The Stone Rolled Away

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist Church on April 15, 2017 at
798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

rolled-away-stoneMatthew 28:1-8 (KJV)  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the {Tomb}.  [2]  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  [3]  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  [4]  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.   [5]  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  [6]  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  [7]  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  [8]  And they departed quickly from the {Tomb} with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

When Jesus died and was placed in the Tomb, a huge stone was rolled into the doorway, effectively sealing it off. The Pharisees and Priests remembered that Jesus promised to rise from the grave. They went to Pilate and said:

Matthew 27:63-66 … “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

So they went to the Tomb, rolled a huge stone into place, sealed the stone in place with Pilate’s seal, and placed a guard of soldiers in front of that stone to keep it in place.

On This Resurrection Sunday Let The Stone Preach

I want to think about this Stone today on this Resurrection Sunday. I want the Stone to preach to us today. I want the Stone to cry out to us, to shout a message of Hosanna to Christ our King. Jesus said before His crucifixion:

Luke 19:40 (KJV) …. I tell you that, if these {children} should hold their peace, THE STONES WOULD IMMEDIATELY CRY OUT.

I want this stone to witness to us today.

When Israel listened to God and followed Him they defeated their enemies the Philistines. The Bible tells us that after the battle (1 Samuel 7:13-14) that the Prophet Samuel set up a stone called Ebeneezer, a stone of help to remind Israel of the goodness of God.

This Stone – This Tomb Stone if you will – is an Ebeneezer, a stone of witness, and it speaks to us today. There are three great truths we can see in this Stone.

  • First, the stone is very heavy, and keeps us from our Lord.

  • Second, the stone is sealed by the mark of the Law. Pilate had the stone sealed in place with his mark, and it was a violation of the Law for anyone to break that seal.

  • Third, the stone is a doorway between death and life.

Let’s quickly look at each of these points as the Stone preaches to us today.

These precious ladies got up early in the morning on the first day of the week. They had a good deed to do. They were going to the Tomb of Christ to finish preparing His Body for burial.

As Jesus died at the end of the Feast of the Passover, the next day would begin the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a special Sabbath among the Jews. (see Leviticus 23:5-8). Because this was a Sabbath Christ’s body was removed from the Cross and hurriedly prepared for burial (see Luke 23:52-54; John 19:31; John 19:42). This is why we read:

Matthew 28:1 (KJV)  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the {Tomb}.

The Sabbaths had ended. Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas were returning to the Tomb of Christ to finished what they had hurriedly done three days before. They come to do a good work, and “brought sweet spices that they might anoint Him” (Mark 16:1). But there is a problem.

Who shall roll away the stone from the mouth of the Tomb
FOR IT IS VERY HEAVY” (Mark 16:3-4)?

These women came to do a good work, but something stood in their way.

The Stone stood in their way.

The Stone Is A Barrier God Removed

When the Stone was placed on the mouth of that Tomb, it was placed there because Christ died for our sins. Sin is a barrier that keeps us from God. Isaiah said:

Isaiah 59:2 (ESV) … your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

The Bible teaches that an immovable stone stands between us and God, and that stone is our sin. We are shut into a living tomb. We are born into this world sinful creatures.

1 John 3:4 (ESV)  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; SIN IS LAWLESSNESS.

We are born into this world sinners who may be moral, sinners who might try to do good works, but sinners none the less. We are “dead in trespasses and in sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Satan led our forefather Adam from Paradise to spiritual death, and we have no ability to roll the stone away from that grave we are in.

This is why Christ died. Christ died not because HE was a sinner, but because WE are sinners. The Bible says:

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …

Jesus died for our sins, and rose again to lead us in righteousness. Jesus said that He …

Mark 8:31 … must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

We could not roll the Stone away ourselves, but Christ rolled the stone of sin away by His death. As C.H. Spurgeon said:

Our sins were the great stone which shut the mouth of the {Tomb}, and held us captives in death, and darkness, and despair. But OUR SINS ARE NOW FOREVER ROLLED AWAY …”

When these precious ladies came to the Tomb they expected to find a Stone that would be impossible to move. What did they find? They found ….

Matthew 28:2 (KJV) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

The earth moved.

The Angel of the Lord descended.

The Stone was rolled away.

If Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins had not been acceptable to God
then that Stone would still be in place.

Hebrews 10:12-18 …. when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For BY A SINGLE OFFERING HE HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME THOSE WHO ARE BEING SANCTIFIED. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The Stone Moved Satisfied The Law

When the Angel of the Lord moved that Stone – that Stone we could not move – he broke the seal of the Law that was on that Stone. It was a violation of Law for that Stone to be moved.

All of mankind are lawbreakers.

But Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law.

He lay in that Tomb the Lamb of God without Spot or Blemish.

He walked from that Tomb the Satisfactory Payment For Our Sins.

Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV)   Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.   [18]   For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God. Being perfect and sinless, God in the flesh, He laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas (see John 19:25) stood by the cross of Christ with His mother Mary, watching Jesus die. Just three days before Jesus had been beaten with whips, brutalized by the Roman soldiers, condemned to die by a mob led by the Pharisees. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Why was Jesus crucified? What sin had He committed?

When Jesus was brought before Pilate to be judged Pilate said:

Luke 23:4 (ESV) “I find NO GUILT IN THIS MAN.”

Jesus had done nothing to warrant His death. Pilate did as all politicians do – he tried to pass the buck. He sent Jesus to Herod to be judged. But Herod was a good politician, too. He had Jesus beaten, dressed up in a King’s Robe, then sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Pilate tells the Pharisees and Priests:

Luke 23: 14-16 … “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”

Yet they would not have it. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

THREE TIMES Pilate sought to free Christ, to release this innocent Man.

Luke 23:22 A THIRD TIME he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I HAVE FOUND IN HIM NO GUILT DESERVING DEATH. I will therefore punish and release him.”

They would not relent. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Matthew 27:25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!

So Christ was nailed to a Cross on Calvary.

On either side of Him hung two thieves who were being justly crucified, murderers, rioters.

But in the middle hung a Man Who had done no evil.

He had not broken either civil nor religious laws.

He hung dying as people mocked Him.

Jesus died as our Passover Lamb, the Lamb without spot or blemish. Jesus came to this earth to be “the Savior of His people” (Luke 2:11). He died at the end of the Passover as our Passover

1 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT) … CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB, has been sacrificed for us.

When the Angel of the Lord rolled the stone away, He broke the seal of the Law on that tomb. Christ Jesus paid for our sins. Jesus died for me. And those who receive His Promise:

John 3:14-18 (KJV)   And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:   [15]   That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.   [16]   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   [17]   For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.   [18]   He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior are no longer locked in a spiritual tomb by an immovable stone. Christ died for us so that we can live for God. The Stone is rolled away. Death had no hold on our Savior, and has no hold on us. Praise God forever more!

On Resurrection Sunday Let The Angel Preach

For anything to be true – according to God’s Law – there must be TWO or MORE WITNESSES. The Stone is one witness – the other is the Angel of the Lord.

Matthew 28:2-4 (KJV)… the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and SAT UPON IT.

I want you to notice the sermon the Angel of the Lord preaches. First, he is The ANGEL OF THE LORD. He comes from the Throne of God, sent by the Lord Himself. God sent this Angel. This Angel …

Rolled back the stone from the door AND SAT UPON IT

The Angel sat down. The work of Calvary was finished. Jesus declared it. When Jesus died He cried out:

Tetelestai – It Is Finished! (John 19:30)

Jesus Christ “finished the work that the Father gave Him to do” (John 17:4). Jesus paid for our sins on Calvary. He came to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus made atonement for those Who believe in Him (Romans 3:23-25). The Angel had one thing to do. His job was to move the stone. Neither the Angel, nor the ladies at the Tomb paid for our sins. The Angel sat down. The Work of Christ was done.

Matthew 28:3-4 (KJV)… His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  [4]  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

This Angel came from God’s Throne room. As the Holy Power of God shined through this Angel his countenance (appearance) was like lightening, his clothing white as snow. As this representative of God SAT in front of these mortals …

The unbelieving guard shook, and became like dead men. If Christ is not yours and you are not His one day you will stand not before an Angel, but before GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF. On that day you along with all unbelievers will cry out:

Revelation 20:11 (KJV)11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And run, but there will be no place to hide. The Angel says not a word to these unbelievers. They become like dead men, but there is no comfort for them. They rejected Christ. Death and hell await those who reject Christ. The Angel barely glances at them, but then we read:

Matthew 28:5 (KJV) And the angel answered and said unto the women, FEAR NOT YE: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

Do not fear” you who seek Jesus. There is no fear for those who are His. Christ knows and loves His sheep, and His sheep know and love Him. We need not fear the Angels. The Angels are our guardians while we love Jesus. The Angels are our protectors. The Angels know we seek Jesus Who was crucified. Jesus killed death and sin the day He died.

Matthew 28:7-8 (KJV) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  [7]  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead

Do not fear. Jesus has risen, just as He said. Tell others. Go tell His disciples He is risen from the dead. Go rejoicing. Jesus has defeated death. Jesus has defeated sin. Jesus is alive forevermore. And we who believe in Him will live with Him …

Forevermore!

May God lead you to trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior this very day!

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A Sower Sows

sower

Matthew 13:1-9 (KJV) The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

God must teach us spiritual truths. God the Holy Spirit must be here today opening our minds to the truths of God’s Kingdom. If God is not in our services, we will understand nothing. Christ is all and in all.

I heard a well known Bible teacher tell an audience of preachers that “Jesus spoke in parables to make Biblical truths clearer to His listeners”. That’s not the truth. A Parable is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. Jesus’ disciples asked Him:

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Jesus replied:

Matthew 13:11-14 …. Because it is given UNTO YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

The “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” are given to those who know and love Jesus.

Those who sit and listen to Jesus, believing His Word, receptive to Him as Truth Embodied, those who are His Children by faith will be told great spiritual truths. Those who just follow Jesus for the CIRCUS of it:

Those who chase Him for healing,

Those who follow along so they can be fed fish and bread,

Those who are entertained by a miracle,

These people do not love Jesus.

They love what Jesus GIVES, but do not love Jesus.

The truths of His Kingdom are hidden from the nominal, the casual.

The Prophet Isaiah saw the Messiah coming in spirit and in truth. His words would not be received by the fickle, but by those who loved the Lord. Jesus said:

Matthew 13:9 (KJV) …Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Whosoever may hear Him, if you wish to hear Him. If you are broken and want ease, Christ calls to you. If you will bend your knee and rest at His feet learning of Him, Christ calls to you. If you are under conviction and want to be His Child, Christ calls to you. Boyd Bailey said:

You cannot live in the presence of the Lord and not be changed. Christ is combustible. His expectation is Lordship over His followers. This is why we submit to Him each time we enter into His presence.”

BEHOLD A Sower!

The Pharisees – the religious leaders of Jesus’ day – had rejected the Messiah. When Jesus began His ministry He went only to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). But now Jesus begins to reach out, and as He reaches out He begins to speak in parables. It is significant that the parable of the Sower is the first parable Jesus speaks. This parable is taught in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We read:

Matthew 13:2-3 (KJV) And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, BEHOLD, a sower went forth to sow;

Jesus says LOOK! That’s what “Behold” means. STOP. LOOK. TAKE HEED. What did Jesus speak of? What earth changing thing did He commend.

A Sower

Why would a single sower be important?

What can one person do?

If one person goes out and does what he or she has been called to do,

that person can change the world.

A Sower changes the world.

One Sower sowing rightly changes the world.

