Keep The Feast For Christ Our Passover

Preached the Evening of January 15, 2017 at Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

christ-our-passover1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (KJV)  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  [2]  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  [3]  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,  [4]  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  [5]  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Next week is the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Decision.

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled abortion legal in our country. I went to the website “Find Law” to read the 7-2 decision of the Supreme Court. In a tortured and convoluted document that, quite frankly, I wouldn’t ask my worst enemy to read, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that, and I quote:

the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense”

When the Court made this statement it examined the laws of man, but never looked at God’s Law. The Bible and God’s Law clearly recognizes the child in the womb as a person. The Messiah Who would be born of Mary “shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). When Mary entered the home of her pregnant cousin Elisabeth the Bible says:

Luke 1:41-44 (KJV)  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:  [42]  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  [43]  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  [44]  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

Though the convoluted reasoning of the Supreme Court found that the mother’s had rights under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution but the baby did not, the reality is that

Roe vs Wade had less to do with rights as it did with wrongs being declared right

A child while still in its mother has potential. The Psalmist stated:

Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV). For You {O God} formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them”

And God told the Prophet:

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.

Life has value, life has potential, even in the womb. When sexual sin became acceptable in America the reality of life was pushed away in favor of fuzzy thinking that says:

Well, as long as YOU’RE happy, nothing else matters

But this isn’t the teaching of Scripture. Though we are saved by Grace and not by works, once saved we become the Children of God. When the Apostle Paul heard through the grapevine that at the Church of Corinth:

1 Corinthians 5:1 (KJV)  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

The Apostle didn’t ask “Are they happy?” or say “Well, as long as they’re happy”. The happiness or pleasure of those in fornication (that’s illicit sexual activity) was not even a consideration. Paul said “What you are tolerating at Corinth is not so much as named among the Gentiles”. The lost weren’t even doing this as a common practice. What was being done?

that one should have his father’s wife”

He didn’t say “that one should have his mother” which would have been an act of incest. He said “that one should have his FATHER’S WIFE”. The father had become remarried. We do not know if he lost the boy’s mother through death or divorce, but this was his wife. This son violated at least THREE of God’s Commandments, the FIFTH, SEVENTH, and TENTH. These Commandments state:

FIFTH Exodus 20:12 (KJV)  Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

SEVENTH Exodus 20:14 (KJV)  Thou shalt not commit adultery.

TENTH Exodus 20:17 (KJV)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s … wife …

Grace saves us, but does not make us a law unto ourselves.
Once saved by Grace we follow God’s leading.

The Law of God is not disposable.

Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it (Matthew 3:15).
What God says is wrong before you are saved by Grace is wrong
even after you have been saved by Grace.

Jude, the brother to James, stepbrother of our Lord Jesus Christ wrote (this should be on your worksheet):

Jude (NKJV) 3-7 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

God establishes right and wrong, and punishes evil. Grace is no justification for sinning. Grace frees us so that we can live up to our God given potential, so that we can become that which God designed us to be. Grace does not condone lawlessness, but commends us to God so that God can shine His light and love through us. Pastor Bert Farias said:

“We have forgotten that the central message of the Gospel is that Jesus came to save us from our sins, not in our sins. He didn’t just come to forgive us of our sins but to free us from our sins. This is one of the most tragic fundamental errors we have made in our contemporary Gospel, and it largely explains the degradation in our society today. A weak church has opened the way for the devil’s onslaught.”

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story that my momma told me when I was little. The story is called “The Emperors’ New Clothes”. There was an Emperor who loved his clothes. He was so vain, and everything he did was about dressing up and showing off his clothes. One day two swindlers came to town and decided to capitalize on his vanity. They said they were master tailors, men who could make the most fantastic clothing. What was really fantastic about this clothing was was that only wise people could see the cloth, and the stupider you were the harder it was for you to see it. The Emperor commissioned these men to make him a suit of clothes. He gave the men gold, the finest looms, the best silk, and they started designing the clothes. They put the silk in their luggage, hid the money and the golden thread, then began to “make clothing” well into the night. Hans wrote:

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were. “I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

The old minister went to see what these “tailors” were doing, but seeing nothing was too embarrassed to say anything. He reported back to the Emperor that the tailors were doing fantastic work. The next day the swindlers said that the Emperor’s new clothes were ready. The Emperor stripped down, and they pretended to put clothes on him, layer after layer, oohing and aahing at the beautiful colors. Dressing him up in nothing, the Emperor went out for the crowd to admire.

“Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.” “But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last. The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.

This is the birth of Political Correctness. This is where the Church in America has been for so many years. God has told us through His Word what is right and wrong, but Satan has woven a figment of imagination for us to put on instead of the righteousness of God. The Apostle Paul said:

1 Corinthians 5:2 (KJV) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

Sin is not to be cherished in the Church, but is an occasion for mourning. It is certain that we are all broken, and can all fall into sin. But when one falls into sin we are to lovingly take that person to the side and tell them that this is a violation of Grace. We are children of His Kingdom, not children of this world. Love is our standard. We are to love God wholeheartedly:

Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And as Jesus declared:

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

And again:

Romans 13:10 (KJV)  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love, not License is the standard of God in Christ. What was the Apostle’s standard, the thing He thought the Church should do?

Deliver The Open Rebellious Sinner To Satan

1 Corinthians 5:5 (KJV) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

What does it mean “to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh”?

Recognize and call out the sin.
Cancer cannot be cured while you ignore it.
Do not wink at, but in love reject that which does not glorify God.

The Church instead of winking at the sin was to recognize the action the young man was engaged in was sinful, against love, and against God. The intent of censoring the person is not self righteousness but that “the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord”. God hears the prayers and watches the actions of His people. The Church is to be Light and Love, not License and Lust. The Church is told to:

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (KJV)  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  [8]  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Christ died on the Cross to save us from sin, to bring us into the Family of God, to make us VICTORS not VICTIMS. Among the ancient Jews before the Passover was ever celebrated the family went through the home looking for LEAVEN or YEAST. LEAVEN was symbolic of sin. Every bit of leaven was discovered, every corner of the home searched, and the leaven was carried outside the home. Then the Lamb of God, a lamb without spot or blemish, was sacrificed and it’s blood placed on the entry of the home.

Christ our Passover IS SACRIFICED For Us

Christ has been sacrificed for the believer. He died on Calvary to bear the burden of our sins. The nails driven, the crown of thorns, the thirst, the suffering, was all because of sin. We cannot look at sin without seeing the bleeding and dying Christ. I think this is why the King James Translators rendered the Aorist Passive Indicative of θύω thyō as is sacrificed rather than has been sacrificed. The bloody and bleeding Christ should ever be before the eyes of the Christ Follower. Oh, what a punishment He bore for me! Knowing that it was my sin that killed Him, will I wallow in sin? God forbid! Let us celebrate the Passover not by engaging in malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Purging out the leaven means to set apart those who are not operating under the Law of Love but the law of lust. Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

I want us to examine the words of this text carefully. Paul says:

If any man THAT IS CALLED a brother

That is called” is the Greek ὀνομάζω onomazō, which means “to take the name of”. The following command does not refer to a lost person but to a person who says “I am your brother or sister in Christ”. If this person says “I as a Christian” but exhibits one of these six sins in their lives then you are not to keep company (συναναμίγνυμι synanamignymi, to be intimate with, to receive as family) with this person. This doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly or loving, but you are to withdraw from fellowship with this person. The Amish call this shunning. You are not to look the other way, but are to treat this person as out of the will of God. What are the six things that Paul considered inappropriate outward behavior for the Christ Follower?

  • Fornicator (πόρνος pornos), a person who prostitutes their body or uses their body to engage in forbidden sexual activity.

  • Covetous (πλεονέκτης pleonektēs), a greedy person, self seeking, always desiring more

  • Idolator (εἰδωλολάτρης eidōlolatrēs), worshiper of false gods or goddesses

  • Railer (λοίδορος loidoros), abusive or argumentative people

  • Drunkard (μέθυσος methysos), tipsy or intoxicated person

  • Extortioner (ἅρπαξ harpax), someone who takes by force or manipulates to gain what is not theirs

When any of these six characteristics enter the Body of Christ they cause it – like leaven causes bread – to swell up and become disfigured. The Bible tells us that:

Romans 14:17-18 (KJV)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  [18]  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

The Church is the Kingdom of God on this earth. Those who behave badly are to be rejected, but the Love of God and His Glory are to be promoted. Paul ends this chapter by saying:

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (KJV)  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  [13]  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The Church of Christ is never to condone the sinful lifestyle. We are to provoke one another to love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24) – and so much the more – as we see the Day of the Lord approaching.

This is the opposite of what the Church has done in America in recent years. Let us turn toward God, loving Him and loving one another. Let us uphold the Grace and Love that Christ our Lord has secured for us. For His glory.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in General, Holiness, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

Out Of Egypt

Preached on the morning of January 15 2017 at
Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia TN

egypt_camel-sunsetMatthew 2:13-15 (KJV) And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

The Bible is the Word of God. Though God used men with all their faults to write His Word, God controlled the finished product. The Bible alone is God’s Written Word to us all.

