The Lord’s Release

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Photo by Colin Moldenhauer on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (KJV) At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbor shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’S release.

At The End Of Every Seven Years”

The Law of God is filled with SEVENS!

The first SEVEN established was the weekly Sabbath. This is the very first Law that God gave us. Before Adam was created and placed in Eden the Scripture says:

Genesis 2:2-3 (KJV)  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  [3]  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had RESTED (שָׁבַת shabath) from all his work which God created and made.

God SABBATHED on the seventh day, and set it aside for mankind.

When God flooded the earth with water during the time of Noah, God did so because man would not heed His Law. Once Noah and his family entered the Ark seven days later the flood waters began to cover the earth (Genesis 7:10). All who believed God’s Word were saved. Those who did not died in the waters. When the water decreased and Noah and his family rested we read:

Genesis 8:4 (KJV)  And the ark RESTED (נוּחַ nuwach) in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

The Ark did what it was intended to do. It saved believing mankind, and excluded the unbeliever who drowned in the Flood. When Noah and his family left the Ark God gave them SEVEN Laws to live by (see Genesis 9). These Laws were:

Not to worship idols
Not to curse God
To establish courts of justice
Not to commit murder
Not to commit adultery or be sexually immoral
Not to steal
Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal

When God raised up the nation of Israel and saved them from enslavement to Egypt He gave them a Law filled with SEVENS.

The Sabbath rest was given in the Law of Moses:

Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV)  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  [9]  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  [10]  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  [11]  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

C.H. Spurgeon noted “Next, there were feast days one month in seven—and then there came every seventh year, a year of rest for the land in which they did not till it, but left it to lie fallow. Then after the seven sevens were complete, there came on the 50th year, an extraordinary year of rest, in addition to the usual one—this was called the year of Jubilee. ”

God gave SEVENS to His people to remind them how gracious He is.

The Lord’s Seven Year Release

In our text today the Lord speaks of the SEVEN Year Release. In Israel then – just as in every country – there were poor Israelites and rich Israelites. God did not want His people to suffer deprivation.

God is LOVE (1 John 4:7-21)

If you are saved by God Who is love, you in turn are supposed to love others, especially your brother and sister. God made a provision among His people where a person who was impoverished could sell themselves to a rich Israelite. God told His people:

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (KJV) If there be AMONG YOU a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:  [8]  But thou shalt OPEN THINE HAND WIDE unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

God had given all of Israel a gracious blessing when He led them out of Egypt and established them in Canaan. God was so good to them! If God saves you, and blesses you, then you, dear friends, are to be gracious to others as God is gracious. That’s what this chapter is about. God told His people to look after one another. He commanded them that if an Israelite sold themselves to another Israelite in order to satisfy a debt, then on every SEVENTH YEAR the one in debt would be released from bondage and their debt forgiven. God even went further with this Law. He said:

Deuteronomy 15:9-11 (KJV)  Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, THE SEVENTH YEAR, THE YEAR OF RELEASE, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.  [10]  Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.  [11]  For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt OPEN THINE HAND WIDE UNTO THY BROTHER, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

God told His people to not be greedy, and to certainly not attempt to write a loophole into this Seventh Year. God told them that to withhold help from another because the Seventh Year was at hand was EVIL, and would surely be punished. To be generous to others is what God required of His people.

If you have received GRACE, you should give GRACE.
If you give GRACE, God gives greater GRACE.
This is “The Lord’s Release”

Christ Is Our Release Today

As we look at this text today we find great truths in it that apply to the Christian. Our Lord Jesus did not come to ERASE 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.

The JOT and the TITTLE were tiny marks found in the Hebrew written language. Jesus said that He would fulfill the Law.

Jesus DID fulfill the Law.
He fulfilled CIRCUMCISION.
He fulfilled ANIMAL SACRIFICE.

Under the Law the rite of CIRCUMCISION brought you into the Family of God. But CIRCUMCISION was only enacted on the male, not on the female. God gave the practice of circumcision to Abraham (see Genesis 17:10-14) and said:

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.