What does a Sower do? A Sower sows. A Sower takes seed and casts it upon the ground. The Sower does not prepare the ground. He sows the seed. The Bible tells us:

Galatians 6:7-8 (KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

What you sow, you shall reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil. If you sow iniquity, you will reap iniquity. There are evil sowers, and there are righteous sowers. If you sow Light and Love, you shall reap life and love. The seed that the Sower of Christ’s parable was not evil seed. It was not weeds. But it was Gospel Seed, Kingdom Seed. It was a seed that when it fell …

Matthew 13:8 (KJV) … into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

it brought forth FRUIT. Not weeds. Not Poison Ivy or Sumac.

The Sower Jesus Commended Sowed THE WORD Of God

The Gospel of Mark recorded that the Seed the Sower Sowed was:

Mark 4:14 (KJV) The sower soweth THE WORD.

Jesus was a Sower sowing the Word of God. His people are Sowers who sow the Word of God.

That which changes the world is the Sower.

The Sower sows SEED.

What SEED are you sowing?

Dear friends, for too long God’s Church in America has sown the wrong seed. We have sown:

Compromise

Copouts

Confusion

Commotion

Collusion

Complicity

Conspiracy

Let a disagreement come to the Church and too often a Sower runs home, gets on the phone, and sows that seed to a lost friend. Let a disturbance happen in the fabric of God’s Family and the Church tattler telephones other unbelievers and nominal believers about the problem. Come across a difficult doctrine in the Scripture and a Sower gets in the pulpit or podium and mangles rather than plant the seed. Beloved, Christ commended ONLY the Sower of the Word of God.

  • The local Church has often declared what God has NOT said, sowing the wrong seed. God has declared certain actions and behaviors as WRONG, while too many carrying the label of “Christian” have declared it to be right. Jesus chastised the Pharisees who:

Matthew 15:3 …. transgressed the commandment of God by your tradition?

Then declared what Isaiah said,

Matthew 15:8-9 (ESV) This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

9 in vain do they worship me, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.

God is not honored when the Sower sows that which is NOT His Word. The Bible declares that ..

Romans 6:23 (KJV) … the wages of sin is death; BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

How to receive the free gift of life?

WE ARE TO REPENT OF SIN, TO TURN FROM WHAT EVIL SEED THE LORD HAS FORBIDDEN.

If there is NO SIN, then what need to REPENT?

The wrong seed broadcast brings DEATH. God has clearly marked THE WRONG SEED, the SEED that will disrupt and destroy, that will bring forth the wrong fruit. What are some of the wrong seed? The Lord has declared through Paul:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, WILL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The Sower rejects the wrong seed, but sows the right seed. There must be REPENTANCE of sin, and ACCEPTANCE of the Gospel.

There is only ONE Unpardonable Sin. Repent of your sin. Turn to Christ.

You will be saved!

It is the glorious Gospel of Christ that changes things. The Apostle continues …

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB) Such WERE some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

The Sower sows the WORD of God.

What has GOD SAID?

Galatians 5:19-21 (NASB) Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The wrong seed condemns the soul. The wrong seed sown brings darkness. But the right seed – ah, the right seed – it brings light to the soul. The text goes on to say:

Galatians 5:22-24 (NASB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST JESUS have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

A Sower that Christ commends SOWS THE WORD OF GOD.

We are not to sow just ANY seed, but HIS WORD.

What’s that? I hear someone say:

  • But what does it matter? Does it really matter?This is a common problem today. Does it REALLY matter? Think of this from a farmer’s perspective.

If you wish to take in a crop of CORN, you must sow CORN, not weeds.

If you wish to harvest a crop of WHEAT you must sow WHEAT, not wildflowers.

You can harvest hay from a wild field – you can bush hog that.

But to get a fruiting crop you need to sow the right seed.

We do not plant the wrong seed. The Sower sows the Word of God – not our opinion. The Sower must have the SEED IN HAND to sow it. If the Sower sows the WORD OF GOD you must read and apply the WORD OF GOD. It must touch your hand and your heart. You can only sow what you have in hand. But if you do not sow the Word of God there will be the WRONG TYPE OF CROP.

God’s Word changes things. God’s Word changes the soul. The Scripture declares:

Revelation 22:17 (KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

We sow the truth that no one stands holy and acceptable before God unless they stand with Christ. We sow the Gospel that Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our jutification. And we sow that it is

Titus 3:5-7 (KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Christ’s Gospel is the seed which changes the world. When it falls on good ground, on broken ground, then it springs forth into eternal life. A Sower went out on the Day of Pentecost and preached:

Acts 2:38-40 (KJV) …. REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (40) …. Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

and three thousand – that’s 3000 – were added to the Church that day. Why? Because the Sower sowed the seed, and because God prepared the ground.

In America today we see the results of bad sowing and bad seed. An easy believism gospel seed has been broadcast. A DIY sort of gospel seed has been broadcast. A prosperity gospel seed has been broadcast. If every Church in America was filled with good fruit from good sowing America would not be bound by darkness as it is. We as Sowers must sow the good Gospel seed:

Romans 3:23-26 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The Sower Sows The Word Of God

God & The Good Ground Grow The Seed Sowed

When the Sower sowed the Word, the Sower did not JUDGE where to put the seed. The Sower sows the good seed. Returning to what Jesus said we read …

Matthew 13:4-8 (KJV) …. WHEN HE SOWED, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground …

The Sower was not concerned as to where the good seed fell. The Sower sowed the right seed. The Sower went out to sow the right seed. The Sower sowed. But the Sower did not judge. He broadcast the Word, trusted the Word, and the seed fell in different places.

Some fell by the wayside, off the path

Some fell on stony places

Some fell in thorns

and Some fell in good ground

What do these four different soils represent? They are different types of people where the Word is broadcast. Jesus explains to us:

Matthew 13:19 (KJV) When any one heareth the Word of the kingdom, and UNDERSTANDETH IT NOT, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

There are some who will hear the Word of the Kingdom but will not understand it. Their hearts will not be open to the Word of the Gospel. Since they will not process that Word, the “Wicked One”, the Devil, will come and remove the Word from their hearts. But even if a person is unreceptive to the Word of God sow it anyway. We are not to be judges, but sowers. Sow His Word.

Matthew 13:20-21 (KJV)   But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;   [21]   Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

There are some who hear the Word of the Kingdom and initially receive the Word. But this person is shallow in themselves.

But they have no root in themselves”. They are not bound to Jesus. They have not surrendered to Christ. They have made a TRUCE with Heaven, but have not TURNED their lives over to Him. The Savior demands unconditional SURRENDER of His subjects.

They hear the Gospel, may walk the aisle, and even be Baptized. But when trials or persecution for the faith comes this person walks away from Christ. They are like those in Christ’s ministry who heard the hard truths that He spoke and:

John 6:66 (KJV)  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Shallow faith will not save. It is the DEEP soil that the seed of the Gospel produces eternal life in.

Matthew 13:22 (KJV)   He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

The thorny soil is the person who has not fully repented. He receives the Word, but his heart is still focused on the things of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. This person is unfruitful.

But then there is the good ground. Jesus said:

Matthew 13:23 (KJV)   But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

The good ground is the person who both hears and understands the Word of God. That Seed sown brings forth fruit. The life that is saved is fruitful. This is why we sow the Seed of the Word. We change the world one person at a time. Not all who hear His Word will be changed. In fact, to understand Christ, only one in four that hear will be good ground. Yet A Sower sows the Word.

We sow His Word because we love all, and want all to be saved. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Jesus Is Our Sabbath Rest

Preached at Riverview Baptist April 9 2017/ 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew_12_6t8_Jesus_Is_Our_Rest

Matthew 12:6-8 (KJV) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the Temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Our Lord Jesus often battled with the Pharisees, the keepers of the Law. The Pharisees and Scribes studied the Bible, the Old Testament, the writings and the prophecies. That’s a good thing to do. I wish more professing Christians studied their Bibles. If the Church were to ever get serious about studying and applying God’s Word I believe that we would see light come back to America. “It is time for judgment to begin at the House of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

The problem with the Pharisees was not that they studied the Bible, but that they never understood how to apply that which they studied. I have met people like this all my Christian life. They studied, but never with Christ. They learn great truths, but never applied them. They are fundamentally correct in doctrine but woefully ignorant in application. This is why Jesus often stated:

But I Say Unto You”

Twelve times in the Book of Matthew alone Jesus states “but I say unto you”. As the Incarnate Word of God (see John 1:1,14), the “Word made flesh Who dwelt amongst us” Jesus understood the proper application of the Scripture. Like the Pharisees and Scribes He had book sense. At the age of 12 he sat in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and answering questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” But Jesus not only had book sense, He had God sense or wisdom. He knew how to apply these Scriptures because He was involved in the writing of them. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13). He is God among us. And as God Christ established the Sabbath.

What Is The SABBATH?

Matthew 12:1-2 (KJV)1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

In this episode of “The Pharisees vs Jesus” we see our Lord passing through a corn field. The disciples plucked ears of corn and began to eat them. Now they didn’t set up a fire, get a pot of water, and boil these ears of corn. They just shucked the ears and ate the raw corn off of the cob. The act of eating from a neighbor’s cornfield was not unlawful. The Scripture says:

Deuteronomy 23:25 (ESV) If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.

God’s people were to show love to one another. This meant that if a person was hungry, that person could take a few ears of corn or a little wheat to fill their bellies. God loves His people, and decreed:

Leviticus 19:9-10 (ESV) When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

God’s people are to love one another. There is nothing wrong with eating some of your neighbor’s crop if you are hungry. The Pharisees were not upset because the disciples were eating, but because they were plucking and shucking corn on the Sabbath.

Now what IS the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was established in the Old Testament at the very beginning of creation. The Bible says:

Genesis 2:1-3 (ESV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he RESTED on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God RESTED from all his work that he had done in creation.

The Bible says “God RESTED”. The word “RESTED” is the Hebrew שָׁבַת shabath. I want you to notice that the Sabbath or “Day of Rest” is largely symbolic. God does not get tired. The Bible says this:

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. HE DOES NOT FAINT OR GROW WEARY; his understanding is unsearchable.

God rested not because He was tired, but because the work was finished. God did the work, and there was nothing to add to it or to take away from it. Creation was not an act of evolution, but of Divine Design, and God finished it HIMSELF. So God rested. Many years later when God gave the Law of Moses to Israel He decreed in the Fourth Commandment:

Exodus 20:8-11 (ESV) Remember the SABBATH day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the SEVENTH DAY IS A SABBATH to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore THE LORD BLESSED THE SABBATH DAY AND MADE IT HOLY.

God made the seventh day – Saturday – a Sabbath to His people. They were not to work on the Sabbath. And God was serious about the Sabbath. We read in …

Numbers 15:32-36 (NKJV) Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. 35 Then THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and STONED HIM WITH STONES, AND HE DIED.

The Sabbath was a day of rest, a time to dwell on God and to worship Him for His finished work. In addition to the seventh day Sabbath there were Special Shabbatoth that precede certain Jewish holy days.

A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of The Passover
A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of Purim
A Sabbath Preceded The Feast Of Shuvah

There was also a Sabbatical YEAR where the Jew was to let the land rest and not plant, a time to rely on God. Every Sabbath that Israel celebrated was not primarily focused on being idle, but was focused on TRUSTING GOD. A Sabbath meant that you would cease your labor and rest in God’s mercy, loving Him for what He has given us.

God did not want His people to go hungry on the Sabbath. It is God Who made the corn grow, and kept it growing even on the Sabbath. It is God Who gives us oxygen to breath, and lets us absorb His blessing even on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees attacked Jesus for letting His disciples eat raw corn on the Sabbath Jesus told them:

Matthew 12:3-5 (KJV) … Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

The Shewbread (Hebrew: לחם הפנים lechem haPānīm‎‎, literally: “Bread of the Presence”) was twelve loaves baked and placed on display in the Temple on the Sabbath Day, eaten by the priests at the end of the week. When King David was running from his enemies he and his men ate the shewbread that only the priests should eat. God does not want His people to starve.