When the Wise Men came to see the young Jesus they were warned of God to avoid King Herod when they departed. The Wise Men said nothing to Mary of Joseph, but God sent an angel to warn Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph

Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him

God’s Son was to be hidden in Egypt, protected from the petty Herod. We are told that Jesus ..

was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Matthew quotes a prophecy from Hosea, which reads:

Hosea 11:1 (KJV) When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Matthew tells us that this quotation from Hosea was a prophecy that had to be fulfilled in the life of the Messiah. When God spoke through Hosea the first time it seems as if He spoke only of Israel. Israel, God’s Chosen people, was a nation that was brought out of Egypt. The Rabbis and Scribes, the Wise Men of Israel never saw Hosea 11:1 as a prophecy of Christ. But God speaking through Matthew says Hosea 11:1 was not just an event in the life of Israel, but also a prophecy of the Coming Messiah

Out of Egypt I have called My Son

Here Scripture interprets Scripture. So let’s look at this statement and see what God can tell us through it.

God Can Use Bad Things To Bring About Good Things

God told Joseph:

Matthew 2:13 (KJV) …. Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word

God sent Joseph, Mary, and Jesus into Egypt. When I was in the military I spent time in Egypt. I walked on its sand dunes, and visited Cairo. I saw the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. There are beautiful oasis’ in Egypt, but the land is barren, a desert in most places. And Egypt is a place of false gods and goddesses. Egypt is a pagan land, a god filled land where strange creatures are worshiped.

Egypt is not Canaan
Egypt is not the Promised Land

When God called Abraham out of ancient Babylon, telling him to go ….

Genesis 12:1 (KJV) … unto a land that I will shew thee:

The land that God showed Abraham was NOT Egypt, but Canaan. God was going to bring forth a great nation called Israel from Abraham, and Israel was one day going to possess Canaan. But God also told Abraham:

Genesis 15:13-14 (NASB77) … Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

Israel – God’s people – would be strangers in a strange land. Why? Why would Israel be sent to Egypt before she was ever sent to Canaan. Because the way to blessing is often found when you are forced to look up. God does not start His children in Canaan, but starts them in Egypt. Abraham had one son who had two sons, and the elder served the younger. Out of Isaac came Esau and Jacob. And then Jacob wrestled with God and was named Israel. Israel had twelve children, which is certainly a big family, but it is no nation.

God allowed Joseph, one of Israel’s children, to be cast into a pit and carried away into Egypt. Why? Because God told Abraham “your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs”. Joseph was planted in Egypt by jealous brothers, but Joseph knew that this was the hand of God. Joseph, now Prince of Egypt, told his brothers as they knelt before him:

Genesis 50:19-20 (ESV2011) …. “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

God sent Israel and his twelve sons and their wives to Egypt to protect them from famine, to grow Israel. God can use the evil intentions of others, and even the godlessness of Egypt for His glory and His purpose. Israel was strangers in Egypt for four hundred years. Egypt initially protected Israel, nourished Israel, and grew Israel. But Egypt was never Israel’s home. In time Egypt enslaved Israel and oppressed Israel. But God’s Children do not belong to Egypt. When Joseph prepared to die he gathered his children around him and said:

Genesis 50:24-26 (KJV) … I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

God used Joseph to bring Israel to Egypt. But Egypt is not the land of God’s Children. God may use Egypt to grow His Children, but He will not leave us in Egypt. As time passed God raised up a man named Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. Moses went to the King of Egypt and told him:

Exodus 4:22-23 (KJV) … Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

God’s Children are not to stay in Egypt. Israel is God’s Firstborn, the Promise of God to Abraham. Let My Son go that He may serve Me. Israel cannot serve God while bound by Egypt. God may use Egypt to shield His Son, but He will not leave His Son in Egypt.

Out of Egypt have I called My Son”

Egypt is not the home nor the destination of God’s Son. The Promised Land is. God called Israel out of Egypt. The Bible tells us that when Israel left Egypt …

Exodus 13:19 (NASB77) … Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God shall surely take care of you; and you shall carry my bones from here with you.”

Though the bones of Joseph laid in a tomb in that land for over a hundred years no Child of God belongs to Egypt. Moses took Joseph’s bones, and he and Israel headed toward the Promised Land. Yet that first generation of Israel never got there.

Though God Took Israel From Egypt, Israel Kept Egypt In Their Hearts

Out of Egypt I have called My Son”. Though God saved Israel out of Egypt, Israel’s heart was imprisoned by Egypt. Every time a trial came their way the Israelites looked backward to Egypt. Our Lord Jesus once said:

Luke 9:62 (ESV) … “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Israel came out of Egypt with wealth and power, but kept looking backward at Egypt instead of forward to God. They were saved from Egypt but would never enter the blessed Promise of God.

Luke 12:34 (ESV) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

God put Israel in Egypt because God loved Israel. God put His Child in a strange land and protected that Child because He loved that Child. The Child should have loved God. The Child should have treasured God. But instead each time the Child was tested the Child looked back to Egypt, cursing Moses and saying:

Exodus 16:3 (NIV) … “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

“We were better off in Egypt”. They were enslaved in Egypt, and were certainly not better off. God calls His Son our of Egypt, calls His Child to follow Him. There may be riches in Egypt, but there is little of God in Egypt. The riches of Egypt are not where our blessings are. When God called Jesus out of Egypt where did He send Him? To Jerusalem? To the Palace? To the High Priest’s quarters? No, but the Bible says that Joseph stayed in Egypt until ….

Matthew 2:22-23 (KJV) …. being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Scofield tells us that “{this is} probably referring to Isaiah 11:1 where Christ is spoken of as “a netzer (or Rod) out of the stem of Jesse”.

The interesting thing about this prophecy is that there is no one prophecy in the Old Testament that says verbatim “He shall be called a Nazarene”. This is caused a lot of confusion among Bible “Scholars”, but I find no confusion in it. The Bible prophesied that when the Messiah came He would be the Suffering Servant. Isaiah said:

Isaiah 53:1-9 (KJV)1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

When Jesus Christ was a baby, having done no evil whatsoever, Herod wanted to kill Him because His very existence threatened Herod’s Throne. So God had Jesus taken to Egypt. But then, as God prophesied, “Out of Egypt I have called My Son”. When Herod died God called His Son out of Egypt, but not back to Jerusalem or to a palace. He sent Jesus to Nazareth. Nazareth was the slum of the ancient world. It was like Harlem. It was like the Projects. It was the least of all places. There was a common saying among the people of that day which was:

Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)

God called His Son out of Egypt and sent His Son to Nazareth. Why? Why was Jesus born in a little town called Bethlehem? Why was Jesus born and laid to rest in a manger in a barn, and not in an inn? There was no room for Him at the Inn. Jesus Christ – the Messiah – came to this earth humbling Himself for us.

God became man.
God the Son became the Son of Man.
God came from Heaven to Earth.
God lowered Himself to save us all from sin.

When Jesus came His Herald was simply John the Baptist. John spoke of the Coming Messiah saying:

Matthew 3:11-12 (KJV) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

When Jesus came to John out of Nazareth to be baptized John did not want to do so. John told Jesus:

Matthew 3:14 (NKJV) …. “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”?

But in His first recorded words in the New Testament Jesus told John:

Matthew 3:15 (NKJV) … “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then {John} allowed Him.

Jesus Christ was sent to Egypt to protect Him from Herod, but God brought His Son out of Egypt to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus fulfilled all righteousness. Jesus never sinned. He is completely without sin. He maintained a perfect and sinless life so that He, “as the Lamb of God” could take away our sins. We are told that:

1 Peter 2:21-24 (ESV2011) For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Jesus lived a perfect life. God called Him out of Egypt, but Egypt never effected Him. Jesus lived sinlessly. And when the time was right this Jesus:

who was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 – KJV)

went to Calvary and paid for our sins. God poured out on Him every sin we have ever committed and every sin that we will commit. As He died on Calvary our Christ cried out:

.. it is finished ..” (John 19:30 – KJV)

When sin is finished it brings forth death (James 1:15). Jesus Christ died for us. The sinless Lamb of God paid the penalty of sin for us before God. The Scripture declares:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) For He {God the Father} made Him {God the Son} to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus Died For Us To Bring Us Out Of Egypt
The Bible tells us that the death of Christ had a glorious purpose.
The Son of God became the Son of Man so that Sons of Man can become Sons of God.

The Bible tells us that:

Hebrews 2:9-13 (NKJV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” 13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

God Calls His Son Out Of Egypt
And Calls His Sons Out Of Egypt

God tells those whom He has saved:

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (NKJV) Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

The Child of God by faith in Christ no longer belongs to Egypt. We who are saved by faith in the Son of God are no longer children of this world. God said “Out of Egypt have I called My Son”. If you belong to God and are of His Family then the ways of the world are not your ways. The Apostle commands:

Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Walk looking upward. Walk praising the Savior. Walk knowing that Egypt is dying, a land of tombstones, but you are life, eternal beings headed to glory. Love. Live. Let His light shine through you. Keep heading toward Canaan, toward Heaven, toward Jesus. God is with you.

Out of Egypt I have called My Son

Posted in General, Jesus, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

Living For Jesus

Preached at Riverview (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN) the Evening of January 11, 2017

lfg

Audio Sermon Here 

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (KJV)  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  [2]  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.  [3]  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  [4]  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  [5]  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

People have a bad tendency to read the Bible out of context. This is one reason I like preaching THROUGH the Bible books. When you read and study the Bible in context then there are less errors. For instance, people are fond of quoting:

Matthew 7:1 (KJV)   Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Luke 6:37 (KJV)   Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Romans 14:13 (KJV)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

and even in our text today:

1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  [4]  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 

People often love to quote the “do not judge” passages when they are doing things that the Scripture declares sinful (and yes, there are things that the Scripture declares sinful or unworthy of a Child of God). The reality is that the Bible tells us there are times when we should judge and times when we should not judge. In the next chapter the Apostle chastises the Corinthians because:

1 Corinthians 5:1 (KJV)  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

There was open sexual sin in the congregation. The Apostle told them:

1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.  [12]  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

Open sexual sin is to be judged in the Church, and never to be accepted as normal. Whether heterosexual or homosexual, sexual sins damage the Body and are to be recognized as wrong. In order to do this you cannot look the other way. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6 the Apostle chastises the Church for not judging small matters within the Church. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 (KJV)  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  [3]  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

So judgment is not forbidden in every case. When Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged” in context He was telling the Pharisees among us to “get the beam out of your eye before you judge the splinter in another’s eye”. It is the hypocrite that judges others before he judges himself.

