAPTER NOW RETURNS TO MAINTAINING A RIGHT ARMOR OF GOD, THAT (WE) MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL.” THIS ARMOR INCLUDES TRUTH AS A BELT, RIGHTEOUSNESS AS A BREASTPLATE, THE GOSPEL AS SHOES, OUR FAITH AS A SHIELD, SALVATION AS A HELMET, AND THE WORD OF GOD AS A SWORD.  ALL OF THESE PARTS MUST BE UNDERGIRDED BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATIONS FOR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND STANDING FIRM AGAINST THE ENEMY.  WE MUST “PUT ON THE WHOLE ALL SAINTS ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO LEAD, AND THOSE WHO TEACH THE WORD OF GOD (CHAPTER 6:10-20).

IN THE FIRST 3 CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THE RISEN, GLORIFIED LORD JESUS CHRIST GAVE THE APOSTLE JOHN MESSAGES THAT JOHN WAS TO SEND TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES IN ASIA.  (THAT PART OF THE WORLD IS NOW THE COUNTRY OF TURKEY).  IN EACH OF THOSE CHURCHES, THERE WAS SOME FORM OF STRUGGLE AGAINST THE ENEMY.  AT THE END OF EACH MESSAGE CAME THE WARNING: “HE THAT HATH AN EAR LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCHES.” 

TODAY'S CHURCHES AND INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS ALL FACE THE SAME STRUGGLES THOSE CHURCHES WERE FACING.  HERE THE SPIRIT IS SAYING, “BE STRONG IN THE LORD, AND IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT” (CHAPTER 6:10).  OUR FIGHT OF FAITH IS NOT AGAINST ENEMIES THAT ARE VISIBLE, BUT AGAINST “PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS….”  TO BE SUCCESSFUL, WE MUST ESTABLISH GODLY RELATIONSHIPS, AND PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. 

HOW GODLY ARE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, AND HOW COMPLETE IS YOUR ARMOR?
 


MARCH 8, 2015

"LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD"

EPHESIANS 5:1-21

THE FIRST 3 CHAPTERS OF THIS EPISTLE TELL US WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST JESUS.  BEGINNING IN CHAPTER 4, WE ARE CHALLENGED TO MAKE THE WAY WE LIVE REFLECT WHO WE REALLY ARE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THIS EXHORTATION CONTINUES TO THE END OF THE EPISTLE.  IN THIS CHAPTER WE ARE TO BECOME “FOLLOWERS OF GOD AS DEAR CHILDREN.” WE ARE TO WALK IN LOVE, WALK IN LIGHT, AND WALK IN WISDOM, MODELING OUR LIFESTYLE ON THAT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  BECAUSE THE DAYS IN WHICH WE LIVE ARE EVIL, WE SHOULD MAKE SURE THAT WE LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD. 
 

  1. LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD.  LET US WALK IN LOVE AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED US.  WE SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COST THE SINS WHICH BRING THE WRATH OF GOD ON “THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.”  WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW ELOQUENT MEN TO DECEIVE US, NOR SHOULD WE DECEIVE OURSELVES BY JUSTIFYING OUR SINS (VV1-7).

  2. LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD.  LET US WALK IN LIGHT.  PRIOR TO OUR BEING BORN AGAIN, OUR LIVES REFLECTED THE DARKNESS OF SIN.  NOW WE ARE “LIGHT IN THE LORD,” AND SHOULD WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT.  THIS MEANS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE “NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS,” WE SHOULD RATHER REPROVE THEM.  IF SLEEPING, WE SHOULD AWAKE OUT OF SLUMBER AND ARISE FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH AND CHRIST WILL GIVE US LIGHT (VV8-14).
     
  3. LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF GOD.   LET US WALK IN WISDOM.  WE MUST WALK NOT AS FOOLS, BUT AS WISE MAKING THE MOST OF THE TIME WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, AND TO DO THE WILL OF GOD IN THESE EVIL DAYS.  IF WE ARE TO GET DRUNK, LET US GET DRUNK WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD “SPEAKING TO YOURSELVES IN PSALMS, AND HYMNS, AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, SINGING AND MAKING MELODY IN YOUR HEART TO THE LORD,” GIVING THANKS TO GOD IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND SUBMITTING “YOURSELVES ONE TO ANOTHER IN THE FEAR OF GOD” (VV15-21).
ONCE WE HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD, WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO LIVE THE WAY WE USED TO LIVE BEFORE.  WE MUST PATTERN OUR LIVES AFTER THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  WE SHOULD REFLECT HIS SACRIFICIAL LOVE THAT HAS BEEN “SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”  RATHER THAN PARTICIPATING IN THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS, WE SHOULD REPROVE THEM.  WE SHOULD ALSO WALK IN THE WISDOM OF GOD.  WE SHOULD BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, AND WITH THE JOY OF THE LORD IN OUR HEARTS MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

HOW ARE YOU AND I DOING IN THIS REGARD?  IF SLEEPING ARISE FROM THE DEAD!!
 


FEBRUARY 15, 2015

"REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU"

EPHESIANS 2

IN CHAPTER 1 WE SAW THAT WHEN WE ARE SAVED, WE ARE BLESSED WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST.  THIS CHAPTER CALLS US TO REMEMBER WHERE WE WERE BOTH AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS A PEOPLE WHEN GOD SAVED US.  IT THEN CHALLENGES US TO GROW INTO A HOLY TEMPLE OF THE LORD FOR THE HABITATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.  WE ARE THUS CHALLENGED NOT ONLY TO REMEMBER THAT GOD HAS SAVED US, BUT ALSO THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE SAVED US.  LET US NEVER FORGET WHAT THE LOVE OF GOD HAS DONE FOR US THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 
 

  1. REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU.  S INDIVIDUALS, GOD WHO IS RICH IN MERCY MADE US ALIVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS, AND WERE BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH.  LIKE THOSE WHO ARE NOW STILL UNSAVED, WE WERE GUIDED BY “THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKS IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.”  IT IS THE RICH MERCY AND THE GREAT LOVE OF GOD THAT RAISED US FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH TO SPIRITUAL LIFE (VV1-10).

  2. REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU.  AS GENTILES, WE WERE “ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL AND STRANGERS FROM THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE, HAVING NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD.”  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS OUR PEACE, DID WHAT WAS NECESSARY TO BRING BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES TOGETHER AS ONE PEOPLE, THAT “THROUGH HIM WE BOTH HAVE ACCESS BY ONE SPIRIT UNTO THE FATHER” (VV11-18).
     
  3. REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU.   BECAUSE OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE ARE NOW FELLOW CITIZENS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD.  GOD IS MAKING ALL OF US INTO A SPIRITUAL BUILDING, A HOLY TEMPLE, “FOR AN HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT’ (VV19-22).

AS HUMAN BEINGS, WE SOMETIMES TEND TO FORGET WHERE WE WERE AND WHAT WE WERE BEFORE GOD SAVED US.  WE OFTEN FORGET THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD TO  SUFFER CRUCIFIXION ON A ROMAN CROSS IN ORDER TO PURCHASE OUR SALVATION, SO THAT WE COULD RECEIVE IT AS A FREE GIFT.  SOME NEGLECT AND OTHERS REJECT SALVATION.  IN HEBREWS 2:3, THE QUESTION IS “HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE IF WE NEGLECT THIS GREAT SALVATION?  SOME REFUSE TO RESPOND TO AND FAIL TO ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION.  OTHERS HAVING ACCEPTED SALVATION REFUSE TO “GROW IN GRACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.”  BOTH FAIL TO REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR THEM. 

LET US REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US BECAUSE HE LOVES US, AND LET US RESPOND TO THE LOVE OF GOD BY GIVING OUR LIVES TO HIM.
 


SUNDAY AUGUST 24, 2014

"LET US MAKE OUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE"

2 CORINTHIANS 4

IN CHAPTER 2 WE SAW THAT AS WE GAZE BY FAITH INTO THE FACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE ARE CHANGED FROM GLORY INTO GLORY.  IN THIS CHAPTER WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT THE GOSPEL ALTHOUGH HID FROM THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IS A SPIRITUAL LIGHT WHICH BRINGS THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD INTO SPIRITUAL DARKNESS.  WE HAVE THIS TREASURE FROM GOD IN “EARTHEN VESSELS.”  HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF GOD IN US WE ARE FAITHFUL AND RESILENT, KNOWING ASSUREDLY THAT “OUR LIGHT AFFLICTIONS” IN THIS PRESENT LIFE ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY THAT SHALL BE REVEALED IN US, AS WE FOCUS NOT ON THE THINGS THAT ARE TEMPORAL, BUT ON THE THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL. 
 

  1. LET US MAKE OUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE.  THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL REQUIRES SPECIAL MERCY (V1) AND A SERVANT’S HEART (V5).  TO BE EFFECTIVE LIGHTS SHINING IN THIS DARK WORLD, WE HAVE TO RENOUNCE DISHONESTY AND DECEPTION, AND POSSESS A CLEAR CONSCIENCE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.  THE RESULTS MUST BE LEFT TO GOD BECAUSE THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HAS BLINDED THE EYES OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE (VV1-5).

  2. LET US MAKE OUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE.  THE SAME GOD WHO AT THE CREATION OF THE WORLD CAUSED THE PHYSICAL LIGHT TO SHINE OUT OF DARKNESS, NOW SHINES “IN OUR HEARTS TO GIVE THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST.”  THIS IS A GREAT “TREASURE” THAT WE HAVE “IN EARTHEN VESSELS, (SO) THAT  THE EXCELLENCY OF THE POWER MAY BE OF GOD, AND NOT OF US.”  THIS POWER OF GOD WORKING IN OUR “EARTHEN VESSELS” MAKES US INVINCIBLE (VV6-12).
     
  3. LET US MAKE OUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE.   POSSESSING THE SPIRIT OF FAITH, WE SPEAK WHAT WE BELIEVE, “KNOWING THAT HE WHICH RAISED UP THE LORD JESUS SHALL RAISE US UP ALSO BY JESUS.” “IF IN THIS LIFE ONLY WE HAVE HOPE IN CHRIST, WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE” (1 CORINTHIANS 15:19).  BECAUSE WE POSSESS THIS KNOWLEDGE, WE DO NOT LOSE HEART, “BUT THOUGH OUR OUTWARD MAN PERISH, YET THE INWARD MAN IS RENEWED DAY BY DAY,” AND SINCE OUR LIGHT AFFLICTION FOR A MOMENT IS WORKING FOR US A FAR MORE EXCEEDING AND ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY, WE FOCUS NOT ON THE TEMPORAL THINGS THAT ARE SEEN, BUT ON THE ETERNAL THINGS THAT ARE NOT SEEN (VV13-18).
FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN WE LEARN THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE “TRUE LIGHT” WHO CAME INTO THE WORLD.  THIS LIGHT “SHINES INTO THE DARKNESS AND THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDED IT NOT” (JOHN 1:5).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS DELEGATED TO US THIS TASK OF BEING THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (SEE MATTHEW 5:14-16).  WE OFTEN SING, “THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE, I’AM GONNA LET IT SHINE.”  DO WE REALLY MEAN THIS, OR ARE WE SIMPLY SINGING A SONG?  THE WILL OF GOD IS ACCOMPLISHED NOT IN THE VAIN SPEAKING OF WORDS BUT IN DOING THE WILL OF GOD.  “NOT EVERYONE THAT SAYS UNTO ME LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN” (MATTHEW 7:21).  WILL YOU COMMIT TODAY TO DO THE WILL OF GOD, AND TO  MAKE YOUR LITTLE LIGHT SHINE FOR JESUS?
 

SUNDAY AUGUST 17, 2014

"THE GOSPEL PRODUCES MORE GLORY THAN THE LAW"

2 CORINTHIANS 2:3-18

IN CHAPTER 2 WE SAW THAT THE GOSPEL WHEN PREACHED WILL RESULT IN LIFE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE, BUT DEATH TO THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE.  IN THIS CHAPTER WE WILL SEE THAT THE GOSPEL WHICH BRINGS SALVATION AND LIFE PRODUCES IN US A GREATER GLORY THAN THE LAW COULD EVER PRODUCE.  LET US THEREFORE EMBRACE AND SHARE THIS GOSPEL OF GRACE WHICH BRINGS SALVATION TO ALL MEN “TEACHING US THAT DENYING UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS, WE SHOULD LIVE  SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY, IN THIS PRESENT WORLD; LOOKING FOR THE BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (TITUS 3:12-13).  INDEED, THE GOSPEL BY REFLECTING IN US THE GLORY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DOES PRODUCE MORE GLORY THAN THE LAW. 
 

  1. THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION PRODUCES MORE GLORY THAN THE LAW.  THE GOSPEL IS IMPARTED NOT BY WRITINGS ON TABLETS OF STONE, BUT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD WRITING IT ON THE FLESHLY TABLES OF OUR HEARTS.  THE LETTER OF THE LAW KILLS BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE THUS PRODUCING MORE GLORY (VV2-6).

  2. THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION PRODUCES MORE GLORY THAN THE LAW.  WHEN THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO MOSES, THE GLORY OF GOD REFLECTED ON HIS FACE, AND THE ISRAELITES WERE SO AFRAID OF HIM THAT HE HAD TO COVER HIS FACE WITH A VEIL.  THIS GLORY WAS TEMPORARY.  HOWEVER THE GLORY ADMINISTERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE GOSPEL EXCEEDS THAT GLORY AND IS PERMANENT (VV7-11).
     
  3. THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION PRODUCES MORE GLORY THAN THE LAW.  THE COVERING OF MOSES’ FACE WHEN HE RECEIVED THE LAW, WAS SYMBOLIC OF THE VEIL THAT WOULD BE OVER THE EYES OF THE ISRAELITES.  THIS VEIL WOULD PREVENT THEM FROM RECEIVING THE LIGHT OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF SALVATION.  WHEN WE RECEIVE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THIS VEIL IS “DONE AWAY IN CHRIST.”  HOWEVER, THE JEWS STILL HAVE THIS VEIL OVER THEIR HEARTS WHEN THEY READ THE OLD TESTAMENT.  THIS VEIL SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY ONLY WHEN THEY TURN TO THE LORD.  AS BELIEVERS THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS PRESENT WITH US AND GIVES US THE LIBERTY TO SEE THE GLORY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS IN A GLASS.  THIS VIEW OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TRANSFORMS US INTO HIS IMAGE FROM GLORY TO GLORY THROUGH THE WORK OF THE PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT (VV12-18).
A SOUND KNOWLEDGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NECESSARY TO APPRECIATE WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US.  FROM THE DAY THAT ADAM SINNED ENTRANCE INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS RESTRICTED.  IN THE GARDEN IT WAS THE CHERUBIM WITH FLAMING SWORDS.  IN THE TABERNACLE AND IN THE TEMPLE THERE WAS A VEIL BEYOND WHICH ONLY THE HIGH PRIEST COULD GO ONCE EACH YEAR.  WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED, THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS TORN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AFFORDING EVERYONE ENTRANCE INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  PRIOR TO THE COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ANNIMAL SACRIFICES HAD TO BE MADE DAILY TO COVER THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE LAMB OF GOD WAS SACRIFICED ONCE FOR ALL THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.  HAVE YOU LAID “YOUR SINS ON JESUS THE SPOTLESS LAMB OF GOD?  HE BEARS THEM ALL AND FREES US FROM THE ACCURSED LOAD!!”
 

SUNDAY AUGUST 10, 2014

"LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS FOR A HEALTHY CHURCH"

2 CORINTHIANS 2:4-17

IN CHAPTER 5 OF PAUL’S FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, HE REFERRED TO SOMEONE IN THE CHURCH WHO NEEDED TO BE DISCIPLINED BECAUSE OF HIS IMMORAL CONDUCT.  IN THIS CHAPTER HE CALLS FOR FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION FOR ONE WHO WAS DISCIPLINED TOO HARSHLY BY THE CHURCH.  ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER PAUL IS SPEAKING OF THE SAME PERSON, HE IS HERE EXHORTING THE CHURCH AND US BY EXTENSION, TO FORGIVE AND RESTORE SOMEONE WHO WAS DISCIPLINED WHEN THERE IS REPENTANCE AND CONTRITION.  THIS MATTER IS ALSO DEALT WITH IN GALATIANS CHAPTER 6.   HE THEN GOES ON TO DESCRIBE (7) CONDITIONS FOR A LOVING AND HEALTHY CHURCH.  THERE MUST BE DISCIPLINE FOLLOWED BY FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION, COOPERATION WITH THE LEADERSHIP, AN AWARENESS OF THE DEVICES OF THE ENEMY, A RECOGNITION OF OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE THE GOSPEL, THE REALIZATION THAT GOD ALWAYS CAUSES US TO TRIUMPH, THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE WORD OF GOD IS A SWORD WHICH CUTS BOTH WAYS, AND THE INTEGRITY NOT TO CORRUPT OR “PEDDLE” THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.  LET US OBSERVE THE ESSENTIALS FOR THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. 
 

  1. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  IN A HEALTHY CHURCH THERE SHOULD BE DISCIPLINE FOLLOWED BY FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION FOR THE PENITENT.  WE SHOULD NEVER CONTINUE TO DWELL ON THE WEAKNESSES OF OTHERS INCESSANTLY.  WHILE WE SHOULD NEVER CONDONE SIN, AS A CHURCH WE MUST GIVE AN ERRANT MEMBER THE OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE ON (VV4-8).

  2. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  THERE MUST BE COOPERATION WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH.  WHERE THIS IS NOT PRESENT THE CHURCH WILL BE DIVIDED WITH EVERYBODY GOING IN THEIR OWN DIRECTION (V9).
     
  3. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE WILES OF THE ENEMY.  WE ALWAYS HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES WHETHER OR NOT A THOUGHT OR ACTION WILL BRING GLORY TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  IF IT WILL NOT, THEN IT IS PROBABLY A SUGGESTION FROM THE ENEMY.  HE DELIGHTS IN USING HATRED, MALICE, AND UNFORGIVENESS TO DIVIDE AND DEFEAT GOD’S PEOPLE (VV10-11).
     
  4. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  WE SHOULD CONSTANTLY LOOK FOR OPPONTUNITIES TO SHARE THE GOSPEL “IN JERUSALEM, IN ALL JUDEA, IN SAMARIA, AND UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH.”  WE SHOULD LOOK FOR OPEN DOORS AND BE PREPARED TO WALK INTO THEM WITH THE WORD OF LIFE (VV12-13).
     
  5. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  WE MUST BE AWARE THAT WE ARE FIGHTING ON THE LORD’S SIDE.  THE LORD’S SIDE IS ALWAYS THE WINNING SIDE AND GOD WILL ALWAYS CAUSE US TO TRIUMPH AS WE MAKE HIS KNOWLEDGE KNOWN IN EVERY PLACE (V14).
     
  6. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  IN SHARING THE GOSPEL, WE ARE TO GOD AS A SACRIFICE OF A SWEET SMELLING SAVOR OF CHRIST.  THE SAME GOSPEL IS A MESSAGE OF DEATH TO THOSE WHO ARE DYING IN SIN AND A MESSAGE OF LIFE TO THOSE WHO ARE ALIVE IN CHRIST.  IT IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD WHICH CUTS BOTH WAYS!  OF OURSELVES WE CAN NEVER BE “SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS.” WE MUST TOTALLY RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT (VV15-16).
     
  7. LET US PRACTICE THE ESSENTIALS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH.  WE MUST NEVER BE LIKE THOSE WHO CORRUPT OR “PEDDLE” THE GOSPEL.  RATHER WE SHOULD PREACH IN CHRIST, WITH SINCERE HEARTS OPEN IN THE SIGHT OF GOD (V17).
THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF THE CHURCH IS DETERMINED BY THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF ITS MEMBERS.  A CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK.  HOW IS YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH?
 

SUNDAY JULY 27, 2014

"IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND TESTING, BE ENCOURAGED"

2 CORINTHIANS 1:1-22

IN HIS LETTERS TO THE CHURCH AT CORINTH, THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS FORCED TO DEFEND HIS APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY.  THIS WAS PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF THE QUALIFICATIONS STIPULATED BY THE APOSTLE PETER IN ACTS CHAPTER 1.  PAUL’S GREATEST DEFDENSE OF HIS APOSTLESHIP APPEARS IN THIS HIS SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS.  IN THIS FIRST CHAPTER HE REGARDS HIS PERSONAL SUFFERINGS AS AN APOSTLE AND THOSE OF HIS READERS AS PARTICIPATION IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.  HE THEN GIVES THE ASSURANCE THAT THEIR CONSOLATION IN CHRIST WOULD MORE THAN COMPENSATE FOR THEIR SUFFERINGS IN CHRIST. HE THUS   CHALLENGES US ALSO TO BE ENCOURAGED IN TIMES OF SUFFERING BECAUSE OF THIS CONSOLATION THAT WE HAVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 
 

  1. IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND TESTING, BE ENCOURAGED.  THE PURPOSE OF OUR TRIAL AND TESTING IS THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO CONSOLE SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS NOW EXPERIENCING SOMETHING WE HAD TO DEAL WITH PREVIOUSLY.  IN TIMES OF TRIBULATION, WE CAN DEPEND ON THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT TO COMFORT US WITH THE COMFORT THAT EXCEEDS OUR TRIBULATION.  THE TRIAL MAY BE SO INTENSE THAT WE DESPAIR OF LIFE ITSELF, BUT EVEN THEN WE CAN TAKE COMFORT IN THE FACT THAT GOD CAN RAISE THE DEAD (VV1-9).

  2. IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND TESTING, BE ENCOURAGED.  WE NEED TO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER.  REGARDLESS OF HOW SEVERE THE TESTING MAY BE, GOD CAN AND DOES DELIVER.  THE TESTIMONY OF A CLEAR CONSCIENCE IS A MOST VALUABLE ASSET IN TIMES OF TESTING.  IT CAUSES US TO REJOICE WHEN WE KNOW THAT OUR TRIALS ARE NOT PERCIEVED AS PUNISHMENT FOR UNCONFESSED SINS, BUT RATHER THAT GOD IS PREPARING US TO REJOICE IN THE DAY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV10-15).
     
  3. IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND TESTING, BE ENCOURAGED.  AS WE DEAL WITH AND RELATE TO EACH OTHER IN THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WE CANNOT FUNCTION IN THE FLESH, AS THIS COULD RESULT IN INCONSISTENCY.  WE MAY START OUT SAYING YEA, BUT WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH WE SAY NAY.  ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE FUNCTION IN THE ASSURANCE OF GOD’S UNCHANGING GRACE, GOD’S PROMISES IN CHRIST JESUS ARE ALWAYS YEA AND AMEN TO THE GLORY OF GOD.  THE RELATIONSHIPS AND THE ASSURANCES ESTABLISHED AMONG CHRISTIANS ARE ESTABLISHED BY GOD WHO HAS ANNOINTED US AND SEALED US WITH THE DOWNPAYMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR HEARTS (VV16-22).
SOMETIMES IN OUR EVANGELISTIC ENDEAVORS, WE ARE TEMPTED TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT ONCE WE ACCEPT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR, IT IS JUST SMOOTH SAILING ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN.  THIS IS NOT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES.  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CLEARLY STATED THAT, “IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION, BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER.  I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” (JOHN 16:33).  AGAIN, THE APOSTLE PAUL WRITING TO TIMOTHY UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT STATES, “ALL WHO WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS MUST SUFFER PERSECUTION, BUT EVIL MEN AND SEDUCERS WILL GROW WORSE AND WORSE, DECEIVING AND BEING DECEIVED” (2 TIMOTHY 3:12-13).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ALSO SAID, “IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY, AND FOLLOW ME” (LUKE 9:23).  HAVE YOU TAKEN UP YOUR CROSS YET?  REMEMBER, “THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT LIFE ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED IN US” (ROMANS 8:18)
 

SUNDAY JULY 20, 2014

"GIVE RIGHT, LIVE RIGHT, LOVE RIGHT"

1 CORINTHIANS 16

IN CHAPTER 15, PAUL HAVING FULLY EXPLAINED  AND AFFIRMED THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD, EXHORTS US TO BE “STEADFAST, UNMOVABLE, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD, FORASMUCH AS WE KNOW THAT OUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD” (CHAPTER 15:58).  IN THIS FINAL CHAPTER HE EXPLAINS WHAT ABOUNDING IN THE WORKS OF THE LORD LOOKS LIKE.  ABOUNDING IN THE WORKS OF THE LORD INVOLVES GIVING RIGHT, LIVING RIGHT, AND LOVING RIGHT.  LET US COMMIT OURSELVES TO DOING THESE THREE THINGS. 
 

  1. LET US GIVE RIGHT.  THE PASSAGE COULD BE TRANSLATED, “UPON THE FIRST DAY OF EVERY WEEK LET EVERYONE SET ASIDE AND STORE UP AS HE IS PROSPERED, LEST THERE BE COLLECTIONS WHEN I COME.”  OUR GIVING TO THE LORD SHOULD NOT BE SPORADIC, BUT SYSTEMATIC.  IT SHOULD BE SCHEDULED AND CONSISTENT, “UPON THE FIRST DAY OF EVERY WEEK.”  IT SHOULD BE DETERMINED AND SET ASIDE BASED ON HOW GOD HAS PROSPERED US.  THIS MEANS, IT SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY OUR INCOME AND NOT ON OUR EXPENSES.  IF GOD IS FIRST IN OUR LIVES, THEN OUR GIVING TO GOD MUST BE FROM THE “TOP” AND NOT THE “BOTTOM.”  LET US GIVE RIGHT (VV1-4).

  2. LET US LIVE RIGHT.  VISITING OTHER CHRISTIANS AND HAVING FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS ARE ESSENTIAL TO OUR CHRISTIAN GROWTH IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  CHRISTIANS WHO ARE NOT IN FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS ALWAYS DECLINE SPIRITUALLY.  THE REASON THAT THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT THEY ARE DOING GREAT IS BECAUSE THEIR SPIRITS HAVE BECOME UNRESPONSIVE TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD.  WE DEMONSTRATE THAT WE LOVE GOD WHEN WE LOVE AND CARE ABOUT “THE BRETHREN” (1 JOHN 3:14).  PAUL’S DESIRE WAS TO VISIT WITH THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH, BUT IN THE MEANTIME HE WOULD REMAIN WITH THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS UNTIL PENTECOST.  ON THE PERSONAL LEVEL HE WAS IN FELLOWSHIP WITH, AND SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF TIMOTHY AND APOLLOS (VV5-12).  LIVING RIGHT IS LIVING IN FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER BELIEVERS AND CARING ABOUT THEIR WELFARE.  LET US LIVE RIGHT.
     
  3. LET US LOVE RIGHT.  THE FINAL EXHORTATION IS TO BE ON GUARD, TO STAND FAST IN THE FAITH AND TO “PLAY THE MAN.”  WE HAVE TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT GOD’S BUSINESS OR THE DEVIL WILL “HIJACK” US.  IN ADDITION, ALL THINGS MUST BE DONE IN “AGAPHE” (THE LOVE OF GOD).  ALL THAT WE DO MUST BE BASED ON THE LOVE OF GOD.  THE HOUSEHOLD OF STEPHANAS HAD “ADDICTED THEMSELVES TO THE MINISTRY OF THE SAINTS” (V15).  THREE OTHER BELIEVERS HAD “REFRESHED” PAUL’S SPIRIT (VV17-18).  ALL THE CHURCHES OF ASIA AS WELL AS AQUILA AND PRISCILLA SENT GREETINGS.  PAUL HIMSELF SENT GREETINGS WITH HIS “OWN HAND.”  THIS CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THEY WERE LOVING EACH OTHER WITH THE LOVE OF GOD.  LET US LOVE RIGHT.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO GIVE RIGHT, TO LIVE RIGHT, AND TO LOVE RIGHT UNLESS “THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO US” (ROMANS 5:5).  WHEN WE ACKNOWLEDGE OUR SINFULNESS AND BELIEVE ON (PUT OUR TRUST IN THE FINISHED WORK OF) THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, GOD FORGIVES OUR SINS, AND WE ARE BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD.  THE BLESSED HOLY SPIRIT THEN COMES TO LIVE IN US.  HIS PRESENCE IN US IMPARTS THE LOVE OF GOD IN OUR HEARTS.  HIS DIVINE PRESENCE MAY NOT BE APPARENT IN ALL  CHURCH MEMBERS BECAUSE NOT ALL MEMBERS OF CHURCHES HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN.  HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD “LET THE BEAUTY OF JESUS BE SEEN IN YOU, ALL HIS WONDROUS COMPASSION AND PURITY.”  THE HOLY WORKS IN US TO REFINE OUR HUMAN NATURE “TILL THE BEAUTY OF JESUS BE SEEN IN YOU.”  HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN? WHY DON’T YOU CALL ON JESUS RIGHT NOW?
 

SUNDAY JULY 13, 2014

"PREPARE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE"

1 CORINTHIANS 15: 1-8& 12-23

CHAPTER 13 OF THIS EPISTLE DEALS WITH LOVE AND IS OFTEN READ AT WEDDINGS.  CHAPTER 14 DEALS WITH THE USE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS DURING THE CHURCH SERVICE, AND CONCLUDES THAT WE SHOULD “COVET TO PROPHESY, AND FORBID NOT TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES,” BUT THAT WE SHOULD “LET ALL THINGS BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER.”  THIS CHAPTER BEGINS WITH THE CORE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL, AND EXPLAINS THAT “AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVER SO IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE.” SINCE ALL OF US SHALL LIVE AGAIN ETERNALLY, LET US PREPARE OURSELVES TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 
 

  1. LET US PREPARE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE.  THE CORE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL THAT BRINGS SALVATION IS THAT, AS PROPHESIED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, CHRIST CAME FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH, SUFFERED AND DIED FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD.   HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER, AND SHALL RETURN TO JUDGE BOTH THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.  IT IS BY BELIEVING THIS MESSAGE AND PLACING OUR FAITH (TRUST) IN THIS FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST, THAT WE RECEIVE SALVATION.  THE RISEN LORD JESUS CHRIST, PRIOR TO HIS ASCENSION BACK TO HEAVEN,  WAS SEEN BY ALL THE APOSTLES INCLUDING PAUL, AND BY OVER 500 OF HIS FOLLOWERS AT ONE TIME (VV1-8).

  2. LET US PREPARE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE.  CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND IS ALIVE TODAY.  IF THIS WERE NOT TRUE THEN ALL THE SACRIFICES MADE BY CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, INCLUDING THAT OF BEING MARTYRED FOR THEIR FAITH, WOULD HAVE BEEN IN VAIN.  THERE WOULD ALSO HAVE BEEN NO CONVERSIONS, NO FORGIVENESS OF SINS, AND NO SALVATION, SINCE THESE ARE THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WAS SENT BY THE RISEN AND GLORIFIED LORD JESUS CHRIST TO REMAIN ON THE EARTH WORKING IN US THAT WHICH IS WELL PLEASING IN GOD’S SIGHT.  WITHOUT THIS SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION, CHRISTIANS WOULD BE “OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE” (VV12-19).
     
  3. LET US PREPARE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD’S PRESENCE.  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE HAVE THE ASSURANCE THAT CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, AND THAT “AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVEN SO IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE.”  IN EXCHANGE FOR OUR NATURAL BODIES SOWN IN WEAKNESS, WE WILL RECEIVE SPIRITUAL BODIES RAISED IN POWER.  SINCE FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WHETHER WE ARE DEAD OR ALIVE AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, OUR MORTAL BODIES WILL BE CHANGED INSTANTLY INTO IMMORTAL BODIES.  THERE WILL THEN BE TOTAL VICTORY OVER DEATH AND THE GRAVE (VV20-23&50-58).
PERHAPS THE GREATEST TRAGEDY OF LIFE IS OUR PREOCCUPATION WITH THE NATURAL THINGS THAT ARE TEMPORARY, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SPIRITUAL THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL.  MANY PEOPLE LIVE AS IF THERE IS NO HEREAFTER.  AS THEN, SO NOW THERE ARE THOSE WHO EVEN SAY THAT THERE IS NO RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.  THIS CHAPTER ADDRESSES THAT ISSUE.  IF CHRIST IS NOT RISEN, THEN THERE IS NO RESURRECTION.  HOWEVER CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, HE WAS BURIED, AND HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.  THE RISEN CHRIST WAS SEEN BY THE APOSTLES, 500 PERSONS AT ONE TIME, AND THEN HE WAS ALSO SEEN BY PAUL HIMSELF.  IT WAS THIS RISEN CHRIST WHO TOOK PAUL AS A PHARISEE AND MADE HIM AN APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES.  BECAUSE OF HIS MEETING WITH THE RISEN CHRIST, PAUL HAD “FOUGHT WITH BEASTS AT EPHESUS,” AND STOOD “IN JEOPARDY EVERY HOUR.”  DO YOU AND I KNOW WHAT WE BELIEVE AND WHY WE BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE?  EVERYONE MUST RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD WITH IMMORTAL BODIES.  IF YOU SHOULD DIE TONIGHT WOULD YOU SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN IN CHRIST’S PRESENCE OR IN HELL WITH THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS?  “WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED” (ROMANS 10:13).  WHY DON’T YOU CALL ON HIM RIGHT NOW?
 

SUNDAY JULY 6, 2014

"BE MOTIVATED ONLY BY THE LOVE OF GOD"

1 CORINTHIANS 13

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER WE SAW THAT IN THE CHURCH, WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST, “THERE ARE DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS, BUT THE SAME SPIRIT.”  CERTAIN GIFTS ARE LISTED WITH THE EXPLANATION THAT IN THE CHURCH ALL THESE GIFTS ARE NECESSARY BECAUSE THEY COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER (CHAPTER 12:4-30).  IN THIS CHAPTER, WHICH IS OFTEN READ AT WEDDINGS, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT EVERY GIFT WE EXERCISE AND EVERYTHING WE DO MUST BE MOTIVATED BY THE LOVE OF GOD, OR IT BECOMES USELESS AND UNPROFITABLE.  THIS EXERCISE OF THE LOVE OF GOD IS DESCRIBED AS BEING “A MORE EXCELLENT WAY” (V31). LET US MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING WE DO IN THE CHURCH IS MOTIVATED BY OUR LOVE FOR GOD. 
 

  1. BE MOTIVATED ONLY BY THE LOVE OF GOD.  ALTHOUGH WE MAY POSSESS WONDERFUL GIFTS AND WE MAY MAKE EXCELLENT SACRIFICES OF SELF AND PROPERTY, WITHOUT THE LOVE OF GOD EVERYTHING BECOMES USELESS AND UNPROFITABLE (VV1-4).

  2. BE MOTIVATED ONLY BY THE LOVE OF GOD.  WHEN WE ARE MOTIVATED BY THE LOVE OF GOD, GODLY CHARACTERISTICS SUCH AS PATIENCE AND KINDNESS WILL BE REFLECTED IN US (VV5-8).
     
  3. BE MOTIVATED ONLY BY THE LOVE OF GOD.  OF ALL THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, ONLY LOVE ABIDES FOREVER.  THE REST WILL NOT BE NECESSARY WHEN WE MOVE FROM FAITH TO SIGHT.  “NOW WE KNOW IN PART AND WE PROPHESY IN PART.  BUT WHEN THAT WHICH IS PERFECT IS COME, THEN THAT WHICH IS IN PART SHALL BE DONE AWAY.”  “NOW WE SEE THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY BUT THEN FACE TO FACE.”  THE FUNDAMENTAL SPIRITUAL GIFTS AVAILABLE TO ALL BELIEVERS ARE FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE, BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE THREE IS LOVE.
“GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE” (JOHN 3:16).  TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHO HE REALLY IS.  JESUS IS THE ETERNAL WORD OF GOD WHO, ALTHOUGH HE EXISTED IN THE FORM OF GOD, LAID ASIDE HIS GLORY AND BECAME A MAN.  HE FULFILLED GOD’S COMMANDMENTS ON OUR BEHALF,  THEN HE DIED TO PAY THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS, ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD, ASCENDED BACK TO HEAVEN, AND SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO NOW INDWELLS US, AND HAS INSTILLED THE LOVE OF GOD IN OUR HEARTS.  IT IS THIS LOVE THAT COMES ONLY FROM GOD, THAT WE ARE BEING EXHORTED TO EXERCISE NOT ONLY IN THE CHURCH, BUT ALSO IN THE WORLD.  THIS SPECIAL LOVE IS NOT OF HUMAN ORIGIN.  IT IS POSSESSED ONLY BY THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.  EVEN THEN ONLY A FEW CHRISTIANS ALLOW THE LOVE OF GOD TO INFLUENCE EVERYTHING THEY DO.  LET US STRIVE FOR THIS “MORE EXCELLENT WAY.”  LET THE LOVE OF GOD MOTIVATE US IN EVERYTHING THAT WE DO.
 

