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Today I’m going to talk about faith and authenticity. You may have noticed my blog’s tagline: Faithfully Authentic. Two words I’ve based my life on.

The thing is, you can’t really be faithful to Christ and fully authentic to yourself. Just like you can’t be truly faithful without being utterly sincere. They’re concepts that must work together, hand-in-hand.

And the world. It will fight and try to get you to compromise one or the other.

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Our God Triumphant!

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Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Matthew 27:11 (KJV)  And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

Psalm 135:6 (KJV) Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Matthew 27:12-14 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  [13]  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?  [14]  And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.  

Isaiah 46:9-10 (NKJV) Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’

Matthew 27:15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  [16]  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  [17]  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  [18]  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

Psalm 29:10 (NKJV) The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever.

Isaiah 43:13 (NKJV) Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”

Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Our God Is Always In Control

Our God orchestrates – and oversees – all that occurs among mankind. I must confess that I do not understand how His Sovereignty and human free will work together, but I must believe that God is always in control. The Scripture declares this without apology. One of my favorite texts is:

Romans 8:28-31 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Comfort of the believer is to know that we are in the hand of God at all times.

God Decreed The Cross

The King of Kings stood before Pilate, a minor governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” he asks Christ. “It is just as you have said”. Jesus was not broken. Beaten, mocked, accused, He did not stand in front of Pilate because the devil won.
He stood in victory, obeying the decree of God His Father.

God decreed the Cross. The Cross was not optional. The Cross was absolutely necessary, so God decreed the Cross. The Cross is necessary because we are all sinners. The Scripture states:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

As a pastor I meet many people, and I have to say I have never met anyone who is not broken in some way. I have met people who thought they were not broken. Every one around them realizes they are broken, but they – like the Pharisees – feel they have it all together. But they are broken.

The first step to spiritual wellness is to realize your brokenness. God wants to make you well. He wants to bring you into His arms, to fold them about you, to bless you and love you. God calls out to whosoever will:

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The sinner has committed an eternal offense against an everlasting God. That is something that we cannot fix. But Christ can fix it. Christ did fix it. Pilate asked Jesus:

Art Thou The King Of The Jews?

What did Jesus reply? The King James text is a little ambiguous, “Thou sayest”. The better translation is:

IT IS AS YOU HAVE SAID.

When Jesus was asked by Caiaphas the High Priest “Are You the Messiah” Jesus said “IT IS AS YOU SAID. Caiaphas then accused Jesus of blasphemy (see Matthew 26:63-65). Jesus is the Messiah sent of God. When God refers to “The Jews” He speaks of those who believe in Him. The Apostle said:

Romans 2:28-29 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But A JEW IS ONE INWARDLY, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

A “Jew” is one who has received the Grace of God this comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save His people. I say again, the Angel declared to Joseph the husband of Mary that Mary …

Matthew 1:21 (ESV) … will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Jesus Is The King Of His People
Not The Puppet Of Darkness

He is the King Who saves His people from their sins. As Jesus stood in front of Pilate He was not fearful of Pilate, nor of those who brought accusations against Him. I love this. We can learn much from this.

Matthew 27:12-14 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  [13]  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?  [14]  And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.  

The Light earns nothing by arguing with the darkness. Here’s a practical point – stand on the truth of Scripture, and do not debate the darkness. The darkness will not hear anyway. Stand on what truth God has said, stand on, ignore the foolishness, but stand! This is Jesus!

It amazed Pilate to see someone stand before him in this state of mind. Everyone else who had stood before Pilate were fearful, willing to do or say anything to save their lives. His accusers gathered around Him and spoke lies, accusing Him of the most horrible things. And yet the Bible says:

Jesus answered nothing

Pilate then asked Jesus

Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

Jesus answered not a word. He stood silent. Jesus did exactly as the Prophet said:

Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

Jesus stood before Pilate not because of the High Priest nor the elders, but He stood before Pilate trusting in the Sovereignty of God. The Blood of the Lamb must be shed.

Jesus stood silent for His Church.

Jesus stood triumphant for His people.

Jesus stood willing to die for us!

Will we not stand for Him?

It is the Blood of Christ that purchased the Church.

the Church of God which He purchased with His own Blood.”

It is the Blood of Christ that saves us from the wrath of God.

justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”. (Romans 5:9)

It is the Blood of Christ that redeems us from sin and Satan.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV) … you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

It is the Blood of Christ that brings us who were far from God near to Him.

Ephesians 2:13 (NKJV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

It is the Blood of Christ that:

Makes us clean before God (Hebrews 10:19)

Separates us from the world (Hebrews 13:12)

Cleanses our conscience so we can serve God (Hebrews 9:14)

Makes us complete for every good work (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Bring us into the Eternal Family of God (Hebrews 9:12)

As Jesus stood before Pilate, He stood silent. Pilate was an evil man. Pilate knew there was no sin in Christ. Caiaphas and the elders knew there was no sin in Christ. The religious but lost rejected Christ because of sin in their lives. Pilate saw no sin in Jesus, but moved forward to convict an innocent man because of the sin that was in Him.

God Is Sovereign, But This Does Not Excuse Pilate’s Sin

Throughout his term in office Pilate was both unjust as well as unscrupulous. C.H. Spurgeon said:

He had been an unjust and an unscrupulous ruler of the Jews. The Galileans and the Samaritans both felt the terror of his arms, for he did not hesitate to massacre them at the slightest sign of revolt. And among the Jews themselves, he had sent men with daggers into the midst of the crowds at great gatherings, and so had cut off those who were obnoxious to him. Gain was his objective, and pride ruled his spirit. At the time when Jesus of Nazareth was brought before him, a complaint against him was on the way to Tiberius the Emperor, and he feared lest he should be called to account for his oppressions, extortions, and murders.”

What Pilate did next was not out of mercy. We read:

Matthew 27:15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  [16]  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  [17]  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  [18]  For HE KNEW THAT FOR ENVY THEY HAD DELIVERED HIM.

Jesus stood honorable, but Pilate sat dishonorable.

Jesus stood for His people, but Pilate sought to manipulate his people.

Jesus stood righteous, innocent, but Pilate sat unrighteous, guilty.

This crooked judge made of practice of releasing a prisoner during the Feast of the Passover. Pilate knew that for envy they had delivered Jesus to him. There was no sin in Christ. There never has been sin in Christ. So Pilate had a notable prisoner named Barabbas. Who was Barabbas? He is mentioned in all four Gospels, and was a man …

Luke 23:19 (NKJV)… who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.

Today we would call Barabbas a “Community Organizer”, but in those days Barabbas was known as a “Rioter”, a man who was treasonous, who sought to overthrow the lawful government. Barabbas was also a murderer. The Bible says that the first command God gave Noah when he got off the Ark concerned murder.

Genesis 9:5-6 5 Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.”

Life is precious, and the greatest of all sins is to without justification take a human life. Barabbas was a murderer, and according to the Scripture, was to be executed.

Revelation 21:8 (KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Barabbas deserved death. He deserved damnation. But Pilate asked the crowd:

Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

What happens next shows that the majority rule does not always work. Who should be released – the murdering riotous Barabbas, or Jesus Who had never done wrong. The crowd replied:

Matthew 27:22-23 (KJV) … They said, Barabbas.  [22]  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.  [23]  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Three times Pilate asked the crowd whether they would release Barabbas or Jesus, the murderer or the innocent Son of God. And three times the crowd demanded the crucifixion of Christ. Pilate asked “what evil has Christ done?” Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Even Pilate’s wife sent word to him:

Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

I cannot find a Bible prophecy that declared Pilate would condemn an innocent man.

God sent a message through Pilate’s wife to “have nothing to do with this just Man”. Jesus was innocent, she said. Leave Him be. Let someone else pull the pin on that grenade. But the crowd would not be stilled. Christ must die. Barabbas must be set free.

What Pilate did was evil.

What Caiaphas did was evil.

What the mob did was evil.

But God was still in control.

Even the devil is still under God’s thumb!

When Peter preached in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost he told those who listened about Jesus of Nazareth:

Acts 2:21-26 (KJV)  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  [22]  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  [23]  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  [24]  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.  [25]  For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  [26]  Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Jesus was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” – God oversaw what was done – but “by wicked hands He was crucified and slain”. God was in the trials of Christ. Christ was not a victim of circumstances, but God sent His Son to Calvary for you and for me.

Barabbas Is A Beautiful Picture Of The Atonement

There is an interesting study in the name “Barabbas”. The name Barabbas is a compound comprised of “Bar” which means “Son of” and “Abba” which means “Father”. The name BarAbbas means “Son of the Father”.