So back to our text. What is the Apostle talking about when he says “I don’t even judge myself”. He is talking about

Judging The Stewardship Of Others

In the previous chapter the Apostle spoke of the Judgment Seat of Christ. We studied this Sunday night. The Judgment Seat of Christ is where Christ judges your works as to whether they are worthy of reward or not. The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a judgment for salvation, but for STEWARDSHIP. Did you do what God wanted you to do with what He gave you? I’ll repeat that:

Did you do what God wanted you to do with what He gave you?

That’s what the Apostle is talking about in this chapter – our Stewardship. The Corinthians were comparing the Apostle Paul’s ministry with the Evangelist Apollo’s ministry, and many were saying “Paul has been tried in the balance and found wanting”. But as Paul said in another context:

Romans 14:4 (ESV) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

This chapter deals with STEWARDSHIP. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 

The Corinthians were comparing the Apostle Paul’s stewardship to that of Apollos, and to them Apollos was head and shoulders above Paul. But it is God Who gives each one of us our stewardship. Each believer in Christ is given a talent, a gift, a ministry, a thing that God requires they be faithful in.

It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful!

The Steward is faithful to the one that gave them the talent to invest.

  • It is not what the WORLD says that validates our stewardship.

  • It is not what OTHER BELIEVERS say that validates our stewardship.

  • It is not even what I THINK that validates my stewardship.

  • It is what GOD thinks, WHAT GOD SAYS, whether GOD smiles or frowns.

The steward is to have his or her eyes on God at all times. Are we being faithful to Him, or are we moving to please the lesser? The Steward is to be faithful in investing what he has been given for the glory of God. Jesus spoke of this in The Parable of the Talents. He said:

Matthew 25:14-30 (KJV)   For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.   [15]   And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.   [16]   Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.   [17]   And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.   [18]   But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.   [19]   After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.   [20]   And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.   [21]   His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.   [22]   He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.   [23]   His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.   [24]   Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:   [25]   And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.   [26]   His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:   [27]   Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.   [28]   Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.   [29]   For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.   [30]   And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Master is traveling to a far country, and calls His stewards. The Master is a picture of Christ Who, dying for our sins, rising for our justification, now “sitting on the right hand of God in glory” (Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1). Jesus is in that Far Country on God’s right hand, waiting for the Father to say “Go, bring My Children home”. He has departed, but He will return. But leaving us He gave us stewardship of what is His. The Bible says:

vvs 15. unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one;
to every man according to his several ability

Every steward got talents according to his several ability. What God has given you in stewardship is what God has determined you can handle. Some are given FIVE, some TWO, another ONE, but what you have been given you have been given in love. God knows what you can handle. When the Lord returned the man with the FIVE talents said:

vvs 20. Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents:
behold, I have gained beside them five talents more

Standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ the Lord tells him:

vvs 21. His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

The man given TWO talents stands before Christ’s Judgment Seat, saying:

vvs 22. Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

Though he had the lesser talents he invested those talents and doubled them. His reward was exactly the same as the man who received five talents. The Lord said:

vvs 23. His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

I find it interesting that the one who had FIVE talents and the one who had TWO talents receive the exact same reward. They both were made rulers “over many things”. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer together with Him we will reign with Him”. God will repay what we have done for Him for Christ is faithful!

But then we come to the person who was given ONE talent. What did he do? Jesus said:

vvs 24-25 Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

That man was not commended for burying the talent in the earth. No, the Lord said called him

vvs 26. Thou WICKED and SLOTHFUL servant ..

and said vvs 27. You should have put my money to the exchangers

Rather than being a faithful steward the faithless steward could have given the talent to someone else to invest. Instead the steward hid the money, and all investment was lost. This man lost his talent. It was taken away and given to the faithful steward. The Lord said:

Matthew 25:30 (KJV)   And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t know what this “outer darkness” is, but I want no part of it. I don’t want to be cast into a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. I want to take the stewardship given me and invest it to the glory of Christ.

Don’t you?

It Was Fear That Kept The Unprofitable Servant From Investing What He Was Given

1 Corinthians 4:3 (KJV)   But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  

Paul did not allow fear of what others might think or say drive his ministry. He said “with me it is a VERY SMALL THING that I should be judged of you, OR OF ANY MAN”. Now Paul was not an obnoxious person. He didn’t go around wanting to hurt people’s feelings. Paul declared:

Romans 12:18 (NKJV) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

1 Corinthians 9:19 (NIV) Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

Paul lowered himself to reach others for Christ – but never allowed anyone to tell him how to invest his talent but God. He did not hide the Gospel. He was not lazy in reaching out to the lost. But Paul never compromised the Talent he had been given. He was always faithful to the Master.

Fear of others and what others may say can be a snare that keeps us from Kingdom Life. We are told in

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

To bury your talent rather than invest it to the glory of God is a horribly bad idea. Paul even said:

Yea, I judge not mine own self

This doesn’t mean that the Apostle didn’t watch his life to make sure sin – like termites – didn’t enter in. No, he judged himself and weeded sin out. He put on the Lord Jesus Christ and did not make provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14) just as every believer should do. But Paul kept his eyes on the Lord. When we are investing our talent we might not see results right away. Think of it this way:

At the time the Apostle Paul ministering the only Bible was the Old Testament. Churches were just being formed. The New Testament was slowly being written by Apostles, but would not be gathered together as a Book until over 300 years later. Apollos was more popular than Paul in his preaching. Paul could have gotten discouraged and quit the ministry, but he didn’t. In fact, Paul encouraged us by saying:

Galatians 6:9 (KJV) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Paul kept on going. Now let me ask you:

How many New Testament Books did APOLLOS write? – 0

How many New Testament Books did PAUL write? – 13

How many Churches did APOLLOS found? – 0

How many Churches did PAUL found? – 14

Who had more impact for Christ, APOLLOS or PAUL?

Both did as God called them, but I think it is safe to say that Apollos, though he did well, Paul did well also. Do not let another person judge your stewardship. Live with your eyes on Jesus. Be like Paul who said:

1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (KJV)   For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  [5]  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Labor. Invest. Live for Jesus! For the Judgment Seat of Christ is coming. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Two Judgments

Preached at Riverview on the Evening of January 8, 2017

the-judgment-seat-of-christWhen I was a young boy in school I hated tests. I particularly hated “Pop Quizzes”. It seems that I was never prepared for them. When the Teacher told us we were going to have a test (Mid-Term, Final, etc) on a certain day I would try and study for it. I hated tests, but I hated more the whippings I received when I did poorly in school.

Everyone will be tested.
Every soul shall be tested.
Every person will stand before God and be judged.

The Bible is clear on this. King Solomon wrote:

Ecclesiastes 12:14 (ESV) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The things done in the dark will be brought to the Light. The Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 2:5-11 (ESV) But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

And to Corinth the Apostle declared:

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The unbeliever and non-follower of Christ shall be judged. The believer in Christ shall be judged. Every person’s works shall be judged in a final exam. Just as there are two types of people:

Sheep and Goats
Righteous and Unrighteous
Saved and Unsaved
Children of God and Children of this World
Holy Sons and Unholy Sinners

There are two Judgments. There is the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. Let’s read about these two Judgments and compare the two.

The Judgment Seat Of Christ Is For The Believer

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (KJV) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We know that this Judgment is for the Christ Follower because it starts with the word “Grace”. The Bible teaches that a person is saved by Grace, not by works. I have heard it been said that “Grace” is:

God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

The Bible declares Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Salvation is entirely a gift of God. When a person realizes that he or she is Great Sinner in need of a Great Savior – and that Jesus is that One and Only Savior – and turns to Him believing then that person is saved. The Bible declares:

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.

We are “Justified” or “made right with God” through the shed Blood of Christ. He took our penalty so we can become sons of God. Salvation by faith in Christ is the foundation of our works. The Apostle writes:

1 Corinthians 3:10 (KJV) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.

The Apostle preached salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the foundation that every Child of God is built on. The Apostle goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (KJV) …. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The foundation of every person’s faith is Jesus Christ. But once saved we begin to build on that foundation. The Foundation is Jesus Christ, and everything built on that Foundation is to be honoring to Jesus Christ. We live to bring glory and honor to our Savior. We do the things we do to honor Jesus. Christ is the Foundation of the Church. Christ is the Foundation of the Christian Way of Life. Christ is the Rock on which we are to be built. It is His Word that brings stability to the Life we have.

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV) Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

The Foundation of salvation is Christ. The saved life is built on Christ, on His Words, on His Bible. It is His Spirit that guides us. We are not saved by works but once saved we work for Him, we build on Him.