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2014

"PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS"

HEBREWS 10

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTERS, WE HAVE SEEN SO FAR WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US.  HE IS THE BRIGHTNESS OF GOD’S GLORY AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF GOD’S PERSON.  WHEN HE HAD BY HIMSELF PURGED OUR SINS, HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD (CHAPTER 1:1-3).  HE BROUGHT THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION TO US.  WE CANNOT ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH IF WE NEGLECT THIS GREAT SALVATION (CHAPTER 2:1-3). 

JUST AS THERE WERE ISRAELITES WHO LEFT EGYPT AND NEVER ENTERED THE PROMISE LAND, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR US TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE CHURCH, BUT NEVER ENTER INTO THE REST THAT REMAINS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT CEASED FROM OUR OWN WORKS.  THEREFORE TODAY IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS (CHAPTERS 3 AND 4).  BECAUSE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BECAME A MAN WHO SUFFERED AND PAID THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS, HE NOW FUNCTIONS AS OUR HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC (CHAPTER 5). 

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RENEW TO REPENTANCE THOSE WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE BLESSINGS OF THE NEW COVENANT AND FALL AWAY, SINCE THEY CRUCIFY THE LORD JESUS AFRESH AND PUT HIM TO AN OPEN SHAME (CHAPTER 6).  THE OLD COVENANT WAS REPLACED BECAUSE IT MADE NOTHING PERFECT, BUT UNDER THE NEW COVENANT, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS A HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC IS MADE A SURETY OF A BETTER TESTAMENT (CHAPTER 7).  UNDER THE OLD COVENANT, THINGS WERE A PATTERN OF THE HEAVENLY THINGS, BUT UNDER THE NEW COVENANT, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS OUR HIGH PRIEST HAS ENTERED INTO HEAVEN ITSELF.  THIS WAS THE NEW COVENANT PROPHESIED BY JEREMIAH (CHAPTER 8).  WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE IS NO REMISSION.  THE PRIESTS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT HAD TO KEEP KILLING ANIMALS, BUT JUST AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE AND AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT, CHRIST SHED HIS BLOOD ONCE FOR ALL (CHAPTER 9).

IN THIS CHAPTER WE ARE EXHORTED TO PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS, AND TO HOLD FAST THE PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH. 
 

  1. PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS.  BECAUSE ANIMAL SACRIFICES COULD NOT REALLY TAKE AWAY SINS, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME TO EARTH AND OFFERED HIMSELF AS THE FINAL SACRIFICE FOR SINS.  HAVING COMPLETED HIS WORK, HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.  “BY ONE OFFERING HE HAS PERFECTED FOREVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED.”  THEREFORE, “THERE IS NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN” (VV1-18).

  2. PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS.  BECAUSE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS OUR HIGH PRIEST, AND HAS CONSECRATED A WAY INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES BY HIS BLOOD  WE SHOULD:
    A)    DRAW NIGH TO GOD WITH A FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH
    B)    HOLD FAST THE PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH WITHOUT WAVERING
    C)    PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS
    D)    NEVER FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER
    E)    NOT SIN WILLFULLY
    F)    NOT REJECT GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION.  GOD SEES THIS AS TRAMPLING ON HIS SON, AND INSULTING THE HOLY SPIRIT
    G)    AVOID THE WRATH OF GOD. REMEMBER THAT OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE!! (VV19-31).
     
  3. PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS.  WE SHOULD NOT LOSE CONFIDENCE IN TIMES OF AFFLICTION, BUT RATHER BE PATIENT, REMEMBERING THAT “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  WE ARE NOT OF THEM THAT DRAW BACK TO PERDITION (DESTRUCTION IN HELL), BUT OF THOSE WHO “BELIEVE TO THE SAVING OF THE SOUL” (VV32-39).

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO GOD’S LOVE?  HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?  ISAAC WAT'S RESPONSE WAS, “LOVE SO AMAZING SO DIVINE DEMANDS MY SOUL, MY LIFE, MY ALL!!


SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9, 2014

"APPROPRIATE YOUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD"

HEBREWS 9

IN CHAPTER 8 THE WRITER BEGAN A SUMMARY OF THE BENEFITS THAT WE HAVE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT.  WE SAW THEN THAT IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE HAVE A HIGH PRIEST WHO HAS PASSED THROUGH THE HEAVENS AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.  IN THIS CHAPTER WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT THIS ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD THAT WAS GUARDED AND RESTRICTED SINCE THE GARDEN OF EDEN COULD BE RESTORED ONLY THROUGH THE DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THEREFORE, LET US AVAIL OURSELVES OF THIS ACCESS WE NOW HAVE INTO THE VERY PRESENCE OF ALMIGHTY GOD. 
 

  1. APPROPRIATE YOUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  WHEN ADAM AND EVE WERE EXPELLED FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN, TWO ANGELS WERE PLACED WITH FLAMING SWORDS TO DENY THEM ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  THIS RESTRICTED ACCESS TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS MAINTAINED THROUGHOUT THE EXISTENCE OF THE OLD COVENANT.  IN BOTH THE TABERNACLE AND THE TEMPLE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT WHICH REPRESENTED THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS MAINTAINED IN A CHAMBER CALLED THE HOLY OF HOLIES.  ONLY THE HIGH PRIEST COULD ENTER INTO THIS CHAMBER, AND THEN ONLY ONCE EACH YEAR.  WE KNOW THAT WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DIED ON CALVARY, “THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT IN TWO FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM” (MATTHEW 27:51).  HERE THE WRITER EXPLAINS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT DIVINE EVENT.  ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS PURCHASED BY THE PRECIOUS “BLOOD OF CHRIST, WHO THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT OFFERED HIMSELF WITHOUT SPOT TO GOD (TO) PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD” (VV1-14).

  2. APPROPRIATE YOUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S SACRIFICE FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, WE MAY NOW RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL INHERITANCE.  MOSES INSTITUTED THE OLD COVENANT WITH BLOOD, AND “WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS NO REMISSION.”  HOWEVER, WHILE THE BLOOD OF ANIMALS WERE APPROPRIATE FOR THE EARTHLY SHADOWS OF THE HEAVENLY THINGS, THE HEAVENLY THINGS THEMSELVES REQUIRED BETTER SACRIFICES THAN THESE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BECAME THE LAMB OF GOD WHOSE BLOOD ALONE COULD SATISFY THESE REQUIREMENTS (VV15-23).
     
  3. APPROPRIATE YOUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  CHRIST HAS ENTERED INTO HEAVEN ITSELF TO APPEAR IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR US.  THIS IS NOT A YEARLY APPEARANCE AS IT WAS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT, BUT JUST AS WE DIE ONLY ONCE AND THEN MUST APPEAR BEFORE GOD FOR JUDGMENT, SO CHRIST WAS OFFERED ONCE “TO BEAR THE SINS OF MANY; AND UNTO THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN UNTO SALVATION”(VV24-27).

IN TODAY'S CULTURE WHERE THERE ARE MANY RELIGIONS AND MANY BELIEF SYSTEMS, THE VIEW IS OFTEN EXPRESSED THAT ALL RELIGIONS SERVE THE SAME PURPOSE AND ALL BELIEF SYSTEMS ARE EQUALLY VIABLE.  IT IS CONSIDERED BIGOTRY AND ARROGANCE FOR CHRISTIANS TO THINK THAT THEIR RELIGION OR THEIR BELIEF SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN THE RELIGIONS OR THE BELIEF SYSTEMS THAT OTHERS CHOOSE.  NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.  IF IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED PROPHETICALLY, HISTORICALLY AND EXPERIMENTALLY THAT CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE, THEN THE TENETS OF THE OTHER RELIGIONS AND BELIEF SYSTEMS THAT CONTRADICT CHRISTIAN BELIEFS MUST BE FALSE.  SINCE “IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE, BUT AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT” LET US AVAIL OURSELVES OF OUR ACCESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND GET OUR SINS FORGIVEN. 

REMEMBER, THIS ACCESS WAS PURCHASED THROUGH THE SHEDDING OF THE BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.  HAVE YOU ENTERED INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND HAD YOUR SINS FORGIVEN THROUGH HIS MERCY AND HIS GRACE?  WHY NOT FALL ON YOUR KNEES AND DO THAT RIGHT NOW?


SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2, 2014

"ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST"

HEBREWS 8

AT THE START OF THIS SERIES, IT WAS EXPLAINED THAT THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS WAS WRITTEN TO EXHORT JEWISH CHRISTIANS WHO WERE BEING COERCED TO RETURN TO JUDAISM.  THIS WAS TO EXHORT THEM NOT ONLY TO REMAIN STEADFAST IN THEIR CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT, BUT TO PROGRESS WHILE HOLDING THOSE COMMITMENTS FIRMLY TO THE END. 

IN THIS CHAPTER HE BEGINS TO SUMMARIZE WHAT HE HAS SO FAR SAID.  ALTHOUGH THE SUMMARY CONTINUES INTO CHAPTER 9, WE WILL ONLY DEAL NOW WITH THE POINTS SUMMARIZED IN THIS CHAPTER.  THEY SHOW VERY CLEARLY WHY EVERYONE SHOULD ENDEAVOR TO ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 
 

  1. ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A HIGH PRIEST WHO IS SEATED ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD IN HEAVEN.  UNLIKE THE HIGH PRIESTS THEN ON EARTH WHO MINISTERED IN THE EARTHLY TABERNACLE WHICH WAS A MERE SHADOW OF THE HEAVENLY, THIS HIGH PRIEST IS MINISTERING ON OUR BEHALF IN HEAVEN ITSELF (VV1-5).

  2. ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.  IN HIS PRESENT POSITION, HE IS THE MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT BASED ON BETTER PROMISES.  THIS NEW AND BETTER COVENANT WAS PROPHESIED BY THE PROPHET JERIMIAH IN CHAPTER 31:31-34, AND REPLACES THE OLD COVENANT.  THE OLD COVENANT WAS REPLACED BECAUSE GOD FOUND “FAULT WITH THEM” (THE FAULT WAS WITH THE PEOPLE NOT THE COVENANT). (VV6-8).
     
  3. ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.  UNDER THE NEW COVENANT WE ARE BLESSED WITH THE FOLLOWING:

    A)    THE LAWS OF GOD ARE NOT PLACED ON TABLETS OF STONE, BUT IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.  “I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MIND, AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS”

    B)    WE MAY NOW HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.  “I WILL BE TO THEM A GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE TO ME A PEOPLE.”

    C)    WE MAY NOW KNOW GOD PERSONALLY.  “ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST.”

    D)    OUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN THROUGH THE GRACE AND THE MERCY OF GOD.  “I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR INIQUITIES WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE.”
    THIS NEW COVENANT MAKES THE PREVIOUS COVENANT OLD, AND “READY TO VANISH AWAY” (VV9-13).

ALTHOUGH THIS NEW COVENANT WAS PROPHESIED TO BE “WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH,” IT MUST BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THROUGH THE BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE CHURCH WHICH CONSISTS OF BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES WAS ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS NEW COVENANT.  THOUGH GENTILES, WE ARE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM BY FAITH.  

FAITH IS THE BELIEF THAT WHAT GOD HAS “PROMISED HE IS ABLE TO PERFORM” (ROMANS 4:21).  “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD AND IT WAS COUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (ROMANS 4:3).  WHEN WE PUT OUR FAITH IN THE “FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST,” GOD DECLARES US RIGHTEOUS (ROMANS 3:19-26).  THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST IS THAT, CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.  HE WAS BURIED.  THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.  HE WAS SEEN…. BY AS MANY AS 500 PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME (1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-8).  THE APOSTLE PAUL HIMSELF ENCOUNTERED HIM WHILE PAUL WAS ON HIS WAY TO DAMASCUS TO ARREST AND IMPRISON CHRISTIANS. 

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE TODAY.  HE IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER, FROM THERE HE SHALL RETURN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.  HOWEVER, WE DO NOT HAVE TO FACE HIM IN JUDGMENT.  “IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (1 JOHN 1:9). 

WHY NOT CONFESS YOUR SINS RIGHT NOW AND ENTER INTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?


SUNDAY JANUARY 26, 2014

"GIVE REVERENCE TO THE ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST"

HEBREWS 7

IN CHAPTER 6 THE WRITER PROMISED THAT HE WOULD MOVE FROM THE FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS OF BAPTISM AND SO ON “IF GOD PERMIT.”  AT THE END OF THAT CHAPTER (V20), HE INTRODUCED THE PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHISEDEC.  IN THIS CHAPTER HE EXPLAINS SUPERIORITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHISEDEC MORE FULLY.  IT PREDATES THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD AND IT ABIDES FOREVER.  IT PROVIDES THE PERFECTION THAT THE LAW AND THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM BASED ON THE LAW COULD NOT PROVIDE. THEREFORE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, OUR ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST, WE HAVE THE “SURETY OF A BETTER TESTAMENT.” 

LET US GIVE REVERENCE TO THE ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST AND AVAIL OURSELVES OF ALL THAT HE HAS TO OFFER. 
 

  1. GIVE REVERENCE TO THE ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST.  NOT ONLY IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST GREATER THAN ABRAHAM, BUT HE IS ETERNAL.   HE IS KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND KING OF PEACE.  ABRAHAM PAID TITHES TO MELCHISEDEC WHO IS A TYPE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND BY INFERENCE, THE LEVITICAL PRIESTS WHO DESCEND FROM ABRAHAM AND WHO RECEIVE TITHES OF THE PEOPLE, ALSO PAID TITHES TO MELCHISEDEC (VV1-10).

  2. GIVE REVERENCE TO THE ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST.  GOD DEMANDS PERFECTION.  THIS PERFECTION THE LAW AND THE PRIESTHOOD BASED ON THE LAW, COULD NOT PROVIDE.  THE PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHISEDEC RESULTED IN “A DISANNULLING OF THE COMMANDMENT GOING BEFORE FOR THE WEAKNESS AND UNPROFITABLENESS THEREOF.  FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, BUT THE BRINGING IN OF A BETTER HOPE DID; BY THE WHICH WE DRAW NIGH UNTO GOD” (VV11-19).  THIS HOPE IS “AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST, AND WHICH ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL” (CHAPTER 6:19).  IS THE LAW THEN USELESS?  BY NO MEANS!  “THE LAW IS HOLY” (ROMANS 7:12), AND “THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL” (ROMANS 7:14), AND BY THE LAW WE BECOME AWARE OF HOW SINFUL WE ARE.  “BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN” (ROMANS 3:19-20).  BUT THE LAW COULD NOT ACCOMPLISH RIGHTEOUSNESS IN US BECAUSE OF THE WEAKNESS OF OUR FLESH (ROMANS 8:3), SO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME, FULFILLED THE LAW, AND DIED AND PAID FOR OUR SINS, “THAT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW MIGHT BE FULFILLED IN US, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT” (ROMANS 8:4).  IN SPITE OF OUR WEAKNESSES, “THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS…FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE (US) FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH” (ROMANS 8:1-2).
     
  3. GIVE REVERENCE TO THE ETERNAL KING AND PRIEST.  THE PRIESTHOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS ESTABLISHED BY AN OATH (SEE ALSO PSALM 110:4), WHILE THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD WAS NOT.  THEREFORE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PROVIDES THE “SURETY OF A BETTER TESTAMENT.”  SINCE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNAL, AND HIS PRIESTHOOD UNCHANGEABLE, “HE IS ABLE TO SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST THAT COME UNTO GOD BY HIM” (V25).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NOT ONLY THE HIGH PRIEST WHO OFFERED THE LAMB FOR THE SACRIFICE. HE IS ALSO THE LAMB THAT WAS OFFERED.  HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF! (VV20-28).

WE WILL CONCLUDE WITH AN OUTLINE OF THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION.  WHEN GOD CREATED THE WORLD IT WAS PERFECT.  MAN DISOBEYED GOD, AND THIS BROUGHT SIN SUFFERING AND DEATH.  GOD ESTABLISHED A SYSTEM OF LAW AND ORDINANCES WHICH MAN COULD NOT KEEP.  UNDER THIS SYSTEM ANIMALS WERE SACRIFICED TO PAY FOR SINS.  THE BLOOD OF THESE ANIMALS COULD ONLY COVER BUT NOT WASH AWAY SINS.  BUT, “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON” JOHN 3:16).  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST NOT ONLY KEPT THE LAW PERFECTLY.  HE DIED AND PAID FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, THEN HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD, AND ASCENDED BACK TO HEAVEN.  HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER WHERE, AS OUR HIGH PRIEST, HE INTERCEDES FOR US.  HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD, AND HE IS ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST THOSE WHO COME TO GOD THROUGH HIM. 

IF YOU DESIRE TO BE SAVED, SIMPLY ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SINFULNESS, AND ASK HIM TO FORGIVE YOU.  HE WILL NEVER SAY NO!


SUNDAY JANUARY 19, 2014

"KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"

HEBREWS 6

THIS CHAPTER BEGINS WITH “LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION.”  THESE PRINCIPLES ARE DESCRIBED AS REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, BAPTISMS, LAYING ON OF HANDS, RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, AND OF ETERNAL JUDGMENT.  THESE TRUTHS SHOULD CAUSE US NOT ONLY TO FACE OURSELVES AND THINK, BUT ALSO TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT OUR LOST CONDITION.  OUR SALVATION BEGINS WITH REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS AND FAITH TOWARDS GOD.

THERE IS HOWEVER THE DANGER OF BECOMING STAGNANT OR EVER WORSE OF FALLING BACK INTO THE CONDITION FROM WHICH WE WERE SAVED.  FOR THE HEBREWS THIS WOULD MEAN REJECTING THE ATONING SACRIFICE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND REVERTING BACK TO ANIMAL SACRIFICES.  FOR THE GENTILE IT WOULD BE THE DOG RETURNING “TO ITS OWN VOMIT AGAIN, AND THE SOW THAT WAS WASHED, TO HER WALLOWING IN THE MIRE” (2 PETER 2:22).  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST STATED, “NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD” ( LUKE 9:62). 

LET US KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. 
 

  1. KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  ONCE WE HAVE EXPERIENCED THE BLESSINGS WHICH ACCOMPANY SALVATION, IF WE “FALL AWAY,” WE CRUCIFY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST“AFRESH AND PUT HIM TO AN OPEN SHAME.”  THEN, INSTEAD OF PRODUCING THE FRUIT THAT GOD DESIRES, WE USE GOD’S BLESSINGS TO PRODUCE “THORNS AND BRIERS.” ACCORDING TO ISAIAH 55:13, THIS IS THE VERY OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE SHOULD PRODUCE. THE WRITER EXPECTED BETTER THINGS OF HIS READERS. THAT IS, THE THINGS WHICH ACCOMPANY SALVATION.  GOD ALSO EXPECTS BETTER THINGS OF US (VV1-9).

  2. KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  GOD IS FAITHFUL AND WILL NOT FORGET OUR WORK AND LABOR OF LOVE.  WITH AN OATH TO ABRAHAM, GOD THE FATHER COMMITTED HIMSELF TO OUR SALVATION.  IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS ALSO COMMITTED HIMSELF TO OUR ETERNAL SECURITY (JOHN 5:24 & JOHN 10:27-29).  LET US NOT BE SLOTHFUL, BUT LET US FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM AND THOSE “WHO THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE INHERIT THE PROMISES” (VV10-16).
     
  3. KEEP PRESSING FORWARD PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD PROVIDES US WITH A STRONG CONSOLATION SINCE WE “HAVE FLED FOR REFUGE TO LAY HOLD UPON THE HOPE SET BEFORE US.”  THIS HOPE PROVIDES AN ANCHOR FOR OUR SOULS.  THIS ANCHOR IS SURE AND STEADFAST BECAUSE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS OUR HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC, HAS PASSED THROUGH THE VEIL, AND PLANTED IT IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD THE FATHER! (VV17-20).

THIS IS ONE OF THE DIFFICULT CHAPTERS OF THE BIBLE.  IT RAISES THE QUESTION: “CAN A SAVED PERSON LOSE HIS SALVATION? 

FOUR INTERPRETATIONS HAVE BEEN ADVANCED.  THE FIRST IS YES, YOU CAN LOSE YOUR SALVATION.  THIS VIEW IS HELD BY MANY PENTECOSTALS.  THIS CLEARLY CONTRADICTS THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN JOHN 5:24 AND JOHN 10:27-29.  THE SECOND VIEW IS THAT THE INDIVIDUALS BEING DESCRIBED ARE LIKE JUDAS, WHO FOR THREE YEARS WENT THROUGH THE MOTIONS, BUT WAS NOT REALLY SAVED.  HOWEVER, THE LANGUAGE USED SEEMS TO DESCRIBE A GENUINE CHRISTIAN.  THE THIRD VIEW IS THAT THE “IF” IN VERSE 6 IS HYPOTHETICAL.  THE WRITER IS SAYING IF THAT SHOULD HAPPEN, BUT IT WILL NOT REALLY HAPPEN.  THE FOURTH VIEW IS THAT THE WRITER WAS DESCRIBING ACTUAL EXAMPLES, WHO WHILE NOT LOSING THEIR SALVATION, BECAME USELESS AND AN OPEN SHAME TO GOD. 

NOT ONE OF THESE INTERPRETATIONS IS EITHER POSITIVE OR DESIRABLE.  THEREFORE, LIKE THE APOSTLE PAUL, “FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND AND REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE.” LET US “PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS” (PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14). 

ARE YOU PRESSING FORWARD AND PRODUCING FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?


SUNDAY JANUARY 5, 2014

"LET US ENTER INTO GOD’S REST"

HEBREWS 4

WE HAVE SO FAR SEEN IN OUR STUDY OF THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE BRIGHTNESS OF GOD’S GLORY, THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF GOD’S PERSON, AND THAT HAVING PURGED US FROM OUR SINS, HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER.  HOWEVER, WHILE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS HERE ON EARTH, HE GAVE THE INVITATION, “COME UNTO ME ALL YE THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST……..FOR MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT” (MATTHEW 11:28-30)

IN THIS CHAPTER WE ARE REMINDED THAT THIS PROMISE OF ENTERING INTO GOD’S REST IS STILL BEING EXTENDED.  WE ARE ALSO EXHORTED TO AVOID MAKING THE MISTAKE OF THE ISRAELITES WHO, HAVING BEEN OFFERED THE REST OF ENTERING THE LAND OF CANAAN, FAILED TO OBTAIN THAT REST BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF, DISOBEDIENCE AND REBELLION (SEE NUMBERS CHAPTER 14).   LET US STRIVE TO ENTER INTO GOD’S REST. 
 

  1. LET US ENTER INTO GOD’S REST.  THIS OFFER IS EXTENDED TO “WHOSOEVER WILL,” BUT MANY WILL FAIL TO ENTER IN BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF.  JUST AS CANAAN WAS OFFERED TO ALL THE ISRAELITES, SALVATION WAS OFFERED TO ALL THE JEWS LIVING AT THE TIME WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS ON EARTH.  THIS SAME REST AND SALVATION IS NOW BEING OFFERED TO ALL MEN.  BUT AS THEN SO NOW, MANY WILL NOT ENTER IN BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF, DISOBEDIENCE, AND REBELLION (VV1-6).

  2. LET US ENTER INTO GOD’S REST.  A REST REMAINS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD.  IT IS THAT REST AND PERSONAL FULFILLMENT THAT WE CANNOT GET FROM ANYONE OR ANYTHING EXCEPT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THIS REST AND PERSONAL FULFILLMENT IS BEING SOUGHT BY EVERY HUMAN BEING.  SOMETIMES IT IS PURSUED IN LIFESTYLES THAT ONLY BRING DESTRUCTION TO BOTH BODY AND SOUL.  PERSONAL FULFILLMENT IS FOUND ONLY IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN WE SURRENDER TO HIM, AND ASK HIM TO FORGIVE OUR SINS AND BECOME OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR.  GOD’S INVITATION REQUIRES A PROMPT RESPONSE.  IT SAYS, “TODAY IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOUCE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS.”  WHEN WE ENTER INTO GOD’S REST, WE CEASE FROM OUR OWN WORKS AS GOD DID FROM HIS, WHEN HE RESTED ON THE SABBATH DAY (VV7-11).
     
  3. LET US ENTER INTO GOD’S REST.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DECLARED, “THE WORD THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE” (JOHN 6:63).  HERE THE WRITER STATES THAT, “THE WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD….AND IS A DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART.” THE WORD OF GOD THEREFORE ADRESSES ALL HUMAN NEEDS AND CONDITION. BECAUSE, “ALL THINGS ARE NAKED AND OPENED UNTO THE EYES OF HIM WITH WHOM WE HAVE TO DO,” OUR ONLY HOPE OF STANDING IN GOD’S PRESENCE FOR ALL ETERNITY IS IN THE MERITS OF OUR “GREAT HIGH PRIEST, THAT IS PASSED THROUGH THE HEAVENS, JESUS THE SON OF GOD” (VV12-19).

A FAMOUS NFL QUARTERBACK WAS BEING INTERVIEWED ON TELEVISION.  HE SAID THAT WHEN HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, HIS DREAM WAS TO MAKE THE FOOTBALL TEAM.  HE DID.  WHEN HE WAS IN COLLEGE HIS DREAM WAS TO PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL.  HE DID.  WHEN HE LEFT COLLEGE HIS DREAM WAS TO PLAY IN THE NFL.  HE THEN SAID, “NOW I HAVE THREE SUPER BOWL RINGS, AND I ASK MYSELF, ‘IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO LIFE?’”  NO SIR!  THERE IS JESUS CHRIST.  FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NO PERSONAL FULFILLMENT OR SATISFACTION, OR REST FOR THE HUMAN SOUL, UNTIL WE FIND REST IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  “A REST REMAINS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD.”  THIS REST FOR THE SOUL CAN BE EXPERIENCED BY ALL MEN, BUT SOME WILL NOT ENTER INTO THIS REST BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU DEAR FRIEND?  WILL YOU CEASE FROM YOUR OWN WORK AND ENTER INTO GOD’S REST TODAY?  GOD’S REST TAKES YOU INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.  THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS “RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND PEACE, AND JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST” (ROMANS 14:17).  DON’T YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THE KINGDOM? ENTER INTO GOD’S REST TODAY!!  YOU WILL NEVER REGRET IT. 


SUNDAY DECEMBER 29, 2013

"WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL"

JOHN 1:1-14; HEBREWS 1:1-3 &1 JOHN1:1-3

OVER THE PAST TWO SUNDAYS WE HAVE BEEN FOCUSING ON THE ADVENT OF OUR LOED JESUS CHRIST.  TODAY WE WILL TRY TO FOCUS ON HIS IDENTITY.  THE BIBLE SAYS WE ARE TO “SPEAK THE THINGS WHICH BECOME SOUND DOCTRINE” (TITUS 2:1).  IF WE DO NOT KNOW WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS WE CANNOT SPEAK OR TEACH SOUND DOCTRINE.  THERE ARE LOTS OF FALSE DOCTRINES BOTH OUTSIDE AND EVEN INSIDE THE CHURCH COMMUNITY WHICH RESULT FROM THE FAILURE TO IDENTIFY WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS.  WE WILL BE EXAMINING THREE PASSAGES IN TODAY'S STUDY.  THE FIRST TELLS US THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS THE WORD OF GOD MADE FLESH.  IN THE SECOND HE IS “THE BRIGHTNESS OF (GOD’S) GLORY AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON.”  IN THE FINAL PASSAGE HE IS THE “ETERNAL LIFE THAT WAS WITH THE FATHER AND WAS MANIFESTED TO US.”
 

  1. WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL?  THE ONE ON YONDER STALL IS NOT GOD THE FATHER.  HE IS GOD THE SON WHO WAS FACE TO FACE WITH GOD THE FATHER IN ETERNITY PAST.  THIS IS THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE WORDS TRANSLATED, “THE WORD WAS WITH GOD” (JOHN 1:1).  THIS WORD THAT WAS WITH GOD “BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US” (JOHN 1:14).  “NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD (THE FATHER) AT ANYTIME; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, WHICH IS IN THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, HE HATH DECLARED HIM” (JOHN 1:18).

  2. WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL?  THE ONE ON YONDER STALL IS “THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS (GOD’S) GLORY AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS (GOD’S) PERSON.  “WHEN HE HAD BY HIMSELF PURGED OUR SINS, SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH” (HEBREWS 1:3), “ANGELS AND AUTHORITIES AND POWERS BEING MADE SUBJECT UNTO HIM” (1 PETER 3:22).  THEREFORE HE IS NOT THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL.  THE WORSHIP AND ADORATION ASCRIBED TO GOD THE FATHER IS EXTENDED TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (SEE REVELATION 5:8-13).
     
  3. WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL?  THE ONE ON YONDER STALL IS “THAT ETERNAL LIFE, THAT WAS WITH THE FATHER, AND WAS MANIFESTED TO US” (1 JOHN 1:2).  HE BROUGHT FROM HEAVEN THE MESSAGE, “THAT GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNES AT ALL”(1 JOHN 1:5).  THIS MESSAGE CHALLENGES US TO “WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT” SO THAT WE MAY “HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS (GOD’S) SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN” (1 JOHN 1:7).
     
  4. WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL?  WE HAVE SO FAR DEALT WITH MISCONCEPTIONS WITHIN THE “CHRISTIAN” COMMUNITY.  WE WILL NOW TRY TO DEAL WITH MISCONCEPTIONS OUTSIDE THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.  THE PRIMARY MISCONCEPTION IS THAT JESUS’ LIFE BEGAN IN NAZARETH OF GALILEE, AND THAT THE INFORMATION WE HAVE ABOUT HIM CAME FROM HIS DISCIPLES.  THE FACT IS THAT THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING HS ADVENT BEGAN IN GENESIS 3:15, AND THE OLD TESTAMENT IS REPLETE WITH TYPES AND SHADOWS CONCERNING HIM.  FOR EXAMPLE, THE NAMES OF THE PATRIARCHS IN GENESIS CHAPTER 5 WHEN TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH READ AS FOLLOWS, “MAN IS APPOINTED MORTAL DESTRUCTION AND SORROW.  THE BLESSED GOD DESCENDS TEACHING.  HIS DEATH WILL BRING THE SORROWFUL COMFORT AND REST.”  JESUS’ BLOOD IS DEPICTED IN THE BLOOD OF THE PASSOVER LAMB ON THE LINTELS IN EGYPT, AS WELL AS IN THE RED CORD OF RAHAB ON THE WALLS OF JERICHO.  IN NUMBERS THE ISRAELITES CAMPED IN THE FORM OF THE CROSS.  THE TIME, PLACE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS BIRTH WERE ALL PROPHESIED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.  WHAT THE DISCIPLES RECORD ARE HIS FULFILLMENT OF THOSE PROPHECIES AND THE IMPACT OF THE LIFE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THE CERTAINTY OF HIS PROMISED RETURN.  SO,
     “WHO IS HE ON YONDER STALL?
    AT WHOSE FEET THE SHEPHERDS FALL?
     IT IS THE LORD O WONDROUS STORY.  
    IT IS THE LORD THE KING OF GLORY.
     AT HIS FEET WE HUMBLY FALL.
     CROWN HIM CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL!!!
    AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER!!


SUNDAY DECEMBER 22, 2013

"TAKE TIME FOR JESUS"

MATTHEW 2:1-23

THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW EXPLAINS THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  IN THIS CHAPTER HE EXPLAINS THE EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED AT HIS BIRTH.  IN THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, THERE WAS NO PLACE FOR JESUS IN THE INN.  HERE IN MATTHEW, THERE WAS NO TIME FOR JESUS IN THE SCHEDULE.  IF WE CLAIM TO BE CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMASTIME, WE HAVE TO TAKE SOME TIME FOR THE GUEST OF HONOR.  THERE WERE CONSEQUENCES TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE FOR NOT TAKING TIME TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  LET US LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKE.  LET US TAKE TIME FOR JESUS. 
 

  1. LET US TAKE TIME FOR JESUS.  THE WISE MEN FROM THE EAST TOOK TIME TO TRAVEL FROM THEIR COUNTRY TO SEE WHERE JESUS WAS BORN.  IT IS WIDELY BELIEVED AMONG SCHOLARS THAT THEIR JOURNEY PROBABLY TOOK TWO YEARS.  WHEN THEY ARRIVED IN JERUSALEM, THE STARTED TO LOOK FOR JESUS IN THE WRONG PLACE.  THEY WENT TO THE HOUSE OF KING HEROD AND THERE THEY LOST THE STAR THAT GUIDED THEM.  THE STAR WAS GUIDING THEM TO BETHLEHEM NOT JERUSALEM.  BETHLEHEM WAS SIX MILES AWAY.  THE JEWISH LEADERS WERE ABLE TO TELL THEM EXACTLY WHERE THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE BORN, BUT NOBODY VOLUNTEERED TO JOIN THEM IN THEIR QUEST TO FIND JESUS.  THE JEWISH LEADERS DID NOT HAVE THIS ON THEIR BUSY SCHEDULES (VV1-8).  LATER THE CHICKENS WOULD COME HOME TO ROOST!

  2. LET US TAKE TIME FOR JESUS.  AS SOON AS THE WISE MEN WERE BACK ON THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM, THE STAR REAPPEARED AND GUIDED THEM “TILL IT CAME AND STOOD OVER WHERE THE YOUNG CHILD WAS.”  THEY WERE THEN ABLE TO OFFER GIFTS OF GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH.  GOLD BECAUSE HE WAS A KING, FRANKINCENSE BECAUSE HE WAS A PRIEST, AND MYRRH BECAUSE HE WAS TO DIE FOR OUR SINS.  THESE GIFTS WERE ESSENTIAL TO PAY FOR THEIR JOURNEY TO EGYPT.  WAS THERE A TIME WHEN YOU WERE ON FIRE FOR THE LORD BUT THE FIRE HAS GONE OUT?  GET BACK ON FIRE FOR THE LORD.  NOT ONLY WILL YOU REJOICE “WITH EXCEEDING JOY,” BUT YOUR GIFTS ARE NEEDED FOR GOD’S WORK!! (VV9-15).
     
  3. LET US TAKE TIME FOR JESUS.  HEROD HAD REQUESTED THE WISE MEN TO TELL HIM WHERE THE BABY JESUS WAS SO THAT HE COULD KILL HIM, BUT BEING WARNED BY GOD, THEY RETURNED HOME “ANOTHER WAY.”  HEROD BECAME ANGRY AND RUTHLESSLY KILLED ALL THE INFANTS IN THE REGION OF BETHLEHEM, BUT GOD!  GOD WAS SEVERAL STEPS AHEAD OF HIM.  FINALLY, EVEN HEROD THE GREAT HAD TO FIND TIME TO DIE SO THAT THE BABY JESUS COULD BE RETURNED TO NAZARETH AND GOD’S PLAN CARRIED OUT (VV16-23).  REGARDLESS OF HOW BUSY YOU AND I ARE TODAY, WE WILL ALSO HAVE TO FIND TIME TO DIE!

THE BIBLE STATES IN GALATIANS 6:7, “BE NOT DECIEVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.”  ALTHOUGH THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH WAS PROMISED AND REAFFIRMED THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE JEWISH LEADERS, UNLIKE THE SHEPHERDS, DID NOT TAKE THE TIME TO “GO NOW TO BETHLEHEM, AND SEE THIS THING WHICH IS COME TO PASS” (LUKE 2:15).   THE RESULT WAS THAT WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BEGAN TO MANIFEST HIS DEEP TEACHINGS AND MIRACLES, AND THE PEOPLE BEGAN TO BELIEVE ON HIM AS THE  MESSIAH, THE COUNTER ARGUMENT WAS THAT THE MESSIAH WOULD HAVE TO COME FROM BETHLEHEM AND NOT NAZARETH WHICH WAS IN GALILEE (JOHN 7:31).  EVEN THE LEADERS THEMSELVES CHALLENGED NICODEMUS TO SHOW THEM FROM THE SCRIPTURES WHERE ANY PROPHET CAME FROM GALILEE (SEE JOHN 7:45-53). 

THIS YEAR AS WE CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF JESUS WILL WE HAVE “ROOM” FOR HIM IN OUR HEARTS?  WILL WE HAVE TIME FOR HIM IN OUR BUSY SCHEDULE?  WILL WE HAVE A GIFT FOR HIM?  ASK HIM TO TAKE AND SAFELY KEEP YOUR ETERNAL SOUL.  “ROOM AND TIME NOW GIVE TO JESUS.  SOON WILL PASS THE DAY OF GRACE.”  LET US TAKE TIME FOR JESUS.  OUR ETERNAL SOULS DEPEND ON HIM!
 