You lost your place in Abraham’s Family if you were not circumcised as men. Women were not circumcised. Further, the Law commanded that every sin be covered in the Blood of an animal sacrificed on an altar by a priest. The Law said:

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS NO REMISSION.

The rituals of circumcision and shedding of Blood were written into the Law. These rituals were given to Israel until Christ came. The Bible tells us:

Galatians 3:22-26 (KJV)  But the scripture hath concluded ALL UNDER SIN, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  [23]  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  [24]  Wherefore the LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER.  [26]  FOR YE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.

When Christ came He fulfilled the Law as He was sent to do. The blood of animals and the bloody practice of circumcision showed us all the terror of sin. Sin puts a barrier between us and God.

To remove the barrier of sin the Jewish male was to be circumcised – to shed intimate blood to be in God’s family. The Jewish person whether male or female were to shed animal blood to cover their sins.

That is – until Christ came. The Law of God “was a shadow of good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). If the animal sacrifices could cleanse us from sin then they would have been done but ONCE. The Bible says:

Hebrews 10:3-4 (KJV)  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.  [4]  For it is NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND OF GOATS SHOULD TAKE AWAY SINS.

The Law taught that we ourselves could not permanently erase our sins. The Law was a schoolmaster that taught us that we needed the Messiah to come. The Law – through its shedding of blood from animals without blemish – demanded that animal sacrifices be made over and over. It demanded that men be circumcised, or be cast out of the Family of God. But then Christ came.

Oh, Praise God for the coming of Christ!
It is with His Blood that our sins are covered.
It is with His sacrifice that we enter the family of God.
He fulfilled the bloodiness of the Law.

Hebrews 10:10-14 (KJV)  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL.  [11]  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  [12]  But this man, after he had OFFERED ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God;  [13]  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  [14]  For BY ONE OFFERING he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

The Law could not save anyone. It can point out sin, and teach of the need of the Messiah. But only Messiah can save. His Blood was offered once and for all. He freed us by His shedding of Blood from sin and selfishness. His offering was once and for all. And by ONE OFFERING Jesus has made us “perfect” and acceptable to God our Father. We who are His are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands. Read these happy words with me:

Colossians 2:11-14 (KJV)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  [12]  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  [13]  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  [14]  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Christ was circumcised on the eighth day according to the Law (Luke 2:21). Christ died on the Cross as the once and for all sacrifice for sins. When you receive Him as Lord and Savior – casting yourselves upon Him – then what He did is placed on your your account by God the Father. Praise Him!

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:18-21 (KJV)  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  [19]  But with the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  [20]  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  [21]  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Jesus Christ paid a debt that we could not pay.

This is what we see in the Law. The Law showed us to be bondslaves to sin and to death. But Christ came and paid our debt. He freed us from sin just as Israel was freed from Egypt. He covers us with His Blood. Does it matter now whether we are circumcised or not? The Scripture says:

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Praise Him! If you have received Christ as Lord and Savior then His life has replaced the blood letting of the Law. And listen to me, Beloved. Saved you are not LAWLESS. Let me say that a few more times.

SAVED you are NOT LAWLESS.
You are STILL to be obedient to God’s Law.
You are commanded to follow Christ.
You are commanded to be holy as God is holy.

What saith the Scripture?

Ephesians 5:1-8 (KJV)  BE YE THEREFORE FOLLOWERS OF GOD, AS DEAR CHILDREN;  [2]  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.  [3]  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  [4]  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  [5]  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  [6]  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  [7]  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  [8]  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

There are some that teach that once you become a Christian then you may walk contrary to the Law of God. Beloved, it is not so. Jesus fulfilled the blood of the Law, but did not eradicate morality.

Because of Christ the morality of the Law
is greater upon the Christian.