The Judgment Seat Of Christ Grades The Christian’s Work

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:

The Church is the Building of God, a people working together for His Glory. The Christian is the Temple of God. We read later in this text:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The Christian is the Temple of God, founded on the Bloody Cross of Christ. The Church is the Building of God, founded on the finished work of Calvary. Everything we build, we build on the foundation that is Christ. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is to make every person’s work MANIFEST (φανερός phaneros), to be plainly recognized or made known to all. A lot of the works we do look outwardly righteous but are inwardly self serving. I was listening to a Tim McGraw song this morning – a song I like – called “Live Like You Were Dying”. At one point he sang:

I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again…

When we Christians stand in front of Jesus at that Judgment Seat every work we did in this life will be tested against the Foundation that is Christ. The works will be manifest:

gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble

There are six materials listed here. Gold, silver, and precious stones are QUALITY materials all found in the building of the Temple in Israel. These are materials worthy of the Foundation that is Christ. Wood, hay, and stubble are POOR materials. When wood was used in the Temple of Israel it was overlayed by gold or precious stones.

When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ it is not the QUANTITY of works that are judged but the QUALITY of the works. When you look at this list it can be divided into two categories:

Fireproof or Inflammable
Eternal or Temporal
High Quality or Made In China
Worshiping Jesus or Pleasing Men
Willing Service or “Let Others Do It, I Don’t Want To”
Generosity with God & His People or Stinginess & Self Centeredness
Honoring God From The Heart or Doing It To Be Seen Of Men
Ministering After Bathing It In Prayer or Doing It In Your Own Strength

A wealthy woman died one day and went to heaven. An angel then took her to her heavenly abode, which was a plain old ordinary building. Right next door to her was her gardener who had a palatial mansion. She said, “How did my gardener get a mansion and I get a plain old ordinary building?” The angel then said, “Well, we only build with the materials you send us.” If you’re sending to heaven junk, junk is then what God uses. He uses only what you send Him! Thus, the time to prepare for tomorrow is today. (Keith Krell)

The Christian Work Is Tried By Fire

1 Corinthians 3:13 (KJV) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the FIRE shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

What is the “Fire” that judges our work? It is the intense gaze of Christ at what we have done. When the Apostle John first saw Jesus he described Him as …

Revelation 1:14 (ESV) The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,

The One Who died for you and I will gaze intently at what we did in His Name on this earth. John saw Jesus:

Revelation 19:12-13 (KJV) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Jesus said (John 5:22) “The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.”. He Who was pierced with nails and beaten with whips and hung shamefully and nakedly shall judge the works of His people. He shall gaze upon all that we have built on the Foundation of His Sacrifice. Some of our works will – like gold and silver – become more pure under His gaze. Other of our works will burn like wood, hay or stubble.

1 Corinthians 3:14 (KJV) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

The works that glorify Christ the Foundation will abide. Abiding works receive a reward. Those who have honored Christ will hear … Matthew 25:21 (ESV) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

What a blessing that will be to see Jesus, to be commended for honoring Him Who saved us. The Bible tells us:

Colossians 3:23-25 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

What we SOW we shall REAP. If we build Christ honoring works on the Foundation of Christ Who is our salvation then we will one day be rewarded for our obedience. But the Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

If the work is destroyed by Christ’s gaze, He nonetheless still looks on those He has saved with love. I have heard people say “Well, at least I will be saved”. Will you? If you are saved you will still be saved because of Christ. But if your heart right now is so flippant on serving the Lord then why do you think you are saved? If you have no concern for loving Jesus or honoring Him then what makes you think that you will stand with the Saved in glory? To the workers of lawlessness Jesus says:

Matthew 7:23 (ESV) …. then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

The Great White Throne Judgment Is For The Unbeliever

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

The Judgment Seat of Christ judges the works of believers. The Great White Throne of Christ judges the works of unbelievers. We are told …

Revelation 20:12 (KJV) And I saw the dead, SMALL AND GREAT, stand before God;

All judgment is given into the hands of Jesus, but here He is not called “Jesus” but “God”. These people – small and great – it doesn’t matter how they were viewed in this life – they stand equally before God. These people rejected the Cross of Christ, the finished Work of salvation. They ignored God or if they perchance thought of God they thought their works would grant them entrance into Heaven. There is no foundation laid but that which is of Christ. You cannot walk the streets of God if you have rejected the Son of God.

Revelation 20:12 (KJV) …. and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works

Those who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ are THE LIVING because CHRIST MADE US ALIVE. We have been “born again of the Spirit, redeemed by His Blood”. We have the Promise of Everlasting Life and the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Those who stand before the Great White Throne are The Dead. They have rejected the Gospel of life, and wallowed in their death. The Dead are judged OUT OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN in the Books ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. Everything they did, God saw and recorded. Every work of the flesh done in the dark is brought to the light. According to THEIR works.

Revelation 20:13 (KJV) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

No one is exempt. No one is missed. Every person who ever lived stands before God, and are judged according to their works. Do their works save them? No. The Bible tells us that:

Revelation 20:15 (KJV) And WHOSOEVER was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Whosoever”. The Bible tells us that John 3:16 (KJV) 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.

These people heard the WHOSOEVER Gospel of Christ and rejected it. They turned from Jesus to themselves, from the Foundation of Rock to the bed of sand. Rejecting Christ, they stand before God having nothing to rely on but their sinful and selfish works. And now

These Rejectors Of The WHOSOEVER Of Salvation
Have Become The WHOSOEVER Of Damnation

It didn’t have to be. Jesus Christ gave Himself for them as well as for us. But they relied on themselves, which is the same as relying on nothing. Oh Beloved One, do not reject Him that calls you. Come unto Christ. Cling to the Foundation of Everlasting Life. Cling to Jesus.

May God lead you to a deeper love of Christ through this Word.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

We Are Come To Worship Jesus

Preached at Riverview the Morning of January 8 2017


Matthew 2:1-2 (KJV)  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  [2]  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

January 6th 2017 is a little known Christian Holiday called The Feast of the Epiphany. This was a day set apart by the early Church to remember the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ Child. This was a great event! The night that Jesus was born and laid in a manger (for there was no room for Him at the Inn) the Bible tells us that the Angel of God told (an unknown to us number of) Jewish shepherds

Luke 2:11-12 (KJV)  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  [12]  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

These shepherds left their flocks and went to town. They carried no gifts with them, but ran to receive the Gift of God laying in a manger. They found the Christ as a newborn baby (the Greek word for “BABE” is βρέφος brephos) cared for, but lying in a manger for want of a crib. Though many “Nativity Scenes” show the Shepherds standing with the Wise Men the Bible is clear – the Wise Men came later.
epiphany-feastWhen the Wise Men came to see Jesus the Bible tells us that they brought three gifts to Jesus – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrhh. The Bible does NOT tell us how many Wise Men there were. Further, the Wise Men did not find Jesus in a manger, but in a house. We are told:

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)  And WHEN THEY WERE COME INTO THE HOUSE, THEY SAW THE YOUNG CHILD with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Furthermore the Wise Men did not see a BREPHOS or a BABE, but a YOUNG CHILD (Greek παιδίον PAIDION). When Herod wanted to kill Jesus he sent soldiers to Bethlehem. We read:

Matthew 2:16 (KJV)  Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Herod was looking to kill a “young child” not necessarily an “infant” or “newborn”. Why is all this important? Because we need to read our Bibles to understand the will and work of God.

What has caused these “Wise Men” or “Gentiles From The East” To Come To Jerusalem?

These undetermined number of “Wise Men” have, we are told, “come from the east”. They have been traveling for some time. Dr. Charles Stanley suggested that this unknown number of “Wise Men” were very probably astronomers who lived somewhere in Mesopotamia near the city of Babylon (In Touch, December 2011 pg 8). Five hundred years before the birth of Christ to Mary, the Prophet Daniel lived in Babylon and spoke of the Coming King. In Daniel 9:24-26 he prophesied that the Messiah – God in the flesh – would be crucified after 69 Sabbatical Years (or 483 years) after the decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem. These Magi knew of Daniel’s prophecy of the Coming of Messiah and His subsequent death. They had been watching the skies for signs of the Savior, knowing that the Scripture says that God put the stars in the skies not only to provide light for the earth, but also “to serve as signs” (Genesis 1:14). These “Magi” or Wise Men came seeking the Messiah. Their journey was not easy, but extremely difficult.

The Wise Men From The East Traveled 500 Miles To See Jesus

We don’t know exactly how many wise men there are, but if they came from Babylon (which is what many believe) they traveled 500 miles through rough terrain to see Jesus. They entered Jerusalem and started asking people:

Matthew 2:2 (KJV)  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east ….

Think about the question they ask. “Where is He that IS BORN KING OF THE JEWS”? Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, the place where the King of Israel would rule from. This is the “City of David”. Surely someone in the “City of David” would know where the “King of the Jews” was. But neither Herod nor Jerusalem was interested in the King of Kings. We read:

Matthew 2:3 (KJV)  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was TROUBLED, and all Jerusalem with him.

The Wise Men were excited. They have come from afar to worship the King of Kings. But Herod was troubled, (ταράσσω tarassō), disturbed, agitated, restless. He and all Jerusalem was filled with fear and dread. Why was Herod so upset? Because Herod the Great (as he liked to be called) was declared King of the Jews by ROME, not by God. This Herod had rebuilt the Temple, and ruled Israel for Rome though he had no right to rule Israel. Only those born of Judah were to be rulers, specifically those descended from King David. Herod was an Idumean, a descendant not of Jacob but of Esau. Though a cousin to Israel he was not even an Israelite. Herod was troubled! This troubled Israel. When Herod was troubled, he clinched his iron fist over Jerusalem. The people expected bloodshed, and wanted to do nothing to rock the boat.

The Wise Men were JOYOUS.
Herod was THREATENED.
Jerusalem was FILLED WITH FEAR.