SUNDAY DECEMBER 15, 2013

"KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS"

LUKE 2:1-20

THE CHAPTER BEGINS BY TELLING US, “THAT THERE WENT OUT A DECREE FROM CAESAR AUGUSTUS THAT ALL THE WORLD SHOULD BE TAXED.”  AT THAT TIME THE ROMAN EMPIRE RULED THE WORLD, AND CAESAR AUGUSTUS WAS THE EMPEROR OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.  CAESAR’S PURPOSE WAS TO GET PEOPLE ENROLLED SO THAT HE COULD COLLECT TAXES TO RUN HIS EMPIRE.  HE HAD NO IDEA THAT HIS DECREE WOULD RESULT IN THE FULFILLMENT OF A SPECIFIC PROPHECY THAT WAS MADE 500 YEARS EARLIER AND THAT THAT PROPHECY WAS JUST PART OF A SERIES OF PROPHECIES SOME 4000 YEARS OLD CONCERNING THE COMING OF GOD TO EARTH IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.  AT THE TIME OF CAESAR’S DECREE, MARY AND JOSEPH LIVED IN NAZARETH OF GALILEE, BUT JESUS HAD TO BE BORN IN BETHLEHEM OF JUDEA TO FULFILL THE PROPHECY CONTAINED IN MICAH CHAPTER 5 VERSE 2.  CAESAR’S DECREE GOT THEM FROM NAZARETH TO BETHLEHEM SO THAT THIS PROPHECY COULD BE FULFILLED.  CHRISTMAS IS THE TIME WE SET ASIDE TO CELEBRATE THIS ADVENT OF GOD TO EARTH.  WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR HIM IN THE INN.  TODAY FOR MANY PEOPLE THERE IS STILL NO ROOM FOR CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.  HOWEVER, AS BELIEVERS WE HAVE TO SET A BETTER EXAMPLE.  WE HAVE TO ENSURE THAT CHRIST BE KEPT IN CHRISTMAS.
 

  1. LET US KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.  IN BETHLEHEM THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR JESUS IN THE INN (VV1-7).  THAT INNKEEPER HAD NO IDEA THAT GOD WOULD BE BORN IN HIS INN IF ONLY HE WOULD LET HIM.  TODAY WE SET ASIDE A DAY TO CELEBRATE CHRIST’S BIRTH AND FOR MANY THERE IS STILL NO PLACE FOR CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.

  2. LET US KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.  THE ANGELS FROM HEAVEN DID NOT APPEAR TO THOSE WHO HAD NO ROOM FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  RATHER, THEY APPEARED TO LOWLY SHEPHERDS WHO AT THAT TIME WERE DESPISED AND TREATED AS OUTCASTS (VV8-14).  TODAY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST STILL OFFERS TO “MANIFEST” HIMSELF TO WHOSOEVER WILL LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY (JOHN 14:21).
     
  3. LET US KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.  THE SHEPHERDS DECIDED THAT THEY WOULD JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM TO SEE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT HAD HAPPENED.  WHEN THEY HAD SEEN THEY GLORIFIED GOD (VV15-20).  WE ALSO HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME AND MAKE THE EFFORT TO PERSONALLY VISIT WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  SECOND HAND INFORMATION, EVEN FROM A COMPANY OF ANGELS WILL NEVER SUFFICE.  WE HAVE TO PERSONALLY ENCOUNTER THE RISEN, EXALTED LORD JESUS CHRIST BEFORE WE CAN TRULY GLORIFY GOD.  REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE MAY ACHIEVE OR POSSESS AS INDIVIDUALS, IT IS ONLY IN GLORIFYING GOD THAT WE WILL FIND PERSONAL FULFILLMENT.

EVERYTHING ABOUT THE GOSPEL STORY IS PLAIN, SIMPLE, AND STRAIGHTFORWARD.  IN FACT, ALL OF GOD’S TRUTH IS PLAIN, SIMPLE, AND STRAIGHTFORWARD.  THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES:

A)    I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. HE THAT FOLLOWETH ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT SHALL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE (JOHN 8:12).

B)    HE THAT HEARETH MY WORDS AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT HATH EVERLASTING LIFE AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE (JOHN 5:24).

C)    I AM RESURRECTION AND LIFE.  HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME THOUGH HE WERE DEAD YET SHALL HE LIVE, AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE (JOHN 11:25-26).

D)    HE WHO COMES TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT (JOHN 6:37).

E)    WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME IN HIS GLORY AND ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM…BEFORE HIM SHALL BE GATHERED ALL NATIONS….(SOME) SHALL GO AWAY INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS INTO LIFE ETERNAL (MATTHEW 25:31-46).

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE JESUS CHRIST YOUR SOUL AND ASK HIM TO KEEP IT FOR YOU.  YOU WILL BE KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!
 


 

SUNDAY DECEMBER 1, 2013

"MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT IN"

HEBREWS 3

IN THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF THIS BOOK, WE SAW WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS AND WHAT HE DID.  HE BROUGHT FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH NOT ONLY THE MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION TO GOD, BUT HE HIMSELF IS ALSO THE MEANS OF OUR RECONCILIATION TO GOD.  OVER THE NEXT FEW SUNDAYS WE WILL EXAMINE SEVERAL OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE FIRST AND SECOND ADVENTS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TO SHOW VERY CLEARLY THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A NEW TESTAMENT PHENOMENON.  RATHER, WE WILL SEE THAT CHRISTIANITY IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN THE PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AS THEY WERE FULFILLED IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES, AND PROPHECIES OF BOTH THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT, AS THEY ARE NOW BEING FULFILLED AT THE PRESENT TIME. 

TODAY HOWEVER, WE WILL FOCUS ON WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.  FIRST, WE HAVE TO KNOW WHO WE ARE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND FOCUS INTENTLY ON HIM.  NEXT, WE HAVE TO SURRENDER OUR HEARTS WHEN WE HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD.  FINALLY, WE HAVE TO BELIEVE GOD AND AVOID HAVING OUR HEARTS “HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN,” AS WE “HOLD THE BEGINNING OF OUR CONFIDENCE STEADFAST UNTO THE END.”  LET US MAKE SURE THAT WE MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

  1. MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT IN.  NOTHING IS WORTH THE LOSS OF YOUR SOUL.  KNOW WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS, WHO YOU ARE IN HIM, AND FOCUS INTENTLY ON HIM.  “FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON” IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD “CONSIDER.”  IN CHRIST WE ARE HOLY BRETHREN AND PARTAKERS OF THE HEAVENLY CALLING.  PETER CALLS US “A CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, AND A PECULIAR PEOPLE,” WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED “TO SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO HAS CALLED US “OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT” (1 PETER 2:9).  WE ARE ALSO THE SPIRITUAL HOUSE OF CHRIST (VV1-6).

  2. MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT IN.  WE HAVE TO SURRENDER OUR HEARTS WHEN WE HEAR THE CALL OF GOD.  THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S VOICE DEMANDS AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE.  “THE KING’S BUSINESS REQUIRES HASTE.”  “TODAY IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS.”  THE WRITER THEN QUOTES FROM PSALM 95 ASCRIBING THIS PASSAGE NOT TO THE HUMAN AUTHOR, BUT DIRECTLY TO THE HOLY GHOST!  THE SCRIPTURES CAME TO US BY MEN BUT NOT OF MEN.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST QUOTING FROM PSALM 110 STATED THAT DAVID MADE THOSE STATEMENTS “IN SPIRIT” (MATTHEW 22:41-46).  CHRISTIANS SHORTLY AFTER THE DAY OF PENTECOST STATED THAT IN THE WORDS OF PSALM 2, GOD SPOKE “BY THE MOUTH OF (HIS) SERVANT DAVID” (ACTS 4:25). PAUL STATES THAT “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD (2 TIMOTHY 3:16).  PETER STATES THE SCRIPTURES CAME TO US WHEN “HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST” (2 PETER 1:21).  THE HARDNESS OF OUR HEARTS GREIVES GOD AS WHEN THE ISRAELITES GRIEVED HIM IN THE WILDERNESS JOURNEY AND FAILED TO MAKE IT INTO THE PROMISED LAND (VV7-12).
     
  3. MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT IN.  RATHER THAN HAVING OUR HEARTS HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN, WE HAVE TO BELIEVE GOD AND HOLD “OUR CONFIDENCE STEADFAST TO THE END.”  THE WARNING TO THE JEWISH BELIEVERS IS THAT NOT EVERYONE WHO MADE IT OUT OF EGYPT MADE IT INTO THE PROMISED LAND.  PAUL TELLS US THAT THESE THINGS HAPPENED TO THEM AS EXAMPLES AND “ARE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION” (1 CORINTHIANS 10:11).

WE SHOULD NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THIS EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS WAS WRITTEN TO JEWISH BELIEVERS, WHO WERE BEING COERCED TO RETURN TO JUDAISM.  THEIR UNBELIEF WOULD INVOLVE REJECTING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS GOD’S FINAL SACRIFICE FOR SINS, AND RETURNING TO ANIMAL SACRIFICES.   WHILE THIS SITUATION MIGHT NOT APPLY TO GENTILE CHRISTIANS, WE ALSO SHOULD HEED THE VOICE OF GOD, BEHAVE ACCORDING TO WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST, AND ENDEAVOR TO BE STEADFAST TO THE END.  NOTHING IS WORTH THE LOSS OF YOUR SOUL!
 



SUNDAY JUNE 23, 2013

"BELIEVE THE TRUTH AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S GRACE"

JOHN 1:1-18

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO FOCUS ON THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.   THIS TOPIC CANNOT BE ADEQUATELY HANDLED IN ONE SERMON.  WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO IS TO FOCUS ON SOME SALIENT TRUTHS CONTAINED IN THIS PASSAGE.  IF WE BELIEVE AND RECEIVE THESE TRUTHS, THEN WE CAN EXPERIENCE THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH BRINGS SALVATION.

  1. BELIEVE THE TRUTH AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S GRACE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.  HE IS NOT GOD THE FATHER BUT HE IS GOD THE SON AND AS SUCH, HE AND THE FATHER ARE ONE (JOHN 10: 29).  NOT ONLY IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, BUT HE IS ALSO THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL LIGHT AND LIFE.  SPIRITUAL DARKNESS WILL NEVER OVERCOME THIS TRUE SPIRITUAL LIGHT (VV1-5).

  2. BELIEVE THE TRUTH AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S GRACE.  THERE ARE MANY WHO WILL NOT RECEIVE THE WITNESS CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVE HIM, HE GIVES AUTHORITY TO BECOME SONS OF THE LIVING GOD (VV6-13).  THIS SONSHIP TAKES PLACE THROUGH ADOPTION (ROMANS 8:15; GALATIANS 4:5).
     
  3. BELIEVE THE TRUTH AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S GRACE.  WHILE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS ON EARTH HE:
     
    1. REFLECTED THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER (V14).
       
    2. IMPARTED THE FULLNESS OF GRACE AND TRUTH (V16).
       
    3. FULFILLED AND EXPLAINED THE MOSAIC LAW (MATTHEW 22:38).
       
    4. DECLARED GOD THE FATHER TO BE A GOD OF LOVE (CHAPTER 3:16-19).
IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY ALMOST ALL DECISIONS ARE MADE WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GOD.  PEOPLE GIVE THEIR OPINIONS AND DRAW THEIR CONCLUSIONS JUST AS IF GOD DOES NOT EXIST.  YET IF YOU SHOULD ASK THESE INDIVIDUALS WHETHER THEY BELIEVE IN GOD, THEY WILL UNDOUBTEDLY TELL YOU THAT THEY DO.  HOWEVER, IT DOES NOT TAKE MUCH PROBING TO DISCOVER THAT MANY ARE CONFUSED AS TO WHO GOD REALLY IS. 

FURTHERMORE, IF YOU ASK THEM WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THEN THEY ARE UNABLE TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY HIM.  THERE IS ONE SIMPLE TEST TO DETERMINE WHETHER A RELIGION IS TRUE OR FALSE.  SIMPLE ASK THE PROPONENT TO IDENTIFY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THE ANSWER SHOULD INCLUDE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD THE FATHER WHO CAME TO EARTH AS A HUMAN BEING.  HE WAS CRUCIFIED DEAD AND BURIED, BUT HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD.  HE ASCENDED BACK TO HEAVEN, IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER, AND IS COMING BACK TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.  ANY OTHER ANSWER IS DEFICIENT.  

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?  DO YOU KNOW HIM AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR? IF NOT, JUST ASK HIM RIGHT NOW TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS AND BECOME YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR.  JESUS SAID, "HE WHO COMES TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT" (JOHN 6:37)


 

 SUNDAY JUNE 16, 2013

"BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER"

LUKE 15:11-32

TODAY IS FATHERS’ DAY, AND WE ARE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT A PERFECT FATHER.  WE MAY HAVE GOOD MOTHERS AND GOOD FATHERS, BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE PERFECT FATHER, AND THAT IS GOD.  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT GOD IS WILLING TO BE YOUR FATHER AND MY FATHER. 

TODAY'S STORY BEGINS IN THE OPENING VERSES OF THE 15TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE.  HERE WE SEE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BEING CRITICIZED FOR EATING WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS.  HIS RESPONSE WAS TO RELATE THREE STORIES OF LOST POSSESSIONS WHICH WERE SOUGHT AFTER UNTIL THEY WERE RECOVERED. 

THERE WAS THE LOST SHEEP (VV1-7), THE LOST COIN (VV8-10), AND THE LOST SON (VV11-32).  TODAY BEING FATHERS’ DAY, OUR FOCUS WILL BE ON THE LOST SON.  TODAY’S CHALLENGE IS RECONCILIATION.  IT MAY BE RECONCILIATION BETWEEN FATHERS AND CHILDREN, BETWEEN WIVES AND HUSBANDS, OR IT MAY BE THE BEST RECONCILIATION OF ALL, OUR RECONCILIATION TO GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. ALL OF US SHOULD SEEK TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

  1. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  GOD ALLOWS FREE WILL.  THE FATHER GAVE THE YOUNGER SON HIS FREEDOM AND ALL THAT HE DESIRED.  HOWEVER, THESE POSSESSIONS DID NOT LAST VERY LONG (VV11-16).

  2. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  BEFORE RECONCILIATION COULD TAKE PLACE, THE SON HAD TO FIRST COME TO HIMSELF (V17).
     
  3. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  THE PRODIGAL SON HAD TO ACT ON HIS DECISION.  TOO MANY OF US MAKE DECISIONS WITHOUT EVER ACTING ON THEM (V20).
     
  4. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  HIS FATHER WAS ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR THE RETURN OF THIS WAYWARD SON.  GOD IS ALSO LOOKING OUT FOR OUR RETURN TO HIM (V20).
     
  5. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  THE SON HAD TO ADMIT AND CONFESS HIS REBELLION.  IN THE SAME WAY WE HAVE TO CONFESS OUR SINFULNESS TO GOD (V21).
     
  6. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  GOD IS ALWAYS WILLING TO FORGIVE AND TO RESTORE.  JESUS CHRIST HAS ALREADY PAID FOR ALL OUR SINS (VV22-27).
     
  7. BE RECONCILED TO GOD YOUR FATHER.  THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY IS ALMOST MARRED AT THE END BY ANGER AND JEALOUSY (VV28-32).
ONE OF THE TRUTHS WE OFTEN OVERLOOK ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST IS THAT HE CAME TO REVEAL WHAT GOD THE FATHER WAS LIKE.  THE OTHER RELIGIONS ARE ABOUT MAN SEEKING TO FIND GOD.  CHRISTIANITY IS ABOUT GOD SEEKING MAN.  SINCE THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE GOD AND HE IS SEEKING MAN THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THEN ALL OTHER RELIGIONS ARE FALSE.  THIS CAN BE ATTESTED TO HISTORICALLY, PROPHETICALLY, AND EXPERIENTIALLY.  EVENTS SINCE OUR LORD’S ADVENT CAN BE TRACED HISTORICALLY. 

MANY THINGS TAKING PLACE TODAY WERE PROPHESIED CENTURIES AGO.  EVERY BORN AGAIN BELIEVER HAS HAD HIS OR HER LIFE CHANGED BY THE RISEN LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

WILL YOU ARISE FROM YOUR SITUATION AND RETURN TO YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER TODAY?  REMEMBER YOU CAN ONLY COME TO HIM THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

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SUNDAY June 9, 2012

"MAKE PRESERVING YOUR SOUL YOUR FIRST PRIORITY"

LUKE 22:19-30

IN THIS CHAPTER WE FIND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PROPHESYING HIS BETRAYAL, WHILE EATING THE LAST PASSOVER WITH HIS DISCIPLES, BEFORE HIS CRUCIFIXION.  ONE OF THOSE DISCIPLES WOULD LATER BETRAY HIM AND LOSE HIS MOST PRECIOUS SOUL FOR THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER THAT HE LATER THREW AWAY.  REGARDLESS OF OUR POSSESSIONS, THE MOST PRECIOUS THING WE WILL EVER POSSESS IS OUR ETERNAL SOUL.  LET US MAKE PRESERVING OUR SOULS OUR FIRST PRIORITY.

  1. MAKE PRESERVING YOUR SOUL YOUR FIRST PRIORITY.  BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU HAVE ON YOUR MIND WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.  WHILE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS SHARING THE BREAD AND WINE TO SYMBOLIZE HIS BROKEN BODY AND HIS BLOOD SHED TO SAVE OUR SOULS, ONE DISCIPLE HAD ONLY THE MONEY HE WOULD RECEIVE FROM BETRAYING JESUS ON HIS MIND (VV19-23).

  2. MAKE PRESERVING YOUR SOUL YOUR FIRST PRIORITY.  WHILE THE OBJECTIVES OF THE OTHER DISCIPLES WERE LESS SINISTER, THEY TOO WERE PREOCCUPIED WITH SETTLING THE ISSUE OF WHO WOULD BE THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM FOR WHICH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS ABOUT TO SUFFER AND DIE.  IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT WHEN THE TIME CAME TO PAY FOR THE KINGDOM WITH BLOOD, "THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM AND FLED" (MARK 14:50).  JESUS EXPLAINED THAT GREATNESS WAS ALL ABOUT SERVICE (VV24-27).
     
  3. MAKE PRESERVING YOUR SOUL YOUR FIRST PRIORITY.  AS CHILDREN OF GOD, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT LIFE FROM A LONG TERM PERSPECTIVE. THERE ARE NOT ONLY TEMPORAL, BUT ALSO ETERNAL REWARDS FOR FOLLOWING CHRIST. IF WE HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL "OVER A FEW THINGS" WE WILL BE MADE RULERS "OVER MANY THINGS" (MATTHEW 25:21-23).  "THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY THAT SHALL BE REVEALED IN US" (ROMANS 8:18).    IN THE CASE OF THE APOSTLES, THEY WOULD BE SITTING "ON THRONES JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." (VV28-30).
THE WEALTH OF THE WORLD IS NOT EVENLY DISTRIBUTED.  SOME PEOPLE HAVE A LOT OF POSSESSIONS WHILE OTHERS HAVE VERY LITTLE.  HOWEVER, SOME OF THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED AND ARE FREE.  FOR EXAMPLE, WE ALL HAVE ACCESS TO SUNSHINE AND ALL OF US HAVE 24 HOURS IN EACH DAY.  REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE MAY POSSESS,

THERE IS ONE MOST PRECIOUS POSSESSION THAT WE OFTEN NEGLECT.  THAT ONE THING IS OUR ETERNAL SOUL.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ASKED THE QUESTION, "WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE SHOULD GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL, OR WHAT SHALL A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL?" (MATTHEW 16:25-26 & MARK 8:36-37).  JUDAS LOST HIS SOUL OVER THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER THAT HE LATER THREW AWAY.  TODAY, MANY ARE LOSING THEIR SOULS OVER MUCH LESS. 

WHAT IS COSTING YOU YOUR SOUL?  WHATEVER IS PREVENTING YOU FROM SURRENDERING TO GOD AND SERVING HIM IN THE WAY YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD IS COSTING YOU YOUR SOUL!  MAKE PRESERVING YOUR SOUL YOUR FIRST PRIORITY!

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SUNDAY June 2, 2012

"MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE"

2 PETER 3:1-14

IF YOU HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE NEWS LATELY YOU WILL BE AWARE THAT A NUMBER OF TORNADOS RECENTLY PASSED THROUGH THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.  FORTUNATELY THESE WERE NOT AS DEADLY AS THE ONE THAT RECENTLY HIT THE CITY OF MOORE.  DURING THE MEDIA COVERAGE IT WAS EMPHASIZED OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT ONLY UNDERGROUND SHELTERS PREPARED BEFOREHAND CAN PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION FROM CERTAIN STRONG TORNADOS. 

THE MESSAGE OF THE CHURCH FOR THE PAST 2000 YEARS HAS BEEN THAT THERE IS A DAY COMING CALLED THE DAY OF THE LORD, AND THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY SHELTER THAT WILL PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION ON THAT DAY.  IN ANTICIPATION OF THAT DAY, PETER EXHORTS US TO "MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE" (2 PETER 1:10).  THIS IS OUR WORD OF EXHORTATION TODAY.

  1. MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.  THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT WE MAY FORGET, BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS, LIKE THE TEACHINGS OF THE WORD OF GOD, THAT WE SHOULD ALWAYS KEEP IN REMEMBERANCE (VV1-4).

  2. MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.  OUR CHRISTIAN HOPE MAY BE THE SUBJECT OF RIDICULE BY THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO BE "WILLINGLY IGNORANT," BUT WHAT MAY APPEAR TO BE A LONG TIME ON MAN’S CALENDAR IS REALLY A VERY SHORT TIME ON GOD’S CALENDAR.  GOD’S APPARENT DELAY IS TO ALLOW MAN MORE TIME TO REPENT (VV5-9).
     
  3. MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.  SINCE THIS CREATION AS WE KNOW IT WILL ONE DAY BE DISSOLVED, OUR ONLY HOPE FOR PRESERVATION IS THE PROMISE OF "NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH, WHEREIN DWELLETH RIGHTEOUSNESS."  THEREFORE, WE HAVE TO BE "DELIGENT THAT WE MAY BE FOUND OF HIM IN PEACE, WITHOUT SPOT AND BLAMELESS."  WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.
IT IS STUNNING TO SEE THE EXTENT TO WHICH WE SOMETIMES SEEK TO PRESERVE THE TEMPORAL THINGS THAT ARE PASSING AWAY, WHILE NEGLECTING THOSE THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL.  WE MAY ENSURE THAT WE HAVE LIFE INSURANCE, BUT REMAIN COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS OF OUR NEED FOR SOUL INSURANCE.  WE WILL EAT AND EXERCISE DAILY TO PRESERVE OUR BODIES, WHILE NEGLECTING TO FEED OUR SOULS ON THE WORD OF GOD. 

PETER IS HERE STIRRING "UP YOUR PURE MINDS BY WAY OF REMEMBERANCE, THAT WE MAY BE MINDFUL" OF THE WORD OF GOD.  THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, INCLUDING HIS DEATH BURIAL AND RESURRECTION WERE FORETOLD BY THE HOLY PROPHETS.  HIS SECOND COMING HAS BEEN FORETOLD BY THE APOSTLES AS WELL AS BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.  THE LORD WILL COME "SUDDENLY" AND "AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT." 

JUST AS THOSE WHO WERE SECURE IN UNDERGROUND SHELTERS SURVIVED THE TORNADOS, WE HAVE TO BE SECURE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BEFORE HE RETURNS.  IN THAT GREAT "DAY OF THE LORD," THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL BE THE ONLY PLACE OF REFUGE.  MAKE YOUR CALLING AND YOUR ELECTION SURE!

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SUNDAY NOVEMBER 18, 2012

"CHRISTIANITY CREATES CHALLENGES; CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST"

1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-16

THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THIS EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS REVEALS THAT THE CHURCH AT CORINTH WAS GIFTED BUT DIVIDED.  THE CHURCH HAD GREAT PREACHERS, SO THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ALIGNED THEMSELVES WITH THE PREACHERS THEY PREFERRED.  THIS WAS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT PAUL FACED INSIDE THAT CHURCH.    WE ALSO READ IN ACTS CHAPTER 18, THAT THE CHALLENGES FROM THE JEWS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH  WERE SUCH THAT PAUL HAD TO TELL THEM THAT HE WOULD NO LONGER PREACH TO JEWS, BUT WOULD ONLY PREACH TO THE GENTILES.  IN ADDITION TO THIS THERE WERE IMMORAL LIFESTYLES BEING PRACTICED OPENLY IN THE CHURCH (CHAPTER 5:1).  

IN SPITE OF ALL THIS PAUL DESCRIBES THEM AS "SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS CALLED TO BE SAINTS" (CHAPTER 1:2).  IN THIS CHAPTER HE EXPLAINS WHY THOSE WHO HAVE NOT BEEN BORN AGAIN CANNOT APPRECIATE SPIRITUAL THINGS AND WHY CHRISTIANS CAN.  THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN "HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST" (V16), AND CAN THEREFORE SEE THINGS FROM GOD'S PERSPECTIVE.  CHRISTIANS NOT ONLY FACE CHALLENGES OUTSIDE AND INSIDE THE CHURCH, BUT ALSO WITHIN US AS THE FLESH WARS AGAINST THE SPIRIT (ROMANS 7). 

IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THESE CHALLENGES, WE MUST CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST THAT GOD HAS GRACIOUSLY PLACED WITHIN US.

  1. CHRISTIANITY CREATES CHALLENGES; CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST.   AS EARTHEN VESSELS CONTAINING THE TREASURES OF CHRIST, WE MAY BE WEAK AND FEEBLE, BUT OUR MESSAGE AND OUR FAITH REST NOT IN OURSELVES, NOR IN THE WISDOM OF MEN, BUT IN THE POWER OF AN ALMIGHTY GOD (VV1- 8).

  2. CHRISTIANITY CREATES CHALLENGES; CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST.  THE SPIRIT OF GOD WITHIN US ENABLES US BOTH TO KNOW AND TO SPEAK "THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD."  THESE THINGS ARE FREELY GIVEN TO US BY GOD, AND WE SPEAK THEM NOT IN THE WORDS OF MAN'S WISDOM BUT IN THE WISDOM THAT THE HOLY GHOST TEACHES "COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL" (VV9-13).
     
  3. CHRISTIANITY CREATES CHALLENGES; CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST.  THE CHAPTER CLOSES WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST CHALLENGES CHRISTIANS FACE TODAY.  HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THE NATURAL MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS NONE OF THESE THINGS?  DO WE BEAT THEM OVER THE HEAD WITH A BIBLE, OR DO WE SIMPLY RETREAT TO THE CLOSET?  THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESENTS THE SOLUTION.  WE START BY ACKNOWLEDGING THAT SPIRITUAL THINGS ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED, AND WE ONLY KNOW THEM BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH THE "MIND OF CHRIST."
IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 28:19-20, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST GAVE US WHAT WE CALL "THE GREAT COMMISSION."  THIS COMMANDS US TO TAKE THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM TO ALL NATIONS.  THE EARLY CHRISTIANS TOOK THIS ASSIGNMENT SO SERIOUSLY THAT THEY "TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN" (ACTS 17:6).  WITHIN 300 YEARS (AD 325) THEY HAD CONQUERED THE KNOWN WORLD.  WHEN THE ROMAN EMPIRE FELL TO THE BARBARIANS FROM THE NORTH, THE CHRISTIANS CONQUERED AND CONVERTED THOSE BARBARIANS WITH THE WORD OF GOD! 

WE MUST FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS.  LET US CULTIVATE THE MIND OF CHRIST AS WE FACE THE CHALLENGES OF TODAY.  IF YOU ARE NOT YET A SOLDIER OF CHRIST, ASK HIM TO ENLIST YOU TODAY.


 

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2012

"ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM"

GENESIS 3:1-21

THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS CONTAIN THE ACCOUNT OF CREATION AND THE FALL OF MAN.  THE BIBLICAL NARRATIVE IS SO SIMPLE EVEN A CHILD CAN UNDERSTAND IT.  HOWEVER, THIS NARRATIVE DEALS WITH SPIRITUAL ISSUES THAT ARE MOST RELEVANT TO OUR DAY AND GENERATION.  IN VERSE 9, GOD ASKS ADAM: "WHERE ART THOU?" 

TODAY, GOD'S CALL TO ADAM IS EXTENDED TO ALL MANKIND.  BECAUSE OUR LIVES ARE IN GOD'S HANDS, AND "GOD HATH APPOINTED A DAY IN WHICH HE WILL JUDGE THE WORLD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS" (ACTS 17:31),  IT BEHOOVES US TO ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM IN REPENTANCE AND FAITH.

  1. ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM.  THE SERPENT PROMISED THEM WISDOM AND SATISFACTION IF THEY DISOBEYED GOD, BUT WHAT THEY RECEIVED WAS DISAPPOINTMENT, SHAME, AND THE LOSS OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (VV1-8).  TODAY THE SERPENT HAS MANY VOICES THAT ARE JUST AS SEDUCTIVE AND ALLURING.  WHEN WE GIVE HEED TO THESE VOICES, THE RESULTS ARE JUST AS DISAPPOINTING.

  2. ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM.  ADAM AND EVE REALIZED THAT THEY WERE NAKED AND TRIED TO HIDE FROM THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND TO COVER THEMSELVES WITH LEAVES, BUT GOD CAME SEEKING THEM TO PROPERLY CLOTHE THEM AND TO RESTORE THEM TO FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM (VV9-11).   TODAY, THIS RESTORATION AND FELLOWSHIP IS OFFERED TO MANKIND THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO CAME "TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST" (LUKE 19:10).
     
  3. ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM.  ADAM BLAMED EVE AND EVE BLAMED THE SERPENT FOR THEIR DISOBEDIENCE, BUT TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN.  SIN IS YIELDING TO TEMPTATION.  GOD HELD EACH PARTY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN SIN AND IMPOSED THE PENALTIES ACCORDINGLY.  THE BLAMES WENT BACKWARD FROM ADAM TO THE SERPENT AND THE PENALTIES CAME FORWARD FROM THE SERPENT TO ADAM (VV12-19).
     
  4. ANSWER GOD'S CALL AND RETURN TO HIM.  "THE LORD IS MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS, SLOW TO ANGER AND PLENTEOUS IN MERCY" (PSALM 103:8).  IN SPITE OF THEIR DISOBEDIENCE, GOD LOOKED BEYOND THEIR FAULT AND SAW THEIR NEED.  THEIR FIG LEAVES WERE INADEQUATE, SO GOD IN HIS MERCY SLEW ANIMALS (SHED BLOOD) AND MADE "COATS OF SKINS" FOR ADAM AND HIS WIFE (VV20-21). OUR OWN EFFORTS TO MAKE OURSELVES RIGHTEOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD ARE AS "FILTHY RAGS" (ISAIAH 64:6).THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SHED HIS BLOOD SO THAT WE COULD BE CLOTHED IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  HE BECAME "SIN FOR US WHO KNEW NO SIN; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM" (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21).  WE CAN ONLY ENTER GOD'S PRESENCE CLOTHED IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPARTED TO US WHEN WE REPENT OF OUR SINS AND ASK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO BE OUR SAVIOUR AND LORD.
IN THE RECENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BALLOTS IN SOME STATES INCLUDED THE LEGALIZING OF MARIJUANA AND THE APPROVAL OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES.  SATAN STILL HAS SOME CONVINCED THAT FREEDOM AND LIBERTY CAN BE FOUND OUTSIDE OF GOD'S PARAMETERS.  THE RESULTS ARE "VILE AFFECTIONS" AND "REPROBATE MINDS" (ROMANS 1:18-32) WHICH LEAD TO ETERNAL DESTRUCTION.  GOD STILL INVITES ALL MEN TO ANSWER HIS CALL AND RETURN TO HIM. 

WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER GOD'S CALL TODAY?
 


 

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2012

"LET US FULFILL OUR DIVINE PURPOSE AND COMMISSION"

JOHN 21:15-25

IN THE EARLIER VERSES OF THIS CHAPTER, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SHOWED HIMSELF TO HIS DISCIPLES THE THIRD TIME AFTER HIS RESURRECTION.  THEY WERE FISHING ALL NIGHT AND HAD CAUGHT NOTHING UNTIL THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TOLD THEM WHERE TO CAST THE NET.  THEN HE INVITED THEM TO "COME AND DINE" (V12).  AFTER THEY HAD EATEN, HE CALLED PETER ASIDE TO GIVE HIM HIS SPECIAL COMMISSION TO FEED GOD'S LAMBS AND SHEEP. 

THERE IS NO GREATER JOY AND SENSE OF FULFILLMENT THAN WHEN WE ARE IN THE CENTER OF GOD'S WILL FULFILLING THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE WERE CREATED.

  1. LET US FULFILL OUR DIVINE PURPOSE AND COMMISSION.  OUR ACCEPTANCE OF GOD'S CALL MUST BE BASED ENTIRELY ON OUR HEART FELT RESPONSE TO GOD'S LOVE.  NOTHING ELSE WILL KEEP US STEADFAST WHEN THE TIMES GET TOUGH (VV15-17).

  2. LET US FULFILL OUR DIVINE PURPOSE AND COMMISSION.  OUR ACCEPTANCE OF GOD'S CALL MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A WILLINGNESS TO DIE IF NECESSARY.  NOT ALL OF US ARE CALLED TO DIE PHYSICALLY FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST, AS PETER WAS (VV18-19).  HOWEVER, WE MUST BECOME LIVING SACRIFICES (ROMANS 12:1), AND ALL OF US ARE CALLED TO DIE TO SELF (MATTHEW 16:24; MARK 8:34).
     
  3. LET US FULFILL OUR DIVINE PURPOSE AND COMMISSION.  OUR ACCEPTANCE OF GOD'S CALL AND THE FULFILLING OF OUR DIVINE PURPOSE DEMAND THAT WE FOCUS ON OUR OWN ASSIGNMENT, AND NOT ON WHAT GOD HAS CALLED SOMEONE ELSE TO DO (VV20-22).
THERE IS A POPULAR SONG THAT CONTAINS THE LINE "WE WILL ABANDON IT ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE CALL."  EACH OF US WHO ACCEPTS GOD'S CALL MUST ABANDON SOMETHING.  WE MUST FIRST BECOME "DEAD INDEED TO SIN" SO THAT WE "LIVE NO LONGER THEREIN" (ROMANS 6:2), AND BECOME "ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD" (ROMANS 6:11).  HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO YOU, PERSONALLY? 

GOD'S CALL TO ADAM WAS "WHERE ARE YOU? (GENESIS 3:9).  THIS CALL IS STILL BEING EXTENDED TO ALL MANKIND.  GOD KNEW WHERE ADAM WAS AND HE KNOWS WHERE WE ARE.  HE KNOWS WHEN WE ARE NAKED AND EMBARRASSED AND HE WANTS TO RECONCILE US TO HIMSELF, AND CLOTHE US IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS SON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

WILL YOU RESPOND BY FOLLOWING OR WILL YOU, LIKE PETER, BE ASKING ABOUT JOHN?
 


 

SUNDAY OCTOBER 28, 2012

"ENCOUNTER THE RESURRECTED CHRIST"

JOHN 20:1-18

THE PURPOSE OF THESE SERIES OF MESSAGES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN WAS TO BRING ALL OF US IN CLOSER FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  LAST WEEK IN CHAPTER 19 WE DEALT WITH HIS TRIAL CONVICTION AND CRUCIFIXION.  THAT SAME CHAPTER ALSO DEALS WITH HIS DEATH AND BURIAL.  HOWEVER, THIS IS NOT HOW THE GOSPEL STORY ENDS. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH THE STORY OF HIS RESURRECTION.  THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US IS TO ENCOUNTER THE RESURRECTED CHRIST AND LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER.

  1. ENCOUNTER THE RESURRECTED CHRIST.  NOBODY AT ALL EXPECTED JESUS CHRIST TO RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD.  THIS INCLUDES THE DISCIPLES, THE MINISTERING WOMEN, NICODEMUS, JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, THE JEWS, AND THE ROMANS.  ALL FOUR GOSPELS BEGIN IN THE SAME WAY.  ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK MARY MAGDALENE AND OTHER WOMEN WENT TO ANNOINT THE BODY OF JESUS AND SAW THE SEPULCHRE OPEN.  HOWEVER, ONLY JOHN AND LUKE MENTION THE INITIAL INVESTIGATION BY PETER AND JOHN (VV1-10).  THE OTHER ACCOUNTS START AT VERSE 11.

  2. ENCOUNTER THE RESURRECTED CHRIST.  UNLIKE PETER AND JOHN WHO SAW THE OPEN TOMB WITH THE LINEN CLOTHES LYING AND SIMPLY WENT AWAY, MARY AND HER COMPANIONS TARRIED OUTSIDE WEEPING.  AS A RESULT, THEY WERE THE FIRST TO SEE THE RISEN CHRIST (VV11-17).  THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE LOSE OUT BECAUSE WE LEFT A CHURCH SERVICE TOO EARLY.
     