We are all children of our Father Adam.

We are all descendants of our Father Noah.

But we are all broken, incomplete without God.

We were meant to be in God’s image, but like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) we are born serving not God but ourselves and our senses. We deserve punishment.

BarAbbas was released and Jesus was crucified.

He was given life because Jesus took his death.

Jesus was innocent of sin, but BarAbbas – the son of Father Adam – was guilty. The guilty was set free because of Christ.

Matthew 27:24 (KJV)  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

A sinner condemned an innocent, claiming himself innocent. No water will wash away our sins. No water cleansed what Pilate did that day.

Matthew 27:25-26 (KJV)  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.  [26]  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus died in the place of Barabbas. Jesus died in my place. Jesus was innocent, but we are Barabbas. Jesus died so that we might be released. This is the atonement of God illustrated. We triumph because of Jesus!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Blood of Atonement, Cross of Christ, God's Children, Jesus, Living God, Sermons Preached, sin, sinners | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Darkness Over All The Land

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Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: Matthew 27:45 (KJV)  Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

We’re suppose to have a lunar eclipse tomorrow, August 21st. I’m told that the total eclipse will have a magnitude of 1.0306 and will be visible within a narrow corridor 70 miles wide crossing fourteen states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. According to those who claim to know, the time for the eclipse in Nashville, Tn will be:

Beginning (moon touches sun’s edge) 11:58 am

Full Eclipse begins 1:27 pm

Maximum Eclipse 1:28 pm

Full Eclipsze ends 1:29 pm

End (moon leaves sun’s edge) 2:54 pm

If you plan on watching the Eclipse, don’t look directly at the sun, even if you’re wearing sun glasses. Staring at the sun – even during an Eclipse – can blind you. The Sun’s UV radiation can burn the retinas in the eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness. NASA recommends using welder’s glasses rated 14 or higher.

On the day that Christ went to the Cross the Bible tells us that

from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour

Was This An Eclipse?

An “Eclipse” is a natural phenomenon that God designed to be. The earth rotates around the sun, and the moon rotates around the earth. When the moon is behind the earth – that is, the earth is directly facing the sun with the moon on it’s backside – this is when we have what is called “A Full Moon”. The moon has no light of it’s own, but reflects the light of the sun. But when the moon passes between the earth and the sun it blocks out the sun’s light, giving us what we call an “Eclipse”. During an Eclipse we are looking at the dark side of the moon as it blocks the sun from us. Monday’s Eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since July 11, 1991, and then it was only seen in Hawaii. This is the first visible Eclipse from the contiguous United States since 1979.

Eclipses only occur rarely, and as you have seen, last a very short time. I am told that the most that a total Solar Eclipse could last is 7 minutes and 31 seconds. The darkening of the sun we see in our text could not be an Eclipse. It lasted from the sixth until the ninth hour – three hours long. Also, no Eclipse occurs during a full moon. It’s not possible.

The Jewish Passover or Pesach begins during the Full Moon in the first month of the Jewish Ecclesiastical Year. This could not be an Eclipse as we know it.

This darkness was “over the whole land”. This darkness was not a natural occurrence, but a sign from God as to the significance of the Cross of Christ.

The Darkness Was Unnatural, But So Is Sin

We normalize sin in our America. The so called “Left” normalizes sin. The so called “Right” normalizes sin. People of all colors normalize sin. We wink at sin, thinking it is nothing. The Biblical word for “Sin” is the Greek HAMARTANO which means “to take aim, shoot, and miss the mark”. Sin is a missing of the mark. It is an aberration.

1 John 3:4 (NKJV) Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

No fault was found in Christ. Pilate declared Jesus innocent, and if he had been a just Judge Christ would have been released. Instead we see Christ turned over to the soldiers …

Matthew 27:26-30 (KJV)… {Pilate} delivered him to be crucified.  [27]  Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.   [28]  And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  [29]  And when they had PLATTED A CROWN OF THORNS, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!  [30]  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Sin mocks God and God’s Messiah. I want you to think for a moment of the CROWN that was placed on Christ’s head. It was a crown of THORNS. Thorns symbolize the curse of God on creation. When Adam sinned God caused creation to fall. The perfect Eden was cursed because of what WE did. The animal did nothing wrong, but sin hurts more than the sinner.

Sin hurts the innocent.

It is sin which caused God to tell Adam:

Genesis 3:17-19 …. cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] THORNS ALSO AND THISTLES SHALL IT BRING FORTH TO THEE; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Imagine a world without suffering, without pain, without crime, without aging.

Imagine a world where neither Obamacare nor Medicare was needed.

Imagine a world where people love and are loved.

Imagine a world where the tongue was used for tasting & saying good things

but was never misused as a knife to cut up others and to tear down a soul.

Sin is unnatural, destructive, evil.

Adam and Eve lost Paradise and the tree of life because of sin.

The world was destroyed by Flood because of sin.

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone because of sin (Genesis 19).

Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire because of sin (Leviticus 10).

Israel wandered 40 years in the wilderness because of sin (Numbers 14).

Moses lost the Promised Land at Kadesh because of sin (Numbers 20).

Israel was defeated in battle with tiny Ai because of sin (Joshua 7).

What are thorns? They are abnormal, the result of sin, unrepentant sin in the life. God says:

Hebrews 6:8 (KJV)  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Thorns are only worth burning. They are the curse. These soldiers made a crown of thorns to put on Christ’s Head to mock Him, but these thorns show something else. Jesus died because of sin. Jesus died to conquer sin.

As these soldiers mocked and beat an innocent and helpless Man we see the effects of evil unchecked in the human. Where Christ is unwanted and unloved, evil abounds.

The Unnatural Darkness Emphasizes The Darkened Hearts Of Sinners

The Bible tells us that:

from the SIXTH hour there was darkness over all the land unto the NINTH hour.

The SIXTH hour was the time of day six hours from sunrise, or in our modern terms noon or 12 PM. When it is the SIXTH hour the sun is at it’s highest place, directly above our heads. There should have been light without shadow at the sixth hour. I want to say that again:

There should have been light without shadow at noon.

Though it should have been broad daylight, there was only darkness. There was darkness in the human heart. The Prophet said:

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

A person unrestrained by Law or Conscience becomes a monster. We read:

Matthew 27:31 (KJV)  And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

As Jesus went down the road to Calvary He had to carry His own Cross. Every step was agony. He had been beaten, and blood loss and thirst made the Lord Who was a powerful Man weak. He collapsed on the road, falling in the dirt. The Bible tells us that:

Matthew 27:32 (KJV) And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Simon of Cyrene is mentioned only in Scripture as the man who carried Christ’s Cross. Simon did not carry the Cross by choice. The Bible says:

The soldiers COMPELLED him to bear His Cross.

Simon carried Christ’s Cross, but is never mentioned again in Scripture or in history. He was not saved. Simon is a picture of legislated morality. You cannot legislate morality. You cannot force someone to be right with God and with man. Salvation is a choice that every person must make, a choice to WILLINGLY carry Christ’s Cross. Jesus said:

Matthew 16:24-27 (KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Salvation is a denial of self. You must deny yourself to be saved. You must place yourself in the service of Christ, even if that service is distasteful. You must follow Jesus. When Jesus walked that lonely path to Calvary He did so willingly, and for us.

Thus we follow Him willingly.

Not like Simon of Cyrene, but like Simon Peter.

Not because we are forced.

But because we love Him.

Matthew 27:33-34 (KJV) And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,  [34]  They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

The word “Calvary” is only found once in the Scripture, in:

Luke 23:33 (KJV)  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

In all other places it is called “Golgotha”. What is the difference between “Golgotha” and “Calvary”? Nothing. We seem to like the word “Calvary” better because it sounds better, but either word is the same. The Latin for Golgotha is Calvary. It is “a place of a skull”. A place where people were executed. It should have been a sad place, but it had become a place of entertainment.

The Darkness Fell To Stop The Playing

Matthew 27:35 (KJV) And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

The darkness often falls on us, and on our nation, to get our attention.

We have a tendency to love the wrong things.

God made us to love Him and to love one another.

Yet often we love stuff, things, much more than the life which God has given us.

As Jesus hung dying on the Cross the soldiers knelt at the foot of the Cross playing games. Christ’s clothing was of more value to them than Christ Himself. As they did this Matthew recalls a prophecy that is fulfilled in this horrible scene:

Psalms 22:15-18 (KJV)  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.  [16]  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.  [17]  I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.  [18]  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Here is Him Who is without sin dying, but the world looks on blindly.

The cruelty of the Cross and the games the soldiers were playing was prophesied by God. Mark tells us that …

Mark 15:27-28 (KJV) And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS.