What did Herod do? Did he pick up the Scripture and seek the guidance of God? No! The Bible says:

Matthew 2:4 (KJV)  And when (Herod) had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Herod did as many people do. Rather than search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life – and they testify of Jesus (John 5:39) Herod called for others and asked “what do you think?” Now there’s nothing wrong with calling for others, but we must study our Bibles for ourselves. Herod called all the chief priests and scribes of the people and that’s not a bad thing.

But Beloved, YOU must study YOUR Bibles.

The Chief Priests and Scribes told Herod:

Matthew 2:5-6 (KJV)  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,  [6]  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

They are quoting the Prophet who wrote:

Micah 5:2 (KJV)  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Bethelehem” which means “The House of Bread” is where
the Living Bread of God would be born.

Gathering this information Herod calls for the Wise Men and:

Matthew 2:7 (KJV) … enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Herod wanted to know how long these Wise Men followed the Star of the Messiah. He wanted to know about how old the Christ Child was. After finding out how old Jesus was the Bible tells us:

Matthew 2:8 (KJV)  And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

I Want You To Compare The Mind Of Herod And The Minds Of The Wise Men

  • The Wise Men have traveled over 500 miles through harsh terrain to worship Jesus. Herod, on the other hand, will not travel 5 ½ miles to Bethlehem to look for Christ.
  • The Wise Men studied the Scriptures that Daniel left in Babylon, and based on what they learned followed Christ’s star to Jerusalem. Herod relied on others to study the Scriptures, and relied on others to see Christ.

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

Faith is not to sit back and be idle, but to believe that God is, and that God is a Rewarder of those that DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.

  • The Wise Men DILIGENTLY SOUGHT Christ. Herod DILIGENTLY SOUGHT the Priests and the Wise Men.
  • The Wise Men SUFFERED to get to Jesus. Herod wouldn’t STEP outside of his Palace.
  • The Wise Men wanted to WORSHIP Jesus. Herod wanted to WIPE Jesus out.

The Wise Men stepped out in faith to find the Lord. When you step out in faith, God will bring you to blessing.

When Goliath shouts, faith finds a rock and a sling, and God guides the rock.
When the Red Sea blocks, faith lifts a staff, and God parts the waters.
When fire threatens, faith looks upward and Christ stands in the furnace waiting.
When false gods abound, faith trusts God on the mountain
& God sends fire from the sky.

Faith looks up before it looks around. The Wise Men heard the little “k” king:

Matthew 2:9-10 (KJV)  When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  [10]  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The Wise Men followed the star, and God caused that star to stand over where the young Christ Child was. God is faithful! God is faithful! God is faithful! The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are faithless, but God is faithful. He will not lead us to the Promised Land without taking us through that Land. God does not take us to a wilderness to abandon us. No, God is the God of all comfort. He cares for us!

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him …

The Wise Men Worshiped Jesus

They saw the Young Child (παιδίον paidion) with Mary His mother. What was their response?

They fell down.
They worshipped Him.

Though they saw Mary they didn’t worship Mary. They DIDN’T see Joseph nor did they see any Shepherds or a manger. They came into the HOUSE and SAW JESUS. Their eyes were focused on Jesus. Their bodies responded to Jesus. They FELL DOWN. There is no worship of God without falling down, the humbling of self. John the Revelator saw in Heaven:

Revelation 4:10-11 (NKJV) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

There is no worship of God from Herod because Herod would not bow down to God. The lost will not worship Christ. God fell down and lowered Himself for us, coming to a manger, to a state of childhood, to poverty, to the dirt roads of Israel, to the hiss of the Pharisee and the mocking of the crowds, to the beating of the Roman soldier, to the nails of Calvary, to the agony of desertion, to “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”, to the borrowed Tomb.

God humbled Himself to save us.
Why should we not bow down to God?

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The Wise Men worshiped Jesus with their bodies, then they worshiped Jesus with their possessions. The Wise Men were led to Christ by Prophecy, and now their gifts are also prophetic. The Bible tells us that they gave three gifts worthy of a King.

Gold

Gold has forever been a precious metal. The Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-17) was overlaid with gold, and gold was used throughout the Temple to honor God. God knew the evil that was in Herod’s mind. Herod had no intention of worshiping Jesus, but wanted to destroy Him as he saw Christ as a threat to his throne. Right after the Wise Men left the Bible tells us:

Matthew 2:12-13 (KJV)  And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.  [13]  And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

God spoke to both the Wise Men as well as Joseph in a dream and told them “stay away from Herod”. God knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We are told in:

Jeremiah 17:10 (ESV) I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 139:1 “O Lord, You have searched me and know me”. God knew what Herod planned before he ever whispered it. God had the Wise Men bring Gold, I believe, because Joseph and Mary would need Gold for their trip to Egypt.

Listen Beloved: God knows your needs. Submit to Him as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus did, and God will meet your needs! He will give you victory over the enemy. He has promised!

Frankincense

Frankincense is a white resin or gum that comes from a Boswellia Carterii tree not native to Israel but commonly grown in Somalia (Africa) and lands to the east of Jerusalem. It is obtained from the tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the gum to flow out. Highly fragrant when burned it was used in worship of God:

Exodus 30:34-37 (KJV)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:   [35]  And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:  [36]  And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.  [37]  And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.

Frankincense was used by the Priests in the Temple Israel. Jesus Christ is not only the King of His people, but He is our High Priest. The Bible says that:

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

The Chief Priests of Israel came and went, but the Christ Child would grow up to be both King and Priest of His people. The Bible says that He:

Hebrews 7:23-27 (ESV)  The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,  [24]  but {Jesus} holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.  [25]  Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  [26]  For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.  [27]  He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

The Frankincense of the Wise Men remind us that our way to God is through Christ. He is the High Priest of God. If you receive Him and worship Him, you will one day see God in glory!

Myrrh

Myrrh also comes from Arabia and was obtained much like Frankincense was. Myrrh had two uses. When someone was to be crucified the Romans discovered that they could mingle it with wine as a pain killer. Their intent was to extend the agony of the sufferer making death linger. When our Lord Jesus went to the Cross to die for our sins the Bible says:

Mark 15:23 (KJV)  And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

Matthew 27:34 (KJV)  They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with {myrrh}: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Jesus refused to let His crucifixion be a matter of sport for the Romans. Jesus refused the wine mingled witg myrrh, but ….

Hebrews 2:9 (KJV)  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Jesus tasted death for you and I so that we do not have to taste death. He has conquered death in His Cross.

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

Taken down from the Cross the Bible says that He was embalmed with a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39). The myrrh of the Wise Men speaks to the coming sacrifice of this Child, this Lamb of God. He would die for you and I – but rise again on the third day!

Herod could not destroy Jesus, for His time was not yet. The Apostle said in Galatians 4:4-5 (KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  [5]  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Have you received the adoption of sons? Have you, like the Wise Men, found Jesus to worship Him? If you have, praise God! If not, beware. There is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. When you come to Christ you are blessed. Rejecting Christ, you are not. May God touch your hearts to receive Him by His Gospel!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Philadelphia Meneto

Preached at Riverview January 4 2017

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

Some of the most powerful Bible texts are very simple and to the point.

brotherlyloveGod can say a lot in a few words. When King Belshazzar’s Babylonian kingdom was about to be destroyed the Lord wrote four Aramaic words on a wall in the middle of his drunken feast. The words were:

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin

The word MENE was repeated twice, and means “Numbered” or “Counted”. Daniel told Belshazzar (Daniel 5:25-28) “God has NUMBERED your Kingdom – you’re finished”. The fact that MENE was used TWICE emphasized the certainty that Babylon was going to be destroyed.

The word TEKEL means “Weighed”. Daniel told Belshazzar “You are weighed on the scales of God and are found wanting”.

The word UPHARSIN means “Divided”. God would tear the Kingdom of Babylon asunder, or as Daniel told Belshazzar “Your kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians”.

What caused the destruction of Babylon, one of the mightiest kingdoms of the ancient world? The kingdom fell under the weight of sin and selfishness.

There was no love of God nor love for your neighbor in Babylon. God illustrated this in just three words (for Mene was repeated twice): Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. God numbered. God numbered again. God weighed. God tore apart.

As God closes the letter to the Hebrews He commands simply …

Let Brotherly Love Continue

If you break this down to the original language it is is but two words in the Greek:

Philadelphia Menetō

Which means Let Brotherly Love Abide (or Endure)”. The mark of Belshazzar’s kingdom was selfishness, sinfulness, and idolatry. The mark of Christ’s Kingdom is an abiding brotherly love among it’s citizens.

I do believe the whole Bible needs to be preached, that the full counsel of God needs to be presented. But there is nothing more important than Love to the Kingdom Faith of Christ. The Bible tells us that:

Romans 13:8-10 (ESV) Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love Is The Fulfillment Of The Law

God would never have given the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai if Israel had loved God and loved one another. The Law was given because sin had hardened Israel’s heart. The Law was given to show what God thinks of the sinful and selfish heart. The Law cannot instill love, but the Law can point out the cancer of lovelessness.

It is the “Goodness Of God that leads to repentance” said Paul in Romans 2:4. Love is not just emotional claptrap, but a doing of good just as God does good.

Matthew 5:43-47 (KJV)43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

The love of Christ’s Kingdom is greater than the love of the world. We are to love – to do good – to everyone regardless as to what they do to us. God blesses those determined to be His enemies. God’s children are to bless those determined to be our enemies. Jesus said:

Luke 6:35-36 (KJV) But LOVE YE YOUR ENEMIES, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Show goodness and mercy even to those who sin against you, for God shows you and I goodness and mercy when we sin against Him.

Let Brotherly Love Continue Even For Those You Do Not Know

Hebrews 13:2 (KJV) Be not forgetful to ENTERTAIN STRANGERS: for thereby some have ENTERTAINED ANGELS unawares.