  3. ENCOUNTER THE RESURRECTED CHRIST.  ONCE MARY HAD ENCOUNTERED THE RESURRECTED CHRIST, SHE WENT AND SHARED THE GOOD NEWS WITH THE DISCIPLES.  ALL THE ACCOUNTS TELL US THAT THE DISCIPLES DID NOT BELIEVE HER.  THIS DID NOT MATTER.  SHE HAD DONE WHAT SHE WAS TOLD TO DO (V18)  EVEN WHEN SOME DISCIPLES TOLD OTHER DISCIPLES THAT THEY HAD SEEN THE RISEN LORD, THE OTHER DISCIPLES DID NOT BELIEVE THEM EITHER (VV19-29;MARK 16:12-13 & LUKE 24).
IN 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-8, THE APOSTLE PAUL SUMMARIZES THE GOSPEL STORY AND HOW IT AFFECTED HIM PERSONALLY.  HIS SUMMARY HAS FOUR PARTS:
A)    CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
B)    HE WAS BURIED
C)    HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
D)    HE WAS SEEN BY CEPHAS, THEN BY THE TWELVE, THEN BY 500, AND THEN BY ME

CHRISTIANITY STANDS OR FALLS ON THE STORY OF JESUS' RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.   AS CHRISTIANS WE CAN ATTEST THAT JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US PERSONALLY.  ALL MEN MUST ENCOUNTER THE RISEN CHRIST PERSONALLY AND ASK HIM TO FORGIVE THEIR SINS AND WRITE THEIR NAMES IN THE LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE.  UNLESS WE DO THIS, WE WILL NOT BENEFIT FROM THE FACT THAT "HE WAS DELIVERED UP FOR OUR OFFENCES, AND RAISED AGAIN FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION" (ROMANS 4:25).  HAVE YOU PERSONALLY ENCOUNTERED THE RISEN CHRIST?  WHY NOT TALK TO HIM TODAY?  HE IS WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU!
 
 

SUNDAY OCTOBER 21, 2012

"LET US KEEP THE ‘HEREAFTER IN MIND!"

JOHN 19:1-12

WE NOW COME TO THE FINAL MESSAGE ON THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS RECORDED IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN.  THIS GOSPEL WAS "WRITTEN THAT WE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST THE SON OF GOD, AND THAT BELIEVING WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME" (CHAPTER 20:31).  JOHN OMITS SOME OF THE DETAILS THAT WERE NOT NECESSARY FOR HIS PURPOSE, BUT THE OTHER GOSPELS SUPPLEMENT JOHN'S ACCOUNT.  TODAY'S TITLE IS FROM MATTHEW 26:64, WHERE JESUS IN RESPONDING TO THE HIGH PRIEST SAID, "HEREAFTER YOU SHALL SEE THE SON OF MAN SITTING ON THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN."  THERE ARE MANY WHO LIVE THEIR LIVES JUST AS IF THERE IS NO "HEREAFTER."  HOWEVER, WITHOUT THE "HEREAFTER" LIFE HAS NO MEANING.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PROMISED US A "HEREAFTER," AND IT BEHOOVES US TO KEEP THIS IN MIND.

  1. LET US KEEP THE "HEREAFTER" IN MIND.   THE HIGH PRIESTS WHO WERE SADDUCEES DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE "HEREAFTER."  THEY DENIED THE RESURRECTION AND THE SUPERNATURAL (MATTHEW 22:23 & ACTS 23:8).  THEREFORE, IN CHAPTER 11:47-54 THEY CONVICTED JESUS IN HIS ABSENCE, AFTER HE RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD.  THE CHARGE THEN WAS THAT HE DID MANY MIRACLES AND IF LEFT ALONE, "THE ROMANS SHALL COME AND TAKE AWAY BOTH OUR PLACE AND NATION."   THEY WERE CONCERNED ONLY WITH THE HERE AND NOW.

  2. LET US KEEP THE "HEREAFTER" IN MIND.  ALTHOUGH PILATE FOUND "NO FAULT AT ALL" IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, HE STILL HAD HIM FLOGGED IN AN APPARENT EFFORT TO APPEASE THE JEWS (VV1-4).  HE WAS ONLY CONCERNED WITH THE HERE AND NOW.
     
  3. LET US KEEP THE "HEREAFTER" IN MIND.  ALTHOUGH THE REAL REASON FOR CRUCIFYING JESUS WAS JEALOUSY AS STATED ABOVE, THE JEWS WERE ABLE TO GET JESUS CONVICTED ON A CHARGE OF BLASPHEMY "HE MADE HIMSELF THE SON OF GOD."  THE JEWISH LEADERS TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE "HEREAFTER" CONTAINED IN THAT SAME SENTENCE (VV5-7).
     
  4. LET US KEEP THE "HEREAFTER" IN MIND.  THE JEWS INSISTED ON THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS, AND WHEN THEY ACCUSED PILATE OF NOT BEING CAESAR'S FRIEND, PILATE WENT AGAINST HIS OWN CONSCIENCE, AND SENTENCED JESUS TO BE CRUCIFIED (VV12-16).  HE SAVED HIS POLITICAL CAREER IN THE NOW, BUT LOST HIS SOUL IN THE "HEREAFTER."
WE ARE LIVING AT A TIME WHEN A LOT OF MURDER AND SUICIDES ARE TAKING PLACE WITH  LITTLE OR NO THOUGHT AS TO WHAT MAY COME AFTER DEATH.  IN SPITE OF THE MANY PROPHECIES BEING FULFILLED PEOPLE SEEM TO BE OBLIVIOUS OF THE FACT THAT ONE DAY WE MUST ALL GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF OURSELVES TO GOD. 

WE AS CHRISTIANS MUST EQUIP OURSELVES TO TAKE THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION TO THIS GENERATION. LET US KEEP THE "HEREAFTER" IN MIND.  THE TIME TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD IS NOW!  WE MUST KNOW WHAT WE BELIEVE, AND WHY WE BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE.  CAN YOU GIVE AN OUTLINE OF THE GOSPEL AND DECLARE WHY YOU BELIEVE IT?
 


 

SUNDAY OCTOBER 7, 2012

"LET US ENTER INTO TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD"

JOHN 17:1-21

THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THE PRAYER IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 6, THAT WE CALL THE LORD'S PRAYER IS REALLY THE DISCIPLES' PRAYER.  THIS IS THE REAL LORD'S PRAYER. 

THIS PRAYER AFFORDS US A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO LISTEN TO A CONVERSATION BETWEEN GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE SON THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.  THIS PRAYER REVEALS THE DESIRE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD ENTER INTO THE FELLOWSHIP THAT THE SON HAS ENJOYED WITH THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD WAS.  LET US SEEK TO ENTER INTO THAT TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

  1. LET US ENTER INTO TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.  WE ENTER INTO  THIS FELLOWSHIP, THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD WITH GOD THE FATHER BEFORE CREATION (V5), WHEN WE HAVE "RECEIVED" GOD'S WORD, AND COME TO KNOW "SURELY" THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS SENT "OUT FROM" GOD (VV1-8).

  2. LET US ENTER INTO TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.  ONCE WE HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD, WE ARE NO LONGER OF THIS WORLD; WE BELONG TO GOD.  HOWEVER, IT IS NOT THE WILL OF GOD TO SIMPLY TAKE US OUT OF THIS WORLD, BUT RATHER TO SANCTIFY US BY GOD'S WORD OF TRUTH AND TO KEEP US FROM THE EVIL AROUND US (VV9-17).
     
  3. LET US ENTER INTO TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.  AS THE FATHER SENT THE SON INTO THE WORLD, SO THE SON SENDS US INTO THE WORLD.  HE GLORIFIED THE FATHER ON THE EARTH AND FINISHED THE WORK THAT THE FATHER GAVE HIM TO DO (V4).  "CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS" (1 TIMOTHY 1:15).  HE CAME "NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY" (MATTHEW 20:28&MARK 10:35).  HE CAME "TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST" (LUKE 19:10).  LET US FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE.
"AS THE FATHER HATH SENT ME, EVEN SO SEND I YOU" (JOHN 20:21). 

IT IS DIFFICULT FOR US TO COMPREHEND THE EXTENT TO WHICH GOD LOVES US.  HE LOVES US AS HE LOVES JESUS (V23).  HE WANTS US NOT ONLY TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER, BUT FOR ALL OF US TOGETHER TO SHARE IN THE FELLOWSHIP THAT THE FATHER HAS WITH THE SON FROM ETERNITY PAST! 

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WANTS TO BE IN US AS THE FATHER IS IN HIM (V23).  HE WANTS US TO BE WHERE HE IS THAT WE MAY BEHOLD HIS GLORY (V24).  IN FACT, GOD THE FATHER HAS ALREADY "BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST" (EPHESIANS 1:3).

LET US SET ASIDE ALL HINDRANCES AND LET US MAKE A FIRM RESOLVE TO ENTER INTO A DEEPER AND MORE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TODAY.
 


 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2012

"BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD"

JOHN 16:7-28

AS PREVIOUSLY STATED, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST COMPLETED HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN CHAPTER 12.  IN CHAPTERS 13-16, HE MINISTERS TO HIS DISCIPLES AND BY EXTENSION TO US.  IN CHAPTER 17, HE INTERCEDES WITH GOD THE FATHER ON OUR BEHALF.  IN CHAPTERS 18-21, WE HAVE HIS ARREST, TRIALS, CONDEMNATION, CRUCIFIXION, DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION. 

IN THIS CHAPTER HE DESCRIBES THE CHALLENGES THAT WE HIS FOLLOWERS WILL FACE, AND EXHORTS US TO "BE OF GOOD CHEER I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." HE STATED EARLIER,  "BECAUSE I LIVE, YE SHALL LIVE ALSO" (CHAPTER 14:29).

  1. BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.  THEY SHALL OSTRACIZE YOU OR EVEN KILL YOU BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW ME OR MY FATHER (VV1-6).  IN TODAY'S WORLD THERE IS HOSTILITY TO THE VERY CONCEPT OF ABSOLUTE VALUES, ESPECIALLY CHRISTIAN VALUES.

  2. BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.  IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY, BUT I WILL SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WILL TESTIFY OF ME AND WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME.  I WILL BE GONE FOR JUST A LITTLE WHILE (VV7-16).
     
  3. BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.  DURING MY PHYSICAL ABSENCE, WHATEVER YOU SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU.  I CAME FROM THE FATHER INTO THE WORLD.  I AM NOW LEAVING THE WORLD TO GO BACK TO THE FATHER (VV17-28).
     
  4. BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO PUT TOO MUCH CONFIDENCE IN YOUR FLESH.   "THESE THINGS HAVE I SPOKEN UNTO YOU, THAT IN ME YOU MIGHT HAVE PEACE.  IN THE WORLD YOU SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION: BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD (VV29-33).
TODAY THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST FUNCTIONS IN A CULTURE WHERE THERE IS NO GENERAL CONSENSUS AS TO WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG.  FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, CALLED SECULAR HUMANISM, RELIGIONS ARE OFF IN THE DISTANCE WITH THREE MAJOR ONES STANDING OUT IN BOLD RELIEF.  THESE ARE JUDAISM, LED BY MOSES, CHRISTIANITY LED BY JESUS CHRIST, AND ISLAM, LED BY MOHAMMED. 

HOW DO WE CONVINCE THIS WORLD THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS REALLY THE ETERNAL WORD OF GOD WHO BECAME FLESH AND "TABERNACLED" WITH US? (JOHN 1:14), THAT HE CAME FORTH FROM GOD AND WENT BACK TO GOD (V28), THAT IN JESUS CHRIST DWELLS "THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY" (COLOSSIANS 2:9), THAT HE IS "THAT ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER, AND WAS MANIFESTED UNTO US? (1 JOHN 1:2). 

THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE IN OUR OWN STRENGTH AND WISDOM, BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (MATTHEW 19:26 & MARK 10:27).  SO, BE OF GOOD CHEER JUST KEEP ON WITNESSING.  JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD AND OUR HOPE AND FAITH ARE IN HIM.  "FAITH IS A VICTORY THAT OVERCOMES THE WORLD." (SEE 1 JOHN 5:4).
 


 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2012

"BECOME A FRUIT BEARING BELIEVER"

JOHN 15:1-17

IN CHAPTER 14, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT LET THEIR HEARTS BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID.  IN THE VERY LAST VERSE OF THAT CHAPTER HE SAID, "ARISE LET US GO HENCE" (14:31).  IT WOULD THEREFORE APPEAR THAT HIS WORDS IN CHAPTERS 15, 16& 17 WERE SPOKEN ON THE WAY TO THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE. 

IN CHAPTER 15, HE GIVES THREE SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO BECOME FRUIT BEARING BELIEVERS.  THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE:

A)    ABIDE IN ME AND I IN YOU
B)    LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU
C)    THROUGH YOUR OBEDIENCE BECOME A FRIEND OF GOD; NOT JUST A SERVANT
 

  1. BECOME A FRUIT BEARING BELIEVER.  ABIDE IN ME AND I IN YOU.  SINCE I AM THE VINE AND YOU ARE THE BRANCHES, APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.  HOWEVER IF YOU ABIDE IN ME AND I IN YOU, YOU WILL GLORIFY MY FATHER BY BEARING MUCH FRUIT.  ONLY THEN WILL YOU BE A TRUE DISCIPLE HAVING YOUR PRAYERS ANSWERED (VV1-8).

  2. BECOME A FRUIT BEARING BELIEVER.  AS THE FATHER HAS LOVED ME, SO HAVE I LOVED YOU.  MY COMMANDMENT IS THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU (VV9-13).  BELIEVERS LOVING ONE ANOTHER IS A COMMANDMENT NOT AN OPTION (V17).
     
  3. BECOME A FRUIT BEARING BELIEVER.  BECOME A FRIEND OF GOD THROUGH OBEDIENCE.  WHEN WE ACCEPT THE LORD JESUS AS OUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOUR, WE ARE ADOPTED INTO GOD'S FAMILY AS HIS CHILDREN (ROMANS 8:15).  HOWEVER, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS SAYING THAT GOD WANTS HIS CHILDREN TO BE ON FRIENDLY TERMS WITH HIM (VV14-16).  THIS IS IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE GODS OF OTHER RELIGIONS.
"THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION OF THE HOLY GHOST" ARE THREE THINGS THAT ALL CHRISTIANS NEED (2 CORINTHIANS 13:14).  ALL OF THESE ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO US, AND WILL BECOME OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IF WE ABIDE IN CHRIST, LOVE ONE ANOTHER "WITH A PURE HEART FERVENTLY," AND BECOME FRIENDS OF GOD THROUGH OBEDIENCE. 

IN THE EPISTLE OF JAMES, THE WORD OF GOD IS DESCRIBED AS A MIRROR IN WHICH WE LOOK AT OURSELVES IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS.  WHAT ADJUSTMENTS ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE IN ORDER TO "BEAR MUCH FRUIT" (V8), THAT CHRIST'S "JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL" (V11), AND THAT GOD WILL "HENCEFORTH CALL YOU NOT SERVANTS------- BUT FRIENDS" (V15)?


 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

"LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED; BELIEVE GOD"

JOHN 14:1-21

THIS CHAPTER BEGINS WITH JESUS AND ELEVEN OF HIS DISCIPLES AT THE PASSOVER TABLE.  JUDAS HAD ALREADY LEFT TO BETRAY HIM.  JESUS HAD TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE WAS LEAVING THEM FOR A PLACE WHERE THEY COULD NOT FOLLOW HIM.  LIKE US, THEY MUST NOW DEPEND ENTIRELY ON HIS PROMISE TO RETURN FOR THEM. 

WE KNOW NOW THAT HE RETURNED FROM THE GRAVE, "ASCENDED ON HIGH, LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN' (EPHESIANS 4:8).  THEY DID NOT KNOW THAT THEN, SO THEY HAD QUESTIONS.  IN ANSWERING THEIR QUESTIONS, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PROVIDES AN ANCHOR FOR OUR SOULS IN OUR TIMES OF TROUBLE. 

REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE MAY FACE, WE SHOULD BELIEVE GOD AND LET NOT OUR "HEARTS BE TROUBLED."
 

  1. LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED; BELIEVE GOD.  JESUS HAS GONE TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR US AND HE WILL COME BACK FOR US (VV1-1-4).  "THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD: AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST: THEN WE WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR: AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD" (1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17). HOWEVER, WHILE WE ARE HERE ON THE EARTH, HE HAS PROMISED NEVER TO LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US, AND THAT HE WILL NEVER GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN BEAR.

  2. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED; BELIEVE GOD.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD.  IF HE IS YOUR SAVIOUR, THEN YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO GOD THE FATHER.  GOD WILL WORK THROUGH YOU THE GIFTS HE HAS GIVEN TO YOU (EPHESIANS 4:11-13), AND BECAUSE YOU ARE IN HIS WILL, WHATEVER YOU ASK IN PRAYER WILL BE GRANTED (VV5-14).
     
  3. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED; BELIEVE GOD.  THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO BAPTIZED YOU INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST (1 CORINTHIANS 12:13) WILL ABIDE WITH YOU FOREVER.  GOD'S ULTIMATE PLAN IS FOR US TO "KNOW THAT I AM IN MY FATHER AND YOU IN ME, AND I IN YOU." (VV15-21).  PAUL EXPLAINS IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4, WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE IN REAL LIFE.
WE LIVE IN A TIME WHEN IT SEEMS AS THOUGH THE VERY FOUNDATIONS OF OUR SOCIETY ARE BEING DESTROYED.  SOME TRY TO BLAME ONE INDIVIDUAL OR ONE GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS FOR THESE THINGS.  HOWEVER, "DISTRESS OF NATIONS WITH PERPLEXITY" WAS PROPHESIED (LUKE 21:25). 

DAVID ASKS THE QUESTION: "IF THE FOUNDATIONS BE DESTROYED, WHAT CAN THE RIGHTEOUS DO?" (PSALM 11:3).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ANSWERS THAT QUESTION: "LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  YOU BELIEVE IN GOD BELIEVE ALSO IN ME---I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF THAT WHERE I AM THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO." 

DO YOU KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY?  IF NOT ASK HIM TO TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE TODAY AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE PEACE THAT THE WORLD CANNOT GIVE.


 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2012

"BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB"

JOHN 13:1-17

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PREACHED HIS LAST PUBLIC SERMON.  HE STATED THEN, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT THE WORD OF GOD WOULD JUDGE MEN ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. 

IN THIS CHAPTER HE WASHES HIS DISCIPLES FEET.  IN THIS ACT HE LAID ASIDE HIS GARMENTS AND TOOK ON HIMSELF THE ROLE OF A MENIAL SLAVE.  BY DOING THIS, HE ILLUSTRATES WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN OUR SALVATION.  HE LAID ASIDE HIS GLORY "AND TOOK ON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT AND WAS MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN: AND BEING FOUND IN FASHION AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS" (PHILIPPIANS 2:7-8). 

LET US MAKE THE EFFORT TO BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.
 

  1. BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.  HE HAD TO LAY ASIDE HIS GARMENTS IN ORDER TO WASH HIS DISCIPLES' FEET (VV1-5).  HE LAID ASIDE HIS GLORY IN ORDER TO CLEANSE US FROM OUR SIN.

  2. BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.  LIKE PETER WE MAY PUT UP SOME RESISTANCE THROUGH OUR LACK OF UNDERSTANDING, BUT UNLESS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WASHES US, WE WILL HAVE NO PART OR LOT WITH HIM (VV6-11).  WE ARE SAVED "BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH" IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST (EPHESIANS 2:8-9).  WE CANNOT BY OUR OWN EFFORT MAKE OURSELVES RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH TO STAND IN THE PRESENCE OF A HOLY GOD.
     
  3. BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.  ONCE WE HAVE BEEN WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, WE SHOULD FOLLOW THE SUPREME EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY DEMONSTRATED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV12-17).
THE CHRISTIAN CALL IS A CALL TO HUMILITY AND SELF DENIAL.  JESUS SAID, "IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME LET HIM DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME" (MATTHEW 16:24; MARK 8:34; LUKE 9:23). 

THE PROBLEM IS THAT IN SPITE OF CHRIST'S WILLINGNESS TO SAVE US BY WASHING US IN HIS OWN BLOOD, AND TO MAKE US KINGS AND PRIESTS UNTO GOD (REVELATION 1:5-6), SOME OF US RESIST HIM (V8), OTHERS DENY HIM (V38), AND STILL OTHERS BETRAY HIM (V21).  WE ARE CERTAINLY NOT ALL CLEAN. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?  ARE YOU WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB?

"LAY ASIDE EACH GARMENT THAT IS STAINED WITH SIN,
AND BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.
THERE'S A FOUNTAIN FLOWING FOR THE SOUL UNCLEAN.
OH BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB."


 

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 2012

"LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE"

JOHN 12:23-34

IN THE EARLIER PART OF THIS CHAPTER WE SAW THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD TO CARRY OUT HIS MINISTRY IN THE MIDST OF OPPOSITION, ANTAGONISM, AND ADVERSITY.  IN THIS PART OF THE CHAPTER HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY COMES TO AN END. 

FROM THIS TIME FORWARD HE WILL SPEAK ONLY TO GOD THE FATHER AND HIS DISCIPLES.  THE JEWS WERE ALWAYS SEEKING AFTER A SIGN.  YET ON THIS THIRD OCCASION WHEN GOD THE FATHER SPOKE FROM HEAVEN, THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIS VOICE. 

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE EVEN WHEN THERE ARE SEVERAL VOICES CALLING FOR OUR ATTENTION.  IN THIS HIS FINAL SERMON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST MADE FIVE PROFOUND STATEMENTS THAT WE WILL NOW CONSIDER.

  1. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  IN ORDER TO FULFILL GOD'S PURPOSE, WE MUST FIRST DIE TO SELF.  HOWEVER, THERE ARE HEAVENLY REWARDS (VV23-26).

  2. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  EVEN IF OUR SOULS ARE "TROUBLED" BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING US, WE MUST STILL SEEK TO FULFILL THE PRIMARY PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE WERE CALLED, THAT IS TO GLORIFY GOD (VV27-28).
     
  3. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  IF WE "LIFT UP" THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, HE "WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO" HIMSELF (VV29-34).
     
  4. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  WE HAVE ONLY A SMALL WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IN WHICH TO SERVE.  WE MUST MAKE THE MOST OF IT (VV36-36).
     
  5. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  AS LONG AS WE ARE FULFILLING GOD'S PURPOSE, EVEN IF THE MAJORITY DO NOT BELIEVE THERE ARE OTHERS WHO WILL (VV37-43).
     
  6. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  SINCE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, WHEN WE BELIEVE ON HIM, WE "SHOULD NOT ABIDE IN DARKNESS" (VV44-46).
     
  7. LET US LEARN TO RECOGNIZE GOD'S VOICE.  THE WORD OF GOD, NOT THE TRADITIONS OF MEN WILL BE THE STANDARD USED TO JUDGE MANKIND ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT (VV47-50).
IN THIS CHAPTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BRINGS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY TO AN END.  FROM HIS FIRST MIRACLE OF TURNING WATER INTO WINE IN CHAPTER TWO, TO HIS FINAL MIRACLE OF RAISING LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD IN CHAPTER ELEVEN, JOHN RECORDS THE RESPONSES OF THOSE WHO SAW THOSE MIRACLES. 

SOME OBSERVERS RESPONDED BY BELIEVING ON HIM.  OTHERS RESPONDED BY REJECTING HIM AND TAKING SIDES WITH HIS ENEMIES.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE? FOR HEAVENS SAKE, "BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED! (ACTS 16:31).


 

SUNDAY August 26, 2012

"SERVE GOD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY"

JOHN 12:1-19

IN CHAPTER 11, JESUS RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD.  BECAUSE OF THIS, THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS RESOLVED TO PUT JESUS TO DEATH.  THEY CLAIMED THAT HE WAS DOING TOO "MANY MIRACLES."  JESUS WAS FORCED TO LIVE IN EPHRAIM, A PLACE NEAR TO THE WILDERNESS.  FROM THERE HE DEPARTED FOR JERUSALEM TO ATTEND HIS FINAL PASSOVER.  IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS ADVERSITY, THERE WERE THOSE WHO BLESSED HIM AND HONORED HIM SO MUCH THAT HIS ENEMIES BECAME FRUSTRATED. 

WE ALSO MUST LEARN TO SERVE IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL AND HAS PROMISED THAT "HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU" (HEBREWS 13:5).
 

  1. SERVE GOD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY.  IN SPITE OF THE SCHEMES OF YOUR ENEMIES, GOD WILL SEND SOMEONE TO SHOW YOU AN ACT OF KINDNESS.  HERE WHILE THE JEWS WERE PLANNING TO KILL JESUS, MARY WAS ANNOINTING AND WIPING HIS FEET WITH HER HAIR.  JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES HAD PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM (VV1-8).

  2. SERVE GOD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY.  IN SPITE OF THE SCHEMES OF MEN, GOD'S OMNIPOTENT WILL MUST BE DONE.  GOD'S PROPHECY MUST BE FULFILLED.  TWO PROPHECIES WERE BEING FULFILLED HERE.  ZACHARIAH 9:9, THE MANNER OF THE MESSIAH'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM, AND DANIEL 9:25, THE TIME OF HIS TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM (VV9-15).
     
  3. SERVE GOD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY.  WE MIGHT NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND WHAT GOD IS DOING, BUT HE WILL ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE WHILE CONFUSING OUR ENEMIES (VV16-19).
WE DO NOT ALWAYS REALIZE THE HOSTILITY AND ANTAGONISM IN WHICH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST MINISTERED.   OUR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY SOMETIMES ALSO HAS TO BE CARRIED OUT EVEN IN ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES.  IF WE LOSE HEART AND GIVE UP IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY, THEN THE DEVIL WINS.  WE ARE THEN DESCRIBED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER AND THE SEEDS, AS THE SOIL WHERE THE SEEDS FELL ON STONY GROUND AND WITHERED.   

WE MUST PERSEVERE TO THE END IN ORDER TO BE FRUITFUL.  "BUT HE THAT SHALL ENDURE UNTIL THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED" (MATTHEW 24:132).  INTO WHICH OF THESE GROUPS DO YOU FIND YOURSELF?  ARE YOU AMONG THOSE OPPOSING OR THOSE ASSISTING?

THERE ARE ONLY TWO GROUPS!  ARE YOU PREPARED TO PERSEVERE UNTO THE END?


 

SUNDAY August 05, 2012

"GROW IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"

JOHN 9:1-7&35-41

THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS A FASCINATING STORY LIKE NO OTHER.  IN CHAPTER 8:34, THE LORD JESUS STATED "UNLESS YOU BELIEVE THAT "I AM" YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS."  IN VERSE 58 OF THAT CHAPTER WHEN HE DECLARED "BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS I AM," THEY TOOK UP STONES TO STONE HIM.  IT WAS WHILE JESUS IS RUNNING FROM THEM, THAT HE HEALED A MAN WHO WAS BORN BLIND. 

THIS MAN BECAME A GREAT WITNESS AS HE GREW IN HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  WE ALSO WILL BECOME BETTER WITNESSES AS WE GROW IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
 

  1. GROW IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  YOUR SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED, AND YOUR PREVIOUS MISCONCEPTIONS WILL BE CLARIFIED (VV1-5).

  2. GROW IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. YOUR ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL GIVE YOU A PERSONAL TESTIMONY THAT NOBODY CAN CHALLENGE (V25).
     
  3. GROW IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  EVEN IF YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER FORSAKE YOU, JESUS CHRIST WILL PICK YOU UP (VV35-41).
THIS IS ONE OF THE MANY STORIES THAT ARE UNIQUE TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN.  JESUS CREATES A PAIR OF EYES FOR A MAN WHO WAS BORN BLIND.  THEY TAKE THIS MAN TO THE PHARISEES WHO AFTER QUESTIONING HIM AND HIS PARENTS DECLARED THAT JESUS HAD TO BE A SINNER, BECAUSE HE HAD HEALED THIS MAN ON THE SABBATH DAY (V16).  THIS "UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT" MAN CHALLENGED THEIR ASSERTION WITH A SOUND AND LOGICAL ARGUMENT (VV30-33).  UNABLE TO REFUTE HIS ARGUMENT, "THEY CAST HIM OUT."  WHEN THEY HAD THROWN HIM OUT, JESUS WENT TO SEEK FOR HIM, AND WHEN JESUS HAD FOUND HIM, HE BROUGHT HIM TO FAITH, AND MADE THE MOST PROFOUND REMARKS IN VERSES 39-41. 

IN A RECENT SERMON, PASTOR FRANKLYN OF DENISON POINTED OUT THAT, TO THIS MAN, AT FIRST JESUS WAS "A MAN CALLED JESUS" (V11), THEN HE  WAS "A PROPHET" (V17).  IN VERSE 38 HE ACKNOWLEDGED JESUS AS LORD AND WORSHIPPED HIM. 

WE ALSO MUST GROW IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  IF WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND IN NEED OF SIGHT, HE WILL GIVE US SIGHT.  ON THE OTHER HAND, IF WE CONTEND AS MANY DO, THAT "WE SEE," THEN WE WILL REMAIN SPIRITUALLY BLIND.  WHICH COURSE OF ACTION WILL YOU TAKE?


 

SUNDAY JULY 29, 2012

"SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT MAKES YOU FREE"

JOHN 8:23-59

THIS CHAPTER BEGINS WITH THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES BRINGING TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST A WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY, AS JESUS WAS TEACHING IN THE TEMPLE.  WHEN THEY FAILED TO CONDEMN HER, JESUS RESUMED HIS TEACHING BY DECLARING THAT HE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (V12). 

WE WILL NOW CONSIDER SOME OF THE OTHER STATEMENTS MADE BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST REGARDING HIS PERSON AND WORK, AS WE SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT MAKES US FREE.
 

  1. LET US SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT MAKES US FREE.  JESUS SAID, "YOU ARE FROM BENEATH, I AM FROM ABOVE.  IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT 'I AM,’ YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS" (VV23-24).  WE NEED TO KNOW WHO JESUS IS.

  2. LET US SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT SETS US FREE.  "IF YOU CONTINUE IN MY WORD, THEN ARE YOU MY DISCIPLES INDEED; AND YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE" (VV31-32).  "WHOSOEVER COMMITS SIN IS THE SLAVE OF SIN" (V34).  THE WORD OF GOD WILL EITHER KEEP US FROM SIN, OR SIN WILL KEEP US FROM THE WORD OF GOD.
     
  3. LET US SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT SETS US FREE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD TO BE SINLESS IN ORDER TO PAY THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS (VV29&46).
     
  4. LET US SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT SETS US FREE.  IT IS THE THINGS WE DO THAT DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD (VV41-46).
     
  5. LET US SEEK TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT SETS US FREE.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST EXISTED BEFORE ABRAHAM (V58).  IN FACT HE IS ETERNAL (JOHN 1:1-5;1 JOHN 1:1-2;HEBREWS 1:8-12&13:8).
TODAY'S CHURCH FUNCTIONS IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE IT FACES BIBLICAL IGNORANCE, CULTURAL ARROGANCE, AND SOMETIMES, OPEN HOSTILITY.  THE MANAGER OF A CERTAIN RESTAURANT SIMPLY STATED THAT HE WAS IN FAVOR OF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE (THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN), AND MANY WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR THE HOSTILE RESPONSES TO THIS SIMPLE STATEMENT.  IGNORANCE AND SIN KEEP PEOPLE IN BONDAGE. 

THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE OF BIBLICAL IGNORANCE.  IT IS IN THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT GOD EXPECTS HIS CHILDREN TO DISSEMINATE THE GLORIOUS TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION.  IT IS THE TRUTH THAT SETS MEN FREE. 

GOD IS STILL ASKING "WHOM SHALL I SEND AND WHO WILL GO FOR US?"  WILL YOU RESPOND LIKE THE PROPHET ISAIAH DID?  ISAIAH’S RESPONSE WAS "HERE AM I SEND ME" (ISAIAH 6:8)


 

SUNDAY JULY 22, 2012

"LET US FOLLOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"

JOHN 8:1-20

IN THIS CHAPTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CONTINUES TO TEACH IN THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM AT THE TIME OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.  HIS MESSAGE WAS INTERRUPTED BY A GROUP OF MEN DRAGGING A WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY, WHOM THEY FINALLY THREW DOWN AT HIS FEET. 

BY THIS TIME IT WAS WIDELY KNOWN THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS "FULL OF COMPASSION AND MERCY."  THIS COMPASSION WOULD CAUSE HIM TO "BREAK THE LAW" BY HEALING ON THE SABBATH DAY. 

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTERS THERE WERE MANY TIMES WHEN THE JEWISH LEADERS  "TOOK COUNSEL TO KILL HIM."  THEY NO DOUBT BELIEVED THAT HIS COMPASSION FOR THE WOMAN WOULD CAUSE HIM TO VIOLATE THE LAW OF MOSES AND SO AFFORD THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO STONE BOTH JESUS AND THE WOMAN TO DEATH.  THESE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES WERE WALKING IN DARKNESS.  HOWEVER, LET US FOLLOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
 

  1. LET US FOLLOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  GOD’S LAWS ARE RIGHTEOUS AND SHOULD NEVER BE TREATED WITH IMPUNITY.  HOWEVER, WE SHOULD NEVER TRICK ANYONE INTO BREAKING THE LAW IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE OUR OWN ENDS (VV1-6).  IT IS ALLEGED THAT THOSE FIGHTING THE WAR ON ILLEGAL DRUGS OFTEN DO THIS.

  2. LET US FOLLOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  WHENEVER WE POINT THE FINGER AT ANYONE, THERE ARE AT LEAST THREE FINGERS POINTING BACK AT US.  WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST MADE A STATEMENT THAT FORCED HIS ASSAILANTS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS FACT, THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE CONVICTED THEM, AND THEY SIMPLY DISAPPEARED (VV7-9).
     
  3. LET US FOLLOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SAW THAT ONLY HE AND THE WOMAN REMAINED, HE FORGAVE HER AND TOLD HER TO SIN NO MORE.  HE THEN MADE ONE OF HIS ETERNAL "I AM" STATEMENTS: I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  HE THAT FOLLOWETH ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT SHALL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE" (VV10-12).  THE PHARISEES MISSED THE POINT, BUT JESUS WENT ON TO ATTEST THAT GOD THE FATHER WAS HIS WITNESS (VV13-21).

IF WE WERE TO ASK WHAT THIS STORY IS ALL ABOUT, MANY WOULD SAY THAT IT IS ABOUT THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY.  HOWEVER THIS STORY ALSO SERVES AS A MODEL FOR DEALING WITH THE ISSUE OF SIN IN THE CHURCH TODAY.  IT EXEMPLIFIES THE TENSION BETWEEN 1 CORINTHIANS 5:5 "DELIVER SUCH A ONE TO SATAN FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BODY" AND GALATIANS 6:1 "RESTORE SUCH A ONE IN THE SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS."

IN THE CHURCH TODAY, THERE ARE THOSE WHO WILL CONTINUE TO SIN WHILE POINTING OUT THE SINS OF OTHERS.  OTHERS WILL CONTEND (AND RIGHTLY SO) THAT SIN WITHIN THE FELLOWSHIP IMPEDES THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.  "A LITTLE LEVEN LEVENETH THE WHOLE LUMP" (1 CORINTHIANS 5:6-8 & GALATIANS 5:9). 

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD ENLIGHTENED US WITH THE SOLUTION.  HE STRIKES THE PERFECT BALANCE WITH THE STATEMENT "NEITHER DO I CONDEMN THEE.  GO AND SIN NO MORE" (V11).  HE DID NOT CONDEMN HER, BUT HE DID NOT CONDONE HER SIN.  WHEN WE ARE SAVED WE ARE SAVED FROM THE GUILT OF SIN AND THE POWER OF SIN, BUT NOT FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN NOR THE POTENTIAL TO SIN. 

HOWEVER, THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO SIN BECAUSE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AVAILABLE TO US, AND IF WE "WALK IN THE SPIRIT, WE WILL NOT FULFILL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH" (GALATIANS 5:16). 

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH SIN?  ACKNOWLEDGE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR AND LORD, THEN ASK HIM TO HELP YOU TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT.


 

SUNDAY JULY 15, 2012

"GET TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS"

JOHN 7:37-53

THIS CHAPTER STARTS WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST REMAINING IN GALILEE BECAUSE THE JEWS SOUGHT TO KILL HIM.  HIS BROTHERS WERE ALSO URGING HIM TO LEAVE GALILEE AND TAKE HIS TEACHINGS TO JUDEA, BECAUSE THEY THEMSELVES DID NOT BELIEVE ON HIM (VV1-5). 

JESUS DID GO TO JERUSALEM.   AT FIRST HE WENT SECRETLY, BUT LATER HE BEGAN TO TEACH IN THE TEMPLE (VV14-15).  THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF CONFUSION REGARDING THE IDENTITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THIS CONFUSION REMAINS TODAY.  HOWEVER, JESUS DECLARED, "IF YOU BELIEVE NOT THAT 'I AM' YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS" (CHAPTER 8:24).

ANYONE WHO HOPES TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE HAS TO TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS AND THEN SERVE HIM AS HE DESERVES.
 

  1. GET TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS.  THERE WAS CONFUSION AMONG THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM AS TO WHETHER JESUS WAS THE CHRIST (V26).  OTHERS BELIEVED THAT HE HAD TO BE THE CHRIST, BECAUSE OF THE MIRACLES THAT HE DID (V31).