The priests often had to sacrifice in the Temple on a Sabbath day. God established the animal sacrifices as a foreshadowing of the Messiah. The priests did not violate God’s Law when they sacrificed on the Sabbath. Then Jesus told them this:

Matthew 12:6 (KJV) But I say unto you, That IN THIS PLACE IS ONE GREATER than the Temple.

Jesus is the Messiah to come. He is the One Who gave the Sabbath, and the One that the Sabbath looked toward. Jesus is the Sabbath Rest of His Children. He is our Sabbath. He is our Rest.

Jesus Is The Sabbath Of His People

He is greater than the Temple. Jesus also refers top Himself here as “The Son of Man”:

Matthew 12:8 (KJV) For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Jesus is not say A Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. He is saying THE Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”. We have already read in Scripture how a son of man was gathering sticks on the Sabbath and was stoned to death for it (read again Numbers 15:32-36). No one asked this man why he was gathering sticks. He was secluded, judged of God, and then killed for his insolence. Jesus said “there is Someone GREATER in THIS PLACE than the Temple”. That is Jesus. Jesus said “THE Son of Man is LORD EVEN of the SABBATH”. Our Jesus is the “Son of Man” – a title for the Messiah first found in the prophecies of Daniel:

Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN CAME WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

The Son of Man is a prophetic title for the Messiah. Jesus is referred to as “The Son of Man” 88 times in the New Testament. He is THE Messiah, the One Whom God would sin to be our Savior. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Eternal God come to redeem us from our sins. Jesus is fully God. The Father said to Him:

Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) But unto the Son {the Father} saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus is not a Rabbi with followers. He is God in the flesh, Christ among us, the Messiah manifest. The Sabbath symbolized the coming Rest that is Christ. God sanctified the Sabbath, and commanded that man rest in it. God sanctified Christ, and commanded that we rest IN HIM. Jesus is THE Lord of the Sabbath. He is the One “Whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world” (John 10:36). Jesus came to heal us of our sin. Jesus came to bring us into communion with God. Jesus is what the Old Testament Sabbath symbolized.

You were commanded to rest in the Sabbath.

You are now commanded to rest in Christ.

The Sabbath forced you into Communion with God.

The Christ brings you into communion with God.

During the Sabbath you rested from your works.

In Christ you rest from your works.

In the Sabbath you were cut off from God if you did not observe it.

In Christ you are cut off from God if you do not believe in Him.

Matthew 11:28 (ESV) Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST.

We rest from our sins in Christ, for He hath made Him to be sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might have the righteousness of God through Him. We have access to God through Christ.

Ephesians 2:18 (ESV) For through {Christ} we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

We stand before God clean because we have received Christ as Lord and Savior. We who believe no longer must keep the ceremonial laws of the Temple. There is no Temple in Jerusalem, but now we who are God’s people are His Temple.

(Colossians 2:13-17) And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. … Therefore, let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a SABBATH. THESE ARE ONLY A SHADOW OF WHAT IS TO COME; BUT THE SUBSTANCE BELONGS TO CHRIST.

Following the death and resurrection of Christ (Jesus rose from the dead “early in the morning ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK” (see Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1) the early Church began to worship not on the seventh day but on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Why?

Because the symbol of the Sabbath has come.
Christ is our Sabbath.
Christ is our Rest!
Jesus Now Illustrates That He Is Our Sabbath

Matthew 12:9-10 (KJV) And when he was departed thence, he went into their SYNAGOGUE: 10 And, BEHOLD, there was a man which had his hand withered. ..

Jesus did not run away, but went to the Synagogue, the place where the Jews had their Church services. While in the Synagogue on the Sabbath day a man was there with a withered hand. Now don’t miss this.

It was not a withered EYE.

It was not a withered LEG or FOOT.

He did not have a withered EAR.

He had a withered HAND. A HAND. A HAND.

Do you get that? It was a HAND. With our hands we work. With our hands we try to work our way to God. Yet our hands are withered. Our works are imperfect. God says to us:

Isaiah 64:6-7 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV) … no one is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

This man with the withered hand is a good illustration of every person born into this world. Our works are far short of God’s perfection. We are born in sin. The child disrupts because of sin. The toddler disobeys because of sin. This man had his hand withered. We are born in sin, corrupted because of Adam. But Christ is there. Christ is there.

The Pharisees pounce.

Matthew 12:10 (KJV) .. they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

The knew that Jesus was going to heal this man. Now think about this. I don’t have the power to heal anyone. You don’t have the power to heal anyone. The doctors, no matter how well educated, have no ability to heal anyone. Only God can heal a person. We can bandage and medicate and operate and pontificate, but we cannot heal. Only God can heal. “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Well, only God can heal, so it MUST be lawful. It is lawful to do good, to bless, to lift up, to encourage, to heal, to help. Jesus did not point out the absurdity of their question, but instead told the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:11-12 (KJV) … What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore IT IS LAWFUL TO DO WELL ON THE SABBATH DAYS.

If a sheep fell in a pit, we would lift it out even if it were the Sabbath. This man – a metaphor of humanity – has fallen into a pit. His hand is withered. He cannot use it. He is in a pit he cannot get out of, and is desperate for the touch of God. He needs the Sabbath rest of God. He needs Christ.

Matthew 12:13 (KJV) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. …

Jesus said “stretch forth thine hand”. Reach out TO ME. Try and touch ME. Christ is the Messiah Who saves whosoever will. He came to save the sinner, the withered, the heartbroken, the lonely. Jesus came to call a people to Himself so that we can rest in Him. This man had, I’m sure, tried to stretch out his hand many times. I’m sure he had gone to doctor after doctor trying to find relief. His hand was WITHERED, the Greek ξηρός xēros – kind of sounds like ZERO doesn’t it? There was nothing there. His hand was dessicated, without water, shrunken, wasted. There was no blood flow to it.

It was dead.

Stretch it out toward Me” Jesus said. Did the man say “Lord, I’ve tried to stretch it, and can’t. Why do you think I can stretch it now?” Did the man argue with Christ. Did he debate the Messiah? Did he say “I was sitting here minding my own business when You came in the Synagogue”? No. The man said nothing. He didn’t say a “Sinner’s Prayer” nor hunt for a baptistery.

He reached out to Jesus.

He focused on Christ, not on himself.

And he was healed.

Matthew 12:13 (KJV) … And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

If you wish to be whole, you must come to Christ. You must hear His Voice. You must respond to His Gospel. He is our Sabbath Rest. He is our Savior. And He wants you to love Him as He loves you. May God touch your hearts to reach out in faith to Him this very day!

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Words Matter

Preached at Riverview Baptist the Evening of April 2, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, Tennessee

Matthew 12:35-37 (KJV)   A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.   [36]   But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.   [37]   For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Matthew_12_35t37Words matter. Words always matter.

We think words don’t matter, but words matter more than anything else.

Words can bless, and words can curse.

When the Messiah came, the word that God used to describe Him was “The Word”. You heard me right. Jesus is “The Word”.

John 1:1-2  In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with God, and THE WORD was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.

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

We communicate by words. We let people know what we want, what we like, how we feel by our words. God wrote the Law through Moses. He spoke through the prophets. But man never truly understood until Christ came. Christ is the Living Word of God, God made flesh. He was no idle Word, but the deliberate Word of God.

The Word Of God Speaks The Love Of God

What do you think God would do when He became flesh? What would God say through His Word? The Word would free man from what binds him. This is what Jesus did. Religion didn’t do this, but God’s Word did. Religion can’t help, but God can. We read:

Matthew 12:22 (KJV) Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb …

A man was brought to Jesus. Three things were diagnosed as being wrong with this man. He was possessed with a devil. Evil had hold of him. When evil gets hold of someone, they can’t hear or speak the things of God.

Sin separates us from God.

Sin separates us from God’s design.

Psalm 66:18 (KJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD WILL NOT HEAR ME:

Sin possesses us and covers us so that God cannot hear us.

Isaiah 59:2 (ESV) but your iniquities have MADE A SEPARATION BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Sin hurts. Sin kills. Sin covers, not to bless, but to smother. Those in sexual sin are seeking companionship, yet in sin they find none. They chase, and are possessed not of joy and hope but pain and anguish. This man was possessed of a devil. He was not prospering in possession, but suffering.

He was BLIND. Sin blinds. He was DUMB. Sin makes foolish. He was trapped in the well of sin, unable to climb out. Then THEY, his friends, brought him to Jesus.

Mercy came running

Like a prisoner set free

Past all my failures to the point of my need

When the sin that I carried

Was all I could see

And when I could not reach mercy

Mercy came running to me!

Oh bless the name of God! We read:

Matthew 12:22 … {Jesus} healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

The man was freed from His sin. Whereas he was blind and dumb now he “both spoke and saw”. There is nothing better, no greater high, than to be set free from Satan and be possessed of Christ. What a joy it was the day that I met Jesus! When the people saw this healing we read:

Matthew 12:23 (KJV)  And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

This was a clear sign that the Messiah had come. Here is the Living Word of God, doing what only God can do. Everyone was amazed. Everyone that is, except RELIGION.

Religion Speaks The Broken Word Of Man

Religion, the tool of Satan, looks on and finds fault. Religion is upset because a priest didn’t sacrifice an animal. Religion is upset because a man in a robe didn’t shake a smoking vial over the people. Religion is man made works, dressed up in a fancy suit. Religion – whether it be Catholic or Reformed, Independent or Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist, Pentecostal or stoic. Religion wears many names, but man made religion always does the same things.

Religion either speaks NOTHING of Christ,
Or makes Christ NOTHING!

Matthew 12:24 But when the PHARISEES HEARD IT, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

Someone came to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus did. Some excited party, some new convert, some amazed onlooker ran to the Pharisees and said “Guess what Jesus did!”. The Pharisees weren’t there. They didn’t experience what Jesus did. But the “heard it”. I’ve seen the same things in Churches. Some young person gets saved, is touched by Christ, and is on fire for the Lord. They run to someone they think is an Elder for a little mentoring, just to share their faith. Then that “Elder” says:

Give it time. You’ll get over this excitement after a while.
Soon you’ll relax and be like me”

God save us from the Pharisees, the critics, the messengers of Satan. These people slandered the Lord. “Jesus casts out demons by Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons”. They demonized Christ and His followers before the people – saying what could neither be proven nor was true.

Our Jesus did not attack back, but explained the foolishness of their statement. He said:

Matthew 12:25-28 Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

No Kingdom divided against itself can stand. Jesus is the exact opposite of Satan. Satan and his kingdom of darkness have one Word that they speak, whereas Christ and His Kingdom of light have a totally different Word. Jesus was casting out demons and sickness by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. He was not using demons to cast out demons.

Darkness Cannot Cast Out Darkness.

The Flesh Cannot Cast Out The Flesh.

The Devil Cannot Cast Out The Devil.

Religion Cannot Free A Man From Sin.

This is why the Christ Follower is told to turn the other cheek, to reject vengeance, to love at all times.

Romans 12:19-21 (KJV)  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  [20]  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  [21]  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Child of the King relies on the King. The Child of Christ rests on Him. We do not stoop to darkness, but walk His path, with Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:30 He that is NOT WITH ME IS AGAINST ME; and he that GATHERETH NOT WITH ME SCATTERETH ABROAD.

You are either WITH Jesus, or you are NOT.

There is no fence sitting with Jesus, no Switzerland in this war between light and darkness. Satan’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Darkness. Christ’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Light, a Kingdom that cherishes the Word of God and magnifies the Will of God. Choose Whom you will serve. Get on one side or other other. Straddling the fence will only give you splinters in your gluteus maximus.