Abraham was sitting in the doorway of his tent one day waiting on a word from God. In Genesis 18 we read that Abraham looked up and saw three men coming his way through the desert heat. Abraham quickly invited these three strangers into the tent to wash their feet and to rest and eat. As you read through the text it becomes evident that Abraham perceived he was speaking to the Triune God. Though there were THREE he addressed them as MY LORD. While with Abraham the LORD revealed that He was to Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy it. Why? We are told in our text that:

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

People today think “God doesn’t care what you do with your sexuality as long as you’re happy”. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Our Lord Jesus declared that marriage was created by God in the Garden of Eden. He said:

Mark 10:6-8 (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.

God judges sexual sin. He created mankind in His image and in His likeness. Male and female are designed to come together in the beauty of marriage – and the marriage bed is undefiled. God told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. But because Abraham entertained strangers he was able to intercede for his nephew Lot and his family to protect them from destruction.

The words translated “Brotherly Love” is the compound (φιλαδελφία) PHILADELPHIA, the two words “PHILIA” (φιλία) which means an expression of kindness & charity between equals” and “ADELPHOS” (αδελφός) which means “Brothers” combined.

Now what is interesting is that the words translated “To Entertain Strangers” is also a compound word, (φιλοξενία) Philoxenia. It uses PHILIA” (φιλία) which means an expression of kindness & charity between equals” but this time uses ξενία Xenos which means “STRANGERS”.

We are to love our Christian Brethren equally, doing good to those around us. But we are ALSO to love STRANGERS in the exact same way. Why? Because God loved us when we were strangers to Him. Jesus grants entrance into His Kingdom because He said:

Matthew 25:34-40 (NASB) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I WAS A STRANGER, AND YOU INVITED ME IN; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And WHEN DID WE SEE YOU A STRANGER, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that YOU DID IT TO ONE OF THESE BROTHERS OF MINE, EVEN THE LEAST OF THEM, YOU DID IT TO ME.’

Israel was a stranger in Egypt and God blessed them.
We were strangers to God but He loved us and gave us Grace.
We are to love those who we don’t know that come in among us.

We are to get to know them and, if they are not saved, through the love we bestow we “extend hospitality to strangers” (Romans 12:13), perhaps leading them to Christ.

Hebrews 13:3 (KJV) Remember them that are in bonds, AS BOUND WITH THEM; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

In the early Church people were imprisoned and harmed for following Christ. We are to remember these in prayer. When Paul was imprisoned he wrote Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:9-13 (KJV) Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. 13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

Pray for and financially support our missionaries, as they do a dangerous job in sharing God’s Gospel in hostile lands. We work together in brotherly love.

Brotherly Love Does Not Covet Another Person’s Blessing

Hebrews 13:5-6 (KJV) Let your CONVERSATION be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

This is one of the first Bible texts I memorized as a young Christian.

The word “Conversation” is an Old English word that doesn’t mean what it means today. This is the Greek τρόπος TROPOS which means “your manner or way of life, the way you present yourself”.

A lady came by our Church – she comes by periodically – looking for free stuff. I told her that she needs to sit through the preaching hour and afterward I’ll put food in her belly and gas in her car. While we’re at the gas pump later that day she begins to ask for money, a gas card, anything she can get. This is the sign of a lost person. I’m not saying this to downgrade her, but Beloved …

God Has Given Us His Greatest Gift In Jesus

The Apostle said “Be content with the things you have”. What do you have as a Child of God (if you ARE a Child of God?).

  • You have a Savior and Lord Who has promised “I will never leave nor forsake you”. I want you to notice the power of this promise. He doesn’t just say “I will never leave you”, but says “I will never LEAVE (ἀνίημι aniēmi) NOR FORSAKE (ἐγκαταλείπω egkataleipō) you”. God has promised that He has given the believer in Christ:

    John 14:16 (KJV) … I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    God does not wander off from His people. He may draw back when we sin, but He is ever present. We are His people, the Sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).

    How many promised lands have we lost because we have not trusted His Presence?

How Many Blessings Have We Lost Because We Heard His PROMISE
But Doubted His PRESENCE? Those who DRAW BACK will not be blessed!


Has not God told us to Cross the Jordan, to fight Goliath, to move through the Red Sea?
Has not God told us “Go, for I am with you, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20)? Hasn’t God said:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT) … be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Christ the Good Shepherd will not wander from His Sheep, nor will be walk away from us when we fail. Salvation in His is eternal life because our Jesus is the Eternal Savior. Have you wandered into Great Sin? Repent, turn to Him, for He is a Great Savior.

  • You have a Savior and Lord Who has promised to help you do the will of God. Jesus will not help you or bless you in sinning, but He will help you to do the will of God in the expansion of His Kingdom. When King David was in hiding, afflicted without a cause he cried out to God saying:Psalm 54 (ESV) O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 2 O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. 3 For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah 4 Behold, GOD IS MY HELPER; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 5 He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. 6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7 For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

In order for God to be your Helper, you have go to be in a right relationship with God. You need to love the Lord, to praise Him, to magnify Him in your life.

Your Hearts Are To Be Established By Grace

Hebrews 13:7-8 (KJV) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (TROPOS, Way of Life). 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

God charges His people to focus on godly leadership,
on those “who have spoken unto you the Word of God”.

Christians are deceived when they listen to false prophets who do not speak the Word of God, but are weird Philosophers. When I listen to a person speak (and I listen to sermons throughout the week) I ask myself TWO THINGS:

1 Are they preaching about the historic BIBLICAL Jesus?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When someone comes up on the Discover or History Channels and says “We’ve discovered something NEW about Jesus” the best thing you can do is TURN THE TELEVISION OFF. King Solomon – the wisest man who ever lived – declared:

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (ESV) What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

The sick perversions of sexual sin in America today is the same old sewage of yesterday

These things inflicted Sodom, Gomorrah, Greece, Tyre, Rome, Egypt, and every other world power that is now just a third world country. Sin has not changed, and neither has Jesus. Jesus is clearly represented in the Scripture, and He has never (unlike some so called Presidents) changed!

2 Are these so called “Preachers” preaching from the Word of God?

We are warned to not ….

Hebrews 13:9 (KJV) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

Did that little boy who died and went to Heaven
talk about a Heaven that the BIBLE talks about?

Did that fellow who died and went to Heaven and said “I SAW A SEA” –
how does that match up to what John said when he declared …

Revelation 21:1 (KJV)1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Every time someone “dies” and “comes back” strange doctrines are broadcast over the air waves. Every time some “Pseudo Science Discovers” something it defames the Bible.

Suddenly Jesus has a wife or someone declares Jesus is the half brother of Lucifer.

Hogwash! Those people you listen to on radio and television…

do they start with THE BIBLE then expound THE BIBLE?
do they CHERISH God’s Word or the applause of the crowd and the money it brings?
does what they say match what God said?

Someone told me one time they thought that
God might be an alien, or some Cosmic Computer.

The Bible says “don’t be CARRIED ABOUT (Greek περιφέρω peripherō) with divers and strange doctrines”. Let God carry you in the arms of Grace. Don’t let the devil drag you around making merchandise of you. When Jesus fought the Devil in the wilderness His defense was:

It Is Written (Matthew 4:4-10)

This is the offensive and defensive weapon of the Christian, the Word of God.

Brotherly Love Continues To Focus On What Christ Did For Us

Hebrews 13:10-14 (KJV)10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Jesus gave Himself to us, suffering without the gate. The GATE in ancient times represented the place where business was conducted and where money was made. People sat “in the Gate” so they could sell merchandise for profit. Jesus suffered without the Gate. The life He gave, He gave without expectation of profit. His was an act of pure love. When the Gate of the city was shut, those who were without were aliens to the city, no longer under its protection. Jesus suffered without the Gate. He died in a landfill called Calvary, giving His life so that we could enter Heaven’s Gate.

As He gave Himself we who are His brothers by faith are to “go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Here on this earth we have no continuing city, but we look for Heaven, for the Mansion of glory that He has prepared for us.

Hebrews 13:15-16 (KJV) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Let us live for Him, praising Him, doing good for Him. May God’s Spirit touch your hearts.

Posted in Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

Resolute — TheWannabeSaint.com

Resolute – Ah! New Year’s resolutions. A rite of passage for most folks as they walk into the new year filled with the hope and promise of new beginnings, fresh starts. Several years ago I quit making New Year’s resolutions. I forget what I was reading or whom I was speaking with but it led me […]

via Resolute — TheWannabeSaint.com

Posted in Shared Blogs | Leave a comment

Humility 2017-Day 2 (John’s Example)

Good article

THINGS ABOVE

“26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:26-30 (ESV)

John the Baptist will forever be known as the forerunner to Jesus. He was the one who prepared the stage for when Jesus came on the scene. It takes a special kind of person…

View original post 400 more words

Posted in General | Leave a comment

God Gives The Increase

Preached at Riverview the evening of January 1 2017

plant1 Corinthians 3:5-7 (KJV) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Many years ago some men on a leaky old ship were in the middle of a rough and stormy sea. One of them asked the Captain “Are we safe”? The Captain replied, “The boilers are weak and may explode at any minute. The ship is constantly taking on water. To be honest with you, we may go up, or we may go down, but at any rate we’re going on!”

Those are not encouraging words, but they tell us a truth. If your faith is in man or the things that man does then your faith is in a leaky ship. I grew up listening not to Country Music but to Rock Music. The Beatles – a wildly popular group – made a remark in March of 1966 that:

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now”

Just four years later the group broke up, never to be again. On December 8, 1980 the Beatle John Lennon – the one who made the remark – was shot to death by Mark David Chapman. But Christ and Christianity marches on. Our Lord’s Kingdom has not diminished in power or in eternality.