  2. GET TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS.   HIS AUDIENCE BY LISTENING TO HIS WORDS WAS CONVINCED THAT HE WAS IN FACT WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE.  THIS INCLUDED EVEN THOSE WHO WERE SENT TO ARREST HIM (VV44-47).  IF WE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SCRIPTURES, THEN WE ALSO WILL KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN ABOUT HIM (CHAPTER 5:39).
     
  3. GET TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS.  THE JEWISH LEADERS HAD ALREADY PASSED SUMMARY JUDGEMENT ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT KNOW WHO HE WAS.  HOWEVER, NICODEMUS REMINDED THEM THAT THEY SHOULD FIRST EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE (VV48-53).

JUST THIS PAST WEEK IT WAS BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT MANY PROMINENT PEOPLE IN HOLLYWOOD AND IN THE NEWS MEDIA ARE EITHER SCIENTOLOGISTS OR HOMOSEXUALS.  WE HAVE MORMONS AND MOSLEMS EITHER HOLDING OR ASPIRING TO HIGH POLITICAL OFFICES.  WE HAVE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE FORMING THEIR OWN RELIGIONS OR DECLARING THAT THEY THEMSELVES ARE GODS! 

PERHAPS THE GREATEST TRAGEDY OF ALL IS THAT THERE ARE "CHRISTIANS" TO WHOM NONE OF THIS SEEMS TO MATTER.  THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY WANT TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS WHETHER WE AS CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS "THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD" (MATTHEW 16:16).  IT IS BY BELIEVING THIS FACT, THAT WE "MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME" (JOHN 20:31). 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?  WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?  MAKE SURE YOU EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE!  YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY DEPENDS ON IT!  "HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM" (JOHN 3:36)


 

SUNDAY JULY 8, 2012

"LET US SEEK TO SATISFY AND SAVE OUR SOULS"

JOHN 6:24-40

AFTER FEEDING FIVE THOUSAND MEN PLUS WOMEN AND CHILDREN WITH FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISH, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SENT HIS DISCIPLES IN A BOAT TO CAPERNAUM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAKE, WHILE HE WENT INTO A MOUNTAIN TO PRAY.  LATER HE JOINED THEM BY WALKING MORE THAN THREE MILES ON THE WATER. 

THOSE WHO HAD BEEN FED WITH THE FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISH NOW JOIN HIM SEEKING MORE TO EAT.  OUR LORD JESUS RESPONDED BY INFORMING THEM THAT THEY SHOULD NOT LABOR FOR THE THINGS THAT TEMPORAL BUT RATHER FOR THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL. 

WE ALSO NEED TO HEED THESE INSTRUCTIONS.  ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE, WE ALSO SHOULD SEEK FIRST TO SATISFY AND SAVE OUR SOULS.
 

  1. LET US SEEK TO SATISFY AND SAVE OUR SOULS.  OUR LORD ONCE ASKED THE QUESTION, “WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE SHOULD GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL? (MATTHEW 16:28; MARK 8:36).  THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL MUST TAKE PRIORITY OVER EVERYTHING ELSE (MATTHEW 6:33).  OUR LORD DESCRIBES THIS AS “THAT MEAT THAT ENDURETH UNTO EVERLASTING LIFE” (VV24-27).

  2. LET US SEEK TO SATISFY AND SAVE OUR SOULS.  OUR SOULS ARE NOT SAVED BY WORKS.  OUR SALVATION IS A GIFT FROM GOD WHEN WE BELIEVE ON (TRUST IN THE FINISHED WORK OF) THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  HE FULFILLED THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S HOLY LAWS, THEN PAID THE PENALTY FOR OUR SINS SO THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE SALVATION AS A FREE GIFT (VV28-29).
     
  3. LET US SEEK TO SATISFY AND SAVE OUR SOULS.  IT IS OUR RESPONSE TO THIS GOSPEL OF SALVATION THAT DETERMINES OUR ETERNAL DESTINY.  THE RESPONSES FROM THE MAJORITY IN THE AUDIENCE ARE SIMILAR TO THE OBJECTIONS WE HEAR TODAY:
        A)    THEY CLAIMED THAT THEY WANTED TO “SEE” IN ORDER TO BELIEVE (V30), BUT THEY HAD ALREADY “SEEN” AND BELIEVED NOT (V36).
        B)    THEY MURMURED AND QUESTIONED OUR LORD’S DIVINITY (VV41-42).
        C)    THEY GAVE A LITERAL INTERPRETATION TO A SPIRITUAL DECLARATION (V52).
        D)    THEY CONCLUDED THAT THE TEACHINGS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DID NOT MAKE SENSE, AND WALKED AWAY (VV60&66).

THE SO CALLED OBJECTIONS THAT PEOPLE RAISE TODAY ABOUT CHRISTIANITY ARE ALL ANSWERED IN THE SCRIPTURES, BUT THOSE OBJECTING DO NOT TAKE TIME TO SEEK THE ANSWERS.  INSTEAD THEY KEEP REPEATING THEIR OBJECTIONS OVER AND OVER.  THE RESULT IS THAT THEY REJECT CHRISTIANITY AND PURSUE AVENUES THAT ARE MUCH LESS LOGICAL.  THE FOLLOWING MAY BE CONSIDERED AS RESPONSES TO THE OBJECTIONS ABOVE:
    A)    “WE WANT TO SEE.”  “THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE FIRMAMENT SHOWETH HIS HANDIWORK” (PSALM 19:1).  STUDY THE SCIENCES WITH AN OPEN MIND.
    B)    IS JESUS REALLY GOD VIELED IN FLESH?  “HE THAT HATH MY COMMANDMENTS AND KEEPETH THEM---------I WILL MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM”.
    C)    “WHY SHOULD I GIVE A MAN MY COAT IF HE STEALS MY CLOKE? (MATTHEW 5:40).  “THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT AND THEY ARE LIFE”(V63).
    D)    CHRISTIANITY DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.  ATHEISM AND ALL OTHER RELIGIONS MAKE LESS SENSE.
WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY? (V67). OR WILL YOU RIGHT NOW SHARE PETER’S CONFESSION? (VV68-69)


 

SUNDAY JUNE 24, 2012

"LET US FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THINGS"

JOHN 5:1-18

LAST WEEK WE SAW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN CANA OF GALILEE WHERE HE HEALED A NOBLEMAN’S SON.  IN TODAY'S READING, HE ATTENDS A FEAST AT JERUSALEM, AND HEALS AN IMPOTENT MAN. 

TODAY IF WE WERE TO ADD A CAPTION TO THIS STORY WE WOULD PROBABLY PUT “JESUS HEALS AN IMPOTENT MAN AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA.”  THE JEWISH LEADERS DID NOT SEE IT THAT WAY.  THEIR CAPTION WOULD PROBABLY BE “JESUS BREAKS THE SABBATH AND MUST BE KILLED.”   

SOMEONE HAS SAID THAT  WE SEE MORE WITH OUR MINDS THAN WITH OUR EYES.  OUR PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE DEPENDS LARGELY ON WHERE WE FOCUS OUR ATTENTION.  LET US FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THINGS.
 

  1. LET US FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THINGS.  THE IMPOTENT MAN FOR THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS FOCUSED ONLY ON THE POOL OF BETHESDA FOR HIS HEALING.  HOWEVER, HIS HEALING WAS IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BECAUSE HIS SICKNESS RESULTED FROM SIN, AND ONLY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST COULD FORGIVE HIS SIN (VV1-9).  TODAY WE SEEK THE SOLUTIONS TO OUR LIFE'S PROBLEMS EVERYWHERE EXCEPT IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BUT “THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE” (PROVERBS 1:7).  HE HAS THE SOLUTIONS WE SEEK.

  2. LET US FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THINGS.  THE JEWS BY FOCUSING ONLY ON THE FACT THAT THE MAN CARRYING HIS BED ON THE SABBATH COMPLETELY MISSED THE MIRACLE OF THE IMPOTENT MAN BEING HEALED AFTER 38 YEARS (VV10-13).  WE ALSO CAN MISS MANY MIRACLES TAKING PLACE AROUND US, IF WE ARE NOT FOCUSING ON THE RIGHT THINGS.
     
  3. LET US FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THINGS.  THIS MANS SICKNESS WAS THE RESULT OF SIN.  WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WARNED HIM TO SIN NO MORE, HE TOLD THE JEWS THAT IT WAS JESUS WHO HAD HEALED HIM.  THE JEWS THEN SOUGHT TO KILL JESUS NOT ONLY FOR “BREAKING THE SABBATH” BUT MUCH MORE FOR SAYING THAT GOD WAS HIS FATHER (VV14-18).

TODAY WE LIVE IN WHAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE INFORMATION AGE.  PERHAPS THE MISINFORMATION AGE WOULD BE A MORE APPROPRIATE DESCRIPTION.  A MEMBER OF THE SUPREME COURT, REFERRING TO THE HEALTH CARE BILL, RECENTLY REMARKED THAT THOSE WHO KNOW ARE NOT SAYING ANYTHING, WHILE THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ARE SAYING EVERYTHING.  ANYONE WITH ACCESS TO THE INTERNET CAN MISINFORM MILLIONS. 

IT IS TO THIS CULTURE THAT THE CHURCH MUST TAKE THE MESSAGE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE, AND THAT HE IS “THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TODAY, AND FOREVER” (HEBREWS 13:8).  HE STILL HAS THE SOLUTIONS TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS.  THESE SOLUTIONS BEGIN WHEN WE HAVE A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. 

A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAUSES US TO FOCUS NOT ON THE THINGS THAT ARE TEMPORAL, BUT ON THE THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL (2 CORINTHIANS 4:18).  WHEN WE FOCUS ON THE THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL, THE TEMPORAL THINGS FALL INTO PLACE (MATTHEW 7:33). 

DO YOU HAVE A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?  ASK HIM TO TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE AND YOUR PROBLEMS TODAY!


 

SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

"GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY"

JOHN 4:31-42

IN CHAPTER 1 JOHN INTRODUCED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE ETERNAL WORD WHO EXISTED WITH GOD THE FATHER BEFORE CREATION BEGAN.  IN THAT CHAPTER, JOHN THE BAPTIST BELIEVED AND INTRODUCED JESUS TO HIS DISCIPLES. 

IN CHAPTER 2 JESUS’ OWN DISCIPLES BELIEVED AFTER JESUS CHANGED WATER INTO WINE. 

IN CHAPTER 3 NICODEMUS BELIEVED.  IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS CHAPTER, THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA BELIEVED.  IN THIS PASSAGE, THE SAMARITANS BELIEVED AFTER THEY MET JESUS PERSONALLY.   HOPEFULLY, YOU ALSO WILL BELIEVE AND GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY.
 

  1. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  JESUS ASKED THE SAMARITAN WOMAN FOR A DRINK OF WATER BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GIVE HER LIVING WATER.  GOD OFTEN ASKS US TO SURRENDER SOMETHING TO HIM SO THAT HE CAN BLESS US WITH SOMETHING MUCH GREATER (VV7-14).

  2. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  IF WE ARE GOING TO RECEIVE A BLESSING FROM THE LORD, OR HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, OUR SINS MUST FIRST BE PUT ON THE TABLE.  BY SIMPLY ASKING HER TO BRING HER HUSBAND, JESUS WAS ABLE TO DEAL WITH HER SINS (VV15-18).
     
  3. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR SOME OF US TO FOCUS ON TRIVIAL ISSUES WHILE NEGLECTING THE THINGS WHICH ARE MUCH MORE IMPORTANT.  WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SEEMS TO BE SAYING HERE IS THAT WHERE WE WORSHIP GOD IS NOT IMPORTANT.  THE IMPORTANT THING IS HOW WE WORSHIP GOD (VV19-30).

THERE IS A GREAT CONTRAST BETWEEN THE LIFESTYLE OF NICODEMUS IN CHAPTER 3, AND THAT OF THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA IN THIS CHAPTER. 

NICODEMUS WAS AN UPRIGHT, MORAL, RELIGIOUS, AND POLITICAL LEADER.  HE WAS A PHARISEE AND A MEMBER OF THE SANHEDRIN.  IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, NICODEMUS NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN.  THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA HAD FIVE MARRIAGES THAT DID NOT WORK AND WAS LIVING WITH A MAN TO WHOM SHE WAS NOT MARRIED.  SHE NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRED IN WORSHIP. 

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST OFFERED HER LIVING WATER, SHE IMMEDIATELY SAID, “SIR GIVE ME THIS WATER” (V15).  GOD OFFERS ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL MEN.  HOWEVER, EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS TO ACCEPT THE OFFER FOR HIMSELF.  UNLESS AND UNTIL WE ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF ETERNAL LIFE, WE WILL REMAIN UNDER CONDEMNATION AND WILL DIE IN OUR SINS (CHAPTER 3:18). 

GOD LOOKS BEYOND OUR FAULT AND SEES OUR NEED.  OUR GREATEST NEED IS THE SALVATION OF OUR SOULS.  WILL YOU ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION TODAY, OR WILL YOU DIE IN YOUR SINS?


 

SUNDAY JUNE 3, 2012

"HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED"

JOHN 4:15-30

THIS PASSAGE IS ABOUT THE CHANGES THAT TAKE PLACE WHEN SOMEONE ENCOUNTERS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA SIMPLY CAME TO THE WELL TO GET A POT OF REGULAR WATER.  AT THE WELL SHE ENCOUNTERED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  WHEN SHE LEFT THE WELL SHE WENT INTO THE CITY OF SAMARIA DISPENSING THE WATER OF LIFE. 

JESUS LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED, THEN HE SUPPLIED HER NEED FROM HIS RICHES IN GLORY.  THERE ARE MANY LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS STORY.  I BELIEVE THAT THE CHIEF LESSON FOR US IS THAT GOD MEETS US WHERE WE ARE.  HE WILL LOOK BEYOND OUR FAULTS AND SEE OUR NEED.
 

  1. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  JESUS ASKED THE SAMARITAN WOMAN FOR A DRINK OF WATER BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GIVE HER LIVING WATER.  GOD OFTEN ASKS US TO SURRENDER SOMETHING TO HIM SO THAT HE CAN BLESS US WITH SOMETHING MUCH GREATER (VV7-14).

  2. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  IF WE ARE GOING TO RECEIVE A BLESSING FROM THE LORD, OR HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, OUR SINS MUST FIRST BE PUT ON THE TABLE.  BY SIMPLY ASKING HER TO BRING HER HUSBAND, JESUS WAS ABLE TO DEAL WITH HER SINS (VV15-18).
     
  3. HE LOOKED BEYOND HER FAULT AND SAW HER NEED.  IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR SOME OF US TO FOCUS ON TRIVIAL ISSUES WHILE NEGLECTING THE THINGS WHICH ARE MUCH MORE IMPORTANT.  WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SEEMS TO BE SAYING HERE IS THAT WHERE WE WORSHIP GOD IS NOT IMPORTANT.  THE IMPORTANT THING IS HOW WE WORSHIP GOD (VV19-30).

THERE IS A GREAT CONTRAST BETWEEN THE LIFESTYLE OF NICODEMUS IN CHAPTER 3, AND THAT OF THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA IN THIS CHAPTER. 

NICODEMUS WAS AN UPRIGHT, MORAL, RELIGIOUS, AND POLITICAL LEADER.  HE WAS A PHARISEE AND A MEMBER OF THE SANHEDRIN.  IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, NICODEMUS NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN.  THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA HAD FIVE MARRIAGES THAT DID NOT WORK AND WAS LIVING WITH A MAN TO WHOM SHE WAS NOT MARRIED.  SHE NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRED IN WORSHIP. 

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST OFFERED HER LIVING WATER, SHE IMMEDIATELY SAID, “SIR GIVE ME THIS WATER” (V15).  GOD OFFERS ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL MEN.  HOWEVER, EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS TO ACCEPT THE OFFER FOR HIMSELF.  UNLESS AND UNTIL WE ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF ETERNAL LIFE, WE WILL REMAIN UNDER CONDEMNATION AND WILL DIE IN OUR SINS (CHAPTER 3:18). 

GOD LOOKS BEYOND OUR FAULT AND SEES OUR NEED.  OUR GREATEST NEED IS THE SALVATION OF OUR SOULS.  WILL YOU ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION TODAY, OR WILL YOU DIE IN YOUR SINS?


SUNDAY MAY 27, 2012

"HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE"

JOHN 3:22-36

IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS CHAPTER WE SAW THAT ALL WHO DESIRE TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAVE TO BE BORN AGAIN.  THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF OUR UPBRINGING OR STATUS IN LIFE.  THIS PART OF THE CHAPTER DEALS PRIMARILY WITH FOUR ISSUES.  THEY ARE THE NEED TO WORK WHILE IT IS DAY, THE NEED TO REJOICE WHEN OTHERS SUCCEED, THE NEED TO GROW IN GRACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND THE NEED TO ESCAPE THE WRATH OF GOD.  THE KEY VERSE IS “HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE” (V30)".
 

  1. HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.  WHEN WE ARE SAVED NOT ONLY DO WE BECOME MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF GOD, BUT WE ARE ALSO RECRUITED AS SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD.  JOHN THE BAPTIST CONTINUED TO DO WHAT GOD CALLED HIM TO DO UNTIL HE WAS “CAST INTO PRISON” (22-24).  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF DECLARED: “I MUST WORK THE WORKS OF HIM THAT SENT ME, WHILE IT IS DAY: THE NIGHT COMETH, WHEN NO MAN CAN WORK” (CHAPTER 9:4).

  2. HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.  WE ARE ALL NATURALLY SELFISH.  HOWEVER, AS WE GROW INTO THE IMAGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, WE NEED TO LEARN TO REJOICE AT THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS, ESPECIALLY IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.  JOHN THE BAPTIST REJOICED THAT THE MINISTRY OF JESUS WAS INCREASING WHILE HIS OWN MINISTRY WAS DECREASING (VV25-29).
     
  3. HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.  WE ARE BORN INTO GOD’S KINGDOM AS BABIES.  AS NEW BORN BABES, WE MUST “DESIRE THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD THAT YE MAY GROW THEREBY” (1 PETER 2:2).  WE HAVE TO BELIEVE AND RECEIVE THE TESTIMONY OF HIM “THAT COMETH FROM HEAVEN.”   THIS IS THE SPIRITUAL FOOD THAT WE NEED TO GROW (VV30-34).
     
  4. HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.  NOT MANY PEOPLE REALIZE THAT UNTIL WE REPENT AND ASK THE LORD TO FORGIVE OUR SINS, WE ARE UNDER CONDEMNATION.  HOWEVER, THE SCRIPTURES ARE VERY CLEAR ON THIS.  SEE VERSE 18 AND ALSO CHAPTER 5:24.  UNTIL WE BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND OUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN, WE REMAIN UNDER GOD’S WRATH (VV 35-36).  IF WE DIE IN THAT CONDITION, OUR SOULS WILL GO TO HELL.

THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN IS THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME.  HOWEVER, THERE SHOULD BE EVIDENCE OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH AS WE JOURNEY.  WE SHOULD “GROW IN GRACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST” (2 PETER 3:18). 

WE SHOULD ABANDON THE WORKS OF THE FLESH AND CULTIVATE THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (GALATIANS 5:19-24).  HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE. THE FIRST STEP IS TO ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION, BY CONFESSING OUR SINFULNESS AND ASKING HIS FORGIVENESS.  HE WILL FORGIVE OUR SINS BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST PAID FOR OUR SINS WHEN HE DIED IN OUR PLACE, ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY. 

WHY NOT ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS RIGHT NOW, AND PASS FROM DEATH INTO LIFE?


SUNDAY MAY 13, 2012

"ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD"

JOHN 2:13-25

TODAY WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THE GOSPEL OF JOHN SO THAT WE CAN GET TO KNOW AND LOVE HIM BETTER.  IN THE FIRST PART OF THIS CHAPTER, HE TURNS WATER INTO WINE.  IN THIS PART HE ATTENDS HIS FIRST PASSOVER.  HE WILL ATTEND TWO OTHER PASSOVER FEASTS.  AT THE THIRD PASSOVER, HE WILL BE THE TRUE PASSOVER LAMB OFFERED FOR OUR SINS AT THE TIME OF THE EVENING SACRIFICE.

FOR OVER FIFTEEN HUNDRED YEARS THE EVENING SACRIFICE WAS OFFERED AT 3PM.  THAT IS EXACTLY THE TIME JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS.  WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ENTERED JERUSALEM, HE FOUND PEOPLE DOING THINGS THAT WERE WRONG.  THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY WERE DOING THESE THINGS FOR SUCH A LONG TIME, THAT EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT THE WRONG THINGS WERE RIGHT! 

THE SAME THING APPLIES TO US TODAY WITH IMMORALITY IN GENERAL AND HOMOSEXUALITY IN PARTICULAR.  IN THIS ENVIRONMENT, GOD'S COMMAND STILL REMAINS: "ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD" (ROMANS 12:9).   HOMOSEXUALITY COULD ANHIALATE THE HUMAN RACE!
 

  1. ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.  THE TRADING IN ANIMALS, BIRDS, AND MONEY IN THE TEMPLE WAS JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT FACILITATED TEMPLE WORSHIP.  HOWEVER, THAT DID NOT MAKE IT RIGHT.  THIS PRACTICE CONVERTED GOD'S HOUSE OF PRAYER INTO "A DEN OF THIEVES."  WHEN JESUS ENTERED THE TEMPLE AND FOUND HIS FATHER'S HOUSE OF PRAYER CONVERTED INTO A MARKETPLACE, HE PHYSICALLY DROVE OUT THE TRADERS (VV13-17).

  2. ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.  DRASTIC ACTION EVEN WHEN RIGHT WILL ALWAYS BE CHALLENGED.  WHEN JESUS WAS CHALLENGED, HE PROPHESIED THAT HIS DOING WHAT WAS RIGHT WOULD LEAD TO HIS DEATH BURIAL AND RESURRECTION.  THIS STATEMENT WAS MISUNDERSTOOD (VV18-22).

  3. ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.  NOT EVERY RESPONSE TO A SERMON WILL BE A GENUINE RESPONSE, OR WILL HAVE A LASTING EFFECT.  SOME SEEDS WILL FALL BY THE WAYSIDE, SOME ON STONY PLACES, AND SOME AMONG THORNS, BUT SOME WILL FALL ON GOOD GROUND AND BRING FORTH FRUIT (MATTHEW 13: 3-9, MARK 4: 3-9, & LUKE 8: 4-8).  WE DO NOT KNOW THE SOIL ON WHICH ANY PARTICULAR SEED WILL FALL, BUT JESUS DOES (VV23-25).

IN OUR WORLD TODAY THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED AND TOTALLY COMMITTED TO DECLARE WRONG THINGS TO BE RIGHT.  THEY WILL NOT HESITATE TO DISTORT HISTORICAL FACTS TO ACCOMPLISH THIS.  AMERICA WAS NOT STARTED BY CHRISTIANS FLEEING TO AVOID PERSECUTION.  THANKSGIVING WAS NOT CHRISTIANS GIVING THANKS TO GOD, BUT SETTLERS GIVING THANKS TO INDIANS.  

THAT IS WHERE WE ARE TODAY WITH IMMORALITY IN GENERAL AND HOMOSEXUALITY IN PARTICULAR. MARRIAGE WAS INSTITUTED BY GOD.  JESUS SAID "AT THE BEGINNING (GOD) MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE" (MATTHEW 19:4& MARK 10:6).  SINCE IT WAS GOD WHO INSTITUTED MARRIAGE, THERE CAN BE NO VALID DISCUSSION OF MARRIAGE WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GOD.  

IN OUR PRESENT ENVIRONMENT, GOD IS ALWAYS EXCLUDED!  THE COMMAND STILL REMAINS: "ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD" (ROMANS 12:9)


SUNDAY MAY 6, 2012

"BE PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART"

JOHN 2:1-12

THIS PASSAGE RECORDS THE FIRST MIRACLE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. IT WAS CHANGING WATER INTO WINE AT A WEDDING IN CANA OF GALILEE. GOD IS ABLE TO DO ALL THINGS BY HIMSELF. HE IS OMNIPOTENT. HOWEVER HE CONDESCENDS TO WORK IN US AND THROUGH US TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES. SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS HAD PARTS TO PLAY IN THE PERFPRMANCE OF THIS MIRACLE. IN THE CHURCH ALL OF US ARE REQUIRED TO PLAY OUR PART SO GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE THROUGH US. BE PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART.
 

  1. BE PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART. AT THIS WEDDING THERE WERE THE BRIDAL PARTY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS, THE GOVERNOR OF THE FEAST, THE WEDDING GUESTS WHICH INCLUDED JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES, AND THE SERVANTS. WHEN THE WINE RAN OUT, MARY TOOK THE PROBLEM TO JESUS (VV1-3).

  2. BE PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART. JESUS' INITIAL RESPONSE MAY SEEM UNUSUAL, AND THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN IT. HOWEVER HIS MOTHER SIMPLY TOLD THE SERVANTS TO DO WHATEVER JESUS TOLD THEM TO DO. JESUS TOLD THE SERVANTS TO FILL SIX WATERPOTS WITH WATER AND THEN TO TAKE THE CONTENTS OF THOSE WATERPOTS TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE FEAST (VV4-8).

  3. BE PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART. WHEN THE GOVERNOR TASTED THE WATER THAT WAS CHANGED INTO WINE, HE DID NOT KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM, SO HE ACCOSTED THE BRIDEGROOM FOR NOT SERVING THIS BETTER WINE FIRST. HOWEVER, THE SERVANTS WHO DREW THE WATER KNEW BECAUSE THEY WERE ACTIVELY INVOLVED! (VV10-12).

IN OUR CHURCHES TODAY THERE ARE SEVERAL NEEDS TO BE PROVIDED, BUT TOO MANY MEMBERS ARE PREPARED TO FUNCTION ONLY AS GUESTS. THESE OFTEN LEAVE CHURCHES SAYING THAT A PARTICULAR CHURCH IS NOT SUPPLYING THEIR NEEDS. THEY SHOULD BE SUPPLYING THE NEEDS OF THE CHURCH! WE NEED MARYS TO TAKE THE PROBLEMS TO JESUS. THESE ARE CALLED INTERCESSORS. WE NEED CLEAN VESSELS TO HOLD WHAT THE LORD WANTS TO POUR INTO US. REMEMBER, WE ARE TEMPLES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 CORINTHIANS 3:16&6:19). WE NEED ALL MEMBERS TO POUR INTO EACH OTHER FRON THE GIFTS GOD HAS ENTRUSTED TO THEM. "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN.

AND HE GAVE SOME APOSTLES; AND SOME PROPHETS; AND SOME EVANGELISTS; AND SOME PASTORS AND TEACHERS; FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST; TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST" (EPHESIANS 4:8&11-13). "WHAT CAN WE DO TO HASTEN THE TIME, THE TIME THAT SHALL SURELY BE, WHEN THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF GOD AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA?" EACH OF US HAS A PART TO PLAY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. ARE YOU PREPARED TO PLAY YOUR PART?


SUNDAY APRIL 29, 2012

"COME AND SEE"

JOHN 1:35-51

IN THIS PASSAGE WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT SOMEONE CAN BE INTRODUCED TO THE LORD BY JUST THREE WORDS, "COME AND SEE." OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FIRST USED IT TO ANDREW AND HIS COMPANION. THEN PHILLIP USED IT TO INVITE NATHANAEL. THE MESSAGE OF THE CHURCH TO A DYING WORLD TODAY CAN SIMPLY BE "COME AND SEE."
 

  1. COME AND SEE. JOHN THE BAPTIST INTRODUCED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE LAMB OF GOD. TWO OF JOHN'S DISCIPLES STARTED TO FOLLOW JESUS. IN RESPONSE TO THEIR QUESTION, JESUS INVITED THEM TO COME AND SEE (VV35-39).

  2. COME AND SEE. THE MOMENT ANDREW MET THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HE BROUGHT HIS OWN BROTHER SIMON. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAW SIMON'S POTENTIAL AND DECLARED HIM TO BE A STONE (VV40-42). SIMON WOULD LATER BECOME AN APOSTLE THAT WOULD BRING THOUSANDS TO KNOW THE LORD.

  3. COME AND SEE. THIS INVITATION IS ONCE AGAIN EXTENDED BY PHILLIP TO NATHANAEL. NATHANAEL HAD HIS RESERVATIONS, BUT HE RESPONDED AND WAS CHANGED BY WHAT HE HEARD AND SAW (VV43-51).

IN OUR WORLD TODAY, THERE ARE SO MANY COMPETING "BELIEF SYSTEMS" THAT WE AS CHRISTIANS HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SAY WHAT WE BELIEVE AND WHY. APART FROM OUR OWN CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCES, HOW CAN WE CONVINCE SOMEONE THAT THE BIBLE IS TRUE, AND THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOT JUST ONE OF SEVERAL ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS TO GOD? THE ANSWER IS PROPHECY. WE HAVE TO BE CONVERSANT WITH BOTH THE PROPHECIES THAT HAVE BEEN FULFILLED AS WELL AS THE PROPHECIES THAT ARE NOW BEING FULFILLED. IN DANIEL CHAPTER 2, THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAS TOLD IN ADVANCE. SEVERAL OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES WERE FULFILLED IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:
 
  1. WHO WAS HE? HE WAS THE SEED OF THE WOMAN (GENESIS 3:15). HE WAS THE BLESSED GOD WHO WOULD DESCEND TEACHING (GENESIS 5). HE WAS EMMANUEL (ISAIAH 7:14). HE WAS JEHOVAH TSIDKENU (JEREMIAH 23:5-6).

  2. WHY WOULD HE COME? HE WOULD BE THE SUBSTITUTE TO DIE FOR OUR SINS (ISAIAH 53).

  3. WHEN WOULD HE COME? A SPECIFIC NUMBER OF YEARS AFTER THE DECREE OF CYRUS TO REBUILD JERUSALEM (DANIEL 9:27).
  4. WHAT WOULD HE DO? HE WOULD HEAL THE BLIND, THE DEAF, THE LAME, AND THE DUMB (ISAIAH 35:6).

  5. WHERE WOULD HE BE BORN? IN BETHLEHEM OF JUDEA (MICAH 5:2).

  6. HOW WOULD HE BE TREATED? HE WOULD BE DESPISED AND REJECTED (ISAIAH 53).

WHAT PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED TODAY?
 
  1. MEN SHALL BE GOING TO AND FRO AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE INCREASED (DANIEL12:4).

  2. THE RETURN OF THE JEWS TO PALESTINE IN 1948, AND THEIR REPOSSESSING JERUSALEM IN 1967 (LUKE 21:24).

  3. THE ABILITY FOR ALL THE WORLD TO WATCH AN EVENT AT THE SAME TIME (REVELATION 13:16-18).
 

SUNDAY APRIL 22, 2012

"GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"

JOHN 1:1-1-18

THE FOUR GOSPELS IN THE BIBLE ALL CONTAIN EVENTS FROM THE EARTHLY LIFE AND MINISTRY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. HOWEVER, JOHN GIVES US THE SPECIFIC REASON WHY THE GOSPEL OF JOHN WAS WRITTEN. “THESE ARE WRITTEN THAT YOU MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; AND THAT BELIEVING YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME” (CHAPTER 20:31).

THE GOSPEL BEGINS BY DECLARING THAT JESUS IS GOD AND IS ETERNAL. TO SUPPORT THIS CLAIM, IT PRESENTS SELECT MIRACLES OF JESUS WITH TEACHINGS FOLLOWING THOSE MIRACLES, CLEARLY ATTESTING TO THE DEITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. IN THIS CHAPTER JESUS IS INTRODUCED AS THE SOURCE OF LIGHT AND LIFE.
 
  1. GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. NOT ONLY IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD AND CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, BUT HE IS ALSO THE GIVER OF LIGHT AND LIFE (VV1-5).

  2. GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD WITH AUTHORITY TO MAKE SONS OF MEN TO BECOME SONS OF THE LIVING GOD (VV6-13).

  3. GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THE ETERNAL WORD OF GOD BECAME OUR “EMMANUEL” BRINGING GRACE AND TRUTH, IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT “EXEGETE” GOD THE FATHER (VV14-18).

WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “THIS DARK WORLD OF SIN.” IT IS TO THIS WORLD THAT JESUS CAME BRINGING THE OFFER OF LIGHT AND LIFE. WHILE HE WAS PHYSICALLY HERE HE DECLARED, “AS LONG AS I AM IN THE WORLD, I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” (JOHN 9:5).

THE APOSTLE PAUL DECLARED, “GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF---- AND HAS COMMITTED UNTO US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION” (2 CORINTHIANS 5:18). CHRISTIANS ARE NOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. WE ARE COMMANDED TO “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS, AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN” (MATTHEW 5:16).

THE PROBLEMS WE SEE AROUND US RESULT PRIMARILY FROM INDIVIDUALS LIVING FOR THEMSELVES WITH NO REGARD FOR GOD OR FOR OTHERS. AS INDIVIDUALS LIVING IN THIS FALLEN WORLD, WE ARE EITHER A PART OF THE PROBLEM OR A PART OF THE SOLUTION. UNTIL WE ACCEPT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR AND BEGIN TO SHINE HIS LIGHT BY LIVING FOR HIM, WE ARE A PART OF THE PROBLEM. WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BEGINS TO SHINE THROUGH US, THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL WE BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION.

ARE YOU A PART OF THE PROBLEM, OR A PART OF THE SOLUTION?


SUNDAY APRIL 15, 2012

"REASONS FOR THE RESURRECTION"

1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-8 & 12-22

THE CHURCH AT CORINTH HAD A LOT OF GOOD PREACHERS. THEY HAD A LOT OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS (CHAPTER 12). THEY ALSO HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS. THEY DIVIDED THE CHURCH INTO THREE PARTS, ONE PART TO EACH OF THE THREE GREAT PREACHERS, AND THE FOURTH PART TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THEY ALSO HAD PROBLEMS WITH ORDER AND DECORUM IN THEIR WORSHIP SERVICES, THEIR GIVING, AND THEIR COMMUNION SERVICES. HOWEVER, THE GREATEST PROBLEM THEY HAD WAS WITH THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION. THIS FIFTEENTH CHAPTER WAS WRITTEN TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM. WHILE THE GOSPELS RELATE THE EVENT OF THE RESURRECTION, THIS CHAPTER GIVES REASONS TO SUPPORT THE VALIDITY OF THE RESURRECTION

HERE ARE ELEVEN REASONS FOR THE RESURRECTION:
 
  1. IT IS THE VERY BASIS FOR OUR SALVATION (VV1-2).

  2. IT WAS PROPHESIED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (VV3-4).

  3. IT WAS VERIFIED BY EYE WITNESSES (VV5-10).

  4. WITHOUT THE RESURRECTION CHRISTIANITY AND EVEN LIFE ITSELF IS MEANINGLESS (VV12-19).

  5. CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD TO RESTORE WHAT ADAM LOST (VV20-22).

  6. CHRIST WILL RETURN TO PUT AN END TO DEATH (VV23-26).

  7. THE RESURRECTION WAS THE BASIS ON WHICH ALL THE MARTYRS OF THE FAITH GAVE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT RECANTING (VV30-32).

  8. AS SEEDS GROW INTO PLANTS, SO OUR TERRESTRIAL BODIES “SOWN” IN WEAKNESS WILL BE RAISED AS CELESTIAL BODIES WITH POWER (VV33-44).

  9. AS WE HAVE BOURNE THE IMAGE OF ADAM IN OUR NATURAL BODIES, SO WE WILL ALSO BEAR THE IMAGE OF CHRIST IN OUR SPIRITUAL BODIES (VV45-49).

  10. AT THE RETURN OF CHRIST OUR MORTAL BODIES WILL BECOME IMMORTAL SO THAT DEATH WILL BE DESTROYED (50-56).

  11. THIS ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL LIFE AND VICTORY OVER DEATH KEEPS US STEADFAST (VV57-58).









  12.  

WE LIVE IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY WHICH ASSUMES SEVERAL EQUALLY PLAUSIBLE “BELIEF SYSTEMS.” However, “A charge to keep I have; A God to glorify. A never-dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky” (Charles Wesley). Have you been born again?


SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2012

"HALLELUJAH, JESUS IS ALIVE"

MARK 15:33-16:16

AT EASTER WHEN WE VISIT SUPERMARKETS AND DEPARTMENT STORES, WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT EASTER BUNNIES AND EASTER EGGS. HOWEVER, EASTER IS NOT ABOUT EASTER BUNNIES AND EASTER EGGS. EASTER IS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! WHAT WE HAVE READ TODAY MIGHT HAVE ALSO BEEN READ FROM THE GOSPELS OF MATTHEW, LUKE, OR JOHN. HERE IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION. UNLIKE OTHER RELIGIONS, CHRISTIANITY IS NOT BASED ON CONJECTURE. CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON HISTORICAL FACT! HALLELUJAH, JESUS IS ALIVE.
 