When Jesus taught, He BUILT FENCES AROUND THE LAW. Rather than eradicate the morality of the Law Jesus erected barriers to protect the commands of God. In one instance Jesus said:

Matthew 5:19-22 (KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  [20]  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.  [21]  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  [22]  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Jesus took the Sixth Commandment – Thou shalt not murder (Exodus 20:13) – and put a fence of love around it. To carry a grudge against your brother or sister for whom Christ died is as bad as murdering someone. To lust in your heart after a woman (Matthew 5:28, 32) is as bad as committing adultery (Exodus 20:14). Saved by the Blood of Christ you are called to love all – and especially those within the family of God.

That is the heart of our text that we read today. Read it with me one more time.

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (KJV) At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbor shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’S release.

The Israelite was not to hold indebtedness against another Israelite. They were to be RELEASED every seventh year. The Israelite was indebted to God because He saved them from Egypt and gave them His Promised Land.

Dear Christian, God saved you with a mighty hand when He sent Christ to bear your sins and your failures. When you received Him as Lord and Savior your debts were paid. They were paid not so that you sell yourselves back into slavery with sin and the world, but were paid in full so that you can freely live in God’s Presence. Having been saved freely (for salvation is a free gift from God) you should love others as you have been loved. If the Israelite was supposed to forgive their brother’s debt, then we have a much greater obligation to forgive. We are to love one another fervently. We are to love God with all our hearts and all our works.

We are obligated to love and follow Him Who saved us.
Following Him we will find blessedness and peace.
Following Christ we will love.
We will release our brothers or sisters from their debts.

Deuteronomy 15:13-15 (KJV)  And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:  [14]  Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.  [15]  And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.

As you have been blessed of God, so you should bless others. And you should REMEMBER. REMEMBER that when Christ died for you, you were a sinner with no concern for God. Yet Christ died for you. REMEMBER that you still stumble – as do we all – and yet “the blood of Christ keeps on cleansing us”:

1 John 1:7-9 (KJV)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  [8]  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  [9]  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is amazing to me that any Christian would carry a grudge against another Christian. We are to forgive as God forgave us. The Blood of Christ keeps on cleansing us from sin. Oh glory, we need not do penance to pay for our sins. Christ paid for them all. So when a lost person sins against you – forgive him anyway.

Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV)  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.

Both Great And New Commandments Demand Love

Love your brother or sister in Christ. If they offend you, remember you offended God. Love them anyway. You failed God but He keeps on loving you. Let love define us. Let love define His Church. Jesus gave us His Church a Great Commandment and a New Commandment. The Great Commandment states:

Mark 12:30-31 (KJV)  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  [31]  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Whereas the New Commandment says:

John 13:34-35 (KJV)  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  [35]  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Every seven years those who were bondslaves in Israel were to be released. Yet if the servant willingly wanted to stay in the household of the Master:

Deuteronomy 15:16-17 (KJV)  And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;  [17]  Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.

The servant could choose to stay because of love. If that servant chose to stay then the Master of the house would put his ear on the doorpost of that home, and the Master would pierce his ear with an awl. There is one more beautiful principle found in this text that applies to us who are Christ’s today.

We permanently belong to Jesus.
We willingly belong to Jesus.

When Jesus died on the Cross for my sins, He was pierced through with nails, thorns, and a spear. He died for me. Because He died for me, I live for Him. I am indebted to my Jesus. I have willingly put my ear on the doorposts of Heaven, and my Jesus has pierced my ear through. I no longer belong to myself. I belong to Jesus. Beloved, to Whom do you belong? If you have been saved by faith in Christ then you are NOT your own – you are BOUGHT with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). I belong to Jesus. Do you?

If you do not, today is the time to look toward Him and be saved. Confess Him as Savior and Lord. Let Him lead you out of Egypt and into the Promised Land where He rules and reigns. Oh, what a glory it is to know Christ and enjoy His Presence! Will you not come? Oh that God would lead you to come and dine at His table this very day!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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Praying Like Jesus #9: Jesus Prayed With Purpose

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Have you ever started your day badly … and had it be bad all day long?