What will make our Church stand strong until the Coming of the Lord Jesus? We must be ever vigilant to follow the leading of God’s Spirit and God’s Word. In Chapter 2 of this Book of Books we saw the necessity of following the Holy Spirit of God. When we stay in God’s Word and let His Spirit lead us, the Apostle said,

1 Corinthians 2:16 (KJV) …. we have the mind of Christ.

Now in Chapter Three the Apostle chastises the Church at Corinth. Paul doesn’t say that the Corinthians are not saved, but that they have stayed at a state of babyhood. When a baby is born that baby needs to be fed, needs to be changed, needs to be lovingly disciplined. Babies do not understand congregational meetings, and so often impose themselves on everyone around. The parent must deal with this, as babies are in the flesh, willful, all about themselves. It is the same way when a person is first born again into the Kingdom of God. That young Christian needs to be taught that the world is no longer about YOU. That young baby needs to understand that the Christian way of life is to Imitate Christ. To not elevate yourself, but to love others as you would be loved. The Bible says:

Philippians 2:3-5 (KJV) Let NOTHING be done through strife or vainglory; but in LOWLINESS OF MIND LET EACH ESTEEM OTHER BETTER THAN THEMSELVES. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The Mind of Christ is the humble mind, the sacrificial mind,
the mind that lowers self and elevates others.

The Apostle told the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (KJV) And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

The Corinthians were not SPIRITUAL or SPIRIT DRIVEN people. The Holy Spirit was given, but they still relied on the flesh. Founded by the Apostle Paul this Church should have been THRIVING where it was. The people of the Kingdom should have been understanding the DEEPER THINGS of Christ, making an impact on their community. Instead the Church was a picture of what a Church should not be. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 3:3 (KJV) For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

They are not SPIRITUAL but CARNAL. What are the marks of the carnal? The Apostle lists four marks of the carnal believer:

  • Envying (Greek ζῆλος zēlos) which refers to passion for the things of others. This is a violation of the Tenth Commandment which states:Exodus 20:17 (NKJV) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

    No child is the same, and no parent gives every child the same thing. God loves you, and has given you what is best for you. The world clamors for STUFF, but the Child of God knows that – like it was with the Levite of old – the Lord is our portion.

    Lamentations 3:24 (NKJV) The Lord is my portion, says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him!

    Psalm 16:5 (NKJV) O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.

    Psalm 73:26 (NKJV) My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

  • Strife (Greek ἔρις eris) which means “to fight or quarrel”. Strife always follows envy. Two babies playing in the sandbox see a toy they both want, and both grab for it at the same time. In a few moments the physically stronger toddler gets control of the toy and hits their playmate over the head. Momma comes, and all lose the sandbox. No one wins. This is strife.Where strife is, the flesh is at work. One of the seven deadly sins is strife.

    Proverbs 6:16, 19 ESV (the Lord hates) …. the one who sows discord among brothers.

    Proverbs 16:28 ESV A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

    Galatians 5:19-21 ESV Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, STRIFE, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Following envy and strife comes DIVISIONS (Greek διχοστασία dichostasia) which means “a breaking apart”. The Church is to be One Body in Christ, with every member in that Body working toward a common goal of glorifying God. The Body is called to be One in Christ.Ephesians 4:1-6 (KJV) I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; [3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
  • And walk as men”. Saved by Grace by Christ we are not to walk as the lost walk, but to walk as Children of God. The lost behave the way they do because they are lost. There is no reason for a Christ follower to follow the darkness. We are toEphesians 5:8 (NKJV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

The Church at Corinth was not walking as the Body of Christ but was broken up into pieces. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 3:4 (KJV) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

It would have been easy for Paul to be drawn into this controversy, for who doesn’t like a little praise, a little bragging on oneself? We all love a little applause, and in his flesh Paul is no different. But Paul learned a lesson that every one of us need to know.

The Flesh Does Not Give Increase. God Gives The Increase.

1 Corinthians 3:5 (KJV) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Both Paul and Apollos were gifted men, but their gifts did not come from themselves but from the Lord. “Even as the Lord gave to every man”. Whatever gifts we have, whatever abilities we possess, we do not have them because we are special. We have our gifts because God bestowed them. Paul planted the Church at Corinth by preaching God’s Gospel. God gave Paul the Gospel, the hands and feet, the lungs, everything that he needed to plant the Church. Nothing that was done at Corinth was because Paul was better than anyone else. Paul was a conduit by which God blessed others. Apollos was a great preacher, a gifted speaker. When Apollos started preaching the Bible says:

Acts 18:24-26 (NKJV) Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Apollos knew about the COMING Messiah – mwhich the Baptism of John emphasized – but did not know that Christ had come. Priscilla and Aquila – two great Christ Followers – took Apollos to the side and explained that Jesus HAD COME. Hearing the truth the Bible says that Apollos ..

Acts 18:28 (NKJV) … (Apollos) vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

If Priscilla and Aquila hadn’t taken Apollos to the side he would have kept preaching John’s Baptism and the Coming Christ. But Priscilla and Aquila did what God bid them do. Do they receive glory for this? No, but God does. And Apollos, gifted by God to preach, do we commend him? No, we commend God. The Lord gives to every person.

Who is Paul? Who is Apollos, but ministered by whom ye believed. Neither Paul nor Apollos are honored guests seated at the table. They don’t own the house of God. They are table waiters, servants, just as you and I are. They are conduits by which the blessings of God are delivered. The copper piping in the house cannot take credit for the water delivered to its occupants. If the pipes are not attached to the water source the copper tubes are useless.

1 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Paul planted, but he did not create the seed nor till the soil. He planted the Gospel given to him by God. He went where God told him to go. He spread the Gospel seed on good ground and bad, on thorny ground and rocky soil. He broadcast the seed of the Cross of Christ where ever he could. But all Paul did was PLANT. Apollos came along, and he had the ministry of WATERING. Paul planted, but Apollos watered. Apollos watered where ever he could, and when ever he could. He trusted God just as Paul trusted God, and did as God told hi to do.

But God gave the increase.

If Paul had no planted, and Apollos had not watered, there would have been no increase. If Paul and Apollos had acted like the Corinthians there would have been no Church in this pagan city. The Apostle Paul told Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Focus on the gift that God has given you. Do what God has called you to do. In time, God will give the increase. We are told:

Galatians 6:7-10 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Four thousand Churches close their doors every year in America. Why? I suspect it is because the members of the Church turn away from the Way of the Cross. The Gospel is not preached, and the people do not “take up their Cross and follow Christ”. The Gospel and God’s Word must be the good seed that we sow.

When the Gospel is sown in word and deed, God gives the increase.
When we sow pseudo seed and neglect the Word of God there is no increase.
God will not bless a false seed planted.

The Apostle Paul sowed the seed of the Gospel, and Apollos watered the seed that was sown by Paul. If Paul had sown the wrong seed no amount of watering would have brought increase. If Apollos watered the weeds and not the seeds no amount of planting would have brought an increase. Both Paul and Apollos, two different people with different callings, had to work together for the glory of God.

Pride Brings Disease Into The Garden Of God

1 Corinthians 3:7 (KJV) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

One of the greatest blessings to the Church of God is a five letter word called G-R-A-C-E. One of the greatest dangers to the Church of God isa five letter word called P-R-I-D-E. Under GRACE a person recognizes themselves as a great sinner in need of a Great Savior. Under PRIDE a person sees themselves not in need of God, but in need of a mirror so they can worship their God.

The Apostle Paul said “neither is he that planteth anything”. Do you know the best thing you can do every day? When you wake up in the morning and are brushing your teeth, spit, rinse, look up at your reflection and say:

I am nothing, but God is everything.
Only God can give the increase.

This is how Paul became successful in his life. He didn’t buy into what the devil whispered into his ear. God loves you, but the Bible tells us that success in the Church and in life begins with HUMILITY before God. The Apostle Peter said:

1 Peter 5:5-11 (NKJV) Likewise you younger people, SUBMIT yourselves to your elders. Yes, ALL OF YOU BE SUBMISSIVE TO ONE ANOTHER, AND BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The Church of God magnifies God, not itself. We humble ourselves realizing that God gives the increase. The Word of God is:

Psalm 127:1 (NKJV) Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

And

Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV) … ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.

It is God Who gives the increase. So we follow our Savior, and look to His Cross. We trust His Blood to save us. We preach His Gospel, and live submitted to His Kingdom. We reject pride and selfishness, knowing these are works of the flesh that destroy us.

And we remember that everyone will give an account unto the Lord. The Apostle said – and I’ll close with this:

1 Corinthians 3:8-9 (KJV) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. [9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

There should be no conflict between the members of the Church. Some plant. Some water. Some teach. Some sing. Some lead children, others young people. Together we are to glorify God and be as one. We are laborers together with God. God sees what you do, how you do it, and the intent of your heart. And every person shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. There is a Judgement Seat of Christ and a Judgment Seat of the Damned. Every person will stand before God, and be rewarded according to their works.

Which seat shall you stand before?

I hope you will stand with the righteous and the Blood bought at Christ’s Seat. I pray that you have received Him as Lord and Savior! May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Look, The Messiah!

Preached January 1 2017 at Riverview, Columbia, TN.

simLuke 2:21-35 (KJV)  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.  [22]  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;  [23]  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)  [24]  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.  [25]  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  [26]  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  [27]  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,  [28]  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  [29]  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  [30]  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  [31]  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  [32]  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.  [33]  And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.  [34]  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;  [35]  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.  