Our innocent Redeemer dies on a Cross between two thieves. He is “numbered with the transgressors”, a prophecy of …

Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Luke 22:37 (KJV)   For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” though He was not one. A little girl was asked “What does love look like?” The little girl said “It’s when I let Johnny get in front of me at the drinking fountain line”. Art smiled and said, “Well, you must love Johnny very much.” She replied, “No, I don’t even like him”.

God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten Son to die for us. God did not like what we were doing when He sent Christ. God doesn’t like what we are doing now. God does not like sin, but He loves the world. So Christ was “numbered with the transgressors” so that we who transgress can be saved.

When Darkness Falls, Who Will You Turn To?

Matthew 27:38 (KJV)  Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Matthew does not record the salvation of the thief on Christ’s right hand, but Luke does. Jesus was numbered with the Transgressors. He is not dying for His sins, but for our sins. But the Transgressors are dying for their sins. The thieves on either side of Christ are not there because of injustice, but because of justice. They have sinned against God, and against order. Their sins are put to rest by the state who has the power of the sword” (Romans 13:4). The thief on Christ’s left speaks up.

Luke 23:39 (ESV) “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Jesus cannot save the person whose heart is hardened toward God. Some people say “I will believe in Jesus and follow Him when I am older”. That is a foolish thing. It is possible to harden your heart to where God cannot reach you – and then you will die in your sins. TODAY is the day of salvation. TODAY is the day to call on God. The thief on Christ’s left was hardened to sin. But the thief on His right side said:

Luke 23:40-43 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

If it were not for the suffering he was going through, that thief might never have been saved. But Christ was with him in his suffering. Christ is with us all in our suffering, if we would but turn to Him.

Then darkness fell. We read:

Matthew 27:45-46 (KJV)  Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  [46]  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

The darkness is the symbol of the wrath of God being poured out on Christ. Christ stood in my place. Christ stood in your place. It was not the

crown of thorns

the scourge

or the Cross

that made Christ cry out. It was the absence of God in the midst of the darkness that made Him cry. But though He cried, He nonetheless triumphed. The Cross did not defeat Jesus, but the Cross defeated

The Devil

Death

Corruption and Sin

The Cross conquered darkness, and brought eternal life. The Cross stood though the darkness departed. The Cross will always triumph. Jesus will always triumph!

A Final Word

All light is dim where Christ is not. If Jesus is not there, what is there? We have a choice. Christ first, and we walk in light. Christ last, and we walk in darkness. Never let Him go. Cleave to Christ. Love Him. He is the power of God unto salvation both now, and forever.

Posted in Blood of Atonement, Cross of Christ, devil, Sermons Preached, sinners | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word Of The Cross

1 Corinthians 1:17-24 (KJV) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to PREACH the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the PREACHing of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHing to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we PREACH Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

We will be in page 1605 in the Pew Bibles.

Audio of Message:

4The events in Charlottesville, Virginia shocked our nation. On August 12th 2017 people gathered in that city to protest, to attack one another with pepper spray, bottles, and rocks, and ultimately ended up killing one person and injuring 19 others. While the press busily places labels on who did what and the President is judged on whether his address in the aftermath was too harsh or not harsh enough, the nation wrings its hands. What are we going to do?

We need the Word of the Cross.
The only thing that will change the human heart is the Gospel of Christ.
The Word of God must be lifted up.
The Blood stained Cross must be shared over and over again.

The Apostle said: Galatians 6:14 (NKJV) But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

In our King James text the word “Preach” is translated four times. In each occurrence these are different words. Yet the word I’ve highlighted on your handout is not the same word over and over again, but four different Greek words. Let’s look at each one of the uses of the word “Preach”.

The World Is In Bad Shape, But God Has Good News

1 Corinthians 1:17 (KJV) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to PREACH the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1 The word translated “Preach The Gospel” is the Greek is εὐαγγελίζω euaggelizō (pronounced yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo), which means “to share the good news”. When we share the Gospel we are

… sharing the good news of God

The Angel of God told the Shepherds guarding their flocks by night,

Luke 2:10-11 (NASB) … Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The Gospel is good news or good tidings for ALL people. A Savior came from Heaven to earth. We need a Savior. We desperately need a Savior. God looks down from Heaven and what does He see? God says:

Romans 3:9-12 (NASB) both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.

Every person is born into this life spiritually dead and separated from God. The One exception to this rule is Jesus Christ our Lord. He came from God to save the sinner. He came from God to redeem us from emptiness. He came from God to bring us into union with God, part of the Family of God, to live in Him. The bad news is that we’re sinners. The good news – the euaggelizō (yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo) is that God reaches out to ALL through Jesus Christ. There is none that God cannot save. There is no broken person who cannot be restored. The beginning of salvation is to come to Christ.

The Apostle preached the Cross “not with wisdom of words”, not using philosophy or flattery. He didn’t try to dress it up. He just stated the truth. We are sinners. We are due damnation. Our thoughts are apart from God. But IF we come to Christ HE will save us. HE will bless us.

How does God save us?
Does He just look the other way?
No. We come to the second use of “Preach” in our text.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the PREACHing of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

It Is The WORD Of The Cross That Saves

2 This time the Apostle uses λόγος logos (pronounced log’-os) which means “Word”. What he literally says is:

For The WORD of the Cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved,
It is the power of God.

Two words are used for “Word” in the Greek – LOGOS and LALIA. The word LALIA is the spoken word whereas LOGOS is the logical word. Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 8:43 (NASB) Why do you not understand what I am SAYING (LALIA)? It is because you cannot hear My WORD (LOGOS).

Logos or the Word is the wisdom of God. It is the word LOGOS that is used for Jesus in John 1:1-3:

John 1:1-3 (KJV) 1 In the beginning was the WORD (LOGOS), and the WORD (LOGOS) was with God, and the WORD (LOGOS) 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

The reason we have the “Good News” is because of the Word of the Cross.

John 1:14 And the WORD (LOGOS) 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.

Do you want an answer to Racism?
Here it is.
The WORD became FLESH.

Jesus was not a white man. 5
Jesus was not a black man.
Jesus was not a yellow man.
Jesus was not a red man.
Jesus was a Jew.
God became a Jew, out of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As a Jew our Jesus Christ – the LOGOS or WORD of God – died for the sins of ALL.

The world doesn’t understand this. The logic of the world is “black lives matter” or “white lives matter” or “this or that life matters”. The Word of the Cross is “every life matters”. Every person is precious. Every person has potential. What does God say in the Word of the Cross?

1 Corinthians 1:19-20 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

The “Word” of this world is foolishness.

Anything that draws away from the Word of the Cross is foolishness, broken, doomed to fail. The Word never fails. The world fails, but the Word never fails.

Think about the difference between the word “Word” and the word “World”. When you take “Word” and add “l” to it, you make the “World”.

When you try human means to fix things it ends up foolish, lost, far from sane. But when you concentrate on the Word of the Cross you find the blessedness of God in Christ. The Word of the Cross comes to the sinner and says “I will heal you. I will lift you up.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

3 Now we come to the third time the word “Preach” is used in this text, and this is the word κήρυγμα kērygma (pronounced kay’-roog-mah). This word actually means “to be a public crier, to proclaim or herald”.

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHing to save them that believe.

It Is The Gospel PROCLAIMED or SHARED That Saves

Kērygma (pronounced kay’-roog-mah) means to share or proclaim. It is not a whispered message, but a clear message. The Gospel was meant to be shared with those you know. People must understand there is no salvation without repentance. A person is to turn FROM sin and TOWARD Christ to be saved. Jesus did not whisper “come follow Me” – He spoke it clearly.

Christ is the centerpiece of the Gospel.
The Gospel is not self help but God help.
The Gospel is not continued sinning, but Godly sorrow and surrender.
The Gospel is the leper coming to Christ,
The blind staggering to Christ,
The cripple crawling to Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we PREACH Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

The Content Of The Gospel Is Christ Crucified

4 The fourth “Preach” is κηρύσσω kēryssō (pronounced kay-roos’-so) which refers to the content of the Gospel. We preach Christ CRUCIFIED. This is not a message that the world loves.

The Jews or the religious world finds the crucifixion of Christ to be a stumblingblock. The Jew thought that their sacrifices and rituals brought them close to God. The sacrifices and rituals all pointed to the Coming Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of the world. To the Jews God’s Gospel says:

Christ crucified

Romans 4:25 (NIV) (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

We do not preach salvation BY good works.
We preach Christ crucified.
He died that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Charles Swindoll wrote: God declared that all who sin will die, both physically and spiritually. This is the fate of all mankind. But God, in His grace and mercy, provided a way out of this dilemma, the shed blood of His perfect Son on the cross. God declared that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22), but through the shedding of blood, redemption is provided. The Law of Moses provided a way for the people to be considered “sinless” or “right” in God’s eyes—the offering of animals sacrificed for every sin they committed. These sacrifices were only temporary, though, and were really a foreshadowing of the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:10).

The Greeks or the secular world considers the Cross of Christ to be foolishness, superstition, a rabbit’s foot in a modern age. Psychiatry and psychology mock religion. Philosophy makes god a man and Man a god.

But we preach Christ crucified.

The Cross has come and gone. God became man, perfect man, and went to the Cross to die for our sins. His Blood covers the sins of whosoever will.

But WE preach Christ crucified.

This is the theme that unites us, the love of God redeeming and reconciling. We glorify Jesus. We come together not elevating ourselves, but each of us representing our King and Savior. We are nothing without Christ. We end with these words:

1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (KJV) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Let us glory in Jesus!

Posted in Blood of Atonement, Cross of Christ, preaching the Gospel, Racism, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Danger Of Following From Afar

1

Matthew 26:57-58 (KJV) And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.  [58]  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

Audio of Message:

Why did Jesus come to this earth? The Bible tells us that:

1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Our Lord said:

Mark 2:17 (KJV) They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 19:10 (KJV) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus came into this world to restore our relationship with God. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We all are born separated from God. We all are born sinners. Jesus came to bring us back into a right relationship with God, with Him Who is the Author of life. Jesus said:

John 10:10 (KJV) I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Jesus Did Not Come To Make Us “Religious”
He Came To Make Us “Relational”
He Came To Bring Us Into God’s Family

Religion And Self Righteousness
Sent Christ To The Cross

When Jesus was seized He was not first seized by the government, nor by anarchists, but by RELIGION. We read:

vs 57 they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled

The High Priest of Israel was supposed to lead people toward God, not away from God. The High Priest was supposed to stand between Israel and God, to be the Mediator between the Lord and His people. But the High Priest had drifted away from God. Verse 58 speaks of the High Priest’s Palace. The High Priest was not supposed to be in a palace. He should have lived among the people, representing God to them, telling them to look for the Messiah Who was to come. But Caiaphas no longer represented the Lord, but he represented religion.

There are 783,137 words in the King James Bible. Of those 783,137 words, the word “Religion” is only used five times in three textsActs 26:5; Galatians 1:13-14 and James 1:26-27. Of those five times the word Religion” is only used ONCE in a positive manner:

James 1:27 (KJV) Pure RELIGION and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Religion does not know Christ, nor can it. Religion is man’s attempt to make himself right with God. Christ came of God ands for God to bring us to God.

Religion hired a traitor to betray Jesus with a kiss. Religion grabbed Jesus and drug Him to the Chief Priest. The Scribes and the Elders of Israel gathered together, not to give Christ a fair trial, but sought to murder Him by falsehood. We read:

Matthew 26:59-60 (KJV)  Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;  [60]  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. …

Religion sought false witnesses against Jesus, to put Him to death. Religion does the same thing today. It twists the words of Jesus out of context. It violates the Law of God by false witness. The Ninth Commandment is:

Exodus 20:16 (KJV)  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Religion does not bear false witness against a person, but against the person of God. It is a grievous thing to slander someone, to create lies about them and spread it. But how much more is it a horror to spread lies about God? Religion slithered into the Garden of Eden and said:

Has God really said that you should not eat of this Tree?
God knows that in the day you eat of it, you will be like Him,
Knowing evil and good
.

Religion slanders God and mocks Christ. Religion was in the heart of Cain when he killed his brother Abel. Religion said:

I know that God requires a blood sacrifice for sin,
But I think the fruit of the field is just as good.

When God would not accept religion’s offering, and would not hear religion’s modifications to the will of God, then religion killed Abel. Jesus told the religious Scribes and Pharisees:

Matthew 23:33-39 (ESV) You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

God calls man into a relationship with Him through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Religion rejects the Messiah. It seeks to kill Him.

Religion Would Prefer That Man Follow God
From Afar, Not Up Close

Religion would prefer that you come to God NOT as kings and priests, but that you come to God through a priest. The High Priest can have a palace when everyone must go through him for forgiveness of sin. The High Priest of religion hates Christ because Christ came to be our High Priest.

When Christ was born, Herod sought to kill Him
because He WAS competition for Herod’s throne.

When Christ ministered, Religion sought to kill Him,
because He IS competition for Religion’s throne.

Christ came to bring each believer into union – a close union – with God. What does the Scripture say?

Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has MADE US KINGS AND PRIESTS to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Saved by faith in Him, every child of God is a king for we are of His Royal Family. Saved by faith in Him, every child of God is a priest, and Christ is our High Priest. We have direct access to God through Him if we but pursue it. Christ is our High Priest. The Scripture declares:

Hebrews 3:1 (KJV)  Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and HIGH PRIEST of our profession, Christ Jesus;..

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)  Seeing then that we have a GREAT HIGH PRIEST, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  [15]  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  [16]  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 5:9-10 (KJV)  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;  [10]  Called of God an HIGH PRIEST after the order of Melchisedec.

Religion does not like this. Religion wants you following Jesus from afar, going through the middle man, not having direct access. Religion uses ritual and symbol, and false witness. It is religion today that is minimizing what God has said. It is religion that is normalizing the abnormal, bearing false witness.

But religion cannot stand up to scrutiny.

Matthew 26:60-61 (KJV) … At the last came two false witnesses,  [61]  And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

Religion loves to take Christ out of context.

In the beginning of His ministry Jesus came into the Temple and discovered that Religion was making money selling sacrifices to the people. Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers, and ran the animals out of the Temple. Jesus declared:

Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
“This is to be a House of Prayer!”

The Religious were upset that Jesus stirred up the moneychangers. They asked Jesus:

What sign of authority will You show us that You are allowed to do this?”

Jesus replied:

John 2:19 (NKJV) “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

This confused the religious, as they had no relationship with God through Christ. They replied:

John 2:20 (NKJV) “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

The Bible tells us that Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body.
The sign of the resurrection is proof that Jesus acts for God.
In Him is life, abundant life, life that cannot be ended.

I suspect the “false witness” that rose up against Jesus was one of the moneychangers who was still upset over the loss of the profit that day. “I heard this fellow say that I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days”. Religion twists His words. It wants to enslave you.

Religion Rejects The Christ

Throughout this mock trial Jesus has stood silent. Truth does not have to defend itself against a lie or a liar. Finally in frustration Caiaphas says:

Matthew 26:62 (KJV) … Answerest thou nothing?
what is it which these witness against thee?

But Jesus said nothing. I wish I could learn to do that. People ask me crazy things sometimes, and I feel compelled to just come back with something, anything. I guess it’s pride rearing its ugly head. How much better to just stand on the truth. These people fumbled around trying to convict an innocent person of blasphemy. When it didn’t work, Religion tried to get Jesus to incriminate Himself. Finally in frustration Caiaphas asked:

Matthew 26:63-64 (KJV) … I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  [64]  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Are you the Christ, the Messiah?” Caiaphas asks. Jesus says: “It is as you have said”. Yes, He is the Messiah. When Jesus spoke the the Samaritan Woman at the well she said:

John 4:25 (ESV) … “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”

John 4:26 (ESV) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

When John the Baptist was imprisoned he sent his disciples to Jesus asking:

Matthew 11:3 (NKJV) “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

Jesus told the disciples:

Matthew 11:4-6 … “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Jesus did things only the Messiah could do. Is Jesus the Messiah? Are You the Messiah, Caiaphas asks Jesus. And Jesus says “It is just as you have said”. Does Caiaphas come to Christ? Religion will never come to Jesus. We read:

Matthew 26:65-68 (KJV)  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.  [66]  What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.  [67]  Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,  [68]  Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

We cannot of ourselves draw near to God unless we come through Christ. God wants an intimate and daily relationship with His Children through Christ Jesus our Lord. When we drift from Christ, spit in His face, beat on Him and mock Him, we refuse to enter the door of relationship with God.

What a terrible thing this is.

I want to turn our attention from religion to one who had a relationship with Christ. Let’s look just a moment at Peter.

No Christian Is Strong When Following Christ from Afar

Matthew 26:58 (KJV) But Peter followed Him afar off …

Peter had previously told Jesus:

Matthew 26:33-35 (KJV)  Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.  [34]  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.   [35]  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Peter declared he was strong enough to stay with Christ, to never deny Jesus. We have no strength in ourselves. Our strength is Jesus. Our strength is His power in us. We are to cling to Him, to read His Word, to draw near to Him as sheep to a Shepard. He is our strength.

What causes Peter’s terrible downfall?

First, He Tries Following Jesus From Afar. The weakest you will ever be is far from Christ. You cannot afford to have a once a week or once a month or twice yearly relationship with Christ.

When you were saved dear Christian you were called not to Religion but to the Savior’s side. The safest and most powerful place you can be is close to Jesus, close to His Word, close to His Family, His Church, close to Him in prayer and closely heeding His Word.

We all need to be like Joshua was as he entered the Promised Land. He said:

Joshua 24:15 (KJV) … choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Or as Elijah spoke on Mount Carmel:

1 Kings 18:21 (NIV) “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

The faith that Christ calls us to is to follow Him – not just part time, but daily. We are to draw as close to Jesus as possible, loving Him, serving Him.

Second, Peter Tried Blending In With The Crowd. If you belong to the Lord you are no longer your own. You are bought with a price. Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. You are no longer a part of the darkness, but are the Light of God. You do not belong huddled in among the lost pretending to be lost with them. You are God’s people. Shine for Him! Glorify Him. Live because Christ lives in you.

Following the Resurrection of Christ Jesus comes to Peter and asks him this question.

Peter, do you love Me?

Peter said “Yes, Lord, I love You”. Jesus told Peter “If you love Me, feed my little Lambs”. Then Jesus asked Peter again:

Peter, do you love Me?

Peter said “Yes, Lord, I love You”. Jesus told Peter “If you love Me, feed my Sheep”. Then Jesus asked Peter again:

Peter, do you love Me?

Peter said “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”. What was the point? If you love Jesus, don’t follow Him from afar. Live for Him. Do what He has called you to do. Give as He has called you to give. Be the light that Christ has called you to be.

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Garden of God

1Matthew 26:36 (KJV) Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Audio of 8 AM Message:

Audio of 11 AM Message:

Sermon Notes:

The Lord’s Table having been finished, and Judas having went out to betray our Master, Jesus leads His disciples to a Garden called Gethsemane.

Gethsemane means “very fat or plentiful”. It was a place where olives were pressed to squeeze the oil out of them. The oil press of Gethsemane was said to be in the middle of an olive garden, a wonderful and prosperous place.

It was in this Garden that Jesus Christ – the Last Adam – would wrestle in prayer with His Father. It was in this Garden that Jesus would prepare for Calvary.

We call Jesus “The Last Adam” because of what we are told in 1st Corinthians 15. The Apostle started that Chapter by presenting the Gospel message. This message is that:

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (KJV) … Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen …

This Gospel has never changed.

Jesus died. Why? FOR OUR SINS.
Jesus was buried. Why? BECAUSE HE DIED.
Jesus rose again. Why? TO CONQUER DEATH.

He conquered death. Why did Jesus have to go through these things. Why did He have to “drink the cup of suffering”? The Apostle tells us that …

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 (KJV) And so it is written, The FIRST man Adam was made a living soul; the LAST Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

The First Adam – our forefather – was created from the dust of the earth “and made a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). God breathed into Him the breath of life. He received the image of God.

But the Second Adam “is the Lord from Heaven”.
Jesus is the Only Begotten, the Sent Son.

John 3:17 (KJV) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

The First Adam was given an Eden. Eden means the Garden of God. It was a place of fatness, a place of richness. The First Adam was given a Garden that was perfect that he was to till, and a fruit that he was forbidden to eat.

The Last Adam was brought to a Gethsemane, a “Garden of Fatness”. It was not a Garden of God, but it was a rich place nonetheless.

The First Adam was given a fruit NOT to eat, and he failed because he listened to a serpent.

The Last Adam was given a Cup He must drink, and He would because He obeyed God.

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

What Adam did in the Garden of Eden would bring sin into an otherwise sinless world. Where there was no death, death would come. Men die because of what Adam did. We have cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, all types of disease because of sin. There was no sin in the original creation, but the First Adam brought it in by his act of disobedience.

Gethsemane Shows Us Sin Is No Trifle

In our world today sin is but a trifle. We think of sins as

little sins
BIG SINS

I am sure that the serpent whispered to Adam:

It’s just ONE fruit”
It’s just ONE indiscretion”
Who’s to know?

Sin is an affront to a holy and righteous God. Sin says to God “I know better than You know. My thoughts are better than Yours. My will is greater than Yours. My design is superior to Yours.”

None of these things are true. When Jesus entered Gethsemane He said to eight of His disciples:

Matthew 26:36 (KJV) … Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

But then we read:

Matthew 26:37 (KJV)  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  

Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to pray because He wanted the Leaders of His Coming Church to understand that sin is not a trifle. Sin is disobedience to God’s clear command. Sin is to do what God says not to do, and not to do what God says do.

As Peter, James, and John watched Jesus ..

He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

The word translated “sorrowful” is the Present Passive Infinitive of λυπέω lypeō. The disciples had never seen Jesus overwhelmed, but now they do. Jesus is consumed with sorrow and grief. Very Heavy” is the Greek Present Active Infinitive of ἀδημονέω adēmoneō which means “to be in great anguish or depression”. The Passive Voice shows that Jesus received the action. Jesus was hit with sorrow because He knew He was going to be judged for our sins. Sin would be poured out on Him. reflecting on this the Active Voice shows Jesus’ response. The thought of having to confront sin covered Him with sorrow, and brought depression to Him.

Jesus had never sinned, but what soon to stand in the sinner’s place.
And this brought anguish and depression to His life.

Sin is a perversion of God’s design, a mocking of God’s moral character. Sin hurts people, but it hurts God more. Jesus is hurt by the very thought of what He must do on Calvary.

Sin hurts God.
Sin offends God.

We were created to be mirrors of God. We are “made in God’s image”, and His moral Laws are written in our hearts. When we reject His Laws and harden our conscience we hurt ourselves, we hurt creation, and we hurt God. When Joseph was a slave of Potiphar in Egypt, Potiphar’s wife tried to have adulterous sex with Joseph. That precious brother rightly said:

Genesis 39:8-10 (ESV) {Joseph} refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. HOW THEN COULD I DO THIS GREAT EVIL AND SIN AGAINST GOD?”

Every sin is ultimately a slap in God’s face. When King David had Uriah killed so that he could take his wife in an adulterous relationship – and David was found out – the King repented, saying:

Psalm 51:2-4 (NASB) … Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 4 AGAINST YOU, YOU ONLY, I HAVE SINNED AND DONE WHAT IS EVIL IN YOUR SIGHT, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

Since God is infinite, every offense against God is infinite. The effects of our sins do not diminish with time nor distance. When we offend the Lord, we are offending the Great I AM, the Ever Present and never diminishing God.

Matthew 26:38 (KJV) Then saith {Jesus} unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Jesus said that I am exceedingly sorrowful – even unto death. Was it because He was going to have to die on the Cross? No! The Scripture tells us that …

Matthew 16:21 (ESV) From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Mark 9:31 (ESV) for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

Jesus was born to die. He was begotten once among humanity so that He could die once for humanity. Jesus did not dread death unto death. He knew His mission was to die. What Jesus agonized over was the cup of wrath that He must drink.

Ephesians 5:2 (ESV) …. Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Jesus knew that He was going to do this. He knew He was the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish. He knew He would die for the sins of His people. But the Cup of God’s Wrath for sin gave Him deep and horrid depression. Jesus normally needed no one to do what He did, but in this instance as He prepared He asked Peter, James, and John to:

Tarry here, and watch with Me

Jesus Prayed

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) {Jesus} went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

As Jesus prepared to drink the Cup of God’s Wrath for Sin He prayed. Jesus prayed:

O My Father, if it be possible, let THIS CUP pass from Me

God is angry with sin. God is wrathful against evil. The Lord declares:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

It is God Who gives us life. He causes us. He gives us souls. We belong to Him. Sin says “I belong to myself. I am MY GOD. I am the center of the universe.” The Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche – the son of a Lutheran pastor – rejected God. He declared

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”

Sin says “we are gods – we do not need to moral compass of God’s Word”. Nietzsche ended up insane, dying of frontotemporal dementia. It is insanity to walk apart from God. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 75:8 (NKJV) For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth – Drain and drink down.

And John the Revelator said:

Revelation 14:10 (KJV)  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Jesus prayed in Gethsemane – a place He had often prayed at – “If possible, let this Cup pass from Me”. Yet Jesus went on to say:

Nevertheless, not My Will, but Thine be done.