Words Can Condemn You

The Pharisees – Rejecting The Word Of Christ – Were Guilty Of The Unpardonable Sin. The Unpardonable Sin Is To Speak Against The Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The Unpardonable Sin is not a thing you DO, but a thing you SAY.

Jesus Christ is THE Word of God Who cast out demons by the Spirit of God. The Pharisees saw a clear work of God and rather than giving God the glory they gave the glory to Satan. They said that Christ was using demons to cast out demons. When a person’s heart is that hardened then it is too hard to be breached by the Gospel of salvation.

Thew Pharisees got into this predicament and committed this sin by continually speaking that which was not true to God’s Word. They kept saying the wrong thing and kept rejecting Jesus until they could no longer attempt to hear the Gospel of salvation. Their lips spoke poison that cursed them.

God will forgive any sin if it is repented of, but sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. Why? Because the heart of the sinner is hardened – like Pharaoh’s heart – and will not hear nor submit to the Gospel.

The danger of speaking evil is that the lips eventually lead the body to destruction. What is spoken is a reflection of the heart. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:33-35 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Just as a thermometer in the mouth determines if a person is sick or well, the words a person speaks shows whether that person is saved or lost. Words are the fruit of our lives. If we are saved by hearing the Word of Christ’s Gospel then our hearts are changed. And if our hearts are changed then our words will reflect that.

Jesus called the Pharisees “vipers” because their mouths were filled with poison. Like the serpent of Eden, the Pharisees spoke against the Word of God and against the Spirit of God. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things”. The saved person is changed inwardly, and that change is both SEEN and HEARD outwardly.

Words Always Matter

The Pharisees attacked Christ and God with their words. Notice how Jesus responds:

Matthew 12:36 But I SAY UNTO YOU..

You said THIS, dear Pharisees, but I SAY THIS. What did Jesus say?

Matthew 12:36-37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

The word “idle” is the Greek ἀργός argos which means “Lazy, shunning labor”. An idle word is a word without thought behind it. An idle word is NOISE, a NUISANCE. Words matter. By our words we shall be either justified or condemned. Words matter. What we say matters. What Jesus said matters.

At this point the Pharisees did what most people do when losing an argument – they changed the subject. “Well Jesus, show us a sign”. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:39-40 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: 40 For AS JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE’S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.

Jesus has given us all the sign we need in His death and resurrection. As Jonah was three DAYS and three NIGHT in the belly of the whale, so JESUS was three DAYS and three NIGHTS in the heart of the earth.. He died for our sins. He was buried for our sins. Three days and three nights later He rose from the grave.

He rose from the heart of the earth so He could redeem the hearts of His people!
Blessed be His Name forever.

Every year about this time people speak of Easter, of “Good Friday”. I don’t believe in “Good Friday”. Why? Because Jesus said:

Matthew 12:40 For As Jonah Was THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE’S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.

I have read numerous commentaries that said “A part of a day is counted as a whole day when determining the death of Christ”. That may be true. You might be able to get THREE DAYS from Friday to Sunday, but there’s no way you can get THREE NIGHTS from Friday to Sunday. To say that Christ died on Friday just doesn’t fit what He said, so therefore I reject it. Unless Jesus said, I cannot. Our Lord Jesus spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. He died for our sins, just as He said. Does that matter? I think it does. I think every Word of God matters. I hope you do, too.

Words matter. His Word matters. He died to set us free, and rose again to raise us from the dead. If you have believed on Him then you will be with Him, in agreement with Him, both now and forever.

And that’s a Word that ought to make us all happy.

Arthur Stace is a man I never met who grew up in a place I’ve never been. Arthur lived in Sydney, Australia. He grew up poor. To survive he stole bread and milk, and ate leftover food from garbage bins. By the time he was 12 years old he was made a ward of the state, and worked in a coal mine. He had no education. By the time he was 15 years old he had spent time in jail, and eventually joined the military, but was released on a medical discharge. Arthur was a man possessed by Satan. But on August 6th, 1930 this recovering alcoholic heard the glorious Gospel of Christ. The Preacher that night said:

“Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?”

Arthur gave his life to the Lord, and wanted to serve Him. God put on his heart to write the word “Eternity”. He said: “Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity.” Arthur was illiterate, but he found that he could easily write the word “Eternity” though he could barely write his name. He took a piece of chalk and wrote “Eternity” on sidewalks and pavements, where ever he could. When arrested by police he said “I have permission from a higher power”. Over the next 35 years he would write “Eternity” over 500,000 times, so much so that he became a legend in Sydney. No one knew his name until 1956 when a reported from the Sydney Sunday Telegraph saw him write “Eternity” on a footpath. He is now with our Lord in Eternity

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A Golden Invitation

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist the morning of April 2, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia,  Tennessee

Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV)  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.   [26]   Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.   [27]   All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and ctkhe to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.   [28]   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.

Jesus had just finished “upbraiding” the cities where He had done mighty works, clearing showing Himself to be Messiah, only to have these cities reject Him. There were three cities – Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida – an “Evangelical Triangle” where most of Jesus’ miracles were done. Yet for all of Jesus’ love, for all the good He did, they would not repent. Jesus cursed these cities – all predominantly Jewish – because of unbelief. He said:

Matthew 11:21-24 (KJV)   Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.   [22]   But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.   [23]   And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.   [24]   But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Why did Jesus curse these cities more than any others? Archaeological excavations at these sites showed that the Synagogues – the Jewish places of worship in these cities – had become infused with the world.

The Synagogue at Chorazin allowed a Medusa, a god from Greek mythology, to be built into the wall. Jesus brought His Gospel of the Kingdom to these cities, but because the Synagogues (Churches) had so absorbed the world they refused to repent and turn to His loving embrace.

John 1:11 (ESV) {Jesus} came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The people who were of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rejected their heritage and the covenant promises God made to them. In America many of the places of worship that used to glorify God now glorify humanism, New Age, and Eastern religions. The curse of Christ is on all who depart from the living God, but the blessing of Christ is on all who receive Him as He is.

In the midst of this amazing unbelief, our Lord prayed His first recorded prayer in the Gospels.

The First Prayer Of Jesus

Matthew 11:25 (KJV)  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father …

Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:5-15. We studied that a few weeks ago. Yet as we have read and studied through Matthew we have seen no recorded prayers of Jesus until now. Matthew 11:25 begins the first recorded prayer of Jesus in this Gospel. That doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t pray. I believe that Jesus stayed in contact with our Father at all times. Look at the text:

At that time – immediately after Jesus rebuked Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida

Jesus ANSWERED – Who did Jesus ANSWER? The Father!

Jesus was in a state of prayer, of contact with His Heavenly Father, at all times. He exemplified what the Apostle ordered:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)  Pray without ceasing.

A mere mortal would have been discouraged at what Jesus faced.

He went to three predominantly Jewish cities.

He preached and healed and blessed.

Matthew 11:5 (KJV)   The blind receive their sight, 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.

Yet for all of this at the end of the day those cities rejected Him as He presented Himself.

The religious leaders called Jesus “a glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19). They said “Christ casts out devils by the Prince of devils” (Matthew 10:25). This has to be discouraging. Imagine if you will, preparing to preach and to teach for hours, yet have those whom you lovingly prepared for not only refuse to come, but to have them back stab you. Imagine giving of your soul to reach out to those in need, but being ridiculed by other “preachers”, mocked by other Satans, accusers, evil but “Reverend” men.

Jesus suffered in His ministry long before He suffered on the Cross of Calvary. He did good, but was evil treated. But Jesus ANSWERED.

This is a good example for us to follow. When confronted with evil that cannot be defeated, do not be discouraged. Look to the Father and PRAY!

Though rejected, though used and abused, Christ did not despair but hid Himself in the Father.

Jesus was in a state of prayer at all times. And following His rebuke to the three unbelieving cities Jesus answered not man, but His Father Who spoke to Him and encouraged Him. And in the midst of His rejection Jesus spoke to His Father. He was in a dialogue with the Father, and let that relationship be what gave Him courage.

Matthew 11:25 (KJV)  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, …

Praying, Jesus thanked the Father and magnified Him as Lord. In times of discouragement the greatest blessing is to know that the Father is LORD of Heaven and Earth. God does not just reign in Heaven. I was watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie called “Conan the Barbarian” when he spoke of his false god Crom. He said “I seldom pray to Crom, for he never listens”. That’s how many people approach the True God of all, Yahweh. But our God does listen, and our God is in control. He is no fantasy, but the reality that makes all reality.

Psalm 90:1-2 (ESV) Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Though three cities should have been receptive to the Gospel, though these three rejected Christ, He was not discouraged. God is in control. God is in control no matter what may come. He oversees everything. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

Psalm 8:1-2 (ESV) O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

Rather than be discouraged Christ sought God’s Face – and found Him faithfully with Him. God is with His Children. Jesus prayed, thanking the Father that …

Matthew 11:25 (KJV)  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

The great truths of God – the salvation of His Gospel – cannot be understood by egg heads, by “the wise and prudent”, by those who think they know it all. To the self righteous Pharisees Christ said:

Matthew 9:12-13 (KJV)  … They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.   [13]   …. for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

If you think you are right before God, Christ is not for you. He came for broken people who acknowledge their brokenness. He came to help those who acknowledged their helplessness.

Many people never experience the blessings of God because of their pride. They want to go to God arrogantly, telling God what He must do. Jesus emphasized what faith is one day when:

Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV) … CALLING TO HIM A CHILD, HE PUT HIM IN THE MIDST OF THEM 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you TURN AND BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, YOU WILL NEVER ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

What is the way of salvation? To hear God. To hear Christ call.

To come to Him. To submit to Him. To run to His embrace.

This is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that God would have us all have.

It is only in surrender to God that you will be blessed! God hides His truth from the arrogant, but to those who come willingly to Him He blesses.

Whether You Believe Or Not
All Things Are Delivered To The Son

Matthew 11:26-27 (KJV) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.   [27]   All things are DELIVERED unto me of my Father: …

Jesus said “ALL THINGS are DELIVERED unto Me of My Father”. The word “DELIVERED” is the Greek παραδίδωμι paradidōmi, which means “have been given over to” or “have been surrendered to”. ALL THINGS are delivered over to Jesus. You cannot be saved without Jesus. The Father has placed ALL THINGS in the hands of Him who:

Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV)… is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

ALL THINGS are given over to Christ by the Father. The Apostles clearly preached:

Acts 4:12 (ESV)… there is salvation in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN by which we must be saved.

Acts 16:31 (ESV) … And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

The early Church would bed amazed at how the modern American Church has muddled the message of salvation. Jesus was very clear that He and He alone is the way to salvation – and His Apostles understood this. Jesus continued…

Matthew 11:27 (KJV) … and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Word Study The word translated “KNOWETH” is the Greek ἐπιγινώσκω epiginōskō which means “to have an intimate knowledge of”. There are many who know of God, have a concept of God, but only Christ has an intimate knowledge of God. When we receive Christ as Savior Jesus can and does reveal the Father to us.

You may know God as “God”, but will not know Him as “Father” until you come surrendered to Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

What saves us from eternal damnation?

That God is our Father.

How does God become my “Father”?

When you come unto Him by faith in His Son.

Come Unto Christ

Matthew 11:28 (KJV) Come unto Me ….

  • Come To Christ. All things are placed in Christ’s hand. He has the keys of death and the grave. Jesus told John the Revelator:

Revelation 1:17-18 (KJV) … Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Jesus is the Source of all Life. Those Who come to Him have everlasting life. Comer to Him and live! He has defeated death. He has defeated the grave. He rose on the Third Day, and is alive forevermore. He has promised that ..