  1. HALLELUJAH, JESUS IS ALIVE. JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE. HIS DEATH WAS VERIFIED (MARK 15:33-45; JOHN 19:32-37).

  2. HALLELUJAH, JESUS IS ALIVE. JESUS WAS BURIED AND HIS DISCIPLES WENT INTO HIDING. THE DISCIPLES FIRST RESPONDED TO THE NEWS OF HIS RESURRECTION WITH UNBELIEF (MARK 16:10-13; LUKE 24:10-12; JOHN 20:1-10&24-25).

  3. HALLELUJAH, JESUS IS ALIVE. JESUS WAS SEEN AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, AND AFTER HIS ASCENSION, HE SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO RIGHT NOW IS BAPTIZING INDIVIDUALS INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE FAMILY OF GOD (MATTHEW 28:9-20; MARK 16; LUKE 24; JOHN 20&21; ACTS 1&2; 1 CORINTHIANS 15).

THE STORY OF THE LIFE, DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS RECORDED IN ALL FOUR GOSPELS. THIS MESSAGE IS ALSO SUMMARIZED IN 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-8. JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED. THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD, AND WAS SEEN. HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN (ACTS 1:9-11). RIGHT NOW HE IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER (HEBREWS 1:3). HE IS COMING AGAIN TO JUDGE BOTH THE LIVING AND THE DEAD (2 TIMOTHY 4:1). WE ARE TOLD WHAT SIGNS WOULD PRECEDE HIS SECOND COMING:
  1. "MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO, AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE INCREASED" (DANIEL 12:4).

  2. "MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEMSELVES MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD" (2 TIMOTHY 3:1-5).

  3. "INIQUITY SHALL ABOUND AND THE LOVE OF MANY GROW COLD" (MATTHEW 24:12).
  4. "THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE PREACHED IN ALL THE WORLD FOR A WITNESS UNTO ALL NATIONS; AND THEN SHALL THE END COME" (MATHEW 24:14). IF HE SHOULD COME TODAY, ARE YOU READY?
 


SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012

"GOD NEEDS YOU"

LUKE 19:29-44

IN THIS PASSAGE, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CONTINUES HIS FINAL JOURNEY, AND MAKES HIS TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. LAST WEEK, WE SAW THAT HIS DISCIPLES WERE BICKERING ABOUT WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST. TODAY WE WILL SEE THAT THERE WERE OTHER THINGS TAKING PLACE. IN VERSES 1-10 ZACCHAEUS RECEIVED SALVATION, AND THE LORD JESUS DECLARED THAT HE HAD "COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST."

IN VERSES 11-28 WE HAVE THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS WHICH TELLS US THAT GOD EXPECTS A RETURN ON HIS INVESTMENT IN US. HE DECLARED IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT THAT HE HAD NOT COME TO DESTROY THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS BUT TO FULFILL THEM (MATTHEW 5:17). TO FULFILL THIS PROPHECY IN THE BOOK OF ZACHARIAH, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST NEEDED A DONKEY. TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD HE NEEDS YOU AND ME.
 
  1. GOD NEEDS YOU. ON ARRIVING AT THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, JESUS SENT HIS DISCIPLES TO GET A DONKEY FOR HIS TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. MANY OF US HAVE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE NEED GOD TO DO FOR US. HOWEVER, WE FORGET THAT GOD ALSO HAS THINGS THAT HE WANTS US TO DO FOR HIM (VV29-36). THERE ARE MINISTRIES IN CHURCHES WHICH CANNOT FUNCTION BECAUSE THERE IS NOBODY TO DO THEM.

  2. GOD NEEDS YOU. GOD NEEDS PEOPLE TO PRAISE HIM FOR HIS MIGHTY ACTS, TO PRAISE HIM ACCORDING TO HIS EXCELLENT GREATNESS, AND TO DECLARE TO THE WORLD WHO HE REALLY IS (VV37-40).

  3. GOD NEEDS YOU. WHEN WE FAIL TO RESPOND TO GOD’S LOVING CALL, WE BREAK GOD'S HEART. JESUS WEPT OVER JERUSALEM BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THEM IN THE FUTURE (VV41-44).

THE SCRIPTURES CAME ALIVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE LIVING WORD OF GOD, AND GOD’S FINAL REVELATION TO MANKIND. OUR LORD'S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM FULFILLED THE PROPHECY IN ZACHARIAH 9:9. IT ALSO FULFILLED THE PROPHECY IN DANIEL 9:25. HOWEVER, JERUSALEM DID NOT KNOW "THE TIME OF (HER) VISITATION." LIKE GOD THE FATHER WHO INVITES THE SPIRITUALLY HUNGRY AND THIRSTY TO SEEK HIM WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND (ISAIAH 55:1-7), SO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INVITES THOSE WHO ARE TIRED AND BURDENED TO FIND REST IN HIM (MATTHEW 11:28-30).

THE HOLY SPIRIT ALSO ISSUES THE INVITATION TO COME AND DRINK OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY (REVELATION 22:17). JERUSALEM SUFFERED HORRIBLY FOR REJECTING THEIR KING AND THE SALVATION HE OFFERED. "OF HOW MUCH SORER PUNISHMENT — SHALL HE BE THOUGHT WORTHY WHO HATH TRODDEN UNDER FOOT THE SON OF GOD---?" (HEBREWS 10:29). RESPOND TO GOD’S CALL TODAY!!


SUNDAY MARCH 25, 2012

"BECOME THE GREATEST BY SERVING THE MOST"

MATTHEW 20:20-28

WE ARE NOW APPROACHING THE CLOSING PERIOD OF OUR LORD’S MINISTRY. AFTER THE DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST OPERATED HIS MINISTRY OUT OF GALILEE, BUT WOULD ATTEND FEASTS IN JERUSALEM FROM TIME TO TIME. IN CHAPTER 16, AFTER PETER’S CONFESSION REGARDING HIS IDENTITY, HE TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO GO TO JERUSALEM TO BE CRUCIFIED AND THEN RISE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY. NOW AS HE IS ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM, HE INFORMS HIS DISCIPLES THAT THE TIME HAD COME, AND THAT THIS WOULD BE THE FINAL JOURNEY (VV17-19). AS JESUS CONTEMPLATED HIS SUFFERING AND DEATH, TWO OF HIS DISCIPLES WERE PREOCCUPIED WITH BEING THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, AND GOT THEIR MOTHER TO WEIGH IN ON THEIR BEHALF. JESUS INFORMED THEM THAT THE ONE WHO WOULD BE THE GREATEST IS THE ONE WHO SERVES THE MOST.
 
  1. BECOME THE GREATEST BY SERVING THE MOST. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEVER ABOUT REWARDS WITHOUT SACRIFICE, NEITHER IS IT ABOUT ENLISTING SUPPORT SO THAT WE CAN HAVE OUR WAY AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERYONE ELSE (VV20-23)

  2. BECOME THE GREATEST BY SERVING THE MOST. A SELFISH, SELFSERVING ATTITUDE WILL ONLY CREATE BITTERNESS, AND RESENTMENT WITHIN THE FELLOWSHIP (V24). GOD HATES THOSE WHO SOW DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN (PROVERBS 6:19).

  3. BECOME THE GREATEST BY SERVING THE MOST. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ALWAYS HAS THE PERFECT SOLUTION. HERE HE NOT ONLY STATES WHICH ATTITUDES TO REJECT AND WHICH TO PURSUE, BUT HE PRESENTS HIMSELF AS THE SUPREME EXAMPLE TO EMULATE (VV25-28).

THE ISSUE OF WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST WAS A BONE OF CONTENTION AMONG THE DISCIPLES FOR A LONG TIME. IT WAS RAISED IN CHAPTER 18:1, AS WELL AS IN MARK 9:34, LUKE 9:46 AND LUKE 22:24. THIS DESIRE WAS BASED PRIMARILY ON SELFISHNESS. SELFISHNESS IS STILL WITH US TODAY. IT IS A WORK OF THE FLESH WHICH WE MUST CONTROL WITH THE HELP OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. WE HAVE TO CULTIVATE THE HABIT OF WALKING IN THE SPIRIT SO THAT WE DO NOT FULFIL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH (ROMANS 6:12 & ROMANS 13:14).

ALL THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS WE HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN. WE ARE BORN AGAIN BY THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN, IN RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE FOR US, WE ACKNOWLEDGE OUR SINFULNESS, AND ASK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO FORGIVE OUR SINS, AND SAVE OUR SOULS. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, WHY NOT ASK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO SAVE YOU RIGHT NOW? THERE ARE NO SPECIAL WORDS OR PHRASES TO USE. JUST TALK TO GOD ONE ON ONE, AND ASK HIM TO DO THIS FOR YOU.


SUNDAY MARCH 18, 2012

"LET US GET REAL ABOUT JESUS"

MATTHEW 16:21-28

TODAY WE COME TO A TURNING POINT IN THE MINISTRY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE FIRST ASKED THE DISCIPLES WHO OTHERS SAID HE WAS, THEN DEMANDED THEIR OWN PERSONAL OPINION. THIS PASSAGE CHALLENGES US TO MAKE A DECISION REGARDING THE IDENTITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. WHO IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO YOU PERSONALLY? IF WE HAVE BEEN EVADING THIS DECISION IN THE PAST, IT IS TIME TO GET REAL.
 
  1. LET US GET REAL ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. (VV13-20) FIRST AND FOREMOST WE NEED TO KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS. HE IS THE ETERNAL WORD OF THE FATHER WHO IN ETERNITY PAST WAS FACE TO FACE WITH GOD THE FATHER (JOHN 1:1). HE IS “THAT ETERNAL LIFE THAT WAS WITH THE FATHER AND WAS MANIFESTED TO US” (1 JOHN 1:2). “NO MAN CAN SAY THAT JESUS IS THE LORD BUT BY THE HOLY GHOST” (1 CORINTHIANS 12:3). HE STATED IN JOHN 8:24, “UNLESS YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS.”

  2. LET US GET REAL ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. WE NEED TO KNOW WHY JESUS CAME TO THE EARTH. HE CAME AS THE LAMB OF GOD TO SUFFER AND DIE TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS AND MY SINS, SO THAT WE COULD BE RECONCILED TO GOD AND SPEND ETERNITY IN HIS HOLY PRESENCE (VV21-23).

  3. LET US GET REAL ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. WE NEED TO KNOW THE COST OF FOLLOWING HIM. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM HAS TO TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER EVERYTHING ELSE (MATTHEW 6:33). THIS WILL DEMAND SELF DENIAL, BUT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ETERNAL SOUL IS AT STAKE, AND THAT OUR SOUL IS MORE VALUABLE THAN THE WHOLE WORLD. (VV24-28)

ALL OF US AT SOME TIME OR OTHER COME TO MOMENTS OF DECISION WHICH CHANGE THE COURSE OF OUR LIVES. FOR SOME OF US IT MAY BE A DECISION TO CHANGE A JOB OR CAREER. FOR A YOUNG PERSON IT MAY BE A DECISION WHETHER TO START WORKING NOW OR TO GO TO COLLEGE FIRST. FOR OTHERS IT MAY BE A DECISION TO BEGIN OR TERMINATE A RELATIONSHIP. FOR OTHERS IT MAY BE A DECISION TO GET MARRIED OR TO MIGRATE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY. FOR THE DISCIPLES IT WAS THE DETERMINATION OF WHO JESUS REALLY IS, WHY HE HAD COME TO EARTH, AND WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN FOLLOWING HIM.

EVERY INDIVIDUAL ON THIS PLANET IS REQUIRED TO MAKE THIS DECISION. HAVE YOU MADE THIS DECISION YET? DON’T DIE IN YOUR SINS. IF YOU DO YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN HELL!! HELL WAS NOT PREPARED FOR MANKIND. HELL WAS PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS. REPENT AND ASK JESUS TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS TODAY.


SUNDAY MARCH 11, 2012

"BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER"

MATTHEW 15:21-28

HAVE YOU EVER PRAYED AND WONDERED IF GOD IS REALLY LISTENING. WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN GOD SEEMS SILENT. A GOOD WORD OF ADVICE IS NOT TO DO ANYTHING RASH. LIFE IS NOT A BED OF ROSES. WE WILL EXPERIENCE TRIALS AND TESTINGS. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE UNANSWERED PRAYERS. WHETHER THOSE EXPERIENCES MAKE US BITTER OR BETTER WILL DEPEND ON THE WAY WE REACT TO THEM. MOST TRIALS TEST OUR FAITH AND PERSISTENCY.

IN LUKE 18:1, WE ARE TOLD THAT “MEN OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY AND NOT TO FAINT.” IN TODAYS STORY WE FIND A WOMAN WHO HAD TO DEAL WITH THESE CHALLENGES. SHE HANDLED THEM SO VERY WELL THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST COMMENDED HER WHEN HE ANSWERED HER PRAYER. LET US LEARN FROM THE EXAMPLE OF THIS WOMAN AND BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER.

  1. BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. THERE WILL BE TIMES IN OUR EXPERIENCES WHEN GOD SEEMS TO BE SILENT (SEE ACTS 23:11&27:14-44). THIS WOMAN HAD A GENUINE NEED. THERE IS NOTHING MORE DESERVING OF MERCY AND COMPASSION THAN A MOTHER WITH A SICK CHILD. YET INITIALLY, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SEEMED TO COMPLETELY IGNORE HER (VV21-23).

  2. BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. KEEP YOUR GOAL IN SIGHT. YOU MAY HAVE TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT. DAVID SAID “I CRIED UNTO THE LORD WITH MY VOICE” (PSALM 142). WE HAVE TO CRY SOMETIMES. HERE THE DISCIPLES WANTED HER TO GO AWAY, AND EVEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF DID NOT SEEM PARTICULARLY RECEPTIVE (VV23-26).

  3. BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. GOD WILL HEAR AND HE WILL ANSWER. IN SPITE OF THE TRIALS, THE CHALLENGES, AND THE TESTINGS, THE RESULT WILL BE GLORIOUS (VV27-28).

THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT THE WAYS OF GOD ARE “PAST FINDING OUT.” HOWEVER, THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN BE ASSURED OF. GOD LOVES US “WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE.” IN FACT, GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO DIE AND PAY FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD (SEE JOHN 3:16, ROMANS 5:8 & 1 JOHN 2:2). “HE THAT SPARED NOT THIS OWN SON, BUT DELIVERED HIM UP FOR US ALL, HOW SHALL HE NOT WITH HIM ALSO FREELY GIVE US ALL THINGS?” (ROMANS 8:32). BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER!!


SUNDAY MARCH 4, 2012

"LET'S CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION"

MATTHEW 15:1-14

A TRADITION MAY BE DESCRIBED AS "AN INHERITED, ESTABLISHED, OR CUSTOMARY PATTERN OF THOUGHT, ACTION, OR BEHAVIOR." SOME TRADITIONS ARE GOOD TRADITIONS. SOME TRADITIONS ARE BAD, VERY BAD. THOSE TRADITIONS BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD ARE GOOD TRADITIONS. THOSE TRADITIONS THAT ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORD OF GOD ARE BAD TRADITIONS.

IN TODAY'S READING, WE FIND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CONDEMNING TRADITIONS THAT WERE CONTRARY TO THE WORD OF GOD. A TRADITION TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IS BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD. (SEE JOHN 13:34-35). LET US CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION.
  1. LET'S CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION. THE PHARISEES WENT TO JESUS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HIS DISCIPLES. A LOVE TRADITION WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR THE PHARISEES TO GO TO THE DISCIPLES THEMSELVES (SEE CHAPTER 18:15-20).

  2. LET'S CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION. THE TRADITION THAT THE PHARISEES WERE ADVOCATING WAS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL THAT ACTUALLY VIOLATED THE WORD OF GOD (VV1-6).

  3. LET'S CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION. WORSHIPPING GOD REQUIRES RELATIONSHIP, LOVE, AND FELLOWSHIP; NOT MEANINGLESS, HEARTLESS RITUALS (VV7-9).
  4. LET'S CULTIVATE A LOVE TRADITION. IN CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE OFENDED, IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN (VV10-14).

TRADITIONS ARE EVERYWHERE, ESPECIALLY IN CHURCHES. MANY CHURCH TRADITIONS ARE CONTRARY TO THE WORD OF GOD. JUST LIKE THE PHARISEES, WE TEND TO GIVE TRADITIONS PRECEDENCE OVER THE WORD OF GOD. IF WE ARE GOING TO ADVOCATE TRADITIONS, THEN LET US ADVOCATE BIBLICAL TRADITIONS.

THE GREATEST TRADITION IS THAT WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS CHRIST HAS LOVED US. "LOVE WORKETH NO ILL TO HIS NEIGHBOR: THEREFORE LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW" (ROMANS 13:10). "SEE THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH A PURE HEART FERVENTLY: BEING BORN AGAIN NOT OF CORRUPTIBLE SEED, BUT OF INCURRUPTIBLE BY THE WORD OF GOD WHICH LIVETH AND ABIDETH FOR EVER." (1 PETER CHAPTER 1:22-23)


SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2012

"REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD"

MATTHEW 9:18-26

THIS IS A STORY WITHIN ANOTHER STORY.  IT IS RECORDED IN THREE OF THE FOUR GOSPELS.  IT ALSO APPEARS IN MARK CHAPTER 5:21-43 AND LUKE CHAPTER 8:41-56.  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD JUST RETURNED FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEA OF GALILEE, WHEN A RULER OF THE SYNAGOGUE MET HIM AND ASKED HIM TO COME AND HEAL HIS TWELVE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WHO WAS AT THE POINT OF DEATH.  THIS MIRACLE TOOK PLACE WHILE HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO PERFORM THAT MIRACLE.  IN THIS STORY WE SEE A WOMAN WHO WAS DETERMINED TO GET HER HEALING THAT DAY.  SHE HAD HAD ENOUGH OF THAT SICKNESS AND WAS COMMITTED TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD THAT DAY.  WE ALSO SHOULD BE COMMITTED TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD SO THAT HE CAN SUPPLY OUR NEEDS, WHATEVER THOSE NEEDS MAY BE.
  1. REACH OUR AND TOUCH THE LORD.  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NEVER TOO BUSY.  HE CAN HANDLE SEVERAL PROBLEMS AT THE SAME TIME (VV20-21).

  2. REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD.  THERE MAY BE OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME.  THIS WOMAN WAS UNDAUNTED.  SHE SAW HER SOLUTION IN “THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT” AND SHE DECIDED TO PRESS HER WAY THROUGH THE CROWD (MARK 5:27).

  3. REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD.  NEVER LOSE HEART BECAUSE YOU THINK THERE IS A DELAY.  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NEVER LATE.  HE IS ALWAYS ON TIME.  YOUR TURN WILL COME (VV23-26 & MARK 5:35-43).

IN HEBREWS 13:8 WE READ: “JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER.”  THERE IS STILL THE SAME “VIRTUE” IN HIM TO SUPPLY ALL OUR NEEDS “ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY” (PHILIPPIANS 4:19).  WHAT NEED DO YOU HAVE THAT YOU WANT THE LORD TO SUPPLY?  TODAY, NOT TOMORROW, PRESS THROUGH THE OBSTACLES BY FAITH, AND RECEIVE YOUR BLESSING.IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR, IT MEANS THAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN BORN AGAIN.  IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN BORN AGAIN, YOUR NAME IS NOT WRITTEN IN THE “LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE” AND YOU “CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (JOHN 3:5).  YOUR GREATEST NEED IS TO RECEIVE HIM TODAY, AS YOUR SAVIOR AND LORD!



SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2012 "STAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD"

ACTS 13:1-12

LAST WEEK WE SAW THAT SAUL WHO WENT TO DAMASCUS TO BRING ALL CHRISTIANS BOUND TO JERUSALEM HAD TO ESCAPE FROM DAMASCUS OVER THE CITY WALL IN A BASKET.  WE ALSO SAW THAT HE HAD TO SUFFER A GREAT DEAL FOR HIS FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  TODAY WE ARE GOING TO FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF HIS CHRISTIAN WALK. 

OUR READING TODAY BEGINS WITH PAUL AS ONE OF SEVERAL MINISTERS IN THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH.  THIS CHURCH WAS FOUNDED BECAUSE OF PAUL’S OWN ACTIVITIES OF PERSECUTION! (CHAPTER 11:19-26). 

IT IS FROM THIS CHURCH THAT HE WAS CALLED TO THE BATTLEFIELD.  YOU AND I ARE ALSO SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELD FOR OUR LORD.  LET US STAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND SERVE HIM UNTIL WE DIE.

  1. STAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD.  IF WE ARE GOING TO BE USED BY GOD TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE, WE HAVE TO FIRST FIND OURSELVES IN THE COMPANY OF GOD’S PEOPLE, WHERE THERE IS PRAYING, FASTING, AND WORSHIPPING (VV1-2).

  2. STAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD.  WHENEVER NEW SPIRITUAL GROUND IS BEING BROKEN, THE PROCESS HAS TO BE “BATHED” IN PRAYER AND FASTING (V3).

  3. STAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD.  THERE WILL BE ASSAULTS BY THE ENEMY, BUT “GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD” (1 JOHN 4:4)

IN TODAY’S READING, PAUL LAUNCHES OUT ON HIS FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY.  THE REST OF THE BOOK OF ACTS IS ABOUT HIS THREE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS AND HIS FINAL JOURNEY TO ROME WHERE HE WAS EXECUTED.  HALF OF THE NEW TESTAMENT ARE HIS LETTERS TO CHURCHES THAT HE STARTED EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY ON THOSE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS.

THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THOSE LETTERS TO READ TODAY, UNDERSCORES HIS CLAIM THAT HE WAS INDEED THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES.  IN HIS FINAL LETTER TO TIMOTHY JUST BEFORE HIS EXECUTION HE DECLARED: “I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH” (2 TIMOTHY 4:7-8). CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN CALLED OUT OF THE WORLD TO BE SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD.  HOWEVER, “THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE ARE NOT CARNAL, BUT MIGHTY THROUGH GOD TO THE PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS” (2 CORINTHIANS 10:4).  WE MUST THEREFORE “FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH (AND) LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE” (1 TIMOTHY 6:12).


ARE YOU A SOLDIER ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD OR HAVE YOU GONE A.W.O.L.  SOME PEOPLE CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS BUT HAVE NOT BEEN TO CHURCH IN A LONG TIME.  THEY WENT A.W.O.L. SOME HAVE NEVER ENLISTED.  AS GOD SAID TO ADAM “WHERE ARE YOU?”
 


 

SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012

"IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE"

JOHN 5:1-18

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IS STRUCTURED ON SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WITH A TEACHING SESSION FOLLOWING EACH MIRACLE.  AFTER EACH OF THESE TEACHING SESSIONS, JOHN RECORDS THE REACTION OF DIFFERENT OBSERVERS. 

THERE WERE THOSE WHO BELIEVED ON JESUS, AND THOSE WHO DID NOT BELIEVE.  JOHN THEN LEAVES US TO DECIDE WHICH OF THESE GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS WE OURSELVES WILL IDENTIFY WITH. 

IN CHAPTER 20:31, HE TELLS US SPECIFICALLY THAT HE WROTE HIS GOSPEL “THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; AND THAT BELIEVING YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME.”  LET US IDENTIFY OURSELVES WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE, AND PASS FROM DEATH INTO ETERNAL LIFE.

  1. IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE.  IT IS POSSIBLE FOR BLESSINGS TO BE TAKING PLACE ALL AROUND US, YET WE ARE NOT AMONG THOSE WHO RECEIVE THOSE BLESSINGS (VV1-5).

  2. IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE.  OUR IDEA OF THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM MAY NOT BE THE SOLUTION THAT GOD HAS FOR US.  HE MAY HAVE SOMETHING BETTER!  THIS MAN’S SOLUTION WAS NOT IN THE POOL, BUT IN JUST SEVEN WORDS FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV6-9).

  3. IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE.  UNBELIEF WILL VERY OFTEN CAUSE YOU TO FOCUS ON LESSER THINGS, AND MISS THE MIRACLES THAT GOD IS DOING RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES (VV10-18).

THE SCRIPTURES TELL US IN HEBREWS 11:6 THAT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD.  IN 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7, WE READ THAT AS CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD, “WE WALK BY FAITH NOT BY SIGHT.”  OUR FAITH HAS TO BE GROUNDED IN THE FACT THAT GOD IS “A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM” (HEBREWS 11:6) AND “WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE NOR FORSAKE THEE” (HEBREWS 13:5).

IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TO BE FIRST RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO BECOME A PART OF THE FAMILY OF GOD.  THE PROCESS BEGINS WHEN WE REALIZE THAT GOD LOVES US WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE, AND HAS BEEN PURSUING US ALL OUR LIVES TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS, AND TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US BOTH NOW AND THROUGHOUT ALL ETERNITY!


THIS IS WHY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME DOWN TO EARTH AND DIED TO PAY FOR OUR SINS (JOHN 3:16).  TODAY, IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO BELIEVE, AND PASS FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE (JOHN 5:24).  DO IT RIGHT NOW.  THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT!
 



SUNDAY JANUARY 8, 2012

"MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE"

JOHN 3:1-21

THIS PASSAGE CONTAINS THE DISCOURSE THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD WITH A MAN CALLED NICODEMUS.  NICODEMUS WAS A MEMBER OF THE SANHEDRIN.  THE SANHEDRIN WAS A GROUP OF SEVENTY MEN WHO OVERSAW THE AFFAIRS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.  WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ARRIVED ON THE SCENE THE JEWS HAD NOT SEEN A PROPHET FOR OVER 400 YEARS. 

JOHN TELLS US AT THE END OF CHAPTER TWO, THAT MANY BELIEVED ON JESUS WHEN THEY SAW THE MIRACLES THAT HE DID AT JERUSALEM, BUT THAT JESUS KNEW THEIR BELIEF WAS SUPERFICIAL.  NICODEMUS WENT FURTHER.  HE WANTED TO LEARN MORE. 

HE TOOK THE TIME TO ENCOUNTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY.  HE MADE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE.  WE ALSO SHOULD FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE BY TAKING TIME TO ENCOUNTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY.

  1. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE.  A RIGHT RESPONSE INCLUDES TAKING THE TIME FOR A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV1-2).

  2. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE.  IN A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL PROVIDE US WITH THE INFORMATION WE NEED IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ETERNAL LIFE (VV3-17).

  3. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE.  ONCE WE HAVE THE RIGHT INFORMATION, THE ONUS IS ON US EITHER TO BELIEVE OR NOT TO BELIEVE.  IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, THE WORD “BELIEVE” MEANS TO TRUST.  OUR RESPONSE DETERMINES OUR ETERNAL DESTINY (VV18-21).

IN OUR CULTURE TODAY, THE POPULAR OPINION IS THAT EVERYONE IS GOING TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE, UNLESS THEY HAVE DONE SOMETHING VERY BAD.  THE CLEAR MESSAGE CONTAINED HERE IS THAT EVERYONE IS GOING TO HELL UNLESS THEY HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN.  WE ARE BORN AGAIN THROUGH A SOVEREIGN WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD WHEN WE COME TO GOD PERSONALLY, CONFESS OUR SINFULNESS AND ASK HIS FORGIVENESS, FULLY TRUSTING IN THE FACT THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PAID FOR OUR SINS AND PURCHASED OUR SALVATION IN HIS SUFFERING AND DEATH ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY.  THIS IS THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE!

HAVE YOU MADE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE?  IF NOT, WHY NOT DO IT NOW.  “BEHOLD, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME; BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!” (2 CORINTHIANS 6:2)

 


SUNDAY JANUARY 1, 2012

"WHAT TIME IS IT"

ROMANS 13:7-14

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS IS DIVIDED INTO THREE SECTIONS OF WHICH CHAPTERS 12-16 IS THE FINAL SECTION.  IN CHAPTERS 1-8 WE HAVE THE PLAN OF SALVATION, IN CHAPTERS 9-11 GOD’S PLAN FOR THE JEWS, AND IN CHAPTERS 12-16 THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIANITY. 

OUR MEDITATION FOR TODAY COMES FROM THIS FINAL SECTION.  WHAT TIME IS IT?  “IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP!” (V11), AND OPEN YOUR SPIRITUAL EYES!”
  1. WHAT TIME IS IT?  IT IS TIME TO GIVE TO EVERYONE WHAT IS DUE, AND TO LOVE EACH OTHER SOME MORE (VV7-10).










  2.  
  3. WHAT TIME IS IT?  IT IS TIME TO START PRACTISING YOUR CHRISTIANITY (VV11-13).  REMEMBER, “FAITH WITHOUT WOEKS IS DEAD” (JAMES 2:26) AND “NOT EVERYONE THAT SAYETH UNTO ME ‘LORD, LORD’ SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN” (MATTHEW 7:21).










  4.  
  5. WHAT TIME IS IT?  IT IS TIME TO PUT ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND TO STOP MAKING PROVISION FOR THE FLESH TO FULFILL THE LUSTS THEREOF (V14).  THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WANTS US TO BE IN HIM AS HE IS IN GOD THE FATHER (JOHN 14:20).  THAT IS THE ULTIMATE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!

ALL OF US AT SOME TIME OR OTHER HAVE ASKED THE QUESTION WHAT TIME IS IT, BUT NOT IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS BEING ASKED HERE.  THE “HIGH TIME” REFERRED TO HERE IS THE TIME ON GOD’S TIME TABLE.  JUST WHERE ARE WE ON GOD’S TIME TABLE?  ACCORDING TO DANIEL CHAPTER 9, WHERE THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS TOLD IN ADVANCE, WE ARE BETWEEN THE END OF THE 69TH WEEK AND THE 70TH WEEK WHEN THE GREAT TRIBULATION STARTS.

ALL THE WARNING SIGNS DESCRIBED IN 2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 3 ARE IN EVIDENCE.  HOWEVER THIS PASSAGE MAKES THE QUESTION A PERSONAL ONE!  WHAT TIME IS IT AS FAR AS YOU AND I ARE CONCERNED.  “IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP!”  ARE YOU STILL SLEEPING?

 



SUNDAY DECEMBER 11, 2011

"PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"

LUKE 1:35-45

WHENEVER WE RELATE THE CHRISTMAS STORY, A LOT IS SAID ABOUT THE ANGEL GABRIEL, THE SHEPHERDS, MARY AND JOSEPH AND THE WISE FROM THE EAST. THE PIVOTAL ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HARDLY EVER MENTIONED.

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIVES OF FIVE PERSONS AT THE TIME OF THE ADVENT. WE ARE GOING TO SEE WHAT KIND OF PERSONS THEY WERE, THE IMPACT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON THEIR LIVES, AND ALLOW THEM TO CHALLENGE US TO PREPARE OURSELVES FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON OUR LIVES THIS CHRISTMAS.
  1. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE FIRST PERSON WE WILL CONSIDER IS THE VIRGIN MARY. SHE HAD "FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD" (VV28&30). WHEN SHE WAS TOLD BY THE ANGEL THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WOULD COME UPON HER AND CAUSE HER TO CONCEIVE, HER IMMEDIATE RESPONSE WAS "BEHOLD THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD." IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE CONCEPTION TOOK PLACE IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE ELIZABETH ADDRESSED HER AS "THE MOTHER OF MY LORD" (VV35-43).










  2.  
  3. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE NEXT PERSON WE WILL CONSIDER IS ELIZABETH THE WIFE OF ZACHARIAS. THEY ARE BOTH DESCRIBED IN VERSE 6 AS "WALKING IN ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD BLAMELESS." THE MOMENT THAT MARY GREETED ELIZABETH, SHE WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAISED GOD WITH A LOUD VOICE (VV41-45). MARY RESPONDED WITH THE "MAGNIFICAT" (VV46-55). THAT WAS THE HOLY GHOST MOVING ON BOTH OF THESE WOMEN.










  4.  
  5. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WE NOW TAKE A LOOK AT ZACHARIAS. AS SOON AS HIS MOUTH WAS OPENED HE "WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND PROPHESIED" (V67).










  6.  
  7. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. OUR FOURTH PERSON FOR CONSIDERATION IS SIMEON. HE WAS "JUST AND DEVOUT" AND THE HOLY GHOST HAD MADE A PROMISE TO HIM, AND BROUGHT HIM INTO THE TEMPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME TO MEET THE BABY JESUS, AND TO PROPHESY OVER HIM AND HIS MOTHER (2:25-35).










  8.  
  9. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. FINALLY WE COME TO ANNA THE PROPHETESS. SHE IS DESCRIBED AS ONE "WHO SERVED GOD WITH FASTINGS AND PRAYERS NIGHT AND DAY." SHE ALSO WAS LED INTO THE TEMPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME TO PROPHESY OVER THE BABY JESUS (2:37-38).

WHAT DID THESE FIVE PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON? THEY WERE ALL FAITHFUL SERVANTS OF GOD WHOSE LIVES WERE CONSISTENT WITH THE WORD OF GOD. THROUGH THE WORKING OF THE HOLY GHOST NOT ONLY WERE THEIR LIVES BLESSED, BUT THEY IMPACTED THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND THEM. "GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS" (ACTS 10:34). LET US PREPARE OURSELVES FOR A MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON OUR LIVES THIS CHRISTMAS. GET TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR. IF YOU ALREADY KNOW HIM, THEN LET THE “RIVERS OF LIVING WATER” FLOW THROUGH YOU (JOHN 7:38).

 



SUNDAY DECEMBER 4, 2011

"MOVE FROM NAZARETH TO GENESSARET"

MATTHEW 13:53-58 and 14:34-36

TODAY WE ARE DEALING WITH A TALE OF TWO CITIES, SEPARATED BY THE SEA OF GALILEE. THAT WAS A DISTANCE OF JUST ABOUT SEVEN MILES, BUT SPIRITUALLY THEY WERE WORLDS APART. THE PEOPLE IN NAZARETH REJECTED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND CHEATED THEMSELVES OF THE BLESSINGS THAT WERE AVAILABLE.

THE PEOPLE IN GENESSARET RECEIVED HIM GLADLY AND BENEFITTED TREMENDOUSLY. TODAYS CHALLENGE IS THAT IF WE ARE NOW LIVING IN SPIRITUAL NAZARETH, WE SHOULD MOVE OUT AND GO FOR THE GENESSARET EXPERIENCE.
  1. MOVE FROM NAZARETH TO GENESSARET. LET GOD BE GOD. WE DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW HOW HE IS GOING TO DO ANYTHING. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD (VV 13:53-56).










  2.  
  3. MOVE FROM NAZARETH TO GENESSARET. NEVER BE OFFENDED IN GOD. HE LOVES YOU AND WANTS TO HELP YOU (VV 13:57-58).










  4.  
  5. MOVE FROM NAZARETH TO GENESSARET. WHILE THE PEOPLE OF NAZARETH REJECTED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE PEOPLE IN GENESSARET RECEIVED HIM GLADLY AND SAW TO IT THAT EVERYONE WAS BLESSED (14:34-36).

THE CITIES OF NAZARETH AND GENESSARET COULD BE USED TO ILLUSTRATE A NUMBER OF LESSONS:
A) OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL DETERMINE THE EXTENT OF OUR BLESSINGS.

B) WHEN WE ARE IN CHURCH IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE CULTIVATE THE RIGHT SPIRIT. REMEMBER THAT WE ARE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE. WATCH AND PRAY.

C) OUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES ARE SOMETIMES THE MOST DIFFICULT TO WIN.

D) BLESSINGS ABOUND WHEREVER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS HONORED AND ADORED.
IN WHICH OF THESE TWO CITIES ARE YOU IN YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK? ARE YOU MORE PREOCCUPIED WITH THE PERSON PREACHING, OR WITH THE WORD BEING PREACHED? ARE YOU LIMITING WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS ABLE TO DO FOR YOU, OR ARE YOU SIMPLY REACHING OUT TO TOUCH THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT? TODAY IF YOUR LIFE IS LIMITED BY THE ATTITUDE IN NAZARETH, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REMAIN THERE. YOU CAN RIGHT NOW ASK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO TAKE YOU TO GENESSARET WHERE HIS BLESSINGS ABOUND.

 



SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2011

"PREPARE FOR LANDING"

MATTHEW 13:24-30 and 36-43

MANY OF US HAVE BEEN ON FLIGHTS OR CRUISES TO ANOTHER COUNTRY. WHETHER WE ARE ON AN AIRPLANE OR ON A SHIP, THERE IS ALWAYS SO MUCH ACTIVITY THAT IT IS VERY EASY TO FORGET THAT WE ARE IN THE AIR OR ON WATER. SOMETIMES IT TAKES SOME TURBULENCE TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE IN THE AIR, OR A STORM TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE ON THE OCEAN. WHETHER WE ARE ON A FLIGHT OR ON A CRUISE, THE TIME EVENTUALLY COMES WHEN WE ARE TOLD TO PREPARE FOR LANDING. WHETHER WE ARE TRAVELLING FOR BUSINESS OR FOR PLEASURE, IF OUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ARE NOT IN ORDER, WE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO LAND. WE WOULD HAVE SPENT OUR MONEY AND TRAVELLED IN VAIN.

IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 13, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TELLS SEVEN PARABLES. THIS PARABLE REMINDS US THAT WE ARE TRAVELLING ON A SPACESHIP CALLED EARTH AND THAT ONE DAY IT IS GOING TO LAND. AS WE ENJOY THE FLIGHT, LET US MAKE SURE THAT OUR DOCUMENTS ARE IN ORDER. LET US PREPARE FOR LANDING.
  1. PREPARE FOR LANDING. THE GENUINE TRAVEL DOCUMENTS COME ONLY FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. ALL OTHER DOCUMENTS ARE FALSE (VV36-40).










  2.  
  3. PREPARE FOR LANDING. THOSE TRAVELLING ON FALSE DOCUMENTS WILL BE EXECUTED ON ARRIVAL (VV41-42).










  4.  
  5. PREPARE FOR LANDING. THOSE TRAVELLING WITH THE RIGHT DOCUMENTS WILL ENJOY ENTERNAL BLISS (V43).


THE PRINCIPAL DOCUMENT REQUIRED FOR THIS SPIRITUAL JOURNEY FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN IS A BIRTH CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN" (JOHN 3:7). THE NEW BIRTH IS NECESSARY BECAUSE WE ARE “BY NATURE THE CHILDREN OF WRATH” (EPHESIANS 2:3). "THE NATURAL MAN RECEIVETH NOT THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD: THEY ARE FOOLISHNESS UNTO HIM: NEITHER CAN HE KNOW THEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED" (1 CORINTHIANS 2:14).

WHEN WE ARE BORN AGAIN, WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS AND TRANSLATED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD'S SON (COLOSSIANS 1:13). WE ARE THEN READY TO BEGIN OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. AS WE JOURNEY WE MUST "GROW IN GRACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST" (2 PETER 3:18). ARE YOUR DOCUMENTS IN ORDER? IF NOT, TURN TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TODAY. CONFESS YOUR SINS AND ASK HIS FORGIVENESS. HE WILL SUPPLY ALL YOU NEED BOTH TO MAKE THE JOURNEY AND TO HAVE A SAFE LANDING. IN HIM WE HAVE "ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE AND GODLINESS" (2 PETER 1:3). LET US PREPARE FOR LANDING!

 



SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6, 2011

"LET US BEAR GOOD FRUIT"

MATTHEW 13:1-9 and 18-23

IN OUR DAY IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR PEOPLE TO LOSE THEIR LIFE SAVINGS IN BAD INVESTMENTS. THIS PARABLE IS ABOUT SOME INVESTMENTS THAT GAVE NO RETURN. IT IS ONE OF THE MORE FAMILIAR PARABLES OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND IS THE FIRST OF SEVEN PARABLES RECORDED IN THIS CHAPTER.

IN VERSES 10-17, OUR LORD EXPLAINS TO HIS DISCIPLES WHY HE SPOKE IN PARABLES. IT WAS BECAUSE THE JEWISH LEADERS IN THEIR EFFORTS TO ANTAGONIZE HIM, HAD CLOSED THEIR HEARTS TO HIS WORDS. THIS PARABLE REMINDS US THAT GOD EXPECTS RETURNS FROM HIS INVESTMENT IN US. THE SEED REPRESENTS THE WORD OF GOD. GOD EXPECTS THE SEED OF HIS WORD TO BEAR GOOD FRUIT IN US.
  1. LET US BEAR GOOD FRUIT. THE FIRST SOIL WAS SO HARD THAT THE SEED COULD NOT EVEN BEGIN TO GROW. SINCE THERE WAS NO PENETRATION, THE WORD OF GOD SOWN IN THIS SOIL IS QUICKLY TAKEN AWAY BY THE DEVIL. (V19).










  2.  
  3. LET US BEAR GOOD FRUIT. IN THE SECOND SOIL THE WORDS DO TAKE ROOT, BUT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH DEPTH FOR THE WORDS TO GROW, SO THEY CANNOT ENDURE TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS (VV20-21).










  4.  
  5. LET US BEAR GOOD FRUIT. IN THE THIRD SOIL, THE WORDS DO TAKE ROOT AND GROW, BUT THE THORNS WERE NOT REMOVED, SO THE CARES OF THIS WORLD AND THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES EVENTUALLY CHOKE OUT THE WORD AND NO FRUIT RESULTS (V22).










  6.  
  7. LET US BEAR GOOD FRUIT. FINALLY THERE IS THE FOURTH SOIL WHERE THE WORD OF GOD TAKES ROOT, GROWS, AND BEARS FRUIT-NOT IN EQUAL AMOUNTS, “BUT EACH ACCORDING TO HIS MEASURE OF FAITH” (V23).


IMPLIED IN THIS PARABLE IS THE FACT THAT WHENEVER THE WORD OF GOD IS PREACHED, THER ARE AT LEAST FOUR RESPONSES. ONLY ONE OF THESE IS THE RIGHT RESPONSE. THE PARABLE CONCLUDES WITH THE WORDS "HE THAT HATH EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR." THIS IS A SOLEMN WARNING TO ALL OF US. WE ALL NEED TO BE AWARE WHETHER OUR LIVES ARE PRODUCING THE WORKS OF THE FLESH OR THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. SOME OF THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE LISTED IN GALATIANS 5:19-21.

THE MANY FACETS OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT FOLLOW IN VERSES 22-23. WE CANNOT BEAR GOOD FRUIT OF OURSELVES. IN ORDER TO BEAR GOOD FRUIT WE MUST BE BORN OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD (JOHN 3:5). IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN US "BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO HIS GOOD PLEASURE" (PHILIPPIANS 2:13). HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN? IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? ASK JESUS TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS AND TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE TODAY!!

 



SUNDAY OCTOBER 16, 2011

"FIND REST IN GOD"

MATTHEW 11:25-30

HAVE YOU EVER EARNESTLY PRAYED TO GOD ABOUT ANYTHING AND EXPECTED HIM TO RESPOND IN A CERTAIN WAY AND HE DID NOT RESPOND IN THE WAY YOU EXPECTED? HAVE YOU EVER GIVEN OF YOUR BEST EXPECTING TO GET A CERTAIN RESPONSE ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT THE ANTICIPATED RESPONSE WAS NOT FORTHCOMING? WE SEEM TO HAVE BOTH OF THESE SITUATIONS IN THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.

THE CHAPTER BEGINS WITH JOHN THE BAPTIST SENDING HIS DISCIPLES TO SEEK ASSURANCE THAT JESUS WAS REALLY THE ONE JOHN THOUGHT THAT HE WAS (VV1-6). AFTER RESPONDING TO JOHN'S DISCIPLES, AND SPEAKING FAVORABLY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, JESUS THEN WARNS THE CITIES IN WHICH MANY OF HIS "MIGHTY WORKS" WERE PERFORMED, FOR THEIR LACK OF REPENTANCE (VV7-24). IN THIS PASSAGE HE STATES WHY CHRISTIANITY IS UNIQUE, AND INVITES ALL MEN TO FIND REST IN HIM.
  1. FIND REST IN GOD. REST IN GOD RESULTS FROM A REVELATION OF WHO JESUS REALLY IS. THIS REVELATION HAS TO COME FROM GOD HIMSELF. THIS CAN BE VEILED FROM THE MOST BRILLIANT AMONG US, YET REVEALED TO THE SIMPLEST AMONG US (VV25-26).










  2.  
  3. FIND REST IN GOD. ONLY THE FATHER CAN REVEAL THE SON, AND ONLY THE SON CAN REVEAL THE FATHER. THIS REVELATION AND THE REST THAT RESULTS FROM IT TAKES PLACE ONLY IN CHRISTIANITY, AND IN NO OTHER RELIGION (V27).










  4.  
  5. FIND REST IN GOD. THE INVITATION TO FIND REST IS OPEN TO "ALL YE THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN." THE REST RESULTS FROM COMING TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, GETTING INTO HIS SERVICE, LEARNING FROM HIM, AND BECOMING LIKE HIM (VV28-30).


EVERY PERSON WAS CREATED TO THIRST AFTER GOD. IT IS COMMONLY BELIEVED AMONG MANY, THAT CHRISTIANITY IS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL WAYS TO "FIND" GOD. NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH. THE BIBLE IS VERY CLEAR THAT "THERE IS ONE GOD, AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS; WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL" (1 TIMOTHY 2:5-6).

LIFE IS FULL OF DISAPPOINTMENTS AND DISCOURAGEMENTS, BUT THE BELIEVER CAN AND SHOULD FIND REST AND RESTORATION IN JESUS CHRIST. HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. IN HIM THERE IS REST AND REFRESHING. IF YOU HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THE REST THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST OFFERS, NOW IS THE TIME TO GIVE YOUR LIFE TO HIM. SIMPLY CONFESS THAT YOU ARE A SINNER AND ASK HIM TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS, AND BECOME YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

 



SUNDAY OCTOBER 2, 2011

"LET US GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR FAITH"

MATTHEW 8:1-13

FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. WE HAVE JUST COMPLETED THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IN WHICH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST INARGURATED THE DISPENSION OF GRACE, AND SHOWED THAT THE STANDARDS REQUIRED UNDER THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE ARE HIGHER THAN THOSE UNDER THE LAW.

IN TODAYS READING, HE COMES DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN AND HE MEETS A CENTURIAN WHO TOOK FAITH SERIOUSLY. WE SHOULD ALSO TAKE OUR FAITH SERIOUSLY.
  1. LET US GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR FAITH. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL IS THE SAVING OF THE SOUL. PHYSICAL HEALINGS AND OTHER BLESSINGS ARE REALLY SECONDARY (VV1-4). WE SHOULD BE PURSUING THE SAVING OF OUR OWN SOULS AS WELL AS THE SOULS OF THOSE AROUND US.










  2.  
  3. LET US GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR FAITH. WE MUST BE FULLY AWARE THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST POSSESSES ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH, AND THEN BEHAVE AS IF WE BELIEVE IT (VV5-9).










  4.  
  5. LET US GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR FAITH. "NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS." WE CANNOT WORSHIP GOD AND WORSHIP OURSELVES AT THE SAME TIME. THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN AGAIN. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO MAY HAVE BEEN BORN BUT WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM. THIS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS (VV10-13).


THERE ARE MANY IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO HAVE NOT BEEN BORN AGAIN, BUT WHO SINCERELY THINK THAT THEY WILL BE GOING TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE. IT IS MOST DANGEROUS TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE OKAY WHEN GOD’S WORD SAYS THAT YOU ARE NOT. ALL OF US NEED TO "EXAMINE OURSELVES WHETHER WE BE IN THE FAITH" (2 CORINTHIANS 13:5).

IF WE ARE CHRISTIANS, WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO PATTERN OUR LIVES AFTER THOSE WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS. IF WE NEED SOMEONE TO EMULATE, WE SHOULD CHOOSE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. WHERE DO YOU PERSONALLY STAND IN ALL THIS? ARE YOU LIKE THE CENTURIAN OR LIKE ONE OF THOSE IN THE CROWD? LET US GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR FAITH! OUR ETERNAL DESTINY DEPENDS ON IT!

 



SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2011

"BE A GENUINE BELIEVER"

MATTHEW 7:15-27

THIS WILL BE OUR FINAL SERMON FROM THE SERIES TAKEN FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. WE HAVE SO FAR LEARNED THAT GOD REQUIRES US TO BE PERFECT AS HE IS PERFECT. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FULFILLED THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS AND HE WILL CREDIT HIS PERFECTION TO US WHEN WE PUT OUR FAITH IN HIM.

TO SEE THAT OUR FAITH MUST BE A GENUINE FAITH. TO BE GENUINE BELIEVERS, OUR CHRISTIANITY MUST BE SOMETHING THAT WE PRACTICE NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT WE SAY. LET US THEREFORE COMMIT OURSELVES TO BE GENUINE BELIEVERS.
  1. BE A GENUINE BELIEVER. OUR LIVES WILL REFLECT THE KIND OF BELIEVERS THAT WE ARE. THE LIVES OF GENUINE BELIEVERS BEAR GOOD FRUIT (VV15-20).










  2.  
  3. BE A GENUINE BELIEVER. OUR CHRISTIANITY CANNOT BE IN WORD ONLY. IT MUST BE SOMETHING THAT WE PRACTISE. IF OUR CHRISTIANITY IS IN WORD ONLY, WE WILL BE DISAPPOINTED ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT (VV21-23).










  4.  
  5. BE A GENUINE BELIEVER. THERE ARE GOOD CONSEQUENCES FOR HEARING GOD'S WORD AND DOING IT. THERE ARE EVIL CONSEQUENCES FOR HEARING GOD'S WORD AND NOT DOING IT (VV24-27).


THERE IS A BOTTOM LINE TO LIFE. THE BOTTOM LINE IS NOT ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY WE MAKE OR HOW MUCH FAME WE ACQUIRE IN THIS LIFE THAT WE LIVE ON THE EARTH. THE BOTTOM LINE TO ALL OF LIFE IS WHERE DO WE GO WHEN WE LEAVE HERE? OUR LORD IS SAYING THAT THERE IS A DAY COMING WHEN ALL OUR LIVES WILL BE TRIED AND TESTED. ONLY THOSE LIVES BUILT ON DOING GOD'S WORD WILL STAND THE TEST.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? IS YOUR LIFE ESTABLISHED ON THE SOLID ROCK OF THE WORD OF GOD? IF NOT, THEN YOU ARE BUILDING YOUR LIFE ON SAND. EVERYTHING BUILT ON SAND IS GOING TO CRASH WITH GREAT LOSS. HOWEVER THERE IS STILL TIME TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. BE RECONCILED TO GOD AND BECOME A GENUINE BELIEVER TODAY.

 



SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2011

"TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD, LET'S START WITH OURSELVES"

MATTHEW 7:1-14

TODAY WE CONTINUE WITH THE SERIES OF SERMONS BASED ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. LAST TIME WE SAW THAT WE SHOULD NOT BECOME VICTIMS OF ANXIETY, BECAUSE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL TAKE CARE OF US. IN FACT, ONE OF HIS NAMES IS JEHOVAH JIREH.

IN OUR READING TODAY, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DEALS WITH THE ISSUE OF WHERE TO START IF WE WANT TO CHANGE WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR WORLD. TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD, WE BEGIN WITH CHANGING OURSELVES.
  1. TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD, LET'S START WITH OURSELVES. IT IS HYPOCRISY TO OVERLOOK WHAT IS WRONG WITH US, AND TRY TO FOCUS ON WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOMEONE ELSE (VV1-5).










  2.  
  3. TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD, LET'S START WITH OURSELVES. THE GOLDEN RULE IS THAT WE FIRST DO TO OTHERS WHAT WE WOULD HAVE LIKED THEM TO DO TO US IF THE TABLES WERE TURNED, AND WE WERE IN THEIR POSITION. THIS GODLY PRACTICE ENABLES US TO PRAY WITH ASSURANCE (VV7-12).










  4.  
  5. TO IMPROVE OUR WORLD, LET'S START WITH OURSELVES. THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE ON THE BROAD ROAD TO DESTRUCTION. AS MEMBERS OF GOD'S FAMILY AND GOD'S AMBASSADORS HERE ON EARTH, WE MUST BE ABLE TO TELL OTHERS HOW TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD AND HEIRS OF ETERNAL LIFE. IN ORDER TO DO THIS, WE OURSELVES MUST FIRST BE ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW ROAD WHICH LEADS TO LIFE (VV13-14).


THE BIBLE TELLS US IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS, THAT WHEN GOD CREATED THE WORLD EVERYTHING WAS GOOD OR VERY GOOD. HOWEVER, BECAUSE GOD GAVE MAN A FREE WILL, ADAM SINNED AND REBELLED AGAINST GOD. SINCE THAT TIME, "ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD" (ROMANS 3:23). THE EVIL WE SEE IN THE WORLD AROUND US RESULTS FROM THE WRONG EXERCISE OF FREE WILL.

RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON," AND THEN "DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST" TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME. HAVE YOU BEEN RECONCILED TO GOD? TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD, WE MUST FIRST CONFESS OUR SINS AND ASK HIS FORGIVENESS. "IF WE SAY WE HAVE NO SIN, WE DECEIVE OURSELVES AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US. IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." (1 JOHN 1:8-9)

 



SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2011

"SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT"

MATTHEW 5:13-20

THIS PASSAGE IS PART OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. AT THIS TIME, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS AT THE START OF HIS MINISTRY. HE BEGAN HIS MINISTRY WHEN HE HEARD THAT JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS IMPRISONED (CHAPTER 4:12). OUR LORD’S ADVENT TO THE EARTH TOOK PLACE ABOUT 1400 YEARS AFTER THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO MOSES. BY THAT TIME THERE WERE A LOT OF MISINTERPRETATIONS REGARDING THE LAW, AND MANY RULES, REGULATIONS, TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES. SOME OF THESE WERE CONTRARY TO THE LAW.

IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, OUR LORD JESUS STARTS WITH THE DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP, AND THE BLESSINGS WHICH ENSUE. HE THEN MAKES IT CLEAR THAT HE HAD COME TO FULFILL THE LAW, AND TO DEMAND HIGHER STANDARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE HAD COME TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. AS BELIEVERS, WE ALSO MUST BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY BELIEFS AND PRACTICES THAT ARE CONTRARY TO GOD'S WORD, AND PROCEED IN A LOVING WAY, TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
  1. SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. WE FIRST MUST RECOGNIZE WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE SHOULD IMPACT THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE. THIS IS A REQUIREMENT, NOT AN OPTION (VV13-16).










  2.  
  3. SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. CHRIST DID NOT DESTROY THE LAW, BUT HE FULFILLED THEM (VV 17-19). THIS HE DID ON OUR BEHALF THROUGH THE "GRACE AND TRUTH" THAT HE BROUGHT WITH HIM (JOHN 1:17). WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH AS A GIFT BECAUSE HE DIED AND PAID FOR OUR SINS, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPUTED TO US (CREDITED TO OUR ACCOUNT). SEE ROMANS CHAPTER 4, CHAPTER 10:4, EPHESIANS 2:8-9&11-18, &COLOSSIANS 2:14).










  4.  
  5. SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS HAS TO EXCEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES (V18). TO ENTER INTO HEAVEN, THE STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT GOD DEMANDS CANNOT BE EARNED BY WORKS. HOWEVER, WE ARE "JUSTIFIED" (DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY GOD) WHEN WE PUT OUR FAITH IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST.


IN OUR WORLD, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT WE NEED TO SET STRAIGHT. MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT UNLESS THEY DO SOMETHING REALLY BAD, THEY GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE. THE FACT IS THAT "EXCEPT A MAN IS BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD" (JOHN 3:5).

OTHERS BELIEVE THAT GOD WILL MODIFY HIS RIGHTEOUS STANDARDS TO ACCOMMODATE THEIR SINS, BUT GOD IS IMMUTABLE. HE DOES NOT CHANGE. HE IS "THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER" (HEBREWS 13:8). YOU AND I ARE AMBASSADORS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (2 CORINTHIANS 5:20). LET US SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT!!

 



SUNDAY AUGUST 28, 2011

"DON'T GET LOST IN THE CHURCH"

MATTHEW 2:1-10

THIS PASSAGE HAS TO DO WITH THE WISE MEN SEEKING TO FIND THE BABY JESUS WHO WAS BORN AS KING OF THE JEWS. THEY QUITE NATURALLY, CAME TO THE HOUSE OF THE MAN WHO WAS REIGNING AS KING OF THE JEWS, BUT THE BABY WAS NOT BORN THERE. WHEN THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WERE CONSULTED, THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHERE CHRIST SHOULD BE BORN, BUT NOT ONE OF THEM VOLUNTEERED TO GO WITH THE WISE MEN TO SEE WHERE CHRIST WAS BORN. THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD OF GOD WAS HEAD KNOWLEDGE ONLY. IT WAS NOT SOMETHING THEY WERE PREPARED TO PUT FEET TO. TO BENEFIT FROM THE WORD OF GOD WE HAVE TO PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.

WE COULD GET LOST RIGHT INSIDE THE CHURCH IF OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT PUT INTO PRACTICE! WE LIVE OUR LIVES IN DEEDS NOT WORDS. IF WE DO NOT PUT OUR CHRISTIANITY INTO PRACTICE, IT EXISTS IN WORD ONLY. IF WE DO NOT PUT OUR WORDS INTO DEEDS, WE ARE NOT LIVING AS CHRISTIANS, AND WE MAY STILL BE LOST ALTHOUGH WE ARE IN THE CHURCH!
  1. DON'T GET LOST IN THE CHURCH. IF WE KNOW THE WORD OF GOD, WE SHOULD ASSOCIATE, IDENTIFY, AND WORK ALONG WITH THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING TO WORSHIP THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV1-6).










  2.  
  3. DON'T GET LOST IN THE CHURCH. NOT ONLY SHOULD WE SEEK DILIGENTLY TO FIND AND WORSHIP THE LIVING CHRIST, BUT WE SHOULD BRING OTHERS WORD THAT THEY MAY COME AND WORSHIP HIM ALSO (VV7-8).










  4.  
  5. DON'T GET LOST IN THE CHURCH. THERE IS GREAT JOY IN FOLLOWING AND FINDING THE LIVING LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV9-10). THERE ARE ALSO CONSEQUENCES THAT RESULT WHEN WE ARE NEGLIGENT IN SEEKING AFTER CHRIST. THESE INCLUDE CONFUSION AND DISAPPOINTMENT (JOHN 7:37-53).


IN JAMES 1:22-25, WE ARE EXHORTED TO BE DOERS OF THE WORD AND NOT HEARERS ONLY. THE WORD OF GOD IS LIKE A MIRROR THAT SHOWS US WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED. IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAID "BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HUNGER AND THRIST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED" (MATTHEW 5:6). HE ALSO SAID "NOT EVERYONE THAT SAYS UNTO ME LORD, LORD SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN" (MATTHEW 7:21). ARE YOU ONLY A HEARER AND NOT A DOER OF THE WORD? DON'T GET LOST IN THE CHURCH!!

 



SUNDAY AUGUST 7, 2011

"GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD"

1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31

PAUL ON HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY, ESTABLISHED A CHURCH AT CORINTH. HOWEVER, IN HIS ABSENCE DIVISIONS AND GROSS IMMORALITY HAD DEVELOPED IN THE CHURCH. THIS EPISTLE WAS WRITTEN TO ADDRESS THOSE AND SEVERAL OTHER ISSUES. THOSE ISSUES INCLUDED THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD WHICH HE DEALT WITH IN CHAPTER 15. THIS PASSAGE SHOWS US THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY TO FOCUS ON THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST WHEN WE SHARE THE GOSPEL.

PEOPLE ARE NOT CONVERTED BY CLEVER ARGUMENTS AND WORDS OF MAN'S WISDOM. PEOPLE ARE SAVED BY FAITH AND FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD. THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THAT WORD. GOD HAS ARRANGED IT THIS WAY SO THAT WE MAY NEVER GLORY IN OUR SPIRITUAL ACHIEVEMENTS, BUT RATHER THAT WE MAY GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD.
  1. GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD. THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION WILL NEVER MAKE SENSE UNLESS AND UNTIL THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVES ON THE HEART OF THE INDIVIDUAL. THE TRUTH AND THE WISDOM OF THE GOSPEL WILL BE ABOVE THEIR HEADS (VV18-25).










  2.  
  3. GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD. OUR OWN PERSONAL SALVATION IS THE RESULT OF GOD'S CALLING. TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN (JOHN 3:3-5). OUR BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE IS THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (JOHN 1:13). GOD CHOOSES THOSE WHO ARE CALLED TO BE HIS CHILDREN (VV26-28).










  4.  
  5. GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS OUR WISDOM,OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, OUR SANCTIFICATION, AND OUR REDEMPTION. WE OWE EVERYTHING TO HIM (VV29-31).


THE DAY IN WHICH WE LIVE IS NOT UNLIKE THE DAY IN WHICH PAUL LIVED. PAUL HAD COME TO CORINTH FROM ATHENS. ATHENS IS DESCRIBED IN ACTS CHAPTER 17:21 AS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE "SPENT THEIR TIME IN NOTHING ELSE, BUT EITHER TO TELL, OR TO HEAR SOME NEW THING." IN ATHENS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION WAS REJECTED BECAUSE IT DID NOT FALL IN LINE WITH THE GREEK PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY. ALTHOUGH THE GOSPEL IS LARGELY REJECTED BY THE PHILOSOPHY OF OUR DAY, IT IS STILL "THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO ALL WHO BELIEVE" (ROMANS 1:16). LET THOSE OF US WHO ARE CALLED TO BE CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD.

 



SUNDAY JULY 24, 2011

"RECEIVE YOUR BLESSING TODAY!"

LUKE 18:35-19:10

HAVE YOU EVER ALLOWED SOMEONE TO TALK YOU OUT OF SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD DO AND LATER REGERETTED IT? OR, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF DOING SOMETHING GOOD FOR YOURSELF BUT THE OBSTACLES WERE SO MUCH THAT YOU FINALLY GAVE UP?

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT TWO MEN WHO NEEDED BLESSINGS FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND WHO WOULD NOT BE DETERRED. THE FIRST HAD A PHYSICAL NEED, AND THE SECOND HAD A SPIRITUAL NEED. TODAY AS THEN, "JESUS OF NAZARETH PASSETH BY." LET US REACH OUT TO HIM AND RECEIVE OUR BLESSING TODAY.
  1. RECEIVE YOUR BLESSING TODAY! THE MULTITUDE TRIED TO DISSUADE THE BLIND MAN, BUT HE WAS NOT GOING TO BE DETERRED. HE KEPT ON KNOCKING UNTIL THE DOOR WAS OPENED (VV35-43).










  2.  
  3. RECEIVE YOUR BLESSING TODAY! ZACCHAEUS WAS RICH IN THIS WORLD’S GOODS, BUT HE WAS SPIRITUALLY POOR. THIS IS THE CONDITION OF MANY PEOPLE TODAY. HE HAD MANY OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME, BUT NOTHING COULD PREVENT HIM FROM SEEING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV1-4).










  4.  
  5. RECEIVE YOUR BLESSING TODAY! THE LORD JESUS CHRIST GAVE SIGHT TO THE BLIND MAN, AND SALVATION TO ZACCHAEUS WHO WAS LOST (VV5-10).


BOTH OF THESE STORIES REVEAL THE HEART OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS CONCERN FOR LOST HUMANITY. JESUS WAS ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM TO BE CRUCIFIED. THERE WOULD NEVER BE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS BLIND MAN TO RECEIVE SIGHT, OR FOR ZACCHAEUS TO RECEIVE SALVATION. THERE ARE LESSIONS WE CAN LEARN FROM BOTH OF THESE STORIES:
 
A) NEVER LET OTHERS PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING YOUR BLESSING FROM THE LORD. THE MORE THEY TRY TO DISCOURAGE YOU, THE HARDER YOU NEED TO TRY.

B) NEVER BELIEVE THAT YOUR SINS ARE TOO GREAT FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO FORGIVE THEM. ZACCHAEUS WAS A "BIG TIME SINNER" BUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BROUGHT HIM SALVATION, AND DECLARED HIM TO BE A SON OF ABRAHAM! TODAY HE WILL DO THE SAME FOR YOU. JUST ASK HIM.


 



SUNDAY JULY 17, 2011

"SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE"

MATTHEW 20:17-28

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INTERRUPTED BY SOMEONE WITH SOMETHING TRIVIAL WHEN YOU WERE TRYING TO FOCUS ON A LIFE AND DEATH ISSUE? JOHN TELLS US IN CHAPTER 12, THAT JESUS WAS IN GALILEE WHEN HE REALIZED THAT THE HOUR HAD COME FOR HIM TO BE CRUCIFIED.

HE IS NOW ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM WITH THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS LOOMING LARGER EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. HE HAD JUST SHARED THIS WITH HIS DISCIPLES WHEN JAMES AND JOHN CAME WITH THEIR MOTHER TO ASK HIM A FAVOR. FOR A LONG TIME, THE DISCIPLES HAD BEEN WRESTLING WITH THE ISSUE OF WHO SHOULD BE THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. JAMES AND JOHN THOUGHT THAT WITH THEIR MOTHER WEIGHING IN ON THEIR SIDE, THE MATTER WOULD BE FINALLY SETTLED IN THEIR FAVOR. JESUS' RESPONSE WAS THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE.
  1. SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE. OUR SERVICE TO GOD SHOULD NOT BE BASED ON WHAT WE WILL RECEIVE. IT SHOULD BE A RESPONSE IN GRATITUDE FOR GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE FOR US (VV20-23).










  2.  
  3. SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE. THE POSITIONS WE HOLD SHOULD NOT BE SEEN AS OPPORTUNITIES TO EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER OTHERS, AND MAKE ENEMIES OF THEM. THAT IS THE BEHAVIOR OF THE UNGODLY (VV24-25).










  4.  
  5. SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE. IN THE CHRISTIAN CONTEXT, OUR POSITIONS ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE OTHERS. THE GREATEST AMONG US IS THE ONE WHO SERVES AND SACRIFICES THE MOST (VV26-28).


IN OUR DAY WE HAVE DEVELOPED THE CONCEPT OF THE "USER FRIENDLY" CHURH. THE USER FRIENDLY CHURCH IS ONE THAT SEEKS TO PLEASE THE INDIVIDUAL AND TO MAKE HIM OR HER FEEL COMFORTABLE. HOWEVER, THE CHRISTIAN CALL IS NOT A CALL TO EASE AND COMFORT. IT IS A CALL TO SERVICE AND SACRIFICE! WHEN WE COME TO APPRECIATE THE DEPTH OF GOD'S LOVE IN SENDING HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO DIE FOR OUR SINS SO THAT WE MIGHT LIVE WITH GOD ETERNALLY, THE ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE IS "LOVE SO AMAZING, SO DIVINE, DEMANDS MY SOUL, MY LIFE, MY ALL!"

"THY LIFE WAS GIVEN FOR ME
THY BLOOD OH LORD WAS SHED
THAT I MIGHT RANSOMED BE
AND QUICKENED FROM THE DEAD
THY LIFE WAS GIVEN FOR ME
WHAT HAVE I GIVEN FOR THEE?"


LET US SEEK NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE!

 



SUNDAY JULY 10, 2011

"BE TRANSFORMED BY HIM WHO WAS TRANSFIGURED"

MATTHEW 17:1-21

IN THE PRECEEDING CHAPTER, PETER CONFESSED THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. FROM THAT POINT ONWARDS, JESUS BEGAN TO TELL HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE WOULD GO TO JERUSALEM TO SUFFER AND TO DIE, THEN RISE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY. HE MADE IT PLAIN THAT ANY MAN COMING AFTER HIM MUST DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM. SIX DAYS LATER, HE WENT UP INTO A MOUNTAIN TO PRAY, AND TOOK THREE OF HIS DISCIPLES WITH HIM. WHILE PRAYING, HE WAS TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM. HE WAS COMPLETELY CHANGED AS HIS DIVINITY SHONE THROUGH THE VIEL OF HIS HUMANITY.

GOD DEMANDS THAT WE AS HIS CHILDREN BE "CHANGED FROM GLORY INTO GLORY" (2 CORINTHIANS 3:18). HE DOES NOT DEMAND THAT WE BE TRANSFIGURED LIKE JESUS WAS BUT RATHER THAT WE BE "TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND" (ROMANS 12:2). OUR TRANSFORMATION IS A SOVERIGN ACT OF GOD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, SINCE "IT IS GOD WHO WORKETH IN YOU BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE" (PHILIPPIANS 2:13). LET US SUBMIT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND BE TRANSFORMED BY HIM WHO WAS TRANSFIGURED.
  1. BE TRANSFORMED BY HIM WHO WAS TRANSFIGURED. TRANSFIGURATION CONFIRMS THE DIVINE NATURE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV1-8). HE IS ETERNAL (ST. JOHN 1:1&1 JOHN 1:2). HE IS IMMUTABLE; HE DOES NOT CHANGE. HE IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER (HEBREWS 13:8). HE IS OMNIPOTENT (MATTHEW 28:19-20 & COLOSSIANS 1:16-17). HE IS OMNISCIENT (MATTHEW 17:27 & LUKE 22:31-32).










  2.  
  3. BE TRANSFORMED BY HIM WHO WAS TRANSFIGURED. OUR TRANSFORMATION WILL CHANGE OPINIONS PREVIOUSLY HELD (VV8-13).










  4.  
  5. BE TRANSFORMED BY HIM WHO WAS TRANSFIGURED. THE INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCES WE RECEIVE ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP ARE TO PREPARE US TO MINISTER TO THE NEEDS OF THOSE AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN (VV14-21).


CHRISTIANITY DEMANDS NOT ONLY THAT WE BE TRANSFORMED, BUT THAT WE SEEK TO TRANSFORM OTHERS BY OUR BEHAVIOR IN WORD, IN CONVERSATION, IN CHARITY, IN FAITH, AND IN PURITY. BECAUSE OF THIS WE MUST PUT FEET TO OUR FAITH. WE CANNOT BE CHRISTIANS ONLY AT CHURCH. WE HAVE TO BE CHRISTIANS AT HOME, AT WORK, AND IN THE STREETS. HAVE YOU BEEN TRANSFORMED? IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED ARE YOU SEEKING TO TRANSFORM OTHERS? IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

 



SUNDAY JULY 3, 2011

"KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU AND DO IT"

MATTHEW 18:13-28

THIS WAS A MOMENT OF TRUTH IN OUR LORD'S MINISTRY. UP TO THIS TIME HIS DISCIPLES HAD SEEN HIM TEACH AND PERFORM MANY MIRACLES. IN THE PERCEEDING CHAPTERS HE HAD FED FIVE THOUSAND WITH FIVE LOAVES OF BREAD AND TWO SMALL FISH (CHAPTER 14). HE HAD WALKED ON WATER (CHAPTER 14). HE HAD HEALED THE DAUGHTER OF A CANAANITE WOMAN LONG DISTANCE, AND HAD ALSO FED FOUR THOUSAND WITH SEVEN LOAVES AND A FEW LITTLE FISH (CHAPTER 15).

ALL THIS WAS WONDERFUL, BUT WHO WAS HE REALLY, AND WHY HAD HE COME INTO THE WORLD? THE MOMENT OF TRUTH COMES AT CAESAREA-PHILIPPI. FROM THAT TIME ONWARDS, THERE WAS A TURNING POINT IN OUR LORD'S MINISTRY. YOU AND I ALSO NEED TO COME TO OUR CAESEREA-PHILIPPI. IT IS THAT POINT IN OUR LIVES WHEN WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF US, AND TO DO IT.
  1. KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU AND DO IT. WE HAVE TO KNOW FOR SURE WHO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS. JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD (VV13-20).










  2.  
  3. KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU AND DO IT. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHEN THE ENEMY IS USING SOMEONE TO GET US TO DO THE WRONG THING (VV21-23).










  4.  
  5. KNOW WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU AND DO IT. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT GOD DEMANDS OF US, AND COMMIT OURSELVES TO DO IT (VV24-26).


CAESAREA-PHILIPPI IS A CRUCIAL POINT IN THE LIFE OF EVERY BELIEVER

DR. DAVID JEREMIAH CALLS IT OUR "TURNING POINT," WHILE DR. BILLY GRAHAM CALLS IT OUR "MOMENT OF DECISION." IT IS THAT POINT IN OUR LIVES WHEN WE ASK OURSELVES THE QUESTION: "DO I REALLY WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN, AND AM I REALLY DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO GET ME THERE?" UNTIL WE FACE THIS QUESTION DECISIVELY, OUR LIFESTYLES MAY BE THE RESULT OF HABIT OR THE IMITATION OF OTHERS. IN FACT, IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR CHRISTIANS TO PATTERN THEIR LIFESTYLES AFTER PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO HELL!

WE ARE NOT TALKING HERE ABOUT WORKING FOR SALVATION. IT IS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE PREPARED TO ALLOW GOD, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO "WORK IN US AND WORK THROUGH US THAT WHICH IS WELL PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT." CAESAREA-PHILIPPI IS THE POINT WHERE WE MAKE THE UNCOMPROMISING TURN TOWARDS HEAVEN, AND COMMIT TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! "WHAT IS A MAN PROFITED, IF HE SHOULD GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD ANS LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?"

 



SUNDAY JUNE 26, 2011

"SHARE THE GOSPEL AND YOUR TESTIMONY"

ACTS 26:8-20

THE BOOK OF ACTS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO TWO PARTS. THE FIRST PART FROM CHAPTER 1 THROUGH CHAPTER 12 DEALS WITH THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE ADVENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL TO THE JEWS IN JERUSALEM AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS. THE SECOND PART FROM CHAPTER 13 THROUGH 28 DEALS WITH PAUL’S MISSIONARY JOURNEYS, AND HOW THE GOSPEL WAS CARRIED TO THE GENTILES. IN THIS PASSAGE PAUL PRESENTS THE GOSPEL TO ONE OF HIS HIGHEST RANKING AUDIENCES. THIS AUDIENCE INCLUDED A KING, A GOVERNOR, AND ALL HIGH RANKING OFFICIALSINF CAESEREA.