Christmas is over, and the birthday of Christ slowly passes from memory. So many people will reset their internal clocks and we’ll wait until next year when we sing Christmas hymns and carols. The story of Christ has been told, of His birth, of that miraculous night.

Christ Must Fulfill The Law To Be Messiah

Eight days after the birth of Christ the story continues two very necessary things in the life of Christ. The Bible tells us that Jesus fulfilled the Law of God perfectly. Jesus told us that He came to fulfill the Law. He said:

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.

It was not enough that Jesus be born of a virgin, incarnate and sinless into this world. When Christ came He would fulfill the Law perfectly. He would in no way be a sinner, for no sinner (no matter how sincere) can pay for the sins of other sinners! Christ came to fulfill the Law. He lived a pure and sinless life. Though the Pharisees and Sadducees sought to find sin in Him they had to manufacture charges and hire liars to besmirch His character. Jesus was sinless. The Bible declares that Jesus is the High Priest Who …

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV) … who in every respect has been tempted as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN.

Jesus is the Lamb of God without either spot or blemish. The Scripture declares that God the Father …

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) … For our sake he made him to be sin WHO KNEW NO SIN, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 John 3:5 (ESV) You know that {Jesus} appeared in order to take away sins, and IN HIM THERE IS NO SIN.

Jesus Christ was born of the virgin through the operation of God the Holy Spirit. The Angel told Joseph “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). He was born sinless. But what happens next is not to be ignored. It is not unimportant. Born sinless, Jesus was also initially helpless.

If Joseph and Mary dd not keep the Law and do as the
Law commanded everything would be lost!

Christ became flesh and dwelt among us. He came unto His own (John 1:11). Jesus came first for those

Galatians 4:4-5 (KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  [5]  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Here then is the Christmas Story, part 2. We read:

Luke 2:21 (KJV)  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 

Two very important things happened here. When God made His promise to Abraham -long before there was a written Law of Moses or for that matter an Israel – God told Abraham that every male of the covenant had to be circumcised. God told Abraham …

Genesis 17:10-13 (KJV)  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  [11]  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.  [12]  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  [13]  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

What if someone DIDN’T want to be circumcised? God said in Genesis 17:14 (KJV)  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

For Jesus to be the Savior of His people He would have to be circumcised on the eighth day according to God’s Law. If He was not circumcised He would have been cut off from His people whether He was Messiah or not. The Jewish people both circumcised and named their children at the same time. When Jesus was circumcised He was named “Jesus” which literally means “God our Savior”.

Can you imagine being named “God our Savior”? Yet this name was appropriate for Jesus, for He is Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

What else had to happen in the life of the Baby Jesus? We are told:

Luke 2:22-23 (KJV) And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;  [23]  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

The Law of God required two things of Mary and Joseph. First, when a woman gave birth to a male child she was to be considered “unclean” for 40 days. God told Moses …

Leviticus 12:2-4 (NKJV) “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled.

Following the time of purification the firstborn male was consecrated to God at the Temple (see Exodus 13). Pharaoh wanted the midwives to kill all the firstborn males, but God demanded that the firstborn males be consecrated. Following her time of purification Mary and Joseph had to travel the six miles from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. When you made an offering to God you gave according to what you could afford. The well off offered a lamb without spot or blemish. But the poor offered two pigeons or turtledoves. Do you see what was offered for Jesus?

Luke 2:24 (KJV) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 

Loving God Means To HEAR And DO What He Says

He was born into this world of poor parents, hard working blue collar people. Yet they kept the Law and honored their Creator to the best of their abilities and sustenance. I think this is why the Lord God chose Mary and Joseph to be the parent and protector for the Messiah.

Mary and Joseph loved the Lord,
So they kept God’s Law

If Christ had been born to a so called “Nominal Christian” or a “Cultural Christian” those people would have ignored the Law of God and so tainted Christ. Christ might or might not have been circumcised. The offering for the firstborn might or might not have been given. The Lord says:

John 14:23 (NLT) “All who love me will do what I say…”

and in 1 John 5:3 (NLT) … Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

Those who love God HEAR God and DO what God says. Mary and Joseph HEARD God. They DID what God said. They did not DEBATE, but spent their time DOING His Will … and so were blessed. Obedience is the hinges that the door of blessing hangs upon.

The day that Jesus was dedicated in the Temple the Priest did not know who He was. The others in the Temple that day passed by the Messiah, thinking this was nothing more than a newborn baby. But our text tells us there are two others – one man and one woman – who find the Baby Messiah.

Simeon Loved The Lord And Was Blessed

Luke 2:25-26 (KJV)  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  [26]  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

Here we see one of the BEHOLDS of Scripture. Behold Simeon! The name “Simeon” means “He who hears and obeys”. Simeon was not a Nominal or Cultural believer. We are told that Simeon is JUST and DEVOUT. That doesn’t mean that he was part of the holier than thou party, the Pharisees or Sadducees. The Bible tells us even in the Old Testament that:

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV)  Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

A truth that the Apostle Paul echoed in the New Testament as he wrote:

Galatians 3:11-12 (KJV)  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  [12]  And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

Simeon loved God and heard God and did what God told him to do. He trusted God. His faith was in God his Savior. Simeon was DEVOUT, DEVOTED TO GOD. He wasn’t self righteous, but looked to God for his salvation. Simeon loved the Lord, and the Lord loved him. What was Simeon doing in the Temple? He was:

waiting for the consolation of Israel

Do you see that word “consolation”? This is the Greek παράκλησις paraklēsis, which means “Someone who calls alongside so as to comfort or embrace”. The Messiah was coming, and Simeon was looking for Him. It was revealed to Simeon that he would not see death before he had seen the Messiah.

Simeon listened to God. We read that:

Luke 2:27 (KJV) And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,  

The Holy Spirit told Simeon that he would see Jesus before he left this life. The Holy Spirit led Simeon to Jesus. Simeon listened to God and heard His call. Beloved, you will not be blessed listening to public opinion or by following the crowd to destruction. The blessings of God come to those who HEAR and FOLLOW God – ALWAYS. We rob ourselves of blessing when we do not follow God nor hear His Word.

You do not look for flour in a tea bag.
You do not find the sea in the desert.
You cannot find eternal blessing in the temporal.
You must come to Him and hear Him as Simeon did.

Simeon got to do something that few people have ever done. We read:

Luke 2:28-29 (KJV) Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  [29]  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms. I find this amazing. Simeon held Jesus, and holding Jesus asked God to let him “depart in peace, according to Thy Word”. Simeon was not afraid of death. He held the Messiah in his arms. God answered his prayers. He got to see the Comforter of Israel in the flesh. As Simeon saw and held Jesus in his embrace he saw a Messiah not just for himself, but Simeon said:

Luke 2:30-32 (KJV) For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  [31]  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  [32]  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.  

Let’s examine Simeon’s testimony.

  • Mine eyes have seen THY Salvation”. Oh how politically incorrect Simeon was! He is praising God and saying “here alone is Your Salvation”. There are no other Saviors, no other Messiahs, no other way unto God. Here in this Baby is the “hopes and fears of all the years are met in THEE tonight”. God has given but one Savior to mankind, and that Savior is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Which Thou hast prepared before the face of ALL PEOPLE”. That Christ is the Messiah was not hidden. God prophesied the Coming Christ from Genesis to Malachi. He gave illustrations of His crucifixion in the Sacrificial Laws of Moses. I am told that there are 353 prophecies that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God did not hide His intent. He sent His Son to be our One and Only Savior.
  • A light to lighten the Gentiles”. It is God’s intention through the Messiah to save not just Israel, but all people regardless of race. Christ would be born of Israel for Israel, but also for whosoever will believe in Him. Simeon looked backward to the promise God made through Isaiah saying:

    Isaiah 49:6 (NKJV) Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

    This Precious Jesus, this little God-Man, was not just born into this world for Simeon and his people. He came to die for ALL (2 Corinthians 5:15) because God …

    1 Timothy 2:4 (NKJV) … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • and the Glory of Thy people Israel”. Jesus Christ is the Shekinah Glory of God lost from an unbelieving Israel, but found by those who love God. Not all Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6). There will be many Jews who rejected Christ as Lord and Savior who will, like the rich man of Luke 16:23 who “lift up their eyes in Hell”. Oh that they had lifted up their eyes to Heaven while on this earth. Jesus wants no one in Hell. We choose Hell by rejecting Christ.

After praising God and witnessing that Jesus is the One and Only Christ Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph:

Luke 2:34-35 (KJV)  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;  [35]  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 

Though Simeon blessed them both he only addressed Mary. Why? I believe it is because though Joseph was a good Stepfather it was Mary that would be with Jesus all the way to the Cross. When the soldier drives a spear into Christ’s side I asm sure this was like a sword piercing her own soul. God through Simeon would tell Mary that her Son would suffer and die, but that His death would not be in vain. Through Christ “the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”.

What a person thinks of God is revealed in how they respond to Christ.

God sent Jesus to this earth to make payment for our sins. If we receive Him as Lord and Savior then the Bible says that there is no condemnation before God. But if we reject Him, refusing Him and Savior and Lord, then we are condemned already, just as Jesus would later tell Nicodemus.

John 3:18-21 (KJV)   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.   [19]   And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   [20]   For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.   [21]   But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Have you believed on Him. Have you embraced Jesus as Simeon did, and are His arms around you? If so, praise God, you are children of light. If not, today is the day of salvation. Receive Him as Lord and Savior.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in Jesus, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment