Christ Is Precious

1_Peter_2_6t8_Transfiguration of Christ

Francesco Zuccarelli, “The Transfiguration of Christ”, c. 1788

1 Peter 2:6-8 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.[7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,  [8]  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The word “Precious” is used twice in our focal text today. It is used first in Peter’s quotation from Isaiah 28:16. Peter wrote in verse 6:

Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:
and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded

Peter uses the word again in verse 7:

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious

In both cases that which is “Precious” is a “He” not an “It”. In our world today we consider things to be precious. That word “Precious” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as:

“Of great value or high price”
“Highly esteemed or cherished”
“Excessively refined”

As Peter writes, he is not writing about a rare metal like gold, nor a rare stone like a diamond. He is writing of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Precious. He is more precious than anything on this earth. He is more precious than all the gold in Fort Knox. When my wife and I were in England we were allowed to see the Crown Jewels, that which belonged to the royals of Great Britain. We were told that these Crown Jewels were priceless. Jesus Christ is more precious than the Crown Jewels. He is more precious than the Hope Diamond. He is more precious than the billions that the rich own.

Jesus Is Precious Because There Is No Other Way Unto God

We read again:

1 Peter 2:6 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

The Apostle Peter is quoting from an Old Testament text found in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah is a very interesting Book, often called The Old Testament Gospel of Christ. When God called Isaiah to preach for Him God allowed Isaiah to look into Heaven and to see the glory of God. Most of us think that if we were to look into Heaven we would be transfixed, blessed beyond belief. Isaiah looked into Heaven and saw the glory of God. He saw God in His glory

“sitting upon the Throne, high and lifted up”

Isaiah saw the angels of God flying around the Throne saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the lord of hosts!”
“The whole earth is full of His glory”

Though God allowed Isaiah to look into Heaven – he did not steal his way in – Isaiah was horrified at what he saw. Suddenly Isaiah – looking upon the thrice holy God – realized that he in no way measured up to His righteousness. Isaiah cried out:

Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

When exposed to God as He is Isaiah realized he – and we – fall far short of His glory. We are all unworthy to stand in His presence. Isaiah only found relief when an Angel took a live coal from the righteous altar of God and put that coal on his mouth, saying …

Isaiah 6:7 (KJV) … Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

God had to place His own righteousness on Isaiah – to IMPUTE His righteousness to Isaiah’s account. Without this free gift Isaiah could not stand before God. We cannot hope to be righteous enough on our own to stand before the thrice Holy God Who inhabits Heaven. This is the testimony of the Scripture.

Many people do not believe this. When given the statement:

“Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature”

Some 52% of professing Christians said they believed this statement. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And we are told in Ephesians

Ephesians 2:2-3 (KJV)  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  [3]  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

In our natural states we all are followers of sin. The Scripture makes this clear. We were “children of wrath” because we sinned. The Scripture says:

Genesis 8:21 (KJV) … the LORD said … the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth …

Whether man or woman we are all born into this world as sinners. Though we may not even understand what we do nor why it is wrong, even as babies we sin and fall short of God’s glory. This is why the Bible declares:

Romans 3:23 (KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Mankind is not – as the world would say – basically good. We have all departed from God. From birth we follow the pattern of Adam, of whom the Scripture says:

Romans 5:12 (KJV)  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The world is not divided into “good” and “bad” people, but is homogeneously and naturally “sinners”.

And this is why Christ is precious.

Peter quoted Isaiah, who wrote as God directed:

Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

We are all sinners, but God has provided a way to salvation in Christ. “Thus saith the Lord GOD”. God says. The Eternal and Everlasting I AM says. “I lay in ZION”. Zion is the City of God, the place where God is. In the New Testament ZION refers to the Heavenly Jerusalem, God’s Holy, Eternal city. How did God build this city? How will He inhabit it? He says:

1 Peter 2:6 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in {Zion} a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

God laid in Zion a Chief Corner Stone. When the foundation of a building was laid in the ancient world the heaviest and most substantial stone was placed on the corner of the building. All walls and floors attached to this cornerstone. Heaven is attached to Christ and Christ alone. The Scripture says to those who have received Christ as Savior:

Ephesians 2:18-22 (KJV)  For through {Christ} we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  [19]  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  [20]  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  [21]  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  [22]  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The Cornerstone of the Christian is Christ.
The Cornerstone of the Church is Christ.
The Cornerstone of Heaven is Christ.

The early Church knew this and grew by it. Christ is precious because Christ is the ONLY WAY by which God has given us to be saved. Peter preached:

Acts 4:12 (KJV)  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When the world heard Christ preached as the only Way unto Heaven and unto God they “perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men”. The world has not changed. When the statement was given:

“God accepts the worship of all religions, including
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam”

Around 51% of professing Christians said that this statement is true. If so, then Christ is not precious. If Jesus Christ is but one Way unto God among many then His value has become no greater than the leaders of other world religions. But what has God said?

I lay in {Zion} a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

God says there is but ONE Chief Cornerstone. It is Jesus Whom God chose – He is ELECTED and PRECIOUS. There is no other way by which a person can be saved. The Bible declares repeatedly:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  [6]  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Romans 10:9 (KJV)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

and Jesus declared:

John 3:35-36 (KJV)  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  [36]  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

God the Father has provided but One Way to be saved, and that is to see Christ as “Precious”. He is the Only Way by which we can be saved from our sin. He is the Only Way by which we can enter into God’s Heaven.

Jesus Is Precious Because He Gave Himself For Me

1 Peter 2:7 (KJV) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious:

There are many who profess to follow Christ, but as I have shown today, many say they love the Lord but do not. Yet to those who have been saved Christ is precious. Christ is precious because He did not have to do what He did. Nothing forced Him from Heaven to this earth. God did not make Him do so, nor could have God have done so. Jesus Christ is God, God the Son, God in every way as powerful as both Father and Spirit. What does the Scripture say?

John 1:1 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ – the manifest Word of God – Who was and is and always will be God – “was made flesh and dwelt among us”.

Jesus Himself said:

John 10:30 (KJV)  I and my Father are one.

and when Thomas saw the Resurrected Christ he knelt worshiping Him ..

John 20:28 (KJV)  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The Apostle declared that in Christ …. Colossians 2:9-10 (KJV)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  [10]  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

It is to Jesus that the Father said:

Hebrews 1:5-8 (KJV)  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  [6]  And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  [7]  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.  [8]  But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus Christ is Eternal God. And yet He Who made the Heavens and the Earth, He Who made the plant-life and the seas, He Who made everything that flies or crawls, He that made man and woman in the Garden …

…. this same Christ came to this earth to give Himself for me.

Yes Beloved, He gave Himself for you, too.

Jesus started us all in a Garden called Eden, but surrendered Himself for our sins in a Garden called Gethsemane.

Christ made Adam from the dust of the ground, but remakes us from the Blood of His sacrifice.

When I was unable to fix myself, Christ offered to do so. He reached down into the much of my life and saved me in spite of myself. He is precious to me.

Christ saves the Christian out of Egypt. He brings us from that slavery and into the wilderness so that we might worship Him. There are many who attach themselves to the Church that do not see Christ as precious. When Moses departs to the mountain they tire of Christ. They call out to Aaron:

“Here is our jewelry, make us another god. Any old cow will do.
We will worship this, and follow it back to Egypt”

These are not believers, but lost people disguised as believers. What did Moses do when he came down from the mountain? He cried out:

Exodus 32:26 (KJV) … Who is on the LORD’S side?
let him come unto me. …

The Lord is precious to me because He lowered Himself for me. Therefore I will love Him more than anything else. Though my children and grandchildren are precious to me, Christ is MORE precious.

Matthew 10:37 (KJV)  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

In fact, though my life is precious, Christ is MORE precious. The Christians who is not willing to shed his own blood for Christ’s sake may not indeed be a Christian. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:39 (KJV)  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Christ is the MOST PRECIOUS to the true Christian.

The “Builders” Of Jerusalem Disbelieved And Died

1 Peter 2:7-8 (KJV) … but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,  [8]  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The leaders of Israel saw Christ, heard Christ, touched Christ … and yet disbelieved in Him. Jesus told them:

John 8:24 (KJV)  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

If you do not believe that Jesus and Jesus alone is precious – that He is the Father’s only Messiah, that He is the Only Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, then “you shall die in your sins”. Jesus Christ is the Only Way unto the Father. He has promised that if you give yourself to Him fully – if He is indeed to you PRECIOUS – then He will never leave nor forsake you. He has said:

Isaiah 46:4 (KJV)  And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Jesus is a Stone of Stumbling, and a Rock of Offense to those who wish to remain in their sins. Being disobedient, they reject Him for the ways of this world. One day they will be judged WITHOUT Christ because they reject Christ now. But to us who believe in Him, He brings us close to God. To those who have received the Precious Christ the Father has said:

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Come to Christ, dear one. Confess yourself a sinner. Admit that you have no standing before God but by Him. Believe that He gave Himself for your sins – that He is Precious – and you shall be saved.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

The New Covenant And Our Responsibilities As God’s Children

Dali

Salvadore Dali – Christ of St John of the Cross

Hebrews 10:16-20 (KJV)  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  [17]  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  [18]  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  [19]  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  [20]  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

This Is The Covenant”. What Is A “Covenant”?

It is a contract between two persons, an agreement that both parties enter into in order to obtain a mutual blessing. In our modern age morality has slipped so far that most “Covenants” or “Contracts” are written on paper, executed and witnessed by lawyers, and are filed in public records with warnings of dire consequences should either party welch on their word. Among the ancients Covenants were made between two persons where each person was expected by society to keep their word. Integrity was not for sale.

The Bible begins with a Covenant between God and man and between husband and wife. When God placed Adam in the Garden He made a conditional, one sided Covenant with Adam. God made a covenant with Adam.

Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  [17]  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam had the free and unhindered blessing of Eden as long as he agreed to NOT EAT that which was forbidden. The contract was very clear, and one sided. If Adam violated the Covenant of Eden he would “surely die”. Period. Then God made Adam a wife. Adam made a Covenant with his wife:

Genesis 2:23-24 (KJV) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  [24]  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Again this was a conditional Covenant. It was one sided. Adam made a promise to his Eve, an unconditional promise to remain with her. Man and wife would be a unit, One. Adam promised to cleave to His wife.

Our Bibles are divided into TWO Covenants. You have the “Old Testament”, the word “Testament” an old English word for “Covenant” or “Contract”. You have the “New Testament” or “Covenant”. Our Bible is divided that way for a reason. There are a number of Covenants in the Old Covenant part of our Bible.

Noahic covenant [Genesis 9:8–17]
Abrahamic Covenant [Genesis 12-17]
Davidic Covenant [2 Samuel 7]

The largest Covenant – the one that overshadows the Old Covenant portion of our Bible – is the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was very much a conditional Covenant. God gave Israel a set of laws to follow, a set of sacrifices and festivals to adhere to, a mandate they must follow or else. God emphasized the or else of the Mosaic Covenant when – directly following the giving of the Law – He commanded Israel to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. When the leadership of Israel balked at obeying God’s Voice the Lord told them:

Numbers 14:32, 34-35 (KJV)  But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. … [34]  After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and YE SHALL KNOW MY BREACH OF PROMISE.  [35]  I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

Why did God cause the first generation of Israel to die in the wilderness? Because of a BREACH OF PROMISE. They broke the contract, the Old Covenant they had with God. Under the Old Covenant God’s people were to love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their might (Deuteronomy 6:5). Their lives were to be marked by their love for God, not for themselves. They were to love God above all else. This is what demands of His people, and this has never changed. Jesus was asked the question one day:

Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

What is ONE over riding commandment, the one that defines the Old Covenant? Jesus replied:

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  [38]  This is the first and great commandment.  [39]  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  [40]  ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

The Old Covenant – with all its sacrifices, rituals, and festivals boiled down to just this.