A young Kindergarten Teacher was having a bad day. She woke up late, rushed to school without breakfast, and it seemed as if one bad thing after another kept happening. Little Sally got sick – and showed it all over the floor. The kids wouldn’t be still and listen. It was a really rough day. But – praise God – it was almost done. If she could just get little Johnny out the door! There he sat struggling to get his boots on. So she decided to help. She got on her knees and helped him pull the boots on. They were really tight. Just as she got them on little Johnny said …Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet!”

So she struggled helping him pull them back off. As she finally got them off and on the right feet little Johnny said …These aren’t my boots.”

She wanted to kill him but knew that would get her a jail sentence. So she struggled once more to pull the boots off. Just as she got the boots off little Johnny said:They’re my brother’s boots. But my mom made me wear them today.”

She didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. Taking a deep breath she wrestled the boots back on little Johnny’s feet. She put his coat on, then asked him “Where are your mittens?”. Little Johnny smiled and said,“I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.”

Tell me again why you don’t pray
first thing in the morning!

Our Lord Jesus prayed, and He prayed with purpose. Jesus knew that the enemy is not flesh and blood:

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12)

The devil is real. The fallen angels we call demons are real. These forces apply their influence on humans, and are the forces behind the evil that abounds in the world at any given time. Jesus knew this, so He prayed. He prayed with purpose. He prayed before making major decisions. Let’s read our focal text:

Luke 6:12-19 (KJV)  And it came to pass in those days, that {Jesus} went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  [13]  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;  [14]  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  [15]  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,  [16]  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.  [17]  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;  [18]  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.  [19]  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

Why did Jesus spend all night in prayer?

Jesus Knew His Ministry Would Be Difficult

Jesus knew His ministry was going to be extremely difficult. The forces of evil – not flesh and blood, but working through flesh and blood – had taken over the Temple of God. The Pharisees had attacked Jesus for picking corn and eating it on the Sabbath (Luke 6:2). Jesus used the Scripture to answer their condemnation. In the Temple there is a table on which Shewbread is kept (Leviticus 24:5-9). The Shewbread was only to be eaten by the priests according to the Law. But when David and his men were running for their lives Ahimelech the priest allowed the fleeing men to eat Shewbread to keep them from starving. God never condemned that action because the Sabbath was instituted as a day of rest for His children. The Pharisees were angered at Jesus, but could do nothing about it.

His supposed violation of the Sabbath was a bur under their saddles.
They fumed, and waited.

Then another Sabbath comes, and Jesus comes to the Synagogue to teach. In that holy place the Pharisees watched Jesus like a hawk, hoping He would do wrong. Jesus saw a man with a withered hand, and He saw the Pharisees. Jesus asked them:

Luke 6:9 (KJV) … I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

The Pharisees refused the answer, and Jesus healed the man. The Bible says “they were filled with madness” (Luke 6:11). The devil had hold of their hearts.

And Jesus spent the night in prayer.

Jesus prayed for evil abounded in the Temple and in the Synagogue. Shouldn’t we pray, because much of the Church in America has become a nesting place for evil, a safe haven for satan. Rome was out of control, and God sent His Son to redeem His Israel … but His own would not receive Him.

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Jesus prayed all night.
He prayed with purpose.

Jesus Prayed So He Could Choose The Right Leaders

We do not know what words He used nor how many tears He shed, but we know after a night of prayer He chose His twelve Apostles. Jesus did not just arbitrarily pick twelve leaders. He chose these men out of a larger group of followers because He knew they were the ones the Father wanted Him to choose. Read our focal text:

Luke 6:13 (KJV)  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

The word “apostle” is the Greek APOSTOLOS (pronounced ap-os’-tol-os) which means “a sent Ambassador or Commissioner”. The Apostles were given special power by Jesus and were meant to be leaders in the early Church. There were many disciples who followed Jesus at this time, but Jesus only chose twelve.

Why twelve?
Because there are twelve tribes in Israel.

These men would carry His Gospel message to all Israel, sharing that He is the Promised Messiah, the Savior. None of these men were Seminary Trained or Scribes. They were