Matthew 19:29 (KJV)29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Jesus can make that promise, for He is the Author of Eternal Salvation to everyone who obeys Him! (Hebrews 5:9). Come to Christ, and live!

  • Come To Christ As You Are. Jesus did not say “Go and get yourself cleaned up, then come back and follow Me”. No, He said “Come unto Me, ALL”.

It does not matter who you are or what you have done. Turn from that old life, and turn to Jesus. Come! Come! He turns none away. Christ said “It is not the well who need a Doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but SINNERS to repentance”. Christ did not come for the arrogant, the prideful, the so called sinless. He came for the broken, the hurt, the weak. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28 (KJV) Come unto me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

He delights to come to those who surrender to Him.

I heard a story of a little orphan girl that was sick unto death. As she lay in hospital getting ready for surgery she told the girl in the next bed that she was frightened. Her companion told her, “Tell Jesus all about it, and let Him take care of you”. The little orphan said, “But how will Jesus know ME?” The child never knew her mother or father, and found it amazing that God would care for one such as her. Her friend said, “Put your hands out of the bed, and ask Jesus to take them. When He sees your empty hands He will know you are the one calling for Him.” The little orphan rolled over, put her hands outside of the bed. The next morning the doctor found the little girl was gone. Jesus came and took her to Himself.

If you labor and are heavy laden, put your hands out to Jesus. By faith reach toward Him. God cannot fill the full hand, but will bless the empty hand.

Let go of the world and latch onto the Christ. He will give you rest.

  • Come To Jesus As You Are Right NOW. Jesus commands that those weary and heavy laden comer to Him right now. Do not delay. So many people delay coming to Jesus for so many reasons. Come to Him and He will give you rest. Do not wait one more day.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV)… behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.

What if you wait and die in your sins. Come to Him now. Right now. Receive Him, and be saved.

  • Come To Jesus As Your Lord And Savior. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29-30 (KJV) 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.

A “Yoke” is what goes around a beast’s neck to control it. The Devil’s yoke is hard and heavy. He hurts us, and demands more and more until we are burdened beyond all reason. Not so with Christ. When you come to Christ surrendered to His control, His hand is light ands loving. Jesus will bless you more than you can imagine.

To live for Jesus is the beginning of true life. Come to Him today. Give your life to Him today! May God lead you to salvation through faith in Him.

Posted in Belong To God, Following Disciples, God's Children, Jesus, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

Sister Deena Potts Homegoing Service

At Riverview Baptist Saturday March 25 2017, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Deena Potts Obituary

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Confessing Christ

Preached To The Saints at Riverview Baptist the Morning of March 26, 2017
798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

Matthew_10_32t33CONFESS

Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV)   Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.   [33]   But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

That which makes a Church a “Church” or a Christian a “Christian” is that we have an uncompromising love for Jesus Christ. We love Christ because of what He has done for us. We love Jesus because of WHO He is. We love our Lord.

No Church wants to be known as Laodicea, the lukewarm Church that Jesus said

Revelation 3:15-16 (KJV) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

No one wants their Church to be spit out of the mouth of Christ. God has been good to every Christian. God has through Christ been given power, as the Scripture says

John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Receiving Christ and loving Him causes us to be “born of God”.

1 John 5:1 (KJV)  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

Those who are born of God love Him Who caused us to be born. We are saved not by causing God to agree with us, but by our agreement with God in Christ.

Loving Jesus Means CONFESSING Jesus

Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV)   Whosoever therefore shall CONFESS me before men, him will I CONFESS also before my Father which is in heaven.   [33]   But whosoever shall DENY me before men, him will I also DENY before my Father which is in heaven.

The Lord calls those who are His to CONFESS Him before men. What does it mean to CONFESS Him?

The word translated “Confess” is the Greek ὁμολογέω homologeō which is a compound verb. “Homo” means “the same thing” and Logeo means “to speak or say”. Put these two words together

Homologeo” means “To say the same thing about”

Every time you see the word “Confess”, “Profess”, or “Profession” in the King James Version of the Scripture the word “Homologeo” or “Homologia” is used, which is really the same Greek word. Salvation comes when we “Say the same thing” that God has said.

We are saved not when Christ agrees with us, but when we agree with Christ. Our Lord commands that we “say the same thing” that He says. We are to say this out loud, before others, and without shame. Salvation comes the day that we CONFESS Christ as our Lord, and agree with Him that “He rose from the dead”. One of the clearest of these Scriptures is:

Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)  That if thou shalt CONFESS (Homologeo) with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  [10]  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION (Homologeo) is made unto salvation.

When we CONFESS or SAY THE SAME THING That Christ Says
God, seeing our hearts, saves us.

We are to be confessors of Christ.

We are to “say the same thing” that our Lord has said.

The world will not like this!

  • We Are To Agree With Christ Though All The World Disagree With Us. We are to take Christ’s side in every dispute, regardless as to what position this puts us in. Jesus told us:

Matthew 10:24-26 (KJV)   The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.   [25]   It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?   [26]   Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

We are to stand with Christ even when attacked for our faith. The Pharisees – the religious leaders of that day – said of Jesus:

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

The religious crowd mocked Jesus, saying that He cast out devils by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. The religious crowd will mock YOU.

If Christ was attacked for doing good, we who are Christ’s shall also be attacked for doing good. Do good anyway. Do God’s work even if all the world stand against you because you love the Lord Jesus. Say the same thing that Jesus said – HOMOLOGEO – regardless as to what others may say. Expect to be attacked, but do not fear them. His truth will stand in the end.

  • What Jesus Christ Tells You, Do Not Hide It In Your Heart. Tell Others. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:27-28 (KJV)   What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.   [28]   And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

What Jesus whispers in love to you, tell others in love. He speaks to His people.

John 10:27-28 (KJV)   My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:   [28]   And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

The Holy Chain of salvation is:

His Sheep hear His Voice

His Sheep follow Him

His Sheep have eternal life

His Sheep NEVER perish

One link of this golden chain is attached to Christ, the other end to me. Christ speaks to me as I read His Word, as I pray, as I look upward, as I get into my prayer closet. My prayer closet can be in the middle of Walmart, or at the hospital as I wait on a dear member to be treated. I open the Book, read, stop, meditate, and ask. And Christ speaks!

What I tell you in the darkness – in private – speak in the light.
What I whisper in your ear tell to others.
Shout it from the housetops! Tell others.
My truths are not to be hidden for fear of others.
Do not fear them, but fear GOD Who can destroy!

The Devil says “Don’t rocks the boat. Compromise. Say nothing. Go along and you’ll get along. But Christ has spoken to His people. He has spoken on MARRIAGE:

Mark 10:6-9 (KJV)   But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.   [7]   For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;   [8]   And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.   [9]   What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Christ has spoken on SIN:

Luke 18:20 (KJV)   Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother.

Christ has commanded LOVE:

Mark 12:29-31 (KJV)  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   [30]   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   [31]   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Christ has spoken on HATRED:

Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)   For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:   [15]   But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We will NEVER be at one with the world, dear Church, but we MUST be at one with our Christ. Jesus does not call us to a debate, but to HOMOLOGEO, to SAY THE SAME THING that He has said.

You Who Believe Are Valuable – Loved Of God
Is God Valuable To You?

Matthew 10:30-31 (KJV) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.   [31]   Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Oh how God loves us! Oh how Jesus loves us!

Jesus tells us not to fear those who can only kill the body, but to fear God our Father. But we are also to remember that we are of great value to God. He has numbered the hairs of our head. He knows the smallest things about us. And God paid the greatest price for us.

He gave His Son for us.

Jesus said John 15:13 (KJV)   Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus laid down His life for us. He willingly went to Calvary, being punished for our rebellion, being beaten for our failures. Jesus died a criminal’s death though Pilate could find no fault in Him. Barabbas – a convicted murderer – was released whereas the crowd cried out for Jesus “Crucify Him”. The Bible declares the love of God in that wonderful text:

Romans 5:6, 8 (KJV)  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [8]  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Father held us in higher esteem than He did His only Begotten Son.
Christ held us in higher esteem than His own life.
How do we who are saved honor our Lord?

Matthew 10:35-36 (KJV) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.   [36]   And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

We are told hold Christ in the highest esteem.

There are a large number of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and other idolators who come to Christ every year as missionaries reach out to them with the glorious Gospel of Christ. Many of these are forsaken by their families, rejected, and some even killed because they call on the name of Jesus. But they all have the same attitude that the Ethiopian Eunuch had when the Evangelist Philip told him of Christ:

Acts 8:32-37 (KJV)  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  [33]  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  [34]  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  [35]  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  [36]  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  [37]  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

This is what it is to confess Christ. It is easy to join a Church, easy to speak well of Christ, but will you do as He says? The Eunuch believed on Christ “with all thine heart” and so was baptized as soon as possible. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:21 “baptism is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God”.

As a Pastor I have had two strange questions put to me about baptism. Someone asked to be baptized in private, on a non-Church day. Someone else living in sexual sin with her boyfriend asked to be baptized at the Church. I refused both requests. Why? Because baptism is a confession of Christ, a confession of a good conscience before God. I cannot baptize someone in active sexual sin. And baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ. Jesus commanded we be baptized, and so to confess Christ is to be baptized PUBLICLY!

Confession Of Christ Is To Love Christ FIRST

Matthew 10:37 (KJV)   He that loveth father or mother more than me is NOT WORTHY OF ME: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is NOT WORTHY OF ME.

Christ demands not our left overs, but our fervent love.

We are to love Him more than anything else. He gave the most for us. God expects us to love our families, and to honor our parents. But we are to love Christ more.

In a sense none of us are worthy of Christ. He alone is worthy. But Jesus calls us to love Him with our whole hearts. He does not demand that we forsake our families. Christians should be the best parents. He does not demand that we forsake our businesses. Christians should be the best employees. But Christ demands that we are to love Him more than all others. If we love Him more, we will love our families more. If we love Him more, we will love our businesses more. When we love Christ more, confessing Him before men, then we are best blessed.

Matthew 10:38 (KJV)   And he that TAKETH NOT HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOWETH AFTER ME, IS NOT WORTHY OF ME.

The Great Pastor C.H. Spurgeon once wrote:

What Christ is to you on earth, you will be to Him on the day of judgment. If you thought everything of Him, He will think everything of you.”

Jesus calls those who are His to “take up his Cross and follow after Him”. Jesus declared:

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

We are called to lose our lives in Christ. Confession of Christ is to say the same thing about Jesus. He is our Shepherd. He is our King. He is our Lord. He is our Savior. He is the One Whom we trust and follow. He is our Christ. I want you to read His words with me one more to time:

Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV)   Whosoever therefore shall CONFESS me before men, him will I CONFESS also before my Father which is in heaven.   [33]   But whosoever shall DENY me before men, him will I also DENY before my Father which is in heaven.

Years ago in West Tennessee a man visited our Church. At the end of the service he whispered in my ear, “How long has that fellow been coming to this Church?”. Surprised I said “A long time – he is one of our Deacons”. The man whispered, “I work for him – and never knew he was even a Christian”. What do you think Christ thinks of this?

If we confess Christ before men – before this world – then He will stand up and confess us before the Father in Heaven. He will say “this one was with Me on the earth. This one love Me, and He is mine, Father, He is mine!” And to these who have received Him as Lord and Savior He shall receive us to glory as Children of His Kingdom.

But the coin has a flip-side. If we deny Christ before men – refusing to confess Him – He will deny us before the Father in Heaven. What does that mean? A flippant faith that only acknowledges Christ when it convenient will not be blessed of God. We are called to serve Christ wholeheartedly.

If God is God, serve Him.

If you think the idols are gods, serve them.

But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Because we love the Lord.

Do you?

Posted in Belong To God, Following Disciples, God's Children, Sermons Preached, Witnessing | Leave a comment

If You Endure To The End You Shall Be Saved

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist the Evening of March 19, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew_10_1t4_16t22

Matthew 10:1-4 (KJV)  And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.  [2]  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;  [3]  Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;  [4]  Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Matthew 10:16-22 (KJV)   Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.   [17]   But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;   [18]   And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.   [19]   But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.   [20]   For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.   [21]   And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.   [22]   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

A lot has passed in the first 9 chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus has healed the sick, given the blind eyes to see, caused the crippled to walk, and has cast demons out of people. He has already battled several times with the Pharisees and Scribes.

And now He calls His “Apostles”. We read in verse 2 “now the names of the twelve APOSTLES are these”. This is the Greek ἀπόστολος apostolos which means “one sent forth with orders, specialized messengers”. The word Apostolos occurs over 70 times in the New Testament. Lander Roark notes in his word study that in ancient Greece and Rome the Apostolos were envoys sent out to establish the dominion of an empire. These Apostolos were sent to territories to conquer, subdue, convert, instruct, train, and establish new subjects in the culture of that empire. Jesus sent His Apostles out with a very specific commission. He …

Matthew 10:5-7 (KJV) … commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:   [6]   But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.   [7]   And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

They preached a Kingdom message. “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. God has come in the flesh. The promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are now being fulfilled in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Jesus Christ. These Apostles were pilgrims and pioneers. They were NOT to go to the Gentiles nor the mixed breed Samaritans, but were FIRST to go to God’s Israel. If they were rejected where they went Jesus told them:

Matthew 10:14-15 (KJV)   And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.   [15]   Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Christ came preaching His Kingdom in the first 9 chapters of Matthew.
Christ now sends these men out to preach His Kingdom.

Those who will not hear are not forced. We force no one to allegiance with Christ. They must decide, and if they die in their sins, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT than FOR THAT CITY.

The Darkness Will Fight The Light

These are Jesus’ words, and His commission. Jesus told His Apostles:

Matthew 10:16-17 (KJV)   Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.   [17]   But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

The darkness would not like what these Apostles represented. Jesus warned His Apostles that they would be attacked, hated, beaten, judged harshly. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that what He was asking them to do was to go to battle with the darkness of a fallen world. That it would be a bad time. They were not going out to party, but to conquer through love and to take the Messiah’s message outward. Jesus said:

Matthew 10:18-22 (KJV)   And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.   [19]   But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.   [20]   For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.   [21]   And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.   [22]   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

I want you to read verse 22 again with me, and focus on those words.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:
BUT he that ENDURETH TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED.
Light Endures! The Saved Endure.

The First Mark Of The True Believer Is Christ’s CALLING

Jesus Christ is the Builder of His Church. He calls people into His Kingdom. No one comes to Christ until called – and once called, you choose whether to answer the call or not. Christ called His Apostles, and He calls all who will hear to come to Him. That’s what’s going on in this text. Jesus called the Apostles.

Matthew 10:1 (KJV)  And when HE HAD CALLED UNTO HIM his twelve disciples

Jesus called them. In fact, He called some of them more than once. We read that Jesus called:

Matthew 10:2 …. The first, SIMON, who is called PETER, and ANDREW his brother

The first two on Matthew’s list that Christ called Apostles were Simon Peter and Andrew. But the Bible tells us that this is not the very first time these men were called by Christ. Earlier in Matthew we read:

Matthew 4:18-20 (KJV)  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  [19]  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.   [20]  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Simon Peter and Andrew were called by Jesus to be disciples, then called again to be Apostles. But is this the only time that these men had contact with Jesus. No, not at all. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, as was John. The Bible tells us that these men heard John the Baptist speak on Jesus.

John 1:40-42 (KJV)  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  [41]  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  [42]  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

You own what you name. Jesus gave Simon the name of Peter or Cephas which means “A Small Stone”. Peter and Andrew were called more than once – I think THREE TIMES – to follow Jesus. Jesus calls people to follow Him. We like Andrew may take others to Jesus, but Jesus must call them just as He called us.

Christ calls unto salvation whosoever will.
Jesus loves us, and calls us to love Him.

Romans 8:28-30 (KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED according to his purpose.  [29]  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  [30]  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also CALLED: and whom he CALLED, them he also JUSTIFIED: and whom he justified, them he also GLORIFIED.

People have debated, argued over, and twisted the words of the Apostle in this text. Yet the clear sense of the text is this. Jesus Christ called you, dear Christian, and called you with PURPOSE. You were not called to drift aimlessly on a cruise ship, and the Church is not the “Love Boat”. You are called to cut bait or fish for Jesus!

Nothing can happen to you outside of God’s purview. You are Predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Do you know what that means? It means that you who have answered His call will one day be like Jesus. You will have an uncorrupt mind like Jesus. You will have a glorified Body like Jesus. You will be an adopted Child of God because of Jesus. You will stand before God:

Called
Justified
Glorified
Forever in His Presence!

Praise God for that. God calls to salvation. Christ calls to salvation. The Spirit calls to salvation. We are not called to be evil or darkness, but to be like Christ.

2 Timothy 1:7-10 (KJV)  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  [8]  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;  [9]  Who hath saved us, and CALLED US WITH AN HOLY CALLING, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,  [10]  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Every Christian is called by Christ to follow Christ. There was a time in your life He said to you “Come, follow Me” and you followed. You were called on purpose. You were called with purpose. You were called to follow Him first. Several years ago (June 28, 2006) then President Barack Obama stated:

Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just.
We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation,
and a nation of nonbelievers.”

A lot of people got upset over that (myself included), but it is true. Cultural Christianity is now dead in America. Of course, it’s always been dead. Jesus came to call us to life, and purpose, and the cultural Christian only takes the name of Christ when it’s convenient to do so. Christ never came for that. He came to call people:

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) … a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who CALLED you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV) {God} has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

A Christian is called into the Light that is Christ.

We are called to be friends of Christ (John 15:15).
We are called to be a house of prayer (Mark 11:17).
We are called to be servants of all (Mark 9:35).
We are called to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34).
We are called to fellowship with Christ daily (1 Corinthians 1:9).
We are called the Children of the Living God (Romans 9:26).
We are called by the world foolish, but by God His own possession (1 Corinthians 1:26).
We are called to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15).
We are called into Christian liberty (Galatians 5:13),
and are called to love one another and to cherish God.
We are to walk worthy in our calling (Ephesians 4:1),
because God has not called us to uncleanness but unto holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
We are called to eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12),
and are called to follow in Christ’s steps when suffering (1 Peter 2:21).

When we look at the Apostles and their calling we see that some were common fishermen, but at least one was of royal blood. One was good with money, another a retired government worker. They came from all walks of life, and were both white and blue collar – but Jesus called them all. In the last Book of the Bible we read:

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The call unto salvation is whosoever will. Christ calls. His Apostles call. The Church calls. The Spirit calls. And whosoever will answer that call and follow Christ will be saved!

Romans 10:9-13 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  [10]  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  [11]  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  [12]  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  [13]  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Everyone can be saved, if they will but hear His call and follow Him.

The Second Mark Of The True Believer Is ENDURANCE

Jesus called twelve, and twelve responded and began to follow Christ. But notice Jesus said:

Matthew 10:22 (KJV) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: BUT he that ENDURETH TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED.

Matthew_10_1t4_MrEDDo not miss these words. The proof of salvation is not what you do on the OUTSIDE, but what has occurred on the INSIDE. I have noticed people dressing up their animals, putting hats and coats and little britches on their little dogs or pot bellied pigs. You can dress up a dog. You can put a pig in a fur coat and call her “Miss Piggy”. But no matter what you do, a dog is still a dog, and a pig is still a pig. When I was a little boy I watched a show called “Mr. Ed”. Do you remember him saying “Hello Wilbur”? I still know the theme song:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Now that was all good tv, and clean entertainment. But in reality a horse will always be a horse! And a lost person can dress up and call himself a Christian, but unless God has changed you, you are still lost. Jesus called twelve men to follow Him:

Simon Peter
Andrew
James the son of Zebedee
John the other son of Zebedee
Philip
Bartholomew
Thomas
Matthew
James the son of Alphaeus
Lebbaeus Thaddaeus
Simon the Canaanite
Judas Iscariot

Jesus called these twelve, and all twelve followed after Him – but not in their hearts. If I were to pick the one that would betray Jesus out of this bunch I would have picked Simon the Canaanite. After all, the Canaanites were such bad people that God gave their land to Israel, and told Israel to run them out! Of course the Canaanite would betray Jesus! Wouldn’t he?

Dear friends, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Christ’s betrayer would be:

Matthew 10:4 … Judas Iscariot, who ALSO betrayed him.

Don’t skip over the word “ALSO”. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, but that ALSO indicates that more than just Judas betrayed Jesus. Every Apostle betrayed Jesus when He went to the Cross. They betrayed Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked them to pray with Him, to be with Him in His time of need.

Matthew 26:38-39 (ESV) …. “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”   [39]  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Did they pray with Him? No. No. We are told in Matthew 26:40 … he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

Jesus prayed alone. And when the soldiers came to get Him, Jesus stood alone. We are told in Matthew 26:56 “all the disciples left him and fled.” Jesus stood alone, betrayed. He faced the Cross with none to help. Peter, the Chief Apostle, who said “I will never forsake You – I will fight to the death for You!” … it was Peter who denied Jesus before a crowd:

Matthew 26:74-75 (KJV)  Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.  [75]  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

I dare say every Christian who has ever lived has at one time denied Christ. Before you say you have not, think carefully. You have at times done what He has said not do. You have at times not loved God first, nor your neighbor as yourself. You have denied Him in works. And you, like Peter, have wept bitterly. Jesus knew Peter would fail. He knows we will fail. But if we fail, we who are genuinely His ALWAYS COME BACK TO JESUS. Like Salmon, we return to our birthplace. We swim upstream struggling, but we get back to our Lord and Master.

Not Judas Iscariot.
Judas Iscariot never loved Jesus.
And Jesus knew this when He called Judas.

Jesus said: John 6:70 … “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and YET ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL?

Jesus called all twelve, and all twelve followed. But one of those twelve WAS NOT SAVED. How do we know if a person is a brother in Christ? Jesus said “You shall know them by their FRUITS” (Matthew 7:20). It is not FRUIT that shows the inward change of Christ, but FRUITS, PLURAL. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Those Who Are Born Of God Are OVERCOMERS

1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that OVERCOMETH the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that OVERCOMETH shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 3:5 He that OVERCOMETH, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Twelve men were called by Christ, but one of those twelve outwardly followed but never gave his heart. Judas Iscariot sold the Master for 30 pieces of silver, but he was never saved in the first place. The proof of salvation is PERSEVERANCE. Those who stay with Christ are the Children of God. Those who stay with His Church are of His Church. But those who are here today, but tomorrow gone like a fog when the sun rises were never His Children in the first place.

1 John 2:19-20 (KJV)  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.  [20]  But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

There is a difference between the Cultural Christian,
the Nominal Christian,
and the Genuine Christian.

The Genuine stays with Christ and His Church. The false believers do not stay when the darkness challenges. The pretend light, the picture of a candle, the dollar store imitation does not lighten nor fight the dark. Dark goes to dark.

After Judas betrayed Jesus he did not go to God repenting. He instead went back to the dark Pharisees and Priests and tried to give the 30 pieces of silver back. Then rather than repent he took the coward’s way out. He killed himself.

Matthew 27:5 (NKJV) Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and HANGED HIMSELF.

His death accomplished nothing but sent him to hell sooner. Would that he had repented. The other eleven men repented. They ran toward Christ. Not away, but toward.

Job 17:9 (NASB) Nevertheless the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will grow stronger and stronger.

All betrayed Jesus, but those who are His sheep return to their Shepherd. Those who are His love their Lord forever! Oh Beloved, remember that God called all of Israel to follow Him out of Egypt, but ended up disowning all of that first generation but Moses, Joshua and Caleb. Why? Because many heard the call, but their hearts remained in Egypt. Those who belong to Jesus do not have their hearts in Egypt, but in Christ’s Kingdom. We love Him so!

We love Him on the mountaintop. We love Him in the valley. We love Him in pleasure. And love Jesus all the more in suffering. We love Him because He is our only hope.
We love Him because we belong to Him, And He belongs to us!
Praise Him forever! Because He is worthy!

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Jesus Is Able

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist the Morning of March 19, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

healing-the-blind-duccio-14thc

Matthew 9:27-31 (KJV)  And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.  [28]  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  [29]  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.   [30]  And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.   [31]  But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

Jesus had just finished raising a little twelve year old girl from the dead. The world laughed at Him when He said “The child is not dead, but sleeping”. The world has always laughed at Jesus, undervalued Jesus, honored Him out of the side of their mouth. The Bible says “they laughed Him to scorn” (Matthew 9:24). The world and the worldly know nothing of Jesus. They are blinded by the devil. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV)  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  [4]  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The world has eyes, but cannot see. Jesus stood above a dead girl and said “Talitha Cumi” which means “Little Girl, Rise”. The dead little girl heard Jesus and rose to follow Him, coming from death to life. “Lazarus come forth” (John 11:33) and the walking dead outside the tomb could not believe their eyes. Jesus spoke, and the dead came to life. Those who think they are alive without Christ are dead, “For in Him was LIFE; and the LIFE was the LIGHT of men” (John 1:4). People saw Jesus with their eyes but could not believe.

But two blind men who could not see HEARD Jesus. And they chased Jesus until they got what they wanted.

Suffering Leads Us To Jesus

One of the most common questions I’m asked as a Pastor is

Why does a loving God allow suffering in the world?”

I always tell them that this is Adam’s fault. He brought sin into the world – and death by sin – by disobeying our Loving God. We suffer because of sin. I grieve over the suffering and death of children, of people I know. But I also know this.

Suffering Draws Us Toward God.
And that, dear friends, is a good thing.

We were made in the image of God to walk with God. What God gave Adam in the Garden of

Eden was not about “STUFF”.
It was about RELATIONSHIP.

God gave Adam a perfect Wife. God gave Adam a perfect environment. But what God gave Adam above all else WAS HIMSELF. The world fell into sin because Adam rejected the Presence of God in favor of making himself god. When we draw away from God we bring pain into our lives and into the lives of others.

Matthew 9:27 (KJV) … Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him,

Who followed Jesus? Two blind men. Many of the narratives in one Gospel is told from another perspective in another Gospel. But this account is unique. Only Matthew records it. Two blind men follow Jesus. Why are they following Jesus? Because they are suffering. They are blind.

Matthew 9:27 (KJV)… two blind men followed him, crying, and saying,

  • These Men Were Sincere In Seeking Christ The Bible says that they were “crying and saying”. To “cry”, the Greek κράζω krazō, which means to “cry out loud, to shout, to speak with a loud voice”. They were LOUD. They wanted Jesus’ attention. They weren’t worried about what others might think. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:6 (ESV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

You cannot hope to be blessed by God if you are not vigorous in seeking HIM.

These men shouted after Jesus. If you’ll notice the text, Jesus did not immediately stop when they cried out. Jesus kept on going. We read later in the text that “when Jesus was come into the house”. The Lord had a destination, had a place He was going.

Some people think that Christ stands hat in hand waiting for the blessing of our presence. This is not true. We need God – God does NOT need us. Don’t expect to be blessed if you are half asleep in your faith. Don’t expect pardon and blessing from God if you’re more afraid of what others might say than you are of God. The Bible says:

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”

These men weren’t afraid of what others might say. They wanted to be blessed of Christ, so they cried out to Christ.

Matthew 9:27 (KJV)… two blind men followed him, crying, and saying,

  • These Men Persevered Though The Way Was Hard They were not distracted by anything, but “followed Jesus”.

When I was a little boy we played a game similar to Pin The Tail On The Donkey. I don’t remember the name of the game, but we drew a line on a road or walkway. Then your “friend” would tell you where to step, while your “enemies” would shout conflicting instructions to you. You had to stay along the line and reach the goal to win.

Oh, did I mention you were blind folded?

Imagine this. Blindfolded, with just the words of your friend to keep you on the path. All the while the enemy team yells conflicting directions, all intended to get you to fail.

That’s what it was like for these blind men. They have no eyes. They have ears, they can hear, but cannot see Jesus. They walk after Christ. They listen for His voice. People get in their way, and they walk around these people. Maybe they cry out to the crowd. “Do you see Jesus? Where is He? We must have Jesus!” A malicious little boy calls out. “He’s over here”, just to watch them stumble and fall. Another cruel person says “There’s no Jesus here. He’s gone. You need to get gone, too.” But they don’t listen to the negative. They cannot look, but they can hear. They hear Jesus’ voice. Jesus the Pharisees who followed after Him but were spiritually blind men:

John 10:26-30 (ESV) 26 … you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,a is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.

These men are persistent. Blind, stumbling, they hear His Voice and follow Him. They are like Jacob of old who, wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, said:

Genesis 3:25 (ESV) …. I will not let You go unless You bless me.

These men were persistent in their seeking of Christ. If we would persist in seeking Him, being persistent in prayer, we would always experience the blessing of His Presence.

Matthew 9:27 (KJV)… crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.

  • These Blind Men Came To Christ HUMBLY They approached Christ demanding “Mercy”. They did not come as many come to God demanding their rights. So many people come before God demanding their rights before His Throne. If God gave us what we deserved, we would deserve HELLFIRE and BRIMSTONE. In America we feel that we are ENTITLED to only the best. But each and every one of us are sinners.

But God will give us mercy if we cry out to Him.

James 4:6 (ESV) {God} gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

The best way to NOT get a blessing from God is to go before Him DEMANDING. These men wanted their eyesight. They wanted to receive a sense that most of us take for granted. But they didn’t go to Jesus saying:

Lord, everyone else has eyesight. We demand You give us eyesight too!”
It is our RIGHT as humans to SEE!”

We have no rights before God other than to His mercy. As Dr. D.A. Carson wrote in The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God:

Mercy is coupled with other attributes of God in Psalm 86:15, “You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (ESV). God’s mercy is rooted in His love for us. He is merciful, in large part, because He is love (1 John 4:8). As sinners, we DESERVE punishment (Romans 3:23). God’s righteousness requires punishment for sin—He wouldn’t be holy otherwise. Since God does love us and is merciful, He sent His Son (John 3:16). The fullness of His mercy is seen in Matthew 27. Jesus is brutally beaten and murdered on our behalf; Jesus received our just condemnation, and we received God’s mercy.

Because of His love for us, God wants us to be with Him. His mercy is required for that to take place; there is an inseparable connection between God’s love and mercy. Jesus laid down His life and became the sacrificial lamb (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29) so that God’s mercy could be extended to us. Instead of punishing us for our sin, God allowed His Son to take the condemnation in our place. That is the ultimate act of God’s mercy (see Ephesians 2:4–5). To our eternal benefit, “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13b).”

These men went to God humbly. They cried after Jesus for MERCY. And they acknowledged Jesus as Messiah when they said “Thou SON OF DAVID, have mercy on us”. The “Son of David” is a title reserved for the Messiah. Jesus is Lord. He is the Son of David. There is no other Messiah outside of Christ. There is no other way unto Heaven. There is no other way to be blessed, but through Christ. The great C.H. Spurgeon preached:

We must plead after this fashion, ‘O God, if You destroy me, I deserve it. If never a comfortable look should come from your face to me, I cannot complain. But save a sinner, Lord, for mercy’s sake. I have no claim upon You whatever, but oh, because You are full of grace, look on a poor blind soul that gladly would look on You.’”

Too many people are never saved because of pride and arrogance.

Too many people think “God would be quite blessed if He receive Me. Why, Heaven would receive another Angel if I go there!” May I remind you that Angels are both GOOD and EVIL. The GOOD Angels are submitted to God. The GOOD Angels spend their time serving and glorifying God, not being served by Him.

  • These Blind Men Came To Christ DIRECTLY

Matthew 9:28 (KJV)… when He was come into the house, the blind men came TO HIM:

The only place you can be saved is by coming to Jesus.
The only way you can be blessed is by going to Him Who loves you.

Jesus was not the only person in the house. We at least know that Matthew was there, for he is recording this event. They didn’t come to Matthew and say “Matthew, you’re one of His first Apostles. Would you speak to Him on our behalf?” No, they didn’t.

They didn’t call for a “Priest” or a “Father” and say “Now you go to Jesus for us”. No, they didn’t do this. Listen to me.

They didn’t turn to a Preacher and ask “Is there some ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ I can repeat after you to get a blessing from Christ?” No, they didn’t. They went DIRECTLY to Jesus. They came TO HIM. I can and do pray FOR you, but you need to go TO HIM if you want to be blessed.

Notice How Jesus Responds To These Men

Jesus always asks good questions. Here’s some of the questions that Jesus has asked up to this point in the Gospel of Matthew:

if you greet your brethren only, what is unusual about that?
Do not the unbelievers do the same? Matthew 5:47

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Matthew 6:27

Why are you anxious about clothes? Matthew 6:28

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye yet fail
to perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? Matthew 7:2

Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16

Why are you terrified {at the storm}? (Matthew 8:26)

These blind men come to Jesus begging, crying, shouting for mercy. They have chased Him down the street for I don’t know how long. And Jesus asks them:

Matthew 9:28 (KJV) … Believe ye that I am able to do this?

I want you to notice what Jesus did NOT ask them.

  1. Jesus did not ask them “are you men WORTHY of this? Have you been good men?” So many people say “I will not come forward to be saved until I am worthy”. If that is the case, dear friend, then you will die and go to hell. None of us are worthy.

Romans 3:10 (NIV) There is no one righteous, not even one.

1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT) There is no one holy like the Lord.

Mark 10:18 (ESV) No one is good except God alone.

Jesus knows this. Jesus said “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32). Jesus does not ask these men about their characters, nor how they lived their lives up to this point. He asks, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

  1. Jesus does not ask them “What have you done to CORRECT THIS PROBLEM?” He doesn’t ask curious questions, nor does He speculate. Jesus just asks them about the placement of their faith. “Do YOU believe that I – I alone – am able to do this?”.

Faith is the bucket by which God blesses us. We lower the bucket into the well that is Christ, believing that He will fill it. Is our focus on Jesus?

A man came to Jesus once with a son that was possessed of a demon. Jesus asked “How long has this been happening to him?” The father replied:

Mark 9:21-22 (NKJV) … “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

The daddy said “IF You can do ANYTHING”. This indicates that he came to Christ, but had doubt. He had seen his baby for years perhaps do self destructive things. Could Jesus help? Could He? Jesus told the daddy

Mark 9:23 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “IF YOU CAN BELIEVE, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Can you believe in Christ? Do you believe that He is able to do this? Could the father believe? The Bible says:

Mark 9:24 (NKJV) Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

I have often wondered how they made suspension bridges across great chasms. I was reading one time that one met method is to shoot a thin but strong fishing line across the chasm. Then you send someone to the other side. You then tie a piece of stronger twine to the fishing line, and have your partner pull the twine. Then you tie the twine to rope, and then rope to chain, then chain to cable, until the heavy cable is pulled across the chasm.

When faith is weak, focus that faith on Christ. If it is but fishing line strong, shoot it across the chasm of doubt to the Lord. As He draws that line to Him, tie a stronger cord, trusting Him and Him alone. Jesus healed that child, and Jesus will bless the blind men.

Do YOU BELIEVE That I AM ABLE To Do This?”

Matthew 9:28-29 (KJV)  …. Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  [29]  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

When the blind men said “Yes, Lord” to Jesus, Jesus said “According to YOUR faith, be it unto YOU”. Do YOU believe that Jesus is able to heal you? Do YOU believe that Christ is able to save you? It is YOUR faith in HIM that ultimately will make the difference. The Bible says:

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Your grandmother – like my grandmother – may be able to pray that you will be led to Christ. But your grandmother cannot believe you into Heaven. Your sainted father, or loving aunt, or precious wife cannot get you into Heaven. If you want salvation from Christ them you must believe that HE IS ABLE. There are a lot of people who come to Christ and are never saved, never healed, never blessed. They come to Jesus but have no faith in Him. The question of salvation and blessing is

Do YOU believe that “Christ died, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to God”
? (1 Peter 3:18)

Do YOU believe that Jesus is able?

He is able. He is worthy.

Jesus touched these men. The Bible tells us that:

Matthew 9:30 (KJV) … And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

Their eyes were opened. Jesus told them “Tell no man”. Adam Clark in his commentary states that if Christ had been fully manifested as Messiah at this time the people would have tried to proclaim Him king. In John 6:15 they tried to make Jesus King by force, which caused Him to retreat into the mountains. Jesus is King, He is the King of Glory. But at this time He has come to seek and save the lost, to be the Lamb of God without spot or blemish.

Yet these men told anyway.

Matthew 9:31 (KJV) But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

The blessed men told when Jesus told them not to do so. Today we are supposed to tell. If Christ has blessed you, tell someone. If Jesus has opened your eyes to His glorious Kingdom, share this with someone. Give your testimony. Tell others.

For Christ is able to save them, too!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Pray The Lord Of The Harvest

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist at Prayer Meeting March 15, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

pr

Matthew 9:32-38 (KJV) As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

I was asked a question once by another Pastor, one that made me think. The question was:

Where do you find yourself today?”

I didn’t know how to answer, but have pondered that question for a long time now. Where do I find myself today, right now.

Our Lord Jesus found Himself every moment of His life walking with the Father, and living by the Spirit. He followed God. He is God. But as part of the Trinity, Jesus always found Himself working in union with that august Body. The Bible says that:

Matthew 9:36 (KJV) …when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

A sheep without a shepherd will get in the worst trouble. Sheep have no natural defenses against the predators. Sheep have no pointy horns. Their teeth are better suited for munching on grass rather than tearing flesh. They have no claws, but only hooves, soft as our fingernails. They have no speed, and if they are not periodically shorn they can eventually die from their ever growing fleece.

Sheep must have a shepherd.

Love Jesus, Not The World

When Jesus looked at the multitudes “He was moved with compassion”. This Greek word (σπλαγχνίζομαι splagchnizomai) means “to feel pity, deep sympathy for, a yearning for someone to be uplifted”. This is a deep hurt. I believe that as Jesus spoke these words tears flowed freely down His beautiful face. I believe that our Lord wept when He saw the state of the people, a people who should have been close to God, but were not.

Why were they in this state? All you need to do is read the context of our text. We read:

Matthew 9:32-33 (KJV) … behold, they brought to {Jesus} a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

A poor man was “possessed by a devil”. Why was he “possessed”? Probably because he allowed his life to drift in that direction. I want you to think of your life – your soul – as an empty cup. What you put into that cup is what manifests through the Body. The Bible says:

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

What you ingest physically effects the physical nature of your body.
What you ingest spiritually shows in the physical output of your body.
What Are You Feeding Your Soul?

In 1978 Evangelist Billy Graham wrote in his book The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power In Your Life”:

AN ESKIMO FISHERMAN came to town every Saturday afternoon. He always brought his two dogs with him. One was white and the other was black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets. On one Saturday the black dog would win; another Saturday, the white dog would win – but the fisherman always won! His friends began to ask him how he did it. He said, “I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger.”

Why was this man “possessed with a devil”. We are not usually born that way. There are instances where are people are born damaged, and have limitations from birth. But this man was, the scripture says, “POSSESSED with a devil”, the Greek δαιμονίζομαι daimonizomai – Demonized, the Possession of Satan. You don’t just stumble into something like this. God gave you a soul at birth, and for most of us we own our souls till we give them away. You can give your soul away.

Some give their souls away SEXUALLY.
Some give their souls to ALCOHOL or DRUGS.
Some give their souls to GREED or MONEY.
Some give their souls to ANGER.

God ultimately owns our souls. He has said:

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.

God gave us our souls, but our souls still belong to Him. We can put what we want to put in the cup of our soul, but every putting has a consequence. Everything we put inside that is not of God can lead us to possession by another!

This poor man has trod a terrible road away from the Lord. He is now possessed by a devil – demonized.

Free will abused is no will at all.
This man no longer has a will.

They brought him to Jesus”. They had to lead Him to the Lord. His will is gone. Unlike the blind men that we studied this morning, men who chased after Christ though the road was dark And unseeing, this man was “dumb”. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t make a coherent sentence. He probably could barely think. He listened to the world, and walking down that spider-hole was now engulfed.

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

When you love the world the world – possessed of Satan – will trap you. The solution to this trap is Jesus. Jesus can break the hold of the devil on a life. “They brought” – people who loved this man brought the possessed man to Jesus.

Matthew 9:32-33 (KJV) …. they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake …

In the Presence of Christ “the dumb spake”. Think about this.
A child spends years learning how to speak.
This man INSTANTLY speaks!
Whereas he was bound by Satan, now he is released.
There is FREEDOM in Christ.
There is JOY in Christ.
There is PEACE in Christ.
There is HAPPINESS in Christ.
There is POWER in Christ.
There is FAMILY in Christ.
There is a KINGDOM in Christ.
There is ETERNITY in Christ.

Again, there is freedom in Christ – not freedom to sin, but freedom FROM sin. There is family in Christ. The best mind I have ever had was when I gave my life to Christ. The best life I have ever had was while following Christ. I remember as a young Christian I loved to listen to Andre Crouch, a wonderful Christian singer now with our Lord. He sang …

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
I know that you’ve got mountains,
That you think you cannot climb,
I know your skies looks so dark,
That you think the sun will never ever shine,
But in case you don’t know it,
I tell you God’s Word is true,
Everything He has promised,
I know that he will do it for you.

Jesus touched this man, just as He touched all who came to Him and will touch all who come to Him. But notice what the text says next.

Matthew 9:33 … and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was NEVER so seen in Israel.

Israel is God’s Chosen people. It is the people of whom the Lord said:

Deuteronomy 7:7-9 (ESV) The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 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 commands.

God loved Israel. The Bible tells us that God was Shepherd to Israel, saying “You are My Sheep, the Sheep of My pasture” (Ezekiel 34:31). Yet Israel wandered from God. In a similar vein America was founded by Christians, by people who loved the Lord Jesus. “Pilgrim” is a Christian designation. Those who came over on the Mayflower loved the Lord. The first rule of law in the Americas was “The Mayflower Compact” (I have given you a copy tonight) which states in part …

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic …”

Israel was founded and chosen by God. America was founded and chosen by God. But when Jesus looked out on the people He saw them as “Sheep without a Shepherd”. Why?

Religion And Self Righteousness Possessed The Leaders

Matthew 9:34 (KJV) But the PHARISEES said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

The Pharisees – men who should have known and cherished Christ – accused Christ of ministering healing through Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons. They repeat this accusation when Jesus does a similar healing in …

Matthew 12:22-28 (KJV) Then was brought unto {Jesus} one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the PHARISEES heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Jesus was casting out sickness, sin, and devils by the Spirit of God, not by Satan or by Beelzebub. The reason that the Pharisees were so against Christ is that they had no relationship with GOD but with RELIGION. They were RELIGIOUS. They were SELF RIGHTEOUS.

The leadership of Israel had ceased to love and follow the Lord. They loved and followed themselves. Beloved, we must all love and follow the Lord, lift Him up, honor Him. He is worthy of all praise and obedience. The reason that Israel has fallen to captivity, the reason that Israel is in a terrible state, is because her leaders (who should have loved Christ) rejected the Messiah.

There is a place in the Scripture that has long puzzled me. It is a place where the Bible tells us that King David – a man after God’s own heart – numbered his troops. The Bible tells us that:

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel”
(ESV – 1 Chronicles 21:1).

The devil whispered in David’s ear. King David had had an extraordinary role in leading Israel up to this point. He had heeded the Lord, and won every major battle he fought against the enemy. His forces grew. Then the devil whispered to the King:

If it wasn’t for YOU things wouldn’t be so good.”
“Number your troops so you can see how WELL you have done”

A person only has the right to number what belongs to him. Israel belongs to God. God commanded a census of Israel in Exodus 30:12, but never commanded this census. When David ordered the census his General Joab begged him not to do it.

1 Chronicles 21:3-4 (ESV) … Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my Lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem.

Joab realized what David was doing was allowing pride to creep in. He was like many a Mega-Church Pastor who suddenly knows more than anyone else. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 3:7 (NKJV) So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but GOD WHO GIVES THE INCREASE.

Joab warned against a census, but in the end obeyed his king. He went out and counted Israel – though he did not count Levi or Benjamin

1 Chronicles 21:6 (ESV) …. for the king’s command was ABHORRENT to Joab.

Joab is like so many Christians today. Rather than refuse to sin and to follow the way of sin, we try and blend in. Joab did a little sin. But with God “little sin” is still sin, and sin brings death.

What happened? God was displeased with this thing, and He struck Israel (1 Chronicles 21:7). David realized his folly. So God gave David three choices …

1 Chronicles 21:11-12 (NKJV) … ‘Choose for yourself, 12 either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the Lord—the plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

David cast himself on the mercy of the Lord, and chose three days of plague. The Bible tells us that “the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell” (1 Chronicles 21:14). That has often puzzled me. Why did the Lord kill 70,000 men in Israel when KING DAVID was the one who made the fault?

Because leadership effects those led.
Leadership effects those who are led.
Leadership effects those who are led!

The Pharisees along with the Scribes should have been leading Israel to Christ. Instead they were ignoring Christ and exalting themselves. They colluded with the Sadducees to have Christ executed. God’s people should have been Christ focused. When God’s people stop following after Christ, it has an effect.

When a husband will not lead his wife to follow Christ, the marriage is polluted.
When the parents will not lead the children to follow Christ, the family is polluted.
When the pastor & deacons will not lead the Church to follow Christ,
the Church is polluted.
When the Church will not lead America to follow Christ, America is polluted.
The Solution: Pray For Leaders, Pray For Light

Israel has fallen. So Christ looks at Israel, fallen Israel, and weeps. Then He tells His disciples:

Matthew 9:37-38 (KJV) …. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; 38 PRAY ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

The leadership is corrupt – pray that God will raise up new leadership. A leadership who will do as Christ said, who will share the Gospel, who will “love thy neighbor as thyself” while promoting Christ. The world is in darkness. The world does not need agreement. Darkness does not need to be added to. The world needs light.

And in truth, the world WANTS light. The world does not need RELIGION, but to be shown what a RELATIONSHIP with Christ looks like.

You are called, if you are His, to make a difference. To follow Him. To not be part of the problem, but part of the solution. And that Solution is Christ. May God establish our hearts to both pray and be the laborers He expects us to be!

Posted in Sermons Preached, Witnessing | Leave a comment