Love the God you cannot see.
Love the human that God created that you CAN see.

If you loved God then you did what He said.
You did the impossible things God said.
You did the hard things God said.
You did whatever God said.
Why? Because you loved God.

If you broke this Contract of Love then you lost the blessing. As hard as man tried to follow this contract it seemed as if no one could quite keep it. Why? Because the contract depended on the HEART of both parties.

God’s heart is pure.
God can easily keep the contract.
Man’s heart is corrupt.

The Pharisees kept the rituals to look good among men.
The Sadducees picked and chose what they thought was sacred.
The Israelite kept certain festivals, but did not daily approach God

The Law by its very nature was issued to a people whose hearts were unable to fully receive it. Why? The Apostle Paul said:

Galatians 3:22-26 (KJV)  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  [23]  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  [24]  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  [26]  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

No one was ever actually “saved” by keeping the Old Covenant.
God does not offer eternal life to those who do not LOVE Him.
Abraham was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Noah was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Enoch walked with God apart from the Old Covenant.
David was “saved” because he loved the Lord his God.

Salvation has always been a matter of faith, not works. The Old Covenant was a school master, a teacher Who would bring us to Christ, a teacher Who would show us that we needed new hearts. In the midst of the Old Covenant God promised His people one day that He would bring us a NEW COVENANT. Through the Prophet God spoke:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (KJV)  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  [32]  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  [33]  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  [34]  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Under the NEW COVENANT God promised to “put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people”. The OLD Covenant was written on tablets of stone. The NEW Covenant would be written on the heart. God promised that Israel and Judah would be under the NEW Covenant. That has not happened – yet. Israel today largely rejects the Christ that God sent. But the Lord grafted the Gentiles – that’s us – into the promises of Israel (see Romans 11:11-31). Christ came unto His own but His own did not receive Him (see John 1:11), but …

John 1:12-13 (KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  [13]  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

God today makes “sons of God” to those who turn to Christ. He writes His Law of love on our hearts. The standards we follow as Children of the King are those of LOVE:

Romans 8:3-4 (KJV)  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  [4]  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 13:8-10 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The Law could not write on the heart. But Christ can. The Law stands outside the body. The New Covenant imparts the Spirit of God to live in us who are His. Embracing Christ, we are embraced of His love. He covers us. He indwells us. He empowers us. His Spirit speaks to us, guiding us into all truth as our Lord said:

John 16:13-14 (KJV)  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  [14]  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

As we read of His Book – both Old and New Covenants – the Spirit guides each believer through God’s Will for his or her life. The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Do We Have Responsibilities Under The New Covenant?

Hebrews 10:16-17 (KJV)  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  [17]  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

The Book of Hebrews tells us that YES we do have responsibilities under the New Covenant. God has promised under His New Covenant – a Covenant that the believer in Christ currently enjoys – to put His laws into our HEARTS and MINDS. God puts a knowledge of the holy in us. He makes us LOVE Him and LOVE one another. But God also promises to remove the breach between us. He says “their SINS and INIQUITIES will I remember no more”. This does not give us a carte blanch freedom to sin. God does not place us under the New Covenant so that we will be free to walk after the flesh. Oh Beloved, sin is still very much sin. But now instead of avoiding sin because it is written on a piece of paper we avoid sin because it hurts the God we love. Sin is a travesty against God and man. Sin is a destroyer. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). What God has deemed sin is not suddenly NOT sin nor NOT dangerous.

If it was WRONG under the OLD Covenant it is WRONG under the New.
If it was FORBIDDEN under the OLD it is forbidden NOW.
That which God despised is despised still, for God cannot change.
If we love God we will recognize this.


Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the
Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

What are our responsibilities under the New Covenant?

We Are To Draw Near To God

Hebrews 10:22 (KJV)  LET US DRAW NEAR with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

If God wrote His Laws on our hearts and minds then we should naturally – or supernaturally – draw near to Him. Under the Old Covenant the believer drew near to God by going to the Temple and offering sacrifices to God. Under the New Covenant we …

  • Let Us Draw Near By The Blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

The Old Covenant said “Go and do or be cursed”. The New Covenant “brought us near to God by the Blood of Christ”. Jesus Christ is not only the High Priest that we approach, but He is the Lamb slain for my sins. He paid the penalty of my failures, and brought me into union with God. I no longer go to Temple to draw near to God, but my Body is the Temple and God indwells me (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Jesus Christ died the Old Covenant Temple was desecrated, the veil ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Therefore the Scripture declares:

Hebrews 10:14 (KJV)  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:19-21 (KJV)  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  [20]  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  [21]  And having an high priest over the house of God;

  • Let Us Draw Near In Obedient Love To God. I have heard people justify continuance in sin because of their salvation in Christ. Yet this section of Scripture dealing with the New Covenant clearly states:

Hebrews 10:26-30 (KJV)  For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  [27]  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  [28]  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  [29]  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  [30]  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Many today who PROFESS Christ do not POSSESS Christ. If you are born again you will, at times, sin. Yet you will not justify that sin. Why? Because God has written His laws in your hearts and minds. When you sin you will CONFESS that sin before God as soon as possible. You love God and despise sin in yourself and in others. You see sin as a poison that caused the death of Christ. You will not wallow in sin, for to do so is to prove that your heart and mind are yet stone, and that God HAS NOT written His Law of love in you. In short, if you are saved you will BEHAVE SAVED. Not all of Israel was saved in Moses’ day. If you are, you will love the Lord Who saved you.

James 4:7-8 (KJV)  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  [8]  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

When you sin, dear Christian, do not try and work your way out of it. Return to God. Recognize the Blood of Christ, and confess your sins to Him Who loves you. Draw near to God, repent, and through His Blood be cleansed to love Him evermore.

  • Let Us Practice The Presence Of God Daily, Not Just At Church. He is with us through all we encounter.

Hebrews 10:8-10 (KJV)  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;  [9]  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.  [10]  By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Christian is a person who is SANCTIFIED, being SANCTIFIED, and will be SANCTIFIED. The word “SANCTIFIED” in the Greek is also used for HOLY or HOLINESS. To be “SANCTIFIED” means to be “set apart for God”. When you were saved God set you apart so that you can walk with Him on a daily basis. What has God promised in Christ:

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

I read a book several years ago which deeply effected my walk with God. It was called The Practice Of The Presence Of God. A Catholic Monk by the name of Brother Lawrence wrote how God convinced him that the Lord was with him not just in the special “holy” places or “holy” moments, but in every minute of every day. I never thought of my walk with God that way. God has said “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. To God, NEVER meas NEVER. He is with us when we go to bed. He is with us when we wake up. He is with us in the restroom, in the shower, in the marketplace, where ever I am there my Lord is. He rides with us. He flies with us. He is with us at work, in the hospital, and even if we are in the nursing home. He promised:

Matthew 28:20 (KJV) … I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I read two articles the other day, one encouraging and one discouraging. The discouraging article talked about a couple named George and Shirley Brickenden who recently committed suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. They did this with the encouragement of the Dean of Toronto Canada’s St. James Anglican Cathedral.

Ontario, where recently threw a “bon voyage party” for their families, before committing suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. LifeNews reports that no one tried to stop them. And more shocking still, the dean of Toronto’s St. James Anglican Cathedral not only attended and blessed the procedure but then said he’d be honored to give the couple an Anglican funeral. The couple – married 73 years and neither of which were in terminal condition – just decided they wanted to die together. Their Church endorsed their suicides. Jesus Christ has given us eternal life, and every day is a gift from Him. Life has purpose and meaning because of Him. We live our lives for God, even when life is tough. We love our God first and foremost.

The other article I read was encouraging, a paradigm of faith. Dr. D.A. Carson wrote about an Anglican Bishop who was a great and godly man. This man was often referred to as the apostle to Tanzania. Yet later in life this great man suffered from Parkinson’s Disease so severe that he could neither walk nor talk. He communicated by shaky writing on a tablet he kept nearby, often having to write the same word several times to make it legible. Dr. Carson wrote:

We “talked” about a number of matters close to his heart — at least, I did the “talking,” and tried to ask most of my questions in a form where he could signal merely yes or no. In the short time I spent with him, I sensed a man of unshaken faith, and I had the audacity to ask him how he was coping with his illness. After decades of immensely productive activity, how was he dealing with his own suffering, with the temptation to feel he was now useless and fruitless? He penned his answer twice before I could make it out: THERE IS NO FUTURE IN FRUSTRATION.”

God was with this precious man when he ministered in Tanzania, and is with this precious man now.

  • Let Us Gather With Other Believers To Intentionally Love One Another. I have heard people say “I can worship God just as well in the woods hunting deer as I can in a Church building”. Yes, that is true. However the Law written on our hearts DEMANDS that we Love God first and foremost, and love others as ourselves. We are told:

Hebrews 10:23-25 (KJV)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  [24]  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  [25]  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We come together as Christians so that we can first of all share our profession of faith. The Bible says “a threefold cord is not easily broken”. Jesus emphasized the family of God when He told us

Matthew 18:20 (KJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

When Jesus sent disciples out to witness, they always went in minimums of TWO (Luke 10:1). John said “no one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us”. God’s Presence is magnified when two or more of us gather together in His Name. We come together to

provoke one another to love and good works

We work together as His Body (see 1 Corinthians 12) and His Family. We encourage one another, teach one another, and live out the life of Christ in the presence of one another for God’s glory. We worship our Lord both privately and together. We are obedient to Him Who loves us. We are called to be His People, His Light to a lost and dying world. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Hebrews, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Most Important

John_12_1t11_Rubens-Feast_of_Simon_the_Pharisee

image Rubens Feast of Simon

John 12:1-11 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. [2] There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. [3]  Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. [4]  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5]  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6]  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. [7]  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. [8]  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. [9]  Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. [10]  But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11]  Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

What is the most important thing to you?

Six days before Jesus was going to be crucified He went to Bethany. When I initially read this story I thought that Jesus was at the home of His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. But when you compare this text with Matthew 26 you see that …

Matthew 26:6 (KJV) … Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper

Simon was called “The Leper” not because he currently was a leper – for the Israelite was commanded to stay outside the town and to have no contact with healthy people (Deuteronomy 24:8-9; Leviticus 13:46). Simon had been healed by God. Simon was also a Pharisee (Luke 7:37-38). I suspect that Jesus accepted Simon’s invitation to supper because our Lord is always reaching out in love to others. Though the Pharisees hated Jesus, Jesus loved them too. Our Lord came to save whosoever will.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Lazarus?

John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

Jesus came to this supper not long after raising Lazarus from the dead. A week before this supper Lazarus became sick unto death.

We all take our lives for granted until death knocks at the door.
We sit and watch mindless television. We watch re-runs.
We invest our lives in many things that do not matter.

But Lazarus had seen death. He actually died, was buried, and had been through his funeral. Lazarus realized how fleeting life is. Though resurrected by Christ, he would one day die again, for it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Doesn’t the Bible tell us that:

James 4:14 (KJV)For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

What is important to Lazarus? Read the text.

John 12:2 Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with {Jesus}.

The one who has lost life then receives it again is not wasting it anymore. He realizes the preciousness of life. Lazarus “sits at the table with Jesus”. He wants to be close to Jesus. Jesus said:

John 12:26 (KJV)  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Martha?

John 12:2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served

What was most important to Martha was the applause of others. She loved being busy. This was not her house, and yet Martha served. I thank God for those who serve, for without them the Church would come to a standstill. And yet I ask, Why do you serve? There was another time when Jesus came to supper and Martha served. As Martha served Mary sat at Jesus feet and “heard His Word” (Luke 10:39). Finally Martha had enough.

Luke 10:40-42 (KJV)  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  [41]  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  [42]  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

When we come together as a Church we as individuals come expectantly – wanting a Word from God. We serve Him, and do as He says. But we need His Word so we can apply it to our lives.

We need to come SEEKING and leave SERVING.

God loves those who serve Him. Let our lives be about serving Him by hearing His Word FIRST and THEN putting it into practice.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Judas Iscariot?

Mary opened a bottle of precious oil, and began to bathe Jesus’ feet with it. The Bible says …

John 12:4-6 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5]  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6]  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

The most important thing to Judas was money. He loved money. The Bible warns us that …

1 Timothy 6:10-11 (KJV)  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  [11]  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; …

Money is a trap, and it has killed many.
We are to RESIST the devil, but FLEE from greed.

Judas Iscariot sold our Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. After doing this his conscience condemned him. When he tried to return the money the Pharisees would not take it back.

So Judas killed himself by hanging.
Jesus was supposed to hang on a tree for our sins.
But Judas
hung HIMSELF for HIS sins.
Which did nothing at all for Judas.

Better he should have heeded Christ’s words.

John 12:7-8 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. [8]  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Mary was ministering to Jesus. God had spoken to her heart, and she knew that our Lord was going to die soon. Lazarus should have looked away from the money and looked unto Jesus. There he would have found rest.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to the Chief Priests?

John 12:10-11 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11]  Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

The chief priests and Pharisees hated Jesus because He threatened their power. The chief priests were concerned with being “chief”. That was what they wanted, so much so that they plotted to kill Lazarus. Jesus told these people:

John 12:25 (KJV)  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

The chief priests would not only lose their power, but in 70 AD the Temple would be destroyed by the Roman Empire. They would lose their lives and their jobs because they made the wrong thing most important. They should have loved the Lord.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Mary?

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Money was not the most important thing to Mary. Spikenard is harvested from a plant that only grows in the Himalaya mountains of India and Nepal. It is very rare, and was imported to Israel. When Judas Iscariot – a greedy thief – evaluated the cost of the spikenard he said it was worth 300 pence or denarii (John 12:5). The average workman earned only one denari per day of wages, so this would be the annual salary of a blue collar worker. Mary without hesitation anointed the feet of Jesus with this costly spikenard.

Pride was also not an important thing to Mary. She anointed Jesus’ FEET, the dirtiest part of the human body in those days. She then wiped His feet with her hair. The hair of a woman was considered her crown and glory.

What was the most important thing to Mary?
It was to honor Jesus with her possessions.
It was to honor Jesus with her life.
She served the Lord.
Because of her service,

the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

When God’s people serve the Lord without pride and foolishness the house is filled with the odor of the ointment. God gave us life to serve Him. We are to worship Him with all our hearts.

There was one other person at that supper that we have yet to mention. He is not specifically mentioned in the text, but He was surely there. That person is the Heavenly Father.

I wonder what is the most important thing to God The Father?

The Father has said of His Son that He is “My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22). Jesus said:

John 5:22-23 (KJV)  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:  [23]  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

The most important thing to the Father is that His Son be honored. God sent His Son to die for our sins. Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, to be a blessing to us. Jesus is to be honored. He is precious to God. Mary knew this. Of all that were there that day Mary and possibly Lazarus, I believe, gained the smile of God. They both wanted to be near Jesus.

Let us live to honor the Lord Jesus.
Let us use what we have for His glory.
In Christ’s Name.
Amen!

Posted in John, Sermons Preached | Tagged

Be An Asher Christian

beach-families-children-human

image courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

Deuteronomy 33:25-27 (KJV) And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. 26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. 27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Purpose of this sermon: To lead to Christ enduring disciples that will not fold at the slightest or strongest storm. To teach faith in God above all else.

God gives us strength for the day. That’s the promise that God gives us in this text.
“As thy days, so shall thy strength be”.

We look at everything differently from God. You can tell this from the very beginning of Scripture. When we think of “Day” we think of “Daylight”, not darkness. But how did God create days? We read in Genesis:

Genesis 1:5 (KJV) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The light is “Day” the darkness “Night”. But the two together … “the evening and the morning were the first DAY”. It’s proper to think of “Day” as having light, but a complete “Day” contains both darkness as well as light. We even recognize this in our modern world. Today is “Sunday”. It will be “Sunday” until midnight tonight. At 1 second past midnight – the darkest time there is – it will be “Monday”. When the sun rises it will have been Monday for about 6 hours.

Out of the darkness God brings light.

Moses was in a dark spot. He was soon to die. But before Moses went to be with the Lord (which is a far greater Promised Land than Canaan) he wanted to leave advice and blessing on each of the tribes of Israel. He wanted Israel to remember that God loved them.

Deuteronomy 33:3 (KJV) Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

Before Israel enters the Promised Land Moses has some final words for the twelve tribes. One by one Moses spoke to each of them:

Reuben
Judah
Levi
Benjamin
Joseph (Ephraim & Manasseh)
Zebulun
Issachar
Gad
Dan
Naphtali

Then Moses came to the last tribe – the tribe of Asher1. Last place. Last listed. And yet Moses spoke more blessing to Asher as a tribe than he did the other tribes. We’ll look at Moses’ blessing on Asher in a moment, but first …

Asher’s background

Was Asher a favorite child of Jacob’s favorite wife? No, not at all.
Asher was born in darkness, with less than a silver spoon in his mouth.

Jacob had two wives. He had the wife he LOVED, the one called Rachel. Then he had the wife that was forced on him by his father in law, the plain wife he TOLERATED. She was Leah.

Rachel was loved, but Leah was just there. She was a plain woman, and though she loved Jacob he did not care much for her. When the two women started having children Leah made a contest out of it. She thought if she had more children than Rachel maybe Jacob would love her. So Leah had her slave Zilpah go in to Jacob, and Zilpah had a son.

Genesis 30:12-13 (KJV)  And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.  [13]  And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

We read over this text without thinking, but I want us to think about this for a moment. Zilpah was Leah’s SLAVE. Zilpah was forced … not given choice, but FORCED to go in to Jacob, and when she became with child Leah took her baby from her and made Asher her own. I watched a show on television called The Book Of Negroes which told of slavery, and that very thing happened to a slave woman. How she anguished over the child taken from her! How dark that must have been.

Leah was “happy” because in her contest with Rachel
on who would have the most children she was winning.
But I doubt Zilpah was happy.
Nevertheless Asher lived up to his name.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how young Asher grew up, but despite his dark start he was accepted as one of the twelve sons of Jacob (which would be Israel). I believe that Asher lived up to his name. When his father Jacob lay dying he blessed Asher, saying:

Genesis 49:20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,
and he shall yield royal dainties.

When you read this … “His bread shall be FAT”

You may be thinking “What in the world does this mean?” Who eats fat bread, or bread with fat as its main meat? In order to understand FAT you need to study your Bible. In ancient Israel when a sacrifice was made to God both the FAT as well as the BLOOD were to be put on the altar.

The BLOOD Of The Sacrifice Symbolized The PROPITIATION Of God,
The Fact That The Messiah Would Come And PAY For Our Sins.

1 John 2:1-2 (KJV)1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

A PROPITIATION is a payment made that is accepted by God, a satisfactory payment. The blood of the animal sacrificed pointed to the day when Christ our Lord would come and, as the “Lamb of God take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29,36). In the Old Testament the blood of the animal taught the people that sin must be paid for. It looked forward to the day when Christ would come,

Romans 3:23-25 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

The blood on the altar spoke of the Coming Christ. But what did the Fat speak to?

The FAT Symbolized The PROVISION Of God For His Children
On Those Who Are Under The Blood Of Christ!

God told “His bread shall be FAT” because He blesses those who trust in Him. Asher – the Happy and joyful believer – would be rich with blessings from God.

Genesis 49:20 (KJV)  Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

Not only would Asher be blessed, but the Asher believer would bless others around them. “He shall yield royal dainties”. The Lord tells us who are His:

Matthew 6:25-33 (KJV) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why {do you worry about clothing}? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Asher was not the largest tribe of Israel – it was mid-range. Asher was not the firstborn nor the strongest of Jacob’s children. He was average, the eighth child born. But Asher – the Happy Believer – had something his brothers didn’t have. He found his joy in not his circumstances, but in the Lord Who loved him.

Our text today is the last words of Moses, a great man of God. Moses had been leading the children of Israel for 40 years. The first generation of Israel – the disobedient ones who would not go into the Promised Land – had all died out. Now their children prepare to enter the Promised Land.

Moses will not enter the Promised Land with Israel.
Asher will enter, but Moses will not. Why?
At Kadesh Moses disobeyed the Lord.
Rather than be joyful in the Lord – being an ASHER believer,
He allowed
the murmuring Israelites to rob him of his joy.

The Lord told Moses to “speak to the Rock and water will come out” to satisfy the thirst of Israel. But instead we read:

Numbers 20:10-11 (KJV) Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

Because Moses did not glorify the Lord and do as He said he would not enter the Promised Land with Israel. He did not finish well, Beloved. It is good to run for the Lord, but best to finish well. To honor the Lord to the end. Moses learned of this too late. But Moses wanted us to know how to be blessed as believers. We are to be Asher believers. We are to love and serve the Lord, and to love and serve others. Jesus said …

John 13:17 (KJV) If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

The Asher believer is the DOING believer. We do what our Lord bids us do. We put Him first.

When We Put God First As Dear Children
The Lord Blesses

As Moses blesses Asher – the Happy Believers – he says:

  • Moses blessed Asher with children. Let Asher be blessed with children. As a tribe children guaranteed that their name would continue on.

Have you ever walked in a graveyard and wondered “Who is that?”. Many people live their lives in such a way that they are not remembered – or if remembered, people are glad they are gone. I’ve never been to Hitler’s grave but he has a name we know and are glad is gone. Asher had a good name, a precious name that would live on. Many were blessed because of Asher. Asher was blessed with children.

  • Moses blessed Asher with family harmony. “Let him be acceptable to his brethren. Unity is so important to a people. Those who will not get along will not last long. Asher would be a blessing to his fellow believers, an enabler, not a discourager.

Psalms 133:1-3 (KJV) … Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

  • Moses Blessed Asher With An Anointed Walk With God. “Let him dip his foot in oil”. Some have said that this was a prophecy of that tribe discovering oil wells in Israel, but that is a foolish supposition. Olive Oil was used in Scripture to anoint the High Priest and his descendants, kings and prophets.

In the New Testament those who were sick were told to “Call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

Oil symbolized the blessing and mark of God on a life.
Asher was to be marked by a walk with God that was anointed,
a walk that every believer should strive toward.

Galatians 5:25-26 (KJV) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:2 (KJV) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

  • Moses Blessed Asher With A Patient Strength Against The Enemy. He said Thy shoes shall be iron and brass. Asher would not have a lite faith or a little faith, but a faith built on the Rock which is God. As the old song says:

Glory hallelujah, I shall not be moved

Anchored in Jehovah, I shall not be moved

Just like the tree that’s planted by the waters

I shall not be moved

In His love abiding, I shall not be moved

And in Him confiding, I shall not be moved

Just like the tree that’s planted by the water

I shall not be moved

I shall not be, I shall not be moved

I shall not be, I shall not be moved

Just like the tree that’s planted by the waters

I shall not be moved

Though all Hell assail me, I shall not be moved

Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved

Just like the tree that’s planted by the water

I shall not be moved

Every day of his life Asher would have strength enough for that day.
God would be with Asher.