HIS MESSAGE WAS THE SAME. HE PRESENTED THE GOSPEL ALONG WITH HIS OWN TESTIMONY. EVERY CHILD OF GOD SHOULD GO THROUGH LIFE ARMED WITH THE GOSPEL AND READY TO SHARE HIS OR HER OWN TESTIMONY. WE READ IN 1 PETER 3:15 THAT WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE READY TO GIVE A REASON FOR OUR HOPE IN CHRIST "WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR." LET US DEVELOP THE HABIT OF SHARING THE GOSPEL ALONG WITH OUR OWN TESTIMONY.
 
  1. SHARE THE GOSPEL AND YOUR TESTIMONY. BEGIN WITH WHAT YOU WERE AND WHERE YOU WERE BEFORE THE LORD FOUND YOU (VV8-12).










  2.  
  3. SHARE THE GOSPEL AND YOUR TESTIMONY. EXPLAIN HOW YOU CAME TO KNOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV13-18).










  4.  
  5. SHARE THE GOSPEL AND YOUR TESTIMONY. EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS MADE IN YOUR LIFE (VV19-20).










  6.  
  7. SHARE THE GOSPEL AND YOUR TESTIMONY. ALWAYS CHALLENGE THE PERSON TO RESPOND. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A "HARD SELL." IT COULD BE JUST THE QUESTION: "DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT I HAVE JUST SAID, AND THAT CHRIST WILL DO THE SAME FOR YOU?" (V27).


IT HAS BEEN PROVEN STATISTICALLY, THAT IF EACH CHRISTIAN WOULD WIN JUST ONE PERSON TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD HAVE BEEN EVANGELIZED LONG AGO! THE SHOCKING REALITY IS THAT MANY CHRISTIANS CANNOT CLEARLY STATE WHAT THE GOSPEL IS! WHAT IS WORSE, MANY DO NOT CARE ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT THE GOSPEL IS, AND ARE NOT WILLING TO SHARE IT.

ALL THIS HAS TO CHANGE IF WE ARE GOING TO WIN THE WORLD FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! AS GOD'S AMBASSADORS, WE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH THIS RESPONSIBILITY (2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-21). THE GOSPEL CAN BE STATED IN JUST A FEW LINES. LET US LEARN WHAT THE GOSPEL IS AND BEGIN TO SHARE IT ALONG WITH OUR OWN TESTIMONY. THE RESULT WILL SURPRISE YOU!

 



SUNDAY JUNE 19, 2011

"FATHER, APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS"

ISAIAH 53

IN THE GOSPELS WE HAVE FOUR ACCOUNTS OF THE SUFFERINGS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS HE PAID FOR OUR SINS ON CALVARY. IN ISAIAH CHAPTER 53 HOWEVER, WE HAVE SOME INSIGHT OF THE STORY FROM THE DIVINE PERSPECTIVE. WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE? WHAT DOES HIS DEATH MEAN FOR ME?


JESUS DIED TO PAY FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. THIS INCLUDES YOUR SINS AND MY SINS. HOWEVER, UNLESS WE APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR OUR SINS, AND GOD THE FATHER'S OFFER OF SALVATION, CHRIST DIED FOR US IN VAIN. THEREFORE I EXHORT ALL OF US, ESPECIALLY FATHERS, TO APPRECIATE YOUR FATHER'S OFFER OF SALVATION, AND APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR OUR SINS.
 
  1. FATHER, APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS. WHAT WAS PROPHESIED AND FULFILLED REMAINS TRUE TO THIS DAY. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NEVER FULLY APPRECIATED (VV1-3). THE RESULT IS THAT OF ALL THE THREE PERSONS IN THE GODHEAD, CHRIST IS THE MOST BLASPHEMED.










  2.  
  3. FATHER, APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS. THE LORD LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITIES OF US ALL. WE SIN, WE TRANSGRESS BUT HE SUFFERED (VV4-9).










  4.  
  5. FATHER, APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS. BECAUSE OF THE "TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL," GOD THE FATHER IS SATISFIED THAT THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD HAVE BEEN PAID FOR (VV10-11).
 
  • FATHER, APPROPRIATE CHRIST'S PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS. THE STORY OF CHRIST IS NOT ONLY ABOUT HIS SUFFERING. IT IS ALSO ABOUT HIS EXALTATION (12). IT IS ALSO ABOUT THE JOY AND ETERNAL LIFE OF THOSE WHOSE SINS ARE FORGIVEN, AND THE MISERY AND ETERNAL DAMNATION OF THOSE WHO REFUSE TO HAVE THEIR SINS FORGIVEN (HEBREWS 2:3).










  •  
  • THERE ARE SOME WHO WONDER WHETHER IT IS NECESSARY TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO SCOFF AT THE IDEA. WHY BECOME A CHRISTIAN AND SUFFER THE "SLINGS AND ARROWS" OF THOSE AROUND US? THE ANSWER CAN BE SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD "GRATITUDE."
    WE ARE GRATEFUL, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL, FOR WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US IN JESUS CHRIST. "ALL WE LIKE SHEEP HAD GONE ASTRAY. WE HAD TURNED EVERYONE TO HIS OWN WAY, AND THE LORD HATH LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL." ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE FOR YOU? IF YOU ARE THEN SHOW IT!!

     



    SUNDAY JUNE 12, 2011

    "MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL"

    ACTS 18:1-17

    IN THE BOOK OF ACTS WE HAVE SO FAR ANSWERED THE QUESTION AS TO HOW IS IT THAT SOMETHING THAT STARTED OUT BEING SO JEWISH BECAME SO GENTILE. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO ANSWER A QUESTION THAT IS MORE FREQUENTLY ASKED. THIS QUESTION IS HOW CAN A GOOD GOD SEND ANYBODY TO HELL?


    AS WE SHALL SEE TODAY, WE CHOOSE TO GO TO HELL BY REJECTING GOD'S OFFER OF SALVATION! WE ARE ALSO GOING TO SEE THE DIFFERENT WAYS PEOPLE RESPOND WHEN THE GOSPEL IS PRESENTED TO THEM. SOME WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, SOME VIOLENTLY OPPOSE IT, SOME LAUGH AT THE IDEA, SOME POSTPONE THEIR DECISION, WHILE OTHERS BELIEVE AND PASS FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE (ACTS 17:32-34).

    ALL FIVE OF THESE RESPONSES ARE RECORDED IN THE BOOK OF ACTS. TODAY'S CHALLENGE IS THAT WE MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL AND ENTER INTO ETERNAL LIFE
    1. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THE FIRST RESPONSE IS VIOLENT OPPOSITION. PAUL PRESENTED THE GOSPEL TO THE JEWS AT CORINTH. THEIR RESPONSE WAS TO OPPOSE AND BLASPHEME (VV1-6). SIMILAR RESPONSES CAME AT ANTIOCH IN PISIDIA (ACTS 13:45), AT ICONIUM (ACTS 14:5), AT LYSTRA (ACTS 14:19). AT THESSOLONICA (ACTS 17:5),AND AT JERUSALEM (ACTS 22:22).










    2.  
    3. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THE SECOND RESPONSE IS REDICULE. THIS WAS THE RESPONSE AT ATHENS (ACTS 17:32).










    4.  
    5. MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THE THIRD RESPONSE IS POSTPONEMENT. THIS TOOK PLACE AT ATHENS (ACTS 17:32), BEFORE FELIX (ACTS 24:25), AND BEFORE AGRIPPA (ACTS 26:28).










  •  
  • MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THE FOURTH RESPONSE IS INDIFFERENCE. THIS WAS THE RESPONSE OF GALLIO (VV12-17). "GALLIO CARED FOR NONE OF THOSE THINGS."










  •  
  • MAKE THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THERE IS HOWEVER, A FIFTH AND FINAL RESPONSE. WE FIND AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IN VERSE 8. "CRISPUS, THE CHIEF RULER OF THE SYNAGOGUE BELIEVED ON THE LORD WITH ALL HIS HOUSE, AND MANY OF THE CORINTHIANS HEARING, BELIEVED AND WERE BAPTIZED."










  •  
  • THIS FINAL RESPONSE IS THE ONLY RESPONSE THAT GETS US INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. BY THIS RESPONSE WE ARE BORN AGAIN INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD THROUGH THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. GOD THEN DECLARES US RIGHTEOUS, AND WE BECOME HEIRS OF ETERNAL LIFE. TODAY AS YOU HEAR THE GOSPEL, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

     



    SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

    "MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE MESSAGE"

    ACTS 13:26-41

    HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW THE CHURCH WHICH STARTED OUT BEING SO JEWISH BECAME SO GENTILE? TODAY WE ARE GOING TO FIND OUT. AT THIS POINT IN THE BOOK OF ACTS, THE CHURCH IS IN TRANSITION. PERSECUTION HAS FORCED A NUMBER OF BELIEVERS OUT OF JERUSALEM, AND A SIGNIFICANT CHURCH HAS DEVELOPED AT ANTIOCH IN SYRIA. BARNABAS WAS SENT FROM JERUSALEM TO THIS CHURCH. WHEN HE SAW THE SCOPE OF THE MINISTRY THERE, HE WENT TO TARSUS AND BROUGHT PAUL TO ASSIST.


    AFTER ABOUT A YEAR IN THE MINISTRY AT ANTIOCH, THE HOLY SPIRIT DEMANDED THAT BARNABAS AND PAUL BE SET APART FOR MISSIONARY WORK. THEY HAVE NOW REACHED ANTIOCH IN PISIDIA ON THEIR FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY, AND WE ARE GOING TO CONSIDER THE CONTENT OF PAUL'S SERMON TO THE CHURCH THERE. THAT SERMON CONTAINED PAUL'S THEME.
     
    1. MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE MESSAGE. THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION IS EXTENDED TO ALL WHO WILL RECEIVE IT (V26).










    2.  
    3. MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE MESSAGE. NOT EVERYONE IN CHURCH GETS THE MESSAGE. THE GOSPEL IS "GLAD TIDINGS." BUT IF YOU DO NOT GET THE MESSAGE, YOU WILL BECOME A "DESPISER," AND FULFILL THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF THAT MESSAGE (VV27-37).










    4.  
    5. MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE MESSAGE. THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS SIMPLE. ALL THAT BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST "ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS FROM WHICH YOU COULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW OF MOSES." REJECTING THIS MESSAGE HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES (VV38-41).


    EVERY TIME THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED, THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE. THIS TIME WAS NO EXCEPTION. THE GENTILES REQUESTED TO HEAR THE GOSPEL AGAIN, AND MANY JEWS AND RELIGIOUS PROSELYTES FOLLOWED PAUL AND BARNABAS. HOWEVER, BY THE NEXT SABBATH, THERE WAS SO MUCH ANTAGONISM BY THE UNBELIEVING JEWS, THAT PAUL AND BARNABAS HAD TO DECLARE THAT FROM THAT TIME, THEY WOULD PREACH ONLY TO GENTILES. THE UNBELIEVING JEWS HAD FULFILLED THE VERY SAME THINGS THAT PAUL HAD WARNED AGAINST!

    THE TRANSITION OF THE CHURCH WAS NOT ONLY FROM JERUSALEM TO ANTIOCH. IT WAS ALSO FROM JEWS TO GENTILES! WHEN YOU COME TO CHURCH MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE MESSAGE, AND THAT YOU "GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE!" (2 PETER 1:10)

     



    SUNDAY MAY 22, 2011

    "BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN"

    ACTS 5:16-23 and 27-32

    SOME VERY SERIOUS STATEMENTS WERE MADE ON CNN THIS WEEK. SOME HERETIC HAD ANOTHER "SPECIAL REVELATION," THAT THE RAPTURE WOULD TAKE PLACE YESTERDAY. THE SKEPTICS LOST NO TIME IN DISCREDITING AND MALIGNING CHRISTIANITY. ONE ATHEIST INSISTED IN A TELEVISION INTERVIEW THAT RELIGIONS ARE ALL THE SAME. WE LIVE AT A TIME WHEN THE "INFALLIBLE PROOFS" THAT GOD IS PRESENTING ARE BEING IGNORED, AND MEN HAVE BECOME "VAIN IN THEIR IMAGINATIONS AND THEIR FOOLISH HEARTS DARKENED" (ROMANS 1:21).


    THIS IS BY NO MEANS A NEW PHENOMENON AS WE SEE IN OUR PASSAGE TODAY. THE HOLY GHOST SENT DOWN FROM HEAVEN BY THE RISEN AND EXALTED LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS BEARING THE APOSTLES "WITNESS WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS, AND DELIVERS MIRACLES AND GIFTS ACCORDING TO HIS WILL" (HEBREWS 2:4). YET, IN THE FACE OF ALL THAT EVIDENCE, THE APOSTLES WERE BEING PERSECUTED FOR TESTIFYING OF THE RESURRECTION! THEIR RESPONSE WAS "WE OUGHT TO OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN." WE ALSO SHOULD MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN.
     
    1. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN. BE VERY BOLD AND CONFIDENT IN DECLARING THE FACTS OF CHRISTIANITY. "CHRISTIANITY IS FAITH FOUNDED ON FACT." CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON HISTORICAL EVENTS. CHRISTIANITY CHANGES LIVES (VV12-16).










    2.  
    3. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN. THE HIGH PRIEST IN HIS DAY COULD NOT ELIMINATE THE EVIDENCE BY PERSECUTING THE WITNESSES (VV17-28). THE SAME APPLIES TODAY!










    4.  
    5. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN. KEEP DECLARING THE GOSPEL OF THE RESURRECTION. THE HOLY GHOST IS WITH YOU! (29-32). ONE WITH GOD IS A MAJORITY!


    IT IS APPALLING TO SEE THE HIGH LEVEL OF IGNORANCE REGARDING THE TEACHNGS OF CHRISTIANITY THAT PREVAILS IN OUR SOCIETY. FOR 2000 YEARS, THE BIBLE AND OTHER HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS SUPPORTING THE TEACHINGS OF CHRISTIANITY HAVE BEEN READILY AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE WHO WISHES TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE TRUE. THEREFORE "IF OUR GOSPEL BE HID, IT IS HID TO THEM THAT ARE LOST: IN WHOM THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HATH BLINDED THE EYES OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE NOT, LEST THE LIGHT OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF GOD, SHOULD SHINE ON THEM" (2 CORINTHIANS 4:3-4).

    GOD "IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM" (HEBREWS 11:6). OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF SAID "HE WHO LOVES ME SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER, AND I WILL LOVE HIM, AND WILL MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM" (JOHN 14:21). BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN. DO YOU BELIEVE THE GOSPEL?

     



    SUNDAY MAY 15, 2011

    "KNOW AND SHARE THE GOSPEL"

    ACTS 4:1-14

    IN CHAPTERS 2 AND 3 OF THE BOOK OF ACTS WE SEE PETER SHARING THE GOSPEL AND THE HOLY SPIRIT BRINGING PEOPLE INTO THE KINGDOM 3000 AND 5000 AT A TIME. THE LORD WAS ALSO ADDING DAILY SUCH AS WERE BEING SAVED. IN THIS FOURTH CHAPTER, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL GIVE THE PROPER RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL. THERE ARE THOSE WHOSE PREDISPOSITIONS PRECLUDE THEM FROM RECEIVING THE GOSPEL. THEIR HEARTS ARE CLOSED TO THE GOSPEL AND THEY WILL ELECT TO REMAIN IN THEIR SINS. IN SPITE OF THIS, WE ARE COMMISSIONED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. LET US MAKE A SOLEMN RESOLVE BOTH TO KNOW WHAT THE GOSPEL IS AND TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.
     
    1. KNOW AND SHARE THE GOSPEL. THE RESULT IS NOT UP TO US. IT WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (VV1-1-4).










    2.  
    3. KNOW AND SHARE THE GOSPEL. THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPEL REMAINS THE SAME FOR THE HIGH AND LOW, THE RICH AND THE POOR ( VV5-12).










    4.  
    5. KNOW AND SHARE THE GOSPEL. THE SAME GOSPEL THAT WAS THE MEANS OF SALVATION FOR THOUSANDS IN CHAPTERS 2 AND 3 IS IN THIS CHAPTER A MEANS OF CONDEMNATION TO THE RULERS WHO HARDENED THEIR HEARTS (VV13-22).

    GOD DEMANDS THAT ALL BELIEVERS SHARE THE GOSPEL. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY BOTH TO KNOW AND SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS SO THAT THEY CAN BE SAVED. IN SHARING THE GOSPEL WE DO NOT HAVE TO ALWAYS "CLOSE THE DEAL" LIKE AN INSURANCE SALESMAN. INSTEAD WE SIMPLY SHARE THE WORD AND LEAVE THE REST TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. WE MAY BE ONLY ONE STEP IN THE SALVATION OF THAT PERSON. "THE WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD." THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE IT ON THE HEART. WE ARE COMMANDED TO "DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST." THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CONTAINS FIVE POINTS:
     
    A. GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE SENT JESUS CHRIST TO DIE FOR OUR SINS
    B. JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED BUT HE ROSE AGAIN
    C. JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE TODAY AND WILL RETURN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
    D. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT HAVE TO FACE HIM IN JUDGMENT
    E. IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS HE WILL FORGIVE OUR SINS AND ADOPT US INTO GOD'S FAMILY AS CHILDREN OF GOD


     



    SUNDAY MAY 8, 2011

    "PASS YOUR FAITH ON TO YOUR CHILDREN"

    2 TIMOTHY 1:1-14

    TODAY IS MOTHERS'S DAY, AND WE ARE GOING TO HONOR, EXHORT, AND ENCOURAGE MOTHERS. TEACHERS SOMETIMES HAVE GREAT INFLUENCE ON CHILDREN, BUT NOTHING COMPARES TO THE INFLUENCE THAT PARENTS HAVE ON CHILDREN. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF MOTHERS. PAUL FIRST MET TIMOTHY ON HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY (SEE ACTS 16:1-3). HIS FATHER WAS A GREEK, BUT HIS MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER WERE BIBLE BELIEVING JEWS WHO TAUGHT TIMOTHY THE SCRIPTURES FROM HE WAS A CHILD (2 TIMOTHY 3:15). HERE, IN HIS FINAL LETTER BEFORE HIS EXECUTION, PAUL WRITES TO TIMOTHYTO SHARE HIS HEART WITH HIM. THIS LETTER AS WELL AS THE WHOLE MINISTRY OF TIMOTHY UNDERSCORES THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF PASSING ON OUR FAITH TO OUR CHILDREN.
     
    1. PASS YOUR FAITH ON TO YOUR CHILDREN. OF ALL THE THINGS THAT WE MAY PASS ON TO OUR CHILDREN, OUR FAITH IS BY FAR THE GREATEST LEGACY (VV1-5).










    2.  
    3. PASS YOUR FAITH ON TO YOUR CHILDREN. EVEN AFTER WE HAVE PASSED OUR FAITH ON TO OUR CHILDREN, IT IS STILL NECESSARY FOR THE CHILDREN TO "STIR UP" THAT FAITH, BUT WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO "STIR UP" (VV6-8).










    4.  
    5. PASS YOUR FAITH ON TO YOUR CHILDREN. THERE ARE CERTAIN KEY ELEMENTS THAT OUR FAITH SHOULD CONTAIN:
    A) OUR SALVATION IS NOT BY OUR WORKS, BUT A HOLY CALLING ACCORDING TO GOD'S ETERNAL PURPOSE AND GRACE.

    B) JESUS CHRIST HAS ABNOLISHED DEATH, AND HAS BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL.

    C) EVEN IN THE FACE OF PERSECUTION WE SHOULD TRUST IN GOD'S FAITHFULNESS OUR SECURITY MUST REST IN GOD (VV9-14).

    JUST HOW WAS TIMOTHY USED OF GOD? HE ACCOMPANIED PAUL AND SILAS ON THE SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY (ACTS 16:3), HELPING THEM IN PHILLIPI AND THESSOLONICA, WHERE PAUL LEFT HIM TO LATER JOIN THEM IN BEREA (ACTS 17:10). HE WAS LEFT AT EPHESUS TO ENSURE THAT SOUND DOCTRINE WAS PREACHED THERE (1 TIMOTHY 1:3). HE ALSO ASSISTED IN THE WRITING OF SEVERAL OF PAUL'S EPISTLES. HOW GOD WILL USE YOUR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD, WE MAY NEVER KNOW. HOWEVER, WE CAN BE FULLY ASSURED OF ONE THING. GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP WHATEVER WE COMMIT TO HIM "AGAINST THAT DAY!" (V12). LET US PASS OUR FAITH ON TO OUR CHILDREN.

     



    SUNDAY MAY 1, 2011

    "BE A BOLD WITNESS FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"

    ACTS 1:1-11

    IN THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, LUKE PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE. LIKE THE GOSPEL, ACTS IS ADDRESSED TO THEOPHILUS. THE EXPRESSED PURPOSE OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, IS "THAT THOU MIGHTEST KNOW THE CERTAINTY OF THOSE THINGS WHEREIN THOU HAST BEEN INSTRUCTED." IN THIS FIRST CHAPTEROF ACTS , HE STATES THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST "SHOWED HIMSELF ALIVE AFTER HIS PASSION, BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS." THE APOSTLES WERE TO BE WITNESSES OF THESE PROOFS OF THE RESURRECTION. THAT TORCH HAS BEEN PASSED ON TO YOU AND ME. LET US BE BOLD WITNESSES OF JESUS CHRIST .
     
    1. LET US BE BOLD WITNESSES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. WE MUST BECOME FULLY AWARE OF THE APPEARANCES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER HE WAS GLORIFIED. APPEARANCES BEFORE HE WAS GLORIFIED ARE RECORDED IN THE GOSPELS AT MATTHEW 28, MARK 16, LUKE 24, AND JOHN 20&21, AS WELL AS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS. APPEARANCES AFTER HIS GLORIFICATION ARE RECORDED IN ACTS, THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS, TO THE GALATIANS, AND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. THESE ARE "INFALLIBLE PROOFS" (VV1-5).










    2.  
    3. LET US BE BOLD WITNESSES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS NOT TO SPECULATE REGARDING THE TIME OF CHRIST’S RETURN, BUT TO GET THE GOSPEL OUT TO THE "UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH" (VV6-8).










    4.  
    5. LET US BE BOLD WITNESSES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. OUR MESSAGE MUST INCLUDE THE FACT THAT HE IS COMING AGAIN BOTH LITERALLY AND PHYSICALLY (VV9-11).


    IT IS TRULY AMAZING THAT WHILE PROPHECIES THAT POINT TO THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ARE BEING FUILFILLED BEFORE OUR EYES, THERE ARE THOSE WHO STILL DOUBT THIS GLORIOUS EVENT. CHRISTIANITY IS "FAITH FOUNDED ON FACTS" "THE PROPHECY CAME NOT IN OLD TIME BY THE WILL OF MAN, BUT HOLY MEN OF GOD SPOKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST" (2 PETER 1:20).

    THEREFORE, "ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS" (2 TIMOTHY 3:16). WHAT THEN SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BELIEVE? "A MAN THAT IS AN HERETIC AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND ADMONITION REJECT; KNOWING THAT HE THAT IS SUCH IS SUBVERTED, AND SINNETH BEING CONDEMNED OF HIMSELF" (TITUS 3:10-11). THE LORD JESUS CHRIST COMMISSIONED US TO BE WITNESSES. LET US BE BOLD WITNESSES!

     



    SUNDAY APRIL 24, 2011

    "RECEIVE THE LIFE OFFERED BY THE RESURRECTION"

    MATTHEW CHAPTER 28

    TODAY IS EASTER SUNDAY AND WE HAVE COME TO CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. MANY OF US ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO RELATE THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION, BUT WE ARE ALSO GOING TO SEE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION AND WHAT IT OFFERS TO YOU AND ME. THE PURPOSE IS TO CHALLENGE YOU AND ME TO RECEIVE THIS RESURRECTED LIFE OFFERED TO US BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. TOGETHER, LET US RECEIVE THE LIFE OFFERED BY THE RESURRECTION.
     
    1. LET US RECEIVE THE LIFE OFFERED BY THE RESURRECTION. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED AND DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES (MATTHEW 27, MARK 15, LUKE 23, JOHN 19).










    2.  
    3. LET US RECEIVE THE LIFE OFFERED BY THE RESURRECTION. HE WAS BURIED (MATTHEW 27, MARK 15, LUKE 23, JOHN 19).










    4.  
    5. LET US RECEIVE THE LIFE OFFERED BY THE RESURRECTION. THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, AND HE WAS SEEN (MATTHEW 28, MARK 16, LUKE 24, JOHN 20).


    ALL FOUR GOSPELS RELATE THE EVENT OF THE RESURRECTION, DEALING AT LENGTH WITH THE REASON, THE PURPOSE, AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR YOU AND ME. HOWEVER THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION DID NOT BEGIN AND END IN THE GOSPELS. THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION BEGAN IN CHAPTER 3 OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS. THE NEED FOR THE RESURRECTION IS DEALT WITH IN THE BOOK OF JOB. THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION IS GIVEN IN ALL THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND THE PURPOSE AND RESULT ARE CONTAINED IN THE EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, PARTICULARLY IN THE EPISTLES TO THE ROMANS, CORINTHIANS, AND TO THE HEBREWS. THE END RESULT IS CONTAINED IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. IT IS A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH IN WHICH DWELLS RIGHTEOUSNESS. THIS IS GOD'S ETERNAL PLAN AND PURPOSE.

    ALL OF US ARE PART OF THIS ETERNAL PLAN AND PURPOSE. IT AFFECTS US EITHER POSITIVELY FOR ETERNAL LIFE, OR IT AFFECTS US NEGATIVELY FOR ETERNAL DAMNATION. WE EITHER RECEIVE THE MESSAGE OF THE RESURRECTION AND LIVE ETERNALLY, OR WE NEGLECT THE MESSAGE OR THE RESURRECTION AND DIE ETERNALLY. HOW WILL THE MESSAGE OF THE RESURRECTION AFFECT YOU PERSONALLY? THOSE OF US WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE ETERNAL LIFE OFFERED THROUGH THE RESURRECTION ARE COMMISSIONED TO TAKE THIS MESSAGE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. HOW WELL ARE WE DOING IN FULFILLING THIS GREAT COMMISSION?

     


    SUNDAY APRIL 17, 2011

    "WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS"

    LUKE 19:29-48

    LAST WEEK WE JOURNEYED WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN AND OUT OF JERICHO ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM. GOING INTO JERICHO HE HEALED A BLIND MAN. GOING OUT OF JERICHO, HE CALLED ZACCHAEUS TO REPENTANCE, AND DECLARED HIM TO BE A SON OF ABRAHAM. HE NOW REACHES THE MOUNT OF OLIVES FROM WHICH HE WILL RIDE INTO JERUSALEM. TODAY WE WILL JOURNEY WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INTO JERUSALEM. THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM DID NOT KNOW WHAT TIME IT WAS, AND SO THEY LOST OUT. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE OUT. LET US THEREFORE MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT WE KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!
     
    1. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TIME T IS. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST NEEDED A DONKEY AT THAT TIME TODAY HE NEEDS YOU AND ME (VV29-35).










    2.  
    3. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS. THIS WAS NOT JUST A MAN RIDING A DONKEY INTO JERUSALEM. THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT TIME OF PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT. IT WAS THE PRESENTATION OF THE MESSIAH. SEE DANIEL 9:24-27, & ZECHARIAH 9:9. THIS IS CALLED THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY (VV36-40). ARE YOU AND I OPEN FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO ENTER IN?.










    4.  
    5. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS. THE BLIND MAN AS WELL AS ZACCHAEUS AVAILED THEMSELVES OF THE OPPORTUNITY THAT JESUS OF NAZARETH WAS PASSING BY, BUT JERUSALEM LOST OUT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT TIME IT WAS (VV41-48).


    THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IS VERY IMPORTANT IN GOD'S PLAN. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST GAVE THE OLIVET DISCOURSE THERE (MATTHEW 24:3). HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES (ACTS 1:12). HE WILL BE COMING BACK TO EARTH ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. HOWEVER HE WILL BE COMING BACK WITH SO MUCH POWER THAT THE MOUNTAIN WILL SPLIT AND A VALLEY CREATED THERE (ZECHARIAH 14:3).

    ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DISTINGUISHES CHRISTIANITY FROM ALL OTHER RELIGIONS IS THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE KNOW IN ADVANCE. WE KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN ADVANCE. WE KNOW THAT ONE DAY GOD'S PEOPLE WILL BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WORLD, AND AN ECONOMIC SYSTEM WILL BE INTRODUCED THAT WILL REQUIRE EVERYONE TO WEAR A PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION. WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW IS THE NUMBER OF OUR INDIVIDUAL DAYS, OR THE DAY ON WHICH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL RETURN. HOWEVER THE GOSPEL SHALL BE "PREACHED IN ALL THE WORLD FOR A WITNESS TO ALL NATIONS, AND THEN SHALL THE END COME." WE ALL NEED TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? "IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP!" (ROMANS 13:11).

     



    SUNDAY APRIL 10, 2011

    "SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND"

    LUKE 19:1-10

    IN CHAPTER 13 VERSE 31, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST STARTED ON A THREE DAY JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. THESE WOULD BE HIS FINAL THREE DAYS ON THE EARTH, BUT HE WAS STILL TELLING PARABLES AND WORKING MIRACLES. IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER WE SEE HIM GIVING SIGHT TO A BLIND MAN WHO WAS PERSISTENT IN HIS QUEST TO RECEIVE SIGHT. IN THIS PASSAGE WE ARE GOING TO SEE JUST HOW MUCH HE LOVES A REPENTANT SINNER WHO DELIGENTLY SEEKS HIM. LET US SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND.
     
    1. SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. IN SPITE OF WHO WE ARE, AND REGARDLESS OF WHO WE ARE, WE HAVE TO MAKE SOME EFFORT IF WE REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHO JESUS IS (VV1-4).










    2.  
    3. SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. WHEN THE LORD SEES THAT WE ARE DELIGENTLY SEEKING HIM, HE WILL REVEAL HIMSELF TO US IN WAYS THAT FAR EXCEED OUR EXPECTATIONS (V5).










    4.  
    5. SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. THERE IS A SPECIAL JOY THAT ACCOMPANIES GENUINE REPENTANCE AND SALVATION. THIS IS A JOY LIKE NO OTHER JOY. ZACCHAEUS RECEIVED THE LORD JOYFULLY! (V6).










    6.  
    7. SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. THERE MAY ALWAYS BE SOME WHO MISS THE MAIN POINT. JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM. "IF GOD BE FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?" IN SPITE OF THE MURMURING, JESUS CHRIST DECLARED ZACCHAEUS TO BE A SON OF ABRAHAM, AND STATED THAT SALVATION HAD COME TO THAT HOUSE! (VV7-9).


    THERE WERE SEVERAL OCCASIONS ON WHICH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DECLARED HIS SPECIFIC PURPOSE FOR COMING TO EARTH. HE CAME THAT "WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE" (JOHN 3:16). HE CAME THAT WE "MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABOUNDANTLY" (JOHN 10:10). HE "CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, BUT TO MINISTER, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY." (MATTHEW 20:28). HOWEVER, IN TWO PASSAGES HE FOCUSSES SPECIFICALLY ON HIS CONCERN FOR SINNERS. "I CAME NOT TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE" (LUKE 5:32). HERE HE DECLARES THAT "THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST" (V10). DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SO SINFUL THAT GOD WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU? YOU ARE EXACTLY THE ONE HE IS LOOKING FOR! COME TO HIM TODAY!


     




    SUNDAY APRIL 3, 2011

    "YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN"

    JOHN 3:1-21

    AT THE END OF CHAPTER 2 WE READ THAT JESUS HAD A LOT OF POTENTIAL FOLLOWERS WHEN THEY SAW THE MIRACLES THAT HE DID AT THE FEAST AT JERUSALEM, BUT THAT JESUS DID NOT COMMIT HIMSELF TO THEM "FOR HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN." IN THIS CHAPTER A PHARISEE CAME TO HIM TO LEARN MORE. FROM THIS DISCUSSION WITH NICODEMUS,WE DERIVE THE ANSWER TO THE VITAL QUESTION OF WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED. THE ANSWER IS THAT YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.
     
    1. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW RELIGIOUS YOU ARE. THE SECOND BIRTH IS ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION (VV1-8).










    2.  
    3. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. TRADITIONS AND RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING IS NOT THE ANSWER. WE ARE BORN AGAIN BY PERSONALLY BELIEVING ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (VV9-16).










    4.  
    5. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME NOT TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD. IT IS OUR RESPONSE TO HIS OFFER OF SALVATION THAT DETERMINES WHETHER WE ARE LOST OR SAVED. SALVATION OR CONDEMNATION DOES NOT TAKE PLACE AFTER WE DIE. WE ARE SAVED OR CONDEMNED DURING OUR LIFETIME (VV17-21).


    THE SCRIPTURES ARE VERY CLEAR AS TO HOW PEOPLE ARE SAVED, AND YET SO MANY HAVE IDEAS ABOUT SALVATION THAT ARE NOT FOUND IN THE SCRIPTURES. SOME OF THESE IDEAS RESULT FROM IGNORANCE, BUT SOME ARE THE RESULT OF "WILLING IGNORANCE." AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS A PREACHER WHO IS NOW WRITING A BOOK IN WHICH HE STATES THAT EVERYBODY WILL BE SAVED. IT IS BAD ENOUGH WHEN PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURES MAKE STATEMENTS THAT ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES. HOWEVER, WHEN THESE STATEMENTS ARE MADE BY PREACHERS, THEY ARE INEXCUSEABLE. PAUL IN ONE OF HIS EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY, WARNS OF A TIME WHEN MEN WOULD NOT RELISH SOUND DOCTRINE, BUT WOULD SEEK OUT PREACHERS WHO TELL THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR. WE SEEM TO BE LIVING IN SUCH TIMES. IN THESE TIMES YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN! CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD, LET US ENCOURAGE MEN TO SEEK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD


     



    SUNDAY MARCH 27, 2011

    "ENCOURAGE MEN TO SEEK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"

    John 14:14

    At this point in our Lord's ministry, He was preparing for the cross. By this time, the Jews had made several attempts to stone him (Chapter 8:59, Chapter 10:31-33) and taken council to kill him (Chapter 11:47-54). He has already washed his disciples' feet to teach them humility, and is now preparing them for his departure. In this chapter, he makes one of the most profound statements of Christianity: Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Anyone who wants to meet God has to come through the Lord Jesus Christ. As children of the Living God, let us encourage men to seek the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only way to God.
     
    1. Encourage men to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. There is much in this world to give us troubled hearts, but when we belong to God, we can rest assured that the Lord Jesus Christ is working on our Behalf (VV1-4).










    2.  
    3. Encourage men to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to know God (VV5-7).










    4.  
    5. Encourage men to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. The teachings and miracles of the Lord Jesus are conclusive proof that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. By getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ, we too can have the Power of God flowing through us (VV8-14).


    People of other religions are offended whenever Christians say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. We are only speaking the truth. "There is only one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). This one true God has given to us a collection of 66 Books that we call the Bible. In this Book, He has declared the end time events from the beginning of time. In our day, we are now watching some of these events being fulfilled. Christianity is "Faith founded on facts"! The other religions are based on conjectures! If you really desire to know God and to have fellowship with Him, come to Jesus Christ today!


     


    SUNDAY MARCH 20, 2011

    "USE YOUR DIVINE EXPERIENCES TO SERVE"

    MATTHEW 17:1-8 & 14-21

    Last week we saw in Chapter 16 that after Peter's confession, how the Lord Jesus Christ came to a turning point in his ministry. He told his disciples then that the real reason why he came to earth was to suffer, to die, and to rise again. We also saw the old testament prophecies concerning his advent and how they were fulfilled. In this passage we see how his divine essence shone through the veil of his flesh. We will also learn that our experiences with God are not ends in themselves, but calls to serve others. Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, and John all had divine experiences. In each case it was a call to serve. Let us also use our divine experiences to serve others.
     
    1. Use your divine experiences to serve others. There is always the temptation when we have divine experiences to want them to last forever (VV1-8).










    2.  
    3. Use your divine experiences to serve others. There is always a need awaiting us at the foot of the mountain (VV14-18).










    4.  
    5. Use your divine experiences to serve others. There is always a need for mountain top experiences. However, these experiences should never be considered as ends in themselves, but rather as means to enable us to deal with the issues that we will face (VV19-21).


    Moses was called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Elijah was called to annoint Jehu as King of Israel and toe annoint Elisha as prophet in his stead. Isaiah was call to preach repentance to Judah. Daniel was called to declare the history of the world in advance. Paul was call to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and to write half of the books of the New Testament. John was called to prophesy the events of our time.

    WHAT ARE YOU AND I CALLED TO DO? It is not so much what we are called to do as what we are called to be! We are called to be Ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been entrusted with the Word of Reconciliation, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (12 CORINTHIANS 5 :19-21). Paul said: "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel of Christ!"

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