At Calvary Jesus would drain God’s Cup of Wrath, His burning anger, down to the last drop. God poured out His wrath on His Son full strength, without mixture. Old Time Preacher Andrew Bonar said:

The universe saw Him with {this Cup} at His lips. It was our cup of trembling; the cup in which the wrath due to the “multitude which no man can number” was mingled. What wrath, what woe! A few drops made Him cry, “Now is my soul troubled!” In the garden, the sight of it wrung out the strange, mysterious words, “Sorrowful unto death!” Though God-man, He staggered at what He saw, and went on trembling. Next day, on Calvary, He drank it all. I suppose the three hours of darkness may have been the time when He “was wringing out the dregs”; for then arose from His broken heart the wail that so appealed to the heart of the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” As He ended the last drop, and cried out, “It is finished!” We may believe angels felt an inconceivable relief— and even the Father Himself! So tremendous was the wrath and curse!—the wrath and curse due to our sin.”

The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) For {God} made {His Son} who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus prayed.
Jesus fell on His face.
He pushed Himself down into the ground.
He humbled Himself before God.
Jesus prayed ALONE.

Matthew 26:40-41 (KJV)  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?   [41]   Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Peter was the disciple who said “I will never leave You, Jesus”. But Peter could not even stay awake for one hour. Jesus told Peter

Watch AND Pray”
The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”

If Adam had prayed and sought God before he ate that which was forbidden, then the world would not be in sin. If David had prayed before taking Bathsheba to himself, Uriah would never have been murdered and the sword would not have consumed David’s dynasty. Pray before you sin. Watch for sin. Jesus prayed, and looked to the Father.

And the Father answered His prayers. The second time Jesus prayed His prayer changed. The first time He said “If it be possible, let this Cup pass from Me”. But now He prays:

Matthew 26:42 (KJV)  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

He now did not pray that the Cup pass, but that the Father’s will be done. Jesus was willing to go forward for us. The Bible says that He

Matthew 26:43-44 (KJV)  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  [44]  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, SAYING THE SAME WORDS.

if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done”

Jesus was prepared to drink the Cup of God’s Wrath. I praise Him daily that He did. We who believe in Him shall not see wrath – but we shall see LIFE. The

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.

The unbeliever still has a cup that he or she must drink. It is the Cup of God’s wrath. That’s the bad news. God’s wrath abides on the unbeliever who will not stand up for Christ. God’s wrath is like a sword hanging above the head. It can fall at any time. But for those who are in Christ they are not Children of wrath, but Children of Life. The Apostle declared:

Colossians 3:1-10 (KJV)  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  [2]  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  [3]  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  [4]  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  [5]  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  [6]  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  [7]  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  [8]  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  [9]  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  [10]  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

We who are His are no longer under the Wrath of God. Jesus drank that cup for us, praise His Holy Name. We rest in Jesus. Jesus said:

Matthew 26:45-46 (KJV)  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.   [46]   Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Sleep on – rest! Jesus is being delivered into the hands of sinners for our salvation.
Rise – let us be going! Follow Jesus.

Rest in what Jesus has done. Move forward in the Will of God.

You were the Word at the beginning
One With God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ
What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

Voices of Lee – What A Beautiful Name Is Jesus

Posted in Blood of Atonement, Cross of Christ, Gethsemane, Sermons Preached, sin | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Poem: The Unravelling of a Christian Marriage

Excellent!

Source: Poem: The Unravelling of a Christian Marriage

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The Church Is Not The Electric Company

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (KJV)  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  [18]  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Holy-Spirit-ImageSeveral times a week I get calls or visits from people who want our Church to pay their electric bill. We can’t do that. I understand that people get in a bad way, but we just cannot afford to pay every person’s electric bill. If it got out we were paying electric bills, every person of questionable nature would beat a pathway to our door to pay their bills. We contribute monthly to a local para-church ministry called “The Family Support Center”. The FSC helps people pay their light bills, and keeps a database of who has been helped. They have a great system in place to help the genuine needy, but weed out the grifters. It’s a great ministry that we as a Church will always support.

I believe local churches should help those in need who are truly in need. There are some people who approach the local church because it is easier to beg than it is to work. The Apostle said:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV) For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Work is ordained of God. Though Adam was placed in a perfect garden called Eden, God commanded him to “work and to keep the Garden” (Genesis 2:15).
God does not bless slothfulness.

My most recent encounter was a lady who came to our Church two weeks ago. She said she was hungry, and needed money for gas for her car. We can do that. As a Church we maintain a pantry for the hungry, and we often make “Care Bags” that we pass out to homeless people in need of sustenance. I told the lady:

We have Church services tonight.
Come listen to the message, then you’ll be given access to our pantry.
We’ll even put some gas in your car.

Some might question why I as Pastor would require people to come to Church. It is because I believe the Church’s primary responsibility is to make disciples, to teach the Gospel and to teach them to “observe all things that Jesus has commanded” (Matthew 28:20). We will not send you away hungry, but we want you to hear of Jesus.

That night this precious soul came back with two other ladies. Wonderful! They sat through the services, heard the Gospel, and afterwards were given access to the pantry, receiving 4 bags of food. I went with them to the local gas station and pumped $30.00 of gas into their car. They departed after I prayed with them. “We’ll be back this Sunday” the oldest woman promised. Praise God!

Two weeks passed. We did not see these ladies. Then Wednesday the head of the group came to my office.

“I need you to pay my electric bill”

I explained that we didn’t do that. I explained that we sent money to the FSC to aid people with their utilities. This lady and her friends knew about the FSC, and had abused that ministry to where they were no longer welcome. Then she dropped a bombshell.

I’ll join your church if you’ll pay my electric bill.

My heart broke, for her heart was hardened to Christ. So many today are the same way. People come by our Church, call, and want to do interviews with the Pastor. They want to “test drive” the Church to see if it is what they need.

Do you have a certain level of child care?
How are the facilities?
Do you have certain programs that we’d like to enjoy?
Will I be entertained during the worship hour?
Do you feed people at mid-week service?
Can we have coffee and doughnuts with our Jesus fix?

Let me say this with all the love I can muster: You may “join a church” but that doesn’t save your soul. Falling in love with Christ saves your soul. Following Jesus in faith saves your soul. A “Church” is a group of people who come together with the common goal of worshipping God and following Jesus. The Church belongs to Christ. It may be divided into “denominations” but these are human divisions. Jesus said:

Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) … on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The Church is not an electric company.
It is not a movie theater.
It is not a buffet.
The Church is not an entertainment center.
It is not an arm of Alcoholics Anonymous, though I admire that ministry.
The Church is not a grief support center.

The Church proper belongs to Jesus, for Jesus, and is about Jesus. Lost souls do not understand this, and sadly, many professing Christians seem to have forgotten it. The Church exists because of Christ, and those who are it’s members are broken creatures who crawled to Jesus for healing.

The Church is those who heard the message of the Gospel and said “Yes” to Christ.

Beloved, the most important possession you have is your soul. Christ did not come to this earth to pay your electric bill. Christ came to this earth to die for your sins. Christ came so that you – believing on Him – can have eternal life. We are all broken in the eyes of God. We all fall short. But the Scripture says that while we were yet sinners, God the Father sent Christ to die for us (Romans 5:8). The Church exists to be the lighthouse of God’s salvation message. The Church will help. But the primary calling of the Church is to share the Gospel, to preach Christ crucified, to offer the salvation that is only available through Him. God help us as a nation if the Church does not begin to do as it should, promoting Christ and displaying the love of God.

We are not the electric company. But we’ve got the power!
We love Jesus!

gospel

 

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Examining The Lamb

Matthew_26_47-56_Jesus_Seized

As we move through the Book of Matthew we now come to the passages where the Lamb is examined. What do I mean by this?

The final plague God sent on Egypt was the plague of the Passover. Egypt would not release God’s people. So God decreed to Israel:

Exodus 12:3-7 (KJV) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

It was the Blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish that God would look for. Not just any Blood, but a pure Lamb. God told His people:

Exodus 12:13-14 (KJV) And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

The Lamb slain must be without spot or blemish. This is why the Lamb was taken into the home on the Tenth day of the month and was held until the Fourteenth day of the month. The Lamb was thoroughly examined those 4 days. The Lamb was to be without spot or blemish both inside and out. The Lamb might look good on the outside, but it might be possessed of an epilepsy, or some staggering disease, or some diarrhea or something else not immediately evident to the eyes. So the Lamb was examined.

The Lamb was taken into the home on the Tenth day. That is a significant number. Ten symbolizes the coming withdrawal of the judgment of God. When Noah and his family were on the Ark the Bible says:

Genesis 8:5 (KJV) … the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

The water was not gone for another fifty four days, but Noah and his family could see that God’s judgment was withdrawing. Ten is the tithe that God’s people return to their Lord. God gives us everything by Grace, but expects His children not to be selfish, but giving. As Jacob swore before God:

Genesis 28:22 (KJV)22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

The Lamb was examined thoroughly. Christ – the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This Sunday morning we will look at the Garden of Gethsemane – that is a good Gospel message for a Sunday morning crowd. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will break a heart and bring a soul from damnation to eternal through His Word. Tonight we examine the Lamb in distress. Jesus has finished praying at Gethsemane. What happens? Let’s read this together. I’ll lead us.

Matthew 26:47-56 (KJV) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

I want to start at the end of this examination. Why did this all occur? The Word tells us in
verse 56:

But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.

Not ONE Scripture was quoted here, but we are told that what happened was so that “the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”. The Scriptures are a testament to Christ. All that was written in the Old Testament spoke to the Coming Christ. The great Preacher Martin Luther said:

The Scriptures are Christ’s swaddling clothes”

Jesus declared to those who would hear:

John 5:39 (NKJV) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

And

John 5:46-47 (NKJV) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

It was through Moses that God revealed the Passover. It was through Moses that the covering of Adam and Eve was revealed. It was through Moses that the sacrifice of the Lamb was given. Jesus is the Lamb “slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Jesus Christ is the Lamb without spot and blemish. Jesus came to do the will of the Father.

Jesus Would Do The Will Of His Father Though BETRAYED

It is easy to do the will of God when His will is comfortable, but much harder to do His will when even your closest associates betray you. We read:

Matthew 26:47-50 (KJV) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve that were closest to Jesus as He ministered on this earth. Judas was a coward, and his cowardice and hypocrisy is seen in what he did. Judas was a false apostle. His heart was not given to Christ, but to the things of this world. We are told in

Luke 22:3-5 (KJV) Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.

We find out in Matthew that Judas decided to betray Jesus after a woman anointed our Lord with an Alabaster Box of very precious ointment (Matthew 26:7). The Scripture says:

Matthew 26:14-15 (KJV) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave in Jesus’ day, not much more than a few hundred dollars today. Jesus was sold for the price of a slave. Judas did not have the courage to point Jesus out to the Temple guards who would come and take Him. He was such a coward that he said:

Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast

A kiss on the cheek was a common greeting in Christ’s day, a sign of respect and brotherly love.

Romans 16:16 (ESV) Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

2 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Thessalonians 5:26 (ESV) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

1 Peter 5:14 (ESV) Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

The “Holy Kiss” was not delivered on the lips, but on the cheek. The student would kiss his Rabbi on the cheek as a sign of loving submission. As Judas kissed Jesus, he perverted what that kiss meant. To “kiss the Son” is to believe in Him. The Scripture tells us

Psalms 2:11-12 (KJV) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

By “kissing the Son” Judas was saying “I believe in Christ”, even as he was possessed by Satan in his heart. Judas is the perfect picture of the unconverted professor. Outwardly he kisses the Son, but inwardly he betrays Him, mocks Him, uses Christ. Is there any wonder there is a hell?

As Judas betrays Christ I want you to see how our Master responds to this betrays. Jesus says:

Friend, wherefore art thou come?

Jesus told His disciples – we who love Him – to …

Matthew 5:44-48 (KJV) … I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Lamb of God did not strike out at Judas. He received his kiss, and turned the other cheek. Jesus did as He bid we do. We are to love those that do wrong to us. Not emotionally – that would be impossible. We cannot control our emotions. But we are to do good to those who do bad, to pray for them, to pray that they will reach a higher level than they are now through Christ our Lord.

Jesus called Judas “Friend”
Not because Judas was a “Friend”
But because the love of Christ reaches out.

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If Judas had repented and come to Christ as his “Friend” then Christ could have saved even Him. Heaven will be filled with sinners who repented and came to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Hell will be filled with well intending people who rejected Christ, and instead followed the world. We are told in the next chapter that following this betrayal:

Matthew 27:3-5 (KJV) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Judas “repented HIMSELF”. He did not repent to God. He did not come to Christ seeking forgiveness. His faith was never in God, but “in Himself”. So Judas “repented HIMSELF” and went to the Chief Priests and Elders who colluded with him, seeking soothing salve for his conscience. Finding nothing there this coward “cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple, departed, and went and hung himself”. Would that he had turned to Christ!

But oh, the Lamb. Betrayed He called Judas “Friend”. His love extended even in betrayal.

Jesus Would Do The Will Of His Father Though EMPOWERED

Matthew 26:50-52 (KJV)…Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

As this armed guard roughly “laid hands on Jesus” we are told that one of those with Christ drew his sword and cut the ear off of one of the soldiers. We are told in:

John 18:10-11 (KJV) Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

Simon Peter had a sword on him. He had told Jesus earlier that he would not betray Him, and I suspect that Peter was still thinking of the vow he made. As the soldiers grabbed Jesus Peter pulled his sword and struck out, cutting the ear off of Malchus. Jesus said:

Put up thy sword into the sheath:
the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

Jesus must go to the Cross to drink the Cup of God’s wrath. I will speak of sin and God’s wrath this Sunday, and the Cup that Christ promised to drink. Pastor Steven Lee wrote:

Key passages in the Bible connect God’s wrath with the imagery of a cup. Jeremiah 25:15 tells us, “Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.’” Then Isaiah 51:17 says, “O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” In Revelation 14, an angel speaks, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger” (verses 9–10).”

The wrath of God will one day be poured out on all sin and sinners. What hope do we have before a Holy and Righteous Judge?

We have Jesus.

Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath on Calvary. He drained the Cup to the last dregs. Our sins were poured out on Him, and the wrath of God was poured out on Him. He paid our penalty in full.

The Lamb of God is confronted with an armed guard. Peter cuts the ear off of one soldier. Then Jesus says “Put up your sword Peter. I must drink the Cup which My Father has given Me”. Thank You, Jesus, for taking that Cup. Thank You Jesus for being the Lamb of God! Jesus told that armed crowd:

Matthew 26:53-54 (KJV)… Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

Jesus was not locked in to the Cross. He still had a choice. Unlike the Lambs of the Old Covenant who were dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of sacrifice, Jesus had a choice. Had He chose He could have prayed and the Father would “presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels”. How many is that?

I thought “twelve legions” was twelve thousand angels. I was wrong. A Roman Legion was around 6000 soldiers. Twelve Legions would be 72,000 angels. But Jesus said “If I asked, My Father would send MORE than twelve Legions of angels”.

If a single angel killed 185,000 people in one night (see Isaiah 37:36) then the combined strength on ONE Legion of angels could kill 1,110,000,000 (one BILLION one HUNDRED AND TEN MILLION) people in the same amount of time. If TWELVE LEGIONS of angels came they could have killed 13,320,000,000 (thirteen BILLION three hundred and twenty MILLION) people. The population of the earth in 2016 was 7.442 billion. If Jesus had called out to the Father the angels who came could have utterly destroyed ALL LIFE on the earth in but one day – and then some.

Jesus didn’t need Peter’s sword.

God doesn’t need us.

God loves us so very much.

Jesus didn’t have to go to that Cross, but He did.

Matthew 26:55-56 (KJV) In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Jesus stood for us when no one would stand for Him. He died on Calvary for our sins. What a glorious Savior we have. What a wonderful Lord is our Jesus.

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God Of The Living

Preached at Riverview Sunday Night August 6th at 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew 22:31-32 (KJV) But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, [32] I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Mark 12:26-27 (KJV) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? [27] He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

god-of-the-living

The Pharisees were constantly attacking Jesus. You see them – over and over again – challenging His authority. But periodically the Sadducees would jump in and attack our Lord.

The Pharisees were religious Conservatives, but the Sadducees were religious Liberals.

The Pharisees studied the Scriptures but did not know the power of God.

The Sadducees studied humanity and ignored both the Scriptures as well as the Spirit.

God’s Word Must Be In You

One day after the unbelieving Pharisees tried to get Jesus and once more failed, the Sadducees “who say there is no resurrection” (Mark 12:18; Matthew 22:23) decided to try and trip up Jesus. Being liberals they didn’t use nor respect Scripture, but used twisted logic. You’ve heard weird logic used before by liberal unbelievers to try and disprove the existence of God. Statements like:

If God is all powerful and can do anything, can He make a weight
too heavy for Him to lift? If He can, then He’s not all powerful.”

That’s a stupid argument. God is all powerful, and God can do anything, but God is not stupid. God wouldn’t make something that He couldn’t lift, because God is also all knowing and wise. So unbelievers come up with weird logic.

The Sadducees came to Jesus saying:

Matthew 22:24-28 (KJV) Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. [25] Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: [26] Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. [27] And last of all the woman died also. [28] Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

They thought they had Jesus with this weird logic. They could have just stopped at two brothers. The Law of Moses said that if a man died and left a widow and his brother were unmarried, the brother was to take the widow as his wife. God did this so that the line of that family would continue, for one day Christ would come of Israel. The Sadducees could have just stopped at two, then asked “which one shall she be married to in the resurrection”? But they sought to hammer our Lord, to mock Him, to drag Him down.

They were no match for Jesus! He simply replied with the truth.

Matthew 22:29 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

You cannot know the power of God if you do not know the Scriptures!

The Sadducees – like most lost liberals who reject God’s Scripture – know neither the Scriptures, neither the power of God.

It is through the Scriptures that we learn the power of God.
It is through the Scriptures we learn the Gospel.
It is through the Scriptures that we come into His Family.
It is through the Scriptures that we gain power for living.

It is not through politics or science or humanitarianism that we move toward the image of Christ. It is through the Scriptures.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

You cannot be crucified with Christ unless His Word is in you.

You’ll keep spinning your tires in the mud hole of life until you bind yourself to His Word.

The Sadducees – like many who profess to be “Christian” today – know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. If you do not love and cherish the first you will never be empowered by the Second.

The Sadducees toyed with marriage to try and trip up Christ.
Marriage is not a toy.

God gave us marriage in this life to give us companionship. He placed Adam with Eve – forming Eve from Adam – to show that in this blessed union man is to lead whereas woman is to support. The union of marriage was established – one man and one woman – to propagate humanity.

Genesis 1:28 (NLT) Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

With marriage came responsibility.

With marriage came the responsibility to procreate, to dominate, but also to teach.

The child was to be taught Scripture, to bind Scripture to his or her life.

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.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (KJV) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The focus of marriage was not the joy of sex, though the Scripture declares:

Hebrews 13:4 (KJV) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

The focus of marriage is unity and oneness with God. Following the resurrection (and there will be a resurrection) and the blessing of our glorified bodies Jesus said:

Matthew 22:30 (KJV) For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

You will know your saved spouse in Heaven, but you will know her (or him) as a fellow Child of God. There will be no procreation in Heaven, for there will be no need of it. Just as God replaces the sun and the moon – for His light shall light Heaven – our unity with God will replace our finite unity with our spouses.

Heaven is a place where the Living enjoy God forever. It is a place where the Scripture says:

Revelation 21:3 (KJV) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Because the Living God will be in the midst of His Living People the Bible declares that:

Revelation 21:4 (KJV) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The Scriptures Tell Us God Loves The Broken

Matthew 22:31-32 (KJV) But as touching the resurrection of the dead, HAVE YE NOT READ that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, [32] I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

God comes to those who are broken. He is the God of the Living. He loves to restore life.

Job 33:4 (NASB) The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

God loves us. He reaches out to us, but often we do not hear Him until the storms come.
When we are on the mountaintops of life we often become our own gods.
God will not bless while we worship other gods, or while we wallow in sin.

But God loves to heal those who come unto Him.
He calls.

Psalm 147:3 (ESV) {God} heals the BROKEN HEARTED and binds up their wounds.

God loves those who come to Him broken, but the prideful He cannot help.

James 4:6 (NKJV) But {God} gives more grace. Therefore He says: God RESISTS the proud, But GIVES GRACE to the humble.

The first five Books of the Bible were written by a broken person named Moses.

A man named Moses grew up in the Egyptian Palace. Raised among the false gods of Egypt, when he came of age Moses saw an Egyptian beating one of his Hebrew brothers. Moses killed the Egyptian, hiding him in the sand (Exodus 2:12). When it became known what Moses did Pharaoh wanted to kill him, so Moses ran away. He went to Midian, married Zipporah, and had a child he named Gershom (meaning a traveler), because he said, I am a stranger in a strange land (Exodus 2:22). Moses was dispossessed. Broken. Lonely.

But God loved Moses.
God loves the broken.
He calls sinners to His side.

Luke 5:32 (ESV) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

Moses spies a bush burning in the desert of Midian. As he comes nearer God reveals Himself to Moses. He says to Moses:

Exodus 3:6 (ESV) … “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” …

This is what Jesus refers to today. Moses recorded the words of God. The God Who spoke to Him – and to us today – is not the I was God, but the Great I AM. He is ever present with His people. God watched Moses as he hid in the desert. God is the Living God.

Jeremiah 10:10 (ESV) But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

God has no beginning, nor any ending. God is I AM. He is eternal. And He is the God of the Living. Moses, you cannot stay hiding here in the desert. Follow Me, Moses, and I will bless you.

Matthew 22:32 (KJV) … I am the God of Abraham …

God is the God of Abraham.

He is not the God of Abram, but of Abraham.

Abram was a broken man. God gave us marriage so that we could procreate. I passed a car today that had a bumper sticker that read:

I Support Planned Parenthood”

It could have just as well said:

I Support The Murder Of Innocents”

How horrible the abortion industry is. How horrible that we fund it! Abram was a man who desperately wanted children. His line was going to die. His wife was well past child bearing years. Then God came to Abram in his brokenness.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV) Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

There were five “I wills” in the statement that God made to Abram,
FIVE is the number of Grace.

God in Grace reached out to Abram. “If you will follow Me, I will bless you. I will give you a family. I will grow that family to be a nation. And I will bless the whole world through you”.

God calls us all as Abrams, but will not leave us here. God is the God of the Living. He will not leave us broken, but will work out His blessing in our lives as we follow Him in love.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV) It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Abram feared at times, but he followed God as best he could, and trusted the Lord with all his heart.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

God will triumph. Abram became Abraham, and you will be blessed as well. You must just continue to follow Him.

Our Ever Living God Keeps His Promises

Matthew 22:32 (KJV) I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac …

Our God is the God Who keeps His promises. It took some time for Abram to turn into Abraham. Abram could not have a child. Abram was learning to trust God. Abram tried to help God out by offering one his servants to be his child. Abram tried to help God out by going into Hagar, having a child named Ishmael.

Genesis 17:18- (ESV) And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.

When time passes and the promise does not come we are often, just as Abraham did, seek to “help God out”. We say “Lord, I’ll do this with my hands because I know you’re so busy running the universe”. What we’re saying in reality is that we want God to bless our efforts and our mistakes. God does not need us to fulfill His promises. What He has said, He will do. The Apostle Paul preached at Athens:

Acts 17:24-25 (ESV) The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

God loves us, but He does not need us. He promised Abraham a son, and God will deliver on that. God will choose when Abraham gets his son. God chooses when to bless. God calls us to follow Him if we want to be blessed.

God will not bless disobedience.
God will not bless faithlessness.
God will not bless sinfulness.
God blesses those who follow Him.

The Psalmist said:

Psalm 116:12–14 (ESV) What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

God wants us to follow Him. This is why God gave us the example of Isaac. After Abraham had Isaac God told him “Go and sacrifice that boy”.

Lay your Isaac down!

What did Abraham do? He laid his Isaac down, trusting that God keeps His promises. ALWAYS!

What did the Apostle say?

Hebrews 11:17-19 (NKJV) BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS TESTED, OFFERED UP ISAAC, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that GOD WAS ABLE TO RAISE HIM UP, EVEN FROM THE DEAD, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

God keeps His Word. God does not lie. The Scripture declares:

Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV) Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Our Ever Living God Calls Us To Life

Matthew 22:32 (KJV) I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

Our God is the God of the Living – He calls us to life. Jacob is a picture of every Christian who has ever lived. Jacob was a deceiver. Jacob was a sinner. Jacob was shiftless. But God loved Jacob, and called Jacob to follow Him.

And Jacob became Israel, the Prince of God.
God will make you His if you will come to Him by Christ.
God will make you royalty, a King and Priest unto Him, if you will follow Him.

But our God is NOT the God of the dead, but of the living. The living God rules a living people. Jesus said:

John 10:10-16 (KJV)   The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.   [11]   I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.   [12]   But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.   [13]   The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.   [14]   I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.   [15]   As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.   [16]   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.

God is the God of the Living. We are alive because Christ gave His life for us. We are alive because we receive Him as Lord and Savior. We are alive because we cherish His Word. We are Jacob, but will not remain Jacob. We are Jacob moving toward Israel because God does not leave His people incomplete. Our God is taking us to life.

Do you know Him?

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