Deuteronomy 33:25 (KJV)… and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

The Power Is In God, Not Asher

How can I be an Asher Christian? The Lord told Asher – as well as all his brothers:

Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (KJV) There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. 27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

One of the titles of God is

God of JESHURUN, or
God of The Upright

To those who have trusted in Christ for salvation and who look to Him for guidance there is blessing. The Bible tells us in ..

1 John 5:18-19 (KJV) We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

Those who are born again by faith in Christ are born into the family of God. Though we all have a propensity to sin we strive not to … and when we do we confess our sin, knowing that our Father is faithful to forgive us for Christ’s sake (1 John 1:8-10). We who are His are “the Upright” because we rest in Him, we love Him, we serve Him. We are saved by faith and trust in Him, believing the Word of Faith:

Romans 10:8-10 (KJV) …. the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For us who are saved: The Eternal God Is Our Refuge

He Is Our Hiding Place

Psalms 32:7 (KJV) Thou (O Lord) art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalms 119:114 (KJV) Thou (precious God) art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

God is our Refuge, our Strength. Because of Christ we can say “underneath are the everlasting arms”. Our God stands ready to catch us when we fall. Though we have many enemies in this life, Christ will overcome them all, for He has overcome the world. So we do not despair. When fear comes, we run to His arms. When despair strikes, we call to Him and there He is. The Word promises us:

Lamentations 3:22-25 (KJV) It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

The Lord does not promise us a perfect life, but He promises us His perfect companionship every day. God is my Portion. It is Him that I will seek.

In Conclusion

Asher is mentioned 42 times in the Bible, and one of those times hidden in the King James translation of the New Testament. The Bible says:

Luke 2:36-37 (KJV)36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of {Asher}KJV=Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

This precious woman – if you add up her 7 year marriage and her 84 year widowhood – was 91 years old. Most of her life had been spent without the man she loved. And yet, she was not in despair. She was not gloomy. She “served God with fastings and prayers night and day”. And then one day she saw Jesus. The Bible says that when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to be dedicated …

Luke 2:38 (KJV) And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

She saw Jesus. She saw the baby Redeemer. Christ was born once so that we could be born again. She saw Him, and told everyone she knew about Him.

She was an Asher Christian!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

1Though Simeon was originally a tribe of Israel the father of that nation – Jacob – pronounced a curse on Simeon because of their cruelty in dealing with the Shechemites (see Genesis 34:24-30; 49:5-7). The tribe of Simeon was “scattered in Jacob and dispersed in Israel”. The tribe decreased in size until it became the smallest and the weakest of the tribes (see Numbers 26:14). Simeon was forced upon entering the Promised Land to share territory with Judah. Anger kept Moses from inheriting the Promised Land. Anger in Simeon brought a curse on their descendants until the tribe became as nothing. Yet God will redeem Simeon in the end of days, and there shall be 12,000 evangelists from that tribe who spread the Gospel to Israel (Revelation 7:7).

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

The King’s Highway

highway-city-traffic

image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

1 Peter 2:1-6 (KJV)  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  [2]  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  [3]  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  [4]  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,  [5]  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  [6]  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

As we were driving to Valdosta Georgia to see our grandchildren (and they are the best) I began to think about “lines”.

Have you ever thought about “lines”?

Before you say no, think traffic jams. At one point in our travel to Valdosta the state of Georgia decided to turn the five lane highway just outside of Atlanta into a one lane nightmare. A highway “lane” is no more than a set of lines on the road to show people where to drive. Long before we got to the single lane there were signs, flashing lights, and even twinkling cop cars pointing traffic to merge left. Do you know what happened?

No one merged left.
Everyone stayed exactly where they were
and some even greedily merged right …

to try and get ahead of everyone else. The result? Traffic stopped. The greedy who would not merge left kept forcing their way forward. Had everyone done as they were directed then traffic would have slowed, but we would have all moved through the Georgia Nightmare at a decent pace. As it was we all took 45 minutes to travel about 5 miles. Thankfully I had plenty of gas, and time to think about “lines”.

As “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28) I used this seemingly wasted time to think on and pray over this sermon.

When there are “lines” and “signs” on the highway we as people barely function then. But what if all “lines” were removed from the highway? What if there were no “turn lanes”, or signs or lights? What if there were no lines whatsoever on the highways to denote lanes? What if there were no solid white lines to show the shoulder of the road, no dashes to show center lane markers, no solid yellow lines to denote no passing? What if the highways were nothing but unmarked blacktop? What if parking lots had no lines to show where to park? Some of you can barely park now … what if there were no indicators. What if you could go where you want to go, do what you want to do, totally without restriction or expectation? The highways would be a worst mess than it is right now. People would be running into one another more frequently. Traffic would jam as some selfish people rode down the middle of the road, regardless as to what others thought or said. With no lines there would be no laws. With no laws our highways would be like Dodge City on Saturday night. Death would prevail.

Who put the lines on the roads that we travel? Those who built the highways. They put up the signs that caution and tell us to slow down on curves because of danger. Lines and dashes are at set measurements because those who designed the highways know what is safest for travel. Lines are placed according to Law, and Police – like it or not – enforce travel within the lines. When I was tired one time I was pulled over for running over the solid white line too many times. The policeman gave me no ticket, but suggested rather strongly that I pull over and get a cup of coffee somewhere to wake up. I appreciated that because it probably saved my life and the life life of someone else as well.

As there are “lines” on the asphalt there are “lines” in every aspect of our lives. Homes are not constructed by without architectural and engineering lines. You can’t just slap something together and call it a house. The lines that supply the power to our homes and this Church follow certain rules in size, order, and arrangement. There are lines that make your cars operate, lines that control your appliances, lines, lines, lines.

When we ignore the lines we open ourselves up to being stalled or destroyed. As an old commercial once mocking said, “The lines are our friends”.

As Peter addresses the Church he wants us all to understand that salvation is a gift from God, but that gift comes with “lines”. When you are saved you enter the King’s Highway, and are headed toward a glorious Heaven. Just as the creators of the highway draw lines that we are expected to stay within, the Creator of Salvation – our Triune God – draws lines within our faith that we are expected to stay within. Salvation is indeed …

1 Peter 1:4-5 (KJV)… an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  [5]  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The day that you called upon Christ for salvation surrendering to His Lordship the Spirit of God caused you to be born again. You were …

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV) … born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Entering the King’s Highway you are set on a pathway to Heaven. Yet there are lines drawn on this wonderful Highway, and Christ commands that you stay within the lines.

WHEREFORE Lay Aside …

1 Peter 2:1 (KJV)WHEREFORE laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

The first word in our text for today is “Wherefore” or “Therefore”. You could even translate it “Because of this”. When you see this word you need to look BACK into the word. It always refers to what came before. Have you been REDEEMED by receiving that wondrous sacrifice of Christ? Are you redeemed by …

1 Peter 1:19 (KJV) …. the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Did Jesus Christ die for you on Calvary?

Is your sin debt is paid because of His Blood?
Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. (Hebrews 9:28)

Do you stand righteous before God because His blood covers you?
Justified by His blood & saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:9)

Can you say that sin no longer is your ruler?
Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead
to sin might live for righteousness (1 Peter 2:24)

Are you no longer cursed by the Law of God?
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
having become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13)

Are you a member of Christ’s Kingdom?
Who delivered us from the power of darkness,
and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13)

Are you brought near to the Father by Christ’s Blood?
you who once were far off have been brought
near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13)

Are you no longer a dead thing, but alive unto God?
God has quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:5)

If you have been saved by faith in Christ’s finished work then these things and more belong to you. Yet the King’s Highway has lines drawn on it. His Kingdom is a Kingdom of Love – Love of God and Love of one another. What are the two greatest Commandments in this Kingdom? Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 when He declared:

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  [38]  This is the first and great commandment.  [39]  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  [40]  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Born of the Love of God, you are to love God, to be in a relationship of love with Him. Loving God, then you are to love your neighbor. The Bible says:

1 John 4:20-21 (KJV) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  [21]  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

The two commands go together. Love God, love your neighbor as thyself. Love your neighbor the way you want to be loved. These are very essential lines in our faith. WHEREFORE – if you are indeed a Child of God by faith in Christ – you are to …

1 Peter 2:1 (KJV) Wherefore LAYING ASIDE

If you love God with all your heart then the first command He gave you was to be baptized.

Jesus commanded baptism. HE said …

BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

Dr. Charles Stanley wrote “Too many believers today procrastinate because they do not perceive baptism as a command or recognize delay as a rebellion. The ordinance is important because it is a public confession of faith: we claim God as our Father and Jesus Christ as Savior, and we acknowledge that the Holy Spirit lives in us. The willingness to humble ourselves in this way honors God as Lord of our life. Baptism by immersion also symbolizes the transforming power of salvation: we are “buried” to demonstrate we have died to old habits; we are raised to show we now walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).”

Believers are baptized. Their baptism is symbolic of dying with Christ and rising again. Think now … what was the FIRST thing you did after you were baptized (other than rejoicing in the Lord)? You took off those wet clothes, and put on another set of clothes. This is symbolic of the Christian way of life. Being saved by Christ and made children of God’s love we take off the OLD MAN or OLD CLOTHING and put on HIS CLOTHING. We fashion ourselves not according to this world but according to Christ.

1 Peter 1:14-16 (KJV)  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  [15]  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  [16]  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  [2]  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God now draws the lines by which we live. We do not follow the lines this world draws but are on the King’s Highway. We take off the wet clothing from the Baptism and put on new clothing. That’s what we are to be laying aside.

1 Peter 2:1 (KJV) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

We lay aside MALICE (κακία kakia) which means “a desire to injure others or to do evil toward them”. The clothing of malice is what the world wears. It is what we saw in the recent confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court – and there was evil on both sides of the aisle! That which was done was not a search for truth, but KAKIA, evil, terrible. The person sitting next to you is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Every person has value. We are to lay aside ALL MALICE!

We lay aside GUILE (δόλος dolos) which means “sneakiness, trickiness, whispered conspiracies”. The Child of God is to reflect the LIGHT of God. Light does not sneak up on you. I have known of Churches where deacons went from home to home to start an uprising against the pastor. This is conspiracy, evil, and does not show goodness but evil. Judas Iscariot snuck about until he sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver. This is evil, but true Light SHINES.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  [15]  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  [16]  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We are the ONLY LIGHT of the world. If we go outside of the lines on the King’s Highway and become one with the darkness then how will anyone see? We are to be HIS light, to reflect His light just as the moon reflects the sun’s light. We do not sneak about and whisper, but (Ephesians 4:15) “speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up into {Christ}”. We are to be like Jesus in our love.

We lay aside hypocrisies … we are not two faced. We are honest in our deportment. We lay aside envies (φθόνος phthonos) which is covetousness, a violation of the Tenth Commandment. I am not to envy what you have, but to be satisfied with what God has given me. The world is filled with …

Romans 1:29-31 (KJV)  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  [30]  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  [31]  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful..

that sort of thing. This is what the reprobate does. It is not for the one on the King’s Highway. It is envying that leads to evil speaking (which must also be laid side). That clothing is not befitting the dress of the Child of God.

WHEREFORE Put On …

We are told what to take off, but are also told what to put on. We read …

1 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  [3]  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Take off that old clothing, and begin to know where God has drawn the lines on the King’s Highway. How can I know where He has drawn the lines?

Desire The SINCERE MILK Of The Word!

As Children of God we are to CEASE wearing that old lost clothing and are to put on His clothing. Warren Wiersbe wrote:

“It is sad when Christians have no appetite for God’s Word, but must be ‘fed’ religious entertainment instead. As we grow, we discover that the Word is milk for babes, but also strong meat for the mature (1 Cor. 3:1-4; Heb. 5:11-14). It is also bread (Matt. 4:4) and honey (Ps. 119:103).”

The Bible says …

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

How do we determine what is right and wrong? Is it based on our OPINION? No, we do not draw the lines on the highway, nor do we draw the lines on the King’s Highway. The Creator draws the lines. Before I could ever drive on the highways of our country I had to study the manual, to see what the rules were. The same is true for the King’s Highway. If you are born again, if you are a Child of God by faith in Christ, THEN

Desire the SINCERE MILK of the WORD of GOD!

What does the Bible about this or that? What lines has God drawn?

  • You say “I believe it’s ok to sleep with anyone if I love them”. So you believe this? Where do you find this endorsed in the Scripture?

  • You say “I believe marriage can be between two people of any sex”. Ok then. Where do you find this endorsed in the Word of God?

  • You say “I believe it’s all right to hate others, to hold grudges, to hurt my enemy”. All right then. Where do you find this in the Scripture?

The Apostle says to DESIREἐπιποθέω epipotheōto pursue with LOVE. To chase after, like you would chase after a desirable mate. To have a deep affection for. To have a mouth watering craving for. DESIRE. As a parent I often fed my babies late at night to give Sherry chance to sleep. When I pulled the bottle out my babies would reach for that bottle kicking their little feet. They wanted that sustenance. They didn’t really know why, but they reached for it. You should want the Word of God this badly if you are a Child of God.

A little boy was watching his daddy – a farmer – behead a chicken for that night’s meal. He said, “Look daddy, that chicken’s dead and he don’t know it”. There’s a lot of people who are dead and don’t know it. Our churches are filled with them! The sign or mark that you are alive in Christ is that you desire Christ’s Word.

The SINCERE MILK … ἄδολος adolos γάλα gala … unadulterated or unmixed with things milk. Some people take the Scripture and twist it to make it say what they want it to say. This is not what God wants us to do. We are to take His Word literally and without mixture. The devil came to Jesus and twisting the Word said:

Matthew 4:3 (KJV) … If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Did Jesus say “Well, I FEEL that you’re right?” No.  Jesus responded (Matthew 4:4) … It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We must turn off the televisions and put down the telephones and open our Bibles, desiring His Word. You will only be as strong as the Word within. Turn to His Word. Listen to His Voice. Jesus said:

John 15:3-4 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

The Word of God died for you, and the Word of God was given to you. Take His Word upon you. Learn of Him. Feed on what He says, not on what the darkness says. I have people all the time tell me what they believe. Is it backed by the Word of God?

Ephesians 5:25-26 …. Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water BY THE WORD …

As you feed on His Word and grow by it you learn where the lines are drawn. You life becomes more ordered when you live it in Him.

Come To Christ – Be Like Christ

1 Peter 2:4-6 (KJV) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,  [5]  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

As we grow in His Word we become more like Him. God has a purpose for your life, dear believer. It is not to be like the world but to be like Christ.

As Christ is a LIVING Stone, we are to be LIVELY stones.
As Christ is our HIGH PRIEST, we are called to be priests.
As Christ was sacrificed for us, we are to sacrifice ourselves for Him.

A man put an advertisement in the lost and found section of his local newspaper. The ad read,

“Lost dog. Crippled in his right front paw, blind in his left eye. He has mange in his fur, and part of his tail is missing. Recently neutered, the dog answers to the name Lucky.”

Why in the world would anyone name a dog in such a condition “Lucky”? Because the dog is Lucky. He is Lucky – Blessed – because someone loves him. May I tell you this: God loves us. The Bible says:

1 John 4:19 We love him, because He first loved us.

This is what the Christian knows. We love Him, because He first loved us. There was nothing lovable in me that caused God to love me. There was nothing in us that warranted love from God. Yet God loved us anyway. And through Christ, calls us into His Kingdom to be like Jesus. We become more like Him when we hear His Word, and not only hear, but do His Word.

This is the King’s Highway. Will you walk with me on it?

Posted in 1 Peter | Tagged , ,

Isn’t It Time To Stop The Foolishness?

I was reading the news today – a terribly left leaning magazine called “The Week” – when I read that there is a push to criminalize Baby Walkers in these United States. Baby Walkers? Why would they make Baby Walkers illegal? If you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve never been a parent. Here’s a Baby Walker.

Baby Walker.jpg

My wife and I raised three children, and all three were at one time in baby walkers. So I was curious what caused baby walkers to be so dangerous. As I read the article I found out … it is parents that will not be parents.

The article stated that 90% of baby walker accidents occurred because the child fell down the stairs. HELLLLLOOOO! What parent is putting the child in a baby walker then leaving the stairway unblocked? Have you no common sense? The article stated that the other 10% of injuries occurred because the baby walker gave the child access to a hot appliance. Again, HELLLOOOO! It is not the walker that did this, but the parent. Good baby walkers are designed to where they will not tip over, but they are not designed to be idiot proof.

Parents, you must be P-A-R-E-N-T-S. This means removing all hazards from the path of the child. A $10 adjustable gate will block stairs, and you should have this item in place whether you own a baby walker or not. A child can crawl to and fall down the stairs – use your common sense. There should be no hot appliances near the baby, neither floor heaters nor stoves. Good parents know this. Even without a baby walker the child can crawl to something hot, sharp, or dangerous.

It is the duty of a parent to love, protect, and discipline their child.  If you have a child, you have a gift from God. The Bible says:

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The government is not supposed to be the nanny for your child – you are!

The church is not to be the nanny for your child –
you are!

I know that years ago the liberal mantra was “It takes a village to raise a child”. No, it doesn’t. It takes a PARENT to raise a child. It takes love, vigilance, and yes, common sense to raise a child. I have been shopping and seen poor parents watch their child tear apart DVD cases while they watched. When I addressed the situation the parent grabbed the child and huffed off in anger. Listen darling, what you allow that child to do NOW is what he will do LATER. Be a parent. I have witnessed parents allowing their children to disrupt church meetings rather than gently correct the child. Again when I addressed the situation the parent huffed off in anger. If you love your child, teach your child.

Last year my son and daughter-in-law brought our grandchildren to visit us a week, and during that week attended church with us. My grandsons came into church, sat next to me, and were polite and attentive throughout the 1 hour service. Afterwards members in the congregation raved that a 5 year old and a 3 year old could sit and politely listen and contribute just as the adults did. I had several members ask me how it was possible. I told them all same thing …
…. it’s called PARENTING.

God help us as a nation if more of you with children don’t learn how to parent. The prisons are full now. Let’s raise productive and polite citizens!

 

 

Posted in General | 1 Comment

My God Is Greater

scenic-landscape-1508373727uru

John 11:45-50 (KJV)  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  [46]  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.  [47]  Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.  [48]  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.  [49]  And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,  [50]  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

We miss some of the best Scripture teachings by not carefully reading the text. I don’t know that I have ever heard a sermon preached on the above text. But – if God will – I hope to preach this text tonight.

The resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus was a turning point in our Lord’s ministry

Prior to this Jesus did most of His ministry among the Jewish people. Though He approached a few Gentiles – people like the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4) – Jesus focused on Israel. The resurrection of Lazarus changed all this. The Pharisees who constantly attacked Jesus were threatened by that resurrection. Many of the Jews who were against Jesus suddenly believed on Him. The Pharisees saw their power ebbing.

[47]  Then gathered the chief priests
and the Pharisees a council
(the Sanhedrin)

There were 24 courses or shifts of priests in the Temple, and each had a chief priest. The chief priests and the Pharisees got together to decide what to do about Jesus. These enemies of Christ formed a 70 person “Supreme Court” over Israel called the Sanhedrin. They met for one reason – to decide what to do about Jesus.

[47] What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

Even with all His miracles they did not see Jesus as God’s Messiah. According to them Jesus was a possessed man.

They called Him “this MAN”. They were convinced in their minds that the things Jesus was doing was not of God, but of Beelzebub. In fact, they accused Jesus of this to His face:

Matthew 12:24 (KJV) … This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

Jesus told them how ridiculous this was. He said:

Matthew 12:26-28 (KJV) … if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  [27]  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.  [28]  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

But they would not hear. The reason they would not hear is because they were not living for the glory of God, but for themselves. They were not living on FAITH but on FEELING. They were not searching the Scriptures to see if Christ was indeed the Messiah, but were living to support their own agenda.

[48]  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Their fear was that they would lose THEIR PLACE and THEIR NATION. It was not God they were concerned about, but themselves.

Then Caiaphas Spoke Up

[49]  And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all …

Caiaphas spoke up, “You know nothing at all!”. He then proceeded to explain why he thought Jesus ought to be killed.

[50]  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

His reason for killing Jesus was that:

  • One Man (Jesus) should die for the people, and that by dying
  • His death would preserve Israel from destruction at the hands of the Romans.

The Bible tells us that Caiaphas was the High Priest of Israel this year. Caiaphas was High Priest in Israel along with Annas when John the Baptist received his call to preach from the Lord (see Luke 3:2).

Caiaphas was a schemer, a plotter,
and lived to make himself great!

  • Caiaphas was unqualified to be High Priest. Caiaphas it seems worked his way into the High Priesthood by marrying Annas daughter. Once married to her, he claimed the right to be the High Priest … though the High Priest was only to be descended from Aaron.
  • Caiaphas did not believe in the resurrection that our Lord preached. Caiaphas was that he was a Sadducee, not a Pharisee (see Acts 5:17). The Pharisees for all their faults believed in a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees believed that when you died you ceased to exist, that this life was all there is. The Sadducees were the most liberal of those in Judaism. And yet Caiaphas was the High Priest!
  • Caiaphas was focused on his glory, not God’s glory. The man was not a believer in Christ, nor a son of God by faith. He was an opportunist. When he said what he said it was to encourage the council to seek Jesus’ life.

What was the result of this meeting? We read:

John 11:53-54 (KJV)  Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put {Jesus} to death. [54]  Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Though Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins,

Romans 4:25 (KJV) {Jesus} was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

His death was not to occur until the Passover. So Jesus began ministering in Ephraim, a village about 13 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Jesus ceased going to the Temple to preach, but continued preaching while He waited for the Passover. We are told:

John 11:55-57 (KJV)  And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.  [56]  Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?  [57]  Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

The Pharisees and Chief Priests lay in wait for Jesus. Many thought that Jesus would avoid the Passover lest He be killed. In reality, Jesus would go to the Passover, and would be seized there after celebrating the Meal. Jesus would die.

Jesus Would Die Just As Caiaphas Prophesied!

We skipped a couple of very important verses up until this point. We’ve spoken of Caiaphas and the council that gathered to plot Jesus’ death. We read the words of Caiaphas in verse 50:

.. [50] Nor consider that it is expedient {better} for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

What did God say of Caiaphas’ words? The Lord told us …

John 11:51-52 (KJV)  And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  [52]  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Caiaphas did not speak these words OF HIMSELF. They did not come from his own power. The words that Caiaphas spoke were a PROPHECY. Now I want you to consider the magnitude of this.

God caused an unbeliever to prophesy!

What does this teach us? It is that ..

God is ALWAYS in control!

When Caiaphas said “it is EXPEDIENT (or BETTER) for us that one Man should die for the people” he was sealing Christ’s death. These words are Jesus’ death warrant. Caiaphas wanted Jesus out of the way for his own purposes – but God was in control.

Jacob stole Esau’s birthright – but GOD is in control.
Saul thought he keep David from being king – but GOD is in control.
Goliath thought he was Big Man On Campus – but GOD is in control.
King David thought he could have Uriah’s wife – but GOD is in control.
Jonah though he could run from God – but GOD is in control.
They tried to make Daniel a happy meal for lions – but GOD is in control!
Herod killed all the babies in Bethlehem – but GOD is in control.
Peter denied Christ before the rooster crowed – but GOD is in control.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ with a kiss – but GOD is in control.
Pilate thought to seal Christ in the tomb – but GOD is in control.
Hating SAUL became a Christ filled PAUL because GOD is in control.

Caiaphas set a death sentence on Christ, but GOD made it a prophecy. Prophecy is something only GOD can enable. It is God Who gives the power to prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Scripture says:

2 Peter 1:21 (KJV)  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Caiaphas is not a “holy man of God” but God moved him, and used him to prophecy of the coming death of Christ. When Caiaphas said “it is better that one man should die for the people” he sought to execute Christ. But in reality it was God saying “it is better that Christ die”. God the Father killed His Son because it was better for us, and better for Israel. Jesus did not die because of Caiaphas and the council nor because of their death sentence. Jesus died because it was the only way that the Father could make us into His sons. The Prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 53:3-4 (KJV)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  [4]  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, SMITTEN OF GOD, AND AFFLICTED.

Our Jesus was smitten of God. God struck Him. God crushed Him. Jesus was and is our Substitute, and this was God’s intention from the beginning.

he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; [52]  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Christ would come to die for the sins not just of Israel, but for all people. Christ came to be the Savior of His Church, His people.

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV) …. Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Colossians 1:18 (KJV)  And he is the head of the body, the church: …

The stumbling of Israel and their rejection of Christ came about because God not only wanted to save Israel, but because He wanted to save the Gentiles as well. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 11:11 (KJV)  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

God intends on saving Israel. But Israel rejected Christ, so Christ turned to the Gentiles. Yet God is not done with His Israel. Jesus came so that He could gather all together in one Body His Family.

Ephesians 1:10-12 (KJV)  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  [11]  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  [12]  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

God has a people that He is saving, and they are those who have received His substitutionary death as their own. Christ died for me. God said “It is BETTER that Christ die for me”. Why? Because only in Christ and His substitutionary death can I be saved.

Jesus told His Jewish audience:

John 10:16 (KJV)  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Jesus never came just for the Jews – He came for all. He came for every fallen person who would call on Him for salvation. Jesus is the Savior of the Jew first, but also the Gentile:

Romans 1:16-18 (KJV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  [17]  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  [18]  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Jesus Christ came for the Jews first, but also came for you and I. He came for people of every color. I heard a preacher say the other day “There is only one race of people, the human race. There are diverse people groups because of the Tower of Babel, but only one race, one blood of people”. This is so true.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV) {Christ} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Jesus died for all. Though Caiaphas was an unbeliever, selfish and self seeking, the message God spoke through Him is nonetheless true. Christ will save whosoever will, for He died for all.

Practical Application Of Our Text

Though Caiaphas was the High Priest and an unbeliever, he was not the power that day nor any day – God is the power. The Bible tells us:

Romans 13:1 (KJV)  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Though Caiaphas was a Sadducee and an idolater, God allowed him to be where he was. And God used Caiaphas for His glory. God is in control. God knows what is best! Here are five truths to take home from this text:

  1. God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We may not understand why bad things happen or why seemingly wicked people like Caiaphas get ahead but rest assured – GOD IS IN CONTROL.
  2. God uses broken things for His glory, so He can use me. If God can prophesy through a murderous unbeliever like Caiaphas God can certainly use you and I. Trust Him. Do good. He saved you to do good.
  3. The substitutionary death of Christ was absolutely necessary for us to become God’s sons. The Son of God had to become the Son of Man so that sons of men can become Sons of God.
  4. If I am in Christ I will sometimes fail, but Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). When I fail I will look to Him Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
  5. God is not done with His Israel. Christ died for Israel as He died for us. There is a wideness in God’s mercy. Let us keep praying for Israel, and for those around us. The door of salvation is open to whosoever will. I pray that all will find Him this very day!
Posted in John, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Redeemed! How I Love To Proclaim It!

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1 Peter 1:17-23 (KJV) And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The Bible says two things of every believer in Christ. It says that we are redeemed, and that we are born again.

People in America do not understand these two concepts any more. When America was younger and most children learned the Bible either in school or at Church it was easier to explain these great Gospel truths. But in the past few years children have become adults without knowing the Ten Commandments, and without hearing the great truths of the Bible.

When I was a child I understood what “redemption” was because of my daily experiences. Growing up poor we had no ready cash. So if I wanted candy bars – a great treat – I and my brother had to explore the sides of the roads looking for soda bottles. America today is pushing “going green” or “environmental friendliness”. I heard that Kroger Stores are phasing out plastic bags by 2020. They have now outlaws plastic straws in several American cities to protect wildfowl and sealife. Incandescent bulbs can no longer be manufactured on U.S. soil.

“We’re going green!”

In reality we were green and are headed back toward this way of life. The world I grew up in was all biodegradable paper bags and deposit soda bottles. When you bought a soda – in the South a Coca-Cola and in the North a Pepsi-Cola – you paid a “deposit” on the bottle. This deposit was between 3-10 cents. If you found an unbroken bottle you could wash it out, take it to the local Piggly Wiggly, and get money for each clean bottle you turned in. If you turned in enough empty bottles you could buy a full bottle and a candy bar. Finding Coke bottles was like finding money.

There was another thing we did for redemption. When momma shopped at the local Piggly Wiggly she would collect S&H Green Stamps. You would get so many stamps for spending money at the store. Momma had a drawer in the kitchen where she collected stamps. When she got enough she’s say “Kid’s, let’s put the stamps in the books. If we get enough we’ll get you a toy!” I bet I licked a billion stamps to get the little metal Tonka dump truck that I and my brother played with, or the little steam shovel we shared. Redemption meant a sticky tongue and a dry mouth, but redemption brought to me and my brother and sister toys we otherwise would not have had.

I was taught that Redemption takes the empty and useless and replaces it with something of value. We need to understand redemption once more!

The Need For Redemption

1 Peter 1:18-19 …. ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ

How does “Redemption” fit into Christianity?

You “redeem” something that is empty or otherwise useless for a greater thing. We must be “redeemed” because of what the Bible says. The Bible tells us:

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

By ONE MAN sin entered into the world”. The world teaches us that man evolved from some primordial ooze. That we came from single cell creatures that evolved over millions of years into fish, then reptiles that walked, then into monkeys, and finally into humans. Many people today have bought into what the world teaches about creation. Scientists calling themselves “Evolutionists” have taught that over millions and yes, even billions of years a blind nature accidentally created life. Our children are being taught this “evolutionary theory” as fact in Science classes in school. Though these claims have never been scientifically proven – this is a blind faith – yet the claims are pushed on our school children and on us.

Yet the Bible says differently. The Bible begins with:

Genesis 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

God created the Heaven and the Earth. As you read through the Genesis account you see that God did not create our planet over billions of years, but created everything in six 24 hour days. This is clearly stated in the text. God uses the phrase:

…The evening and the morning were the FIRST DAY (Genesis 1:5)
…The evening and the morning were the SECOND DAY (Genesis 1:8)
…The evening and the morning were the THIRD DAY (Genesis 1:13)

These were 24 hour periods. When God got to the Sixth Day He had created a perfect earth, a Paradise God called “Eden”. It is in this “Eden” that God created and placed both man and wife. This couple was male and female, and the pinnacle of God’s creation. God said:

Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Man was made from the dust of the ground, and his wife made from his own body. They were a beautiful and perfect union. Together they were to reproduce, to dominate the earth, and to guard the Garden that God placed them in. It was to Adam God gave the command:

Genesis 2:15-17 (KJV) … the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam was told to guard the Garden, to till the soil, to care for the earth. He was forbidden to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God promised Adam that “the day you eat of it, you will surely die”.

In time evil came into the Garden of Eden. Evil in the form of a serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden, and she ate of the fruit and gave it unto Adam. On that day sin entered the world, and death by sin. In our world today people do not understand what sin is. In fact, to hear it told, there is no sin in anything as long as we enjoy it. But this is not true.

Sin is to do anything that God says “Do not do it”.
Sin is to refuse to do anything that God says “Do it”.
God is the Definer of Sin, and Sin always brings death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adam rejected God’s rule and on that day
sin came into the world.
Mankind began to follow sin rather than God.
We became like empty Coke bottles.
The life without God is the empty and vain life.

Right after Adam sinned the Lord clothed them both.

Genesis 3:21 (KJV) Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

There was no death in the world until Adam sinned and departed from God. God in mercy clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. The innocent had to die to cover man’s sin. From that time forth if a person would come to God they had to do so through the death of an innocent. Sin is no trifle. Sin is a slave master. Humanity became bound to sin. We needed to be redeemed.

Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the slave market of sin. He said:

John 8:34-36 … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. (35) And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. (36) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Adam’s sin brought sin into the world. And sin brought with it death. The Apostle said:

Romans 5:14 … death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Adam sold himself and all of creation into sin by following evil and not God. His children would all be born with a sin nature. What does the Scripture say:

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We are all born with a propensity to sin. ALL have sinned. There are many who grow up morally sweet, but none who grow up devoid of sin. We are bound by sin. What does the Bible say?

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The first Adam brought death on all creation.
He brought death on himself.
He brought death on his wife.
He brought death on his children.
Adam invited the devil into his house, and the devil took over.

The death and dying that you now see in creation is not of God’s doing, but it exists because the first Adam brought it on us all. We are born enslaved to sin.
We need to be REDEEMED.

God Provided A Temporary Covering For Sin In The Law

God provided a temporary covering for Adam by killing innocent animals to cover his sin. God provided a temporary covering for man’s sin in the Law of Moses. The Law covered sin temporarily – and we know it was temporary – because man had to bring sacrificial animals to God not just once, but over and over.

Man is corrupt because of sin.
Animals did not create the problem.
Animals cannot pay for the problem.

Sin is a violation of God’s standard. The Scripture declares:

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;

You cannot be redeemed with corruptible things.
All of creation fell under the weight of Adam’s disobedience.
If the Head be tainted, the whole will be tainted!
Creation groans under the weight of sin.

Romans 8:20-21 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Creation itself is bound under sin. The storms that destroy lives are proof of sin. The cancer in the little baby. The suffering child at St. Jude’s hospital. The baby chick eaten by the weasel. The frog or the insect struggling as another creature, the ant, eats it, literally eating it alive. The rains that often turn to floods, destroying rather than nourishing. The young one dying under terrible suffering, under tooth and claw? Look at the great Continent of Africa where man kills man under so called ethnic cleansing. See the children starving, their bellies swollen, while people fight rather than farm, hurt rather than heal.

We cannot be redeemed with sinful things. We cannot make ourselves better. Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things. Sinful cannot make payment for sinful. Something from without of this sinful sphere must pay for sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) … ye were not redeemed with corruptible things …19 But with the precious blood of Christ,

What paid for our sin? What redeemed and redeems us? It is the Precious Blood of Christ. Jesus Christ entered this world to save us. Who is Jesus? He is eternal God. The Scripture declares:

John 1:1-3 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Co-Creator of all things. He was there when Adam fell, and there when Adam was covered by the blood of the innocent. Christ chose to enter this world for us. God became Man for us.

John 1:14 (KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus came to be our permanent covering for sin. He came to REDEEM US from that terrible thing that creeps and destroys. The Scripture declares:

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:

Jesus Christ came to this earth to represent us before the Father. He came to take our sins upon Himself. He died for us, and became a permanent shelter for us. As the Apostle said to the Pastors of Ephesus:

Acts 20:28 … feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

If you have repented – that is, surrendered your life to God – and have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ then God has applied the redemption price to your lives. Jesus Christ died once and for all for you. He died in your place so that you need never die. He was judged and His Blood shed to pay for you and I. Jesus Christ represents us before God the Father not with an animal sacrifice, but with His own Blood sacrificed.

Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by {Christ’s} own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].

Jesus Christ died on Calvary, shedding His Blood for you. He entered into this sin soaked system, keeping Himself pure. He lived, walked among us, then went to Calvary willingly, shedding His Blood for you. If you have believed in Him, turning away from your former way of life and toward God, then you are forever saved. The payment made for you is not corruptible, does not wear out with time, lasts forever – blessed be the Name of God! How long does this redeeming payment last?

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Like the old song goes:

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.
Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.1

 

This Redemption Brings The Believer To New Birth

It is the Blood of Christ that redeems us. The Blood has always been that which was necessary for redemption.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement {Covering} for the soul.

Hebrews 9:22 … without shedding of blood is no remission.

1 Peter 1:19, 23 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: … 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Recognizing ourselves to be sinners – sons of Adam – we turn to Christ for redemption. Believing on Him the Spirit of God causes us to be “born again”. Our first birth was tainted with sin, but this second birth is covered of Christ. You cannot buy your way into the Family of God with millions of dollars. You cannot enter Heaven’s Kingdom with the most expensive of diamonds. No Beloved, you must receive Christ as your Redeemer. It must be His Blood that you receive. You must believe that He – the Son of God – died for you. If you are purchased with the Precious Blood of Christthis makes you precious in the sight of God! You belong to GOD now, not to SIN! You belong to LOVE now, not to LUST. Love purchased you – you belong to Him. As it is written:

Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Where is our faith and hope? It is in God, not in us.

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

God pleads with you to run to Christ’s arms, to believe that He and He alone is the Source of your salvation. Jesus is the …

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things …

He has made a way for you and a way for me. The Blood of Christ pleads to you. What is required of you?

Repent, stop trying to save yourselves.
Trust in Him, turning away from your old way of life.
The Way of Sin is unprofitable, the Way of Satan leads to death.
The Way of Christ is trust in Him, give your lives to Him, obey Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Have you believed on Him? He pleads for thee. If you have believed on Jesus, then you are saved. You are His, because He is in your lives. His Blood, a testimony of His Love, was shed for you. Your faith and hope must be in God, else you are undone. Trust Him, give yourselves to Him. He pleads for you, Beloved – will you not answer? May God touch your hearts with these words.

1 Words: Fanny Crosby, in Songs of Redeeming Love, by John R. Sweney, C. C. McCabe, Tullius O’Kane, and William Kirkpatrick (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 1882). Music: William J. Kirkpatrick

Posted in 1 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Which Resurrection?

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(Revelation 19:20-20:6) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a Lake Of Fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Is a person annihilated when they go to “Hell”?
What is “Hell” anyway?

The Bible speaks of TWO resurrections. Those in the FIRST Resurrection are given glorified bodies. They live and reign with Jesus for a thousand years on the earth prior to the beginning of Eternity – and live on beyond this. Those in the SECOND Resurrection are the lost – those who have rejected Christ as Savior.

In this section of Scripture we learn several interesting truths about eternal punishment.

Annihilationists Believe That Those Who Die Without Christ Cease To Exist

There are many offshoots of Christianity that teach that God is love and therefore would not cast people into a place of eternal torment. Some believe that when a person leaves this life without Christ they cease to exist. These groups – and here are a few:

Jehovah’s Witnesses
Christadelphians
Seventh Day Adventists
Church of England (Anglicans)
Church of God (7th Day)

This list is not exhaustive – and I am sure that there are many throughout various denominations that reject the concept of eternal punishment. My answer must always be based not on FEELING but on the FACT of what Scripture has said. In our text today we read:

(Revelation 19:20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast ALIVE into a Lake Of Fire burning with brimstone.

The Beast – the anti-Christ and his sidekick the False Prophet are the first seized by the Lord Jesus.

They have rejected Christ and so He judges them, casting them ALIVE into the Lake of Fire. As we continue reading we see that

Revelation 20:1-3 (KJV)  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  [2]  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  [3]  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Jesus our Lord grabbed and cast the False Prophet and the Anti-Christ into the Lake of Fire. These are HUMANS that followed the devil. The devil himself is grabbed and cast – not into the Lake of Fire but the bottomless pit – an entirely different place. Why is he put in a different place?

Because God wants to let him go after 1000 years!

Those cast into the Lake of Fire cannot get out. It is a place of FINAL judgment for those who have rejected Christ. But the devil will be released after 1000 years. Why? I really don’t know. The Bible just says “he MUST be loosed for a lttle season”.

When the devil is loosed he stirs up mankind once more against Israel. At the end of that 1000 year reign of Christ we read:

(Revelation 20:9) And they (Satan’s armies) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Jerusalem): and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

Well that didn’t last long! The armies of the Devil are destroyed by God for trying to take Jerusalem. Christ is on His Throne and will not be removed! What do we read next?

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake Of Fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet ARE, and SHALL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER.

The false prophet and the anti-Christ – two deceived humans – were cast into the Lake of Fire 1000 years BEFORE the devil was. When the devil is cast into this fiery Lake it says:

where the Beast (anti-Christ) and false prophet ARE

Not WERE but ARE. They are still there. They are still conscious.

The Devil is cast into the Lake Of Fire and brimstone WHERE THE BEAST AND FALSE PROPHET ARE. The anti-Christ and the False Prophet have been “cast alive” into this fiery lake for a thousand years, and are there to greet their Master when he arrives. While in that place the Bible says they “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever”.

  • Shall be TORMENTED. You cannot torment someone who has ceased to be.

  • DAY and NIGHT. Time continues for those in this Lake Of Fire. They experience day and night.

  • For EVER AND EVER. Time never ends. The torment never ends.

The anti-Christ and the False Prophet are the first ones cast into the Lake Of Fire, then a thousand years later the Devil goes into that flaming prison. The wicked dead do not go into that fiery lake until after the Great White Throne Judgment, also called the Second Resurrection.

This Lake Of Fire is the final prison for those who, rejecting Christ, they are placed in a place where there is no Christ. This Lake Of Fire is a place where selfishness comes to be selfish forever. It is a place of no god but ME, no lord but ME, no one but ME.

Jesus spoke of this final prison in:

(Matthew 25:41-46) Then shall {the Lord} say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And THESE SHALL GO AWAY INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT: BUT THE RIGHTEOUS INTO LIFE ETERNAL.

Just as life is eternal for those saved through the Grace of Christ, punishment is eternal for those who reject that glorious Grace! The Scripture declares:

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  [9]  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  [10]  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

When you die you do not cease to be. You cease to be HERE, but are SOMEWHERE.

If the anti-Christ and the False Prophet – who are deceived HUMANS – ARE in the Lake of Fire still after 1000 years, then that is good evidence that people do not CEASE TO BE when they die. The Bible says:

Romans 2:11 (KJV)  For there is no respect of persons with God.

What God does for ONE He does for EVERYONE. If the False Prophet and Anti-Christ are alive and in the flames, and they are humans who rejected Christ, then the same applies for all.

Isn’t God’s Eternal Punishment Excessively Cruel?

There are some who say that God could not be so cruel as the send anyone into eternal punishment. But they charge God with cruelty without understanding the Bible. You see:

God made us ALL to be eternal

In our world today our children are taught evolution as fact in our schools. When we go to museums our children are taught that dinosaur bones are millions of years old, and that mankind evolved from single cell creatures into fish, reptiles, land animals, monkeys, and then eventually into humans. Though there is no solid evidence for macro-evolution science presents this theory as fact.

No one looks to the Bible. The Bible has a different account of creation. The Bible tells us that God created the earth in six literal, 24 hour days. Then the Bible tells us that:

Genesis 1:26-27 (KJV)  And God said, Let US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  [27]  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God created man in His image and in His likeness. The word IMAGE is (צֶלֶם tselem) and LIKENESS is (דְּמוּת dĕmuwth). God used two different words to convey that we were made to be like Him. The very nature of God is that He is ETERNAL. He is TRIUNE – and ETERNAL. Your body is an outward representation – carbon based and fallible – of your soul. The soul is the YOU. Your soul is made in God’s image and likeness. It has no expiration date. This is what the Bible teaches. You may one day cease to be HERE, but the YOU that is YOU will be SOMEWHERE. You can burn the body up, but the soul continues on. Because of this great truth – often omitted because we regard evolutionary theory to be FACT and Biblical truth to be FANTASY – there must be a container that holds the eternal unbelieving soul.

There Is A Biblical HELL And A Biblical LAKE OF FIRE

I’m going to summarize this, then prove it to you by Scripture. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you enter into the Family of God and receive an inheritance in Heaven. You become attached to Christ’s real destiny. You are God’s children by faith in Christ, and your eternal self goes to a place – eventually goes – to a place of eternal life. BUT if you leave this life without Christ you go to a container called HELL, and will eventually leave this container called HELL and go to the LAKE OF FIRE. Why? Because unrepentant and unredeemed persons cannot enter God’s Presence either on Heaven or on this earth.

You say “Preacher, that’s a lot of assumption”. Well, let me tell you what our Lord JESUS taught about that container called Hell.

Matthew 5:22 (KJV)  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Jesus saw HELL as a DANGER, not a place of annihilation and release. It was a place of punishment. Hell is a terrible place to go. Jesus spoke in the harshest terms about Hell. He said:

Mark 9:42-48 (KJV)  And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.  [43]  And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [44]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [45]  And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  [46]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  [47]  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  [48]  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Jesus said that it is BETTER or more DESIRABLE to tie a millstone around your neck and be cast into the sea to drown than to be cast into Hell. If Hell is place a ANNIHILATION – where you cease to exist – then WHY would drowning in the sea be MORE PREFERABLE? That makes no sense! Hell is a horrible place. Jesus said better to cut a hand off and enter eternity and life with one hand than to be cast with two hands into hell. Again, why would that make sense if Hell is a place where the unbeliever ceases to be? Jesus said better to cut off a foot or pluck out an eye and enter God’s Kingdom than to be whole and cast into Hell. Why? Because Hell is a place of eternal torment.

Hell is a place where the unbelieving dead go to upon their physical death. It is not a place of annihilation, but a place of holding and of suffering. Jesus defined the afterlife when He spoke in Luke 16:

Luke 16:19-21 (KJV)  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  [20]  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,  [21]  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Jesus spoke of two individuals. Now some people say that this is a parable that Jesus spoke, others a historic reality. Does it really matter? What Jesus taught here defines what HE believes about the afterlife. There are two people. There is a rich man who has a life of ease, who has no suffering. He wears good clothes, and goes to bed with a full belly, resting in comfort. Outside his door is a beggar named Lazarus. He has nothing but crumbs and dogs as his companions.

Luke 16:22-23 (KJV)  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  [23]  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Both the rich man and Lazarus cease to exist on this earth. Lazarus is carried by the angels to where Father Abraham is. Here he is comforted. But the rich man is in a different state. When the rich man dies NO ONE carries him anywhere. We are told simply:

in HELL he lift up his eyes BEING IN TORMENTS

The rich man can see, suffer, and long. In hell he reaches out to Abraham seeking comfort. “Send Lazarus to give me something to drink – just a drop of water!”. He would give all his riches for a tiny comfort. But it is not to be had. Why? Because as Abraham says:

Luke 16:26 (KJV)  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

There is a GREAT GULF between Lazarus and the rich man. Do you know what that GREAT GULF is? It is UNBELIEF. The rich man rejected Christ. He cannot enter Christ’s Heaven. He cannot go to where Christ’s children are. His eternal soul is bound in a different container, one that awaits the SECOND RESURRECTION.

If you have Christ you shall never need fear the Second Death, that Lake of Fire. The Scripture declares:

(Revelation 20:6) BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION: on such THE SECOND DEATH hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The “Second Death”, also called the Lake Of Fire, is that final resting place for the lost. It is a place they chose, a place of selfishness and disaster. Yet it is not our place. We who love the Lord will be with the Lord. Think of it this way:

The God you serve and love now is the God you will spend eternity with.

What happens to those in the Second Resurrection. They stand before a Great White Throne:

Revelation 20:11-15 (KJV)  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  [12]  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  [13]  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  [14]  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  [15]  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

What causes someone to enter the Lake of Fire forever? Is it that they did not work good enough or hard enough to please God? No. The Scripture says:

whosoever WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE
was cast into the lake of fire.

If your name is not found in the Book of Life you go into the Lake of Fire forever. How does one get into the Book of Life? The Apostle Paul said:

Philippians 4:3 (KJV)  And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which LABOURED WITH ME IN THE GOSPEL, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE.

that those who labor with him sharing the Gospel of Christ are in the Book of Life. Those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior are in that glorious Book. Your name is written in His Blood. Heaven is yours. All because of Christ! Jesus said to the Church in …

Revelation 3:4-5 (KJV)  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.  [5]  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Those who walk with Jesus in love, loving God and loving others, are in the Book of Life. Praise Him! Which resurrection will you be in? I pray that you shall be with me and all those who love Jesus in that First Resurrection. Call upon Jesus and be saved. You will be somewhere in eternity – why not be where there is great life everlasting!

Posted in General, Resurrection, Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Why Did Jesus Weep?

i-love-jesus.jpg

Wisdom is learned by experience. Tim Laws sent this to me and I thought I’d share it with you. It is wisdom that came from small children.

No matter how hard you try you can’t baptize cats.
When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
Never ask a three year old to hold a tomato.
You can’t trust your dog to watch your food.
Don’t sneeze when someone’s cutting your hair.
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Don’t wear polka dot underwear under white shorts.

We learn wisdom in the Bible by experiencing it over and over again. Let’s read the following passage responsively:

John 11:31-35 (KJV) The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept.

Jesus has come to the home of His good friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Lazarus has died and has been buried.

And Jesus wept.

This is the shortest verse in the Bible. “Jesus wept”. Now I want to ask you all …

WHY did Jesus weep?

  • Did Jesus weep because He was surprised by Lazarus’ death? No, I don’t think so. Three days before Lazarus died a delegation came from Bethany to Jerusalem and told our Lord:

John 11:3-6 (KJV) Therefore {Lazarus’} sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick unto death, but He also knew that Lazarus’ death was for a specific purpose:

for the GLORY of GOD, that the Son of God might be GLORIFIED

The Heavenly Father wanted to show the world something about Jesus. A few weeks ago we saw in John 9 a man born blind from birth. God used this man to show a great truth, that

Jesus is the Light of the world.
That whosoever follows Him walks in Light, not darkness!

What is God the Father going to show us in Christ today? That Jesus is not only LIGHT but He is EVERLASTING LIFE. Jesus waited TWO DAYS after He was told that Lazarus was dying. Then He told His disciples:

John 11:7-10 (KJV) … Let us go into Judaea again. 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews (take heed of this phrase) of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

The disciples were worried because – if you’ll remember – when Jesus healed the man born blind from birth, the Jews (a phrase John uses for the Pharisees and Scribes – REMEMBER THIS) wanted to kill Him. THE JEWS hated Jesus! But Jesus told them that He had to go – and that the JEWS couldn’t help what they were doing. They had none of the Light of God in them. Jesus wasn’t worried about THE JEWS. He had a purpose in going to Jerusalem. He said:

John 11:11-15 (KJV) … Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sake that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead. Jesus called the death of Lazarus “a sleep” because He also knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ death is but temporary – for Jesus will conquer his death!

So WHY did Jesus weep?

  • Did Jesus weep because He was too far away to get to Lazarus before He died? Absolutely not!

John 11:17-19 (KJV) Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

The Bible tells us that the distance between Bethany and Jerusalem where Jesus was is about fifteen furlongs, or two miles. The average person can walk two miles at a slow pace in about 25-30 minutes. Jesus was about a half hour away from Lazarus when he got sick. He could have easily gotten there before Lazarus died – and Lazarus has been in the grave four days now as Jesus arrives. Please notice that when Jesus comes THE JEWS – again, the Scribes and Pharisees who hate Him and sought to kill Him are already there, and have been there for four days.

  • Did Jesus weep because of Martha and Mary’s pain? I’ve seen this often in the commentaries. Charles Stanley wrote:

Jesus did not weep over the death itself since He knew that Lazarus would soon be raised and ultimately spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Yet He could not help but weep when confronted with the wailing and sobbing of Mary, Martha, and the other mourners.”

Though the Bible tells us to:

Romans 12:15 (KJV) Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

With all due respect to Bro. Charles – I don’t think that this is the case. The first person to meet Jesus when He arrived at Lazarus’ home was Martha.

John 11:21-24 (KJV) Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Martha is sad, but Jesus isn’t weeping. In fact, she’s almost accusing Jesus in her sadness.

If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died

Jesus tells her “Thy brother shall rise again”. Jesus is going to bring Lazarus back to life. But Martha says “Oh, I know he’ll rise at the resurrection”. Not now, but then. Jesus tells her:

John 11:25-26 (KJV) …. I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Jesus is the Resurrection. He is the Source of life. He is going to give life to Lazarus in just a few moments. Jesus asks her:

Do YOU believe this?

Martha replies:

John 11:27 (KJV) …. Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Martha dodges the question. Jesus asked her if she thought He had control over life, that He is THE RESURRECTION, that Jesus can defeat death. But instead of saying “Yes, You ARE the RESURRECTION. You can raise Lazarus from the grave. There is nothing You cannot do. She instead says, “Well yes, I believe You are the Christ, God’s Anointed One.” She doesn’t express full faith in Christ.

Look at the words of this text:

John 11:28 (KJV)28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

Why is Martha “calling Mary her sister SECRETLY”. Why the sneaking around? We see in a moment:

John 11:31-32 (KJV) The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Martha whispers to Mary that Jesus is there. Mary gets up, and THE JEWS get up with her. These are the same people that sought to stone Jesus. THE JEWS.

It was THE JEWS …

.. that questioned John the Baptist’s ministry (John 1:19)
.. that asked Jesus for a sign (John 2:18)
.. that were angry that Jesus healed a cripple on the Sabbath (John 5:10)
.. that sought to kill Jesus (John 5:16, 18)
.. that murmured when Jesus said He was the Bread of Life (John 6:41)
.. that ran Jesus out of Jerusalem (John 7:1)
.. that said Jesus had a devil (John 8:48)
..
that tried to stone Christ (John 8:59)
.. that threw Jesus’ disciples out of Church (John 9:22)

Who are “THE JEWS”? Again, this is the Scribes and Pharisees along with the Sadducees that despised Jesus.

These people have been infiltrating the home of our Lord’s good friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They have gathered around the family as they have mourned the loss of Lazarus. Like wolves around sheep, they cluster about Christ’s own and infiltrate unbelief where once there was belief. Mary goes to Jesus, and right behind her are THE JEWS that despise the Lord. She says …

John 11:32 (KJV) …. Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

She says exactly the same thing that Martha her sister said. This was planted in her head by the Jews. It is almost an accusation. “Jesus, why did YOU wait so long? Why didn’t you come? You were just 30 minutes away, and now my brother is dead. Oh Jesus, YOU let us down!”

Unbelief Causes Jesus To Weep

John 11:33-35 (KJV) When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, …

Jesus looks at Mary, then at the JEWS who have been four days with her. These who hate the Lord have infiltrated a family of faith.

When Jesus sees this “He GROANED”. This is the Greek (ἐμβριμάομαι embrimaomai) which is a very interesting word. The word means “to have indignation, to internally be very angry”. Jesus is stirred not with compassion at the weeping of Mary and THE JEWS, but is internally angered, indignant. But He does so “in the spirit”, in His soul. We are also told that Jesus “was troubled” (ταράσσω tarassō) which means “to be internally agitated, disturbed, rendered anxious or distressed”.

Jesus asks Mary “Where have you laid Lazarus”? But notice Mary doesn’t answer. THEY answer.

34 … They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept.

The Jews have been running the show for four days now. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducee have taken over the household.

And Jesus wept!

I can only find THREE places in Scripture
where Jesus was said to weep.

In our text today He wept because of unbelief. Later in His ministry when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday we read:

Luke 19:41-44 (KJV) And when {Jesus} was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they did not understand why He came. Christ came to give us light and life. Christ came to save us from our sins. Christ came to take our punishment upon ourselves. Christ came to save whosoever will. But Jerusalem was not looking for a Savior, but for Someone Who would fulfill their temporary needs.

Jesus wept because of unbelief.
Jesus wept before He raised Lazarus because of unbelief.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of unbelief.
Jesus weeps over the lost who will not hear Him.

Jesus weeps for the sinners. Jesus wept for the Jews who would not understand. Jesus wept because Martha and Mary had been swayed by unbelievers. There is one other place in Scripture that tells us Jesus wept. It is in:

Hebrews 5:7-9 (KJV) {Jesus} in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Before Jesus went to the Cross He wept and prayed unto the Father. He did not weep or pray for His own life. No. Jesus told us:

John 10:17-18 (KJV) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself….

Jesus laid His life down for you and for me. He alone has the power to give life. Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prepared to die for you and I. He wept for us. He prayed for us. And He weeps when we do not believe in Him. What can cause God to weep? Unbelief. A rejection of Him.

Hebrews 3:12-14 (KJV) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

Jesus weeps when we allow unbelief to creep in. We come together as His Church to exhort one another to belief in Christ and His Word. We are to do as He says. He alone is the Source of life.

Jesus wept, but He demanded to see Lazarus. Martha – now filled with unbelief – says “But Master, Lazarus stinketh” (John 11:39). Jesus reminds Martha of what He said just moments before:

John 11:40 (KJV) Jesus saith unto {Martha}, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

You cannot see the glory of God unless you believe. The way of the JEWS does not bring blessing. Religion without Christ brings nothing. Has not God said:

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) … without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Belief does not let unbelief take over the home. Belief keeps its eyes on Jesus. Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our FAITH (Hebrews 12:2). Look unto Him! Believe Him! Though Lazarus is dead, he shall yet live because of Christ.

And Lazarus lives!

John 11:41-44 (KJV) … Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

You can believe what you want, but I choose to believe Jesus. He is able! He is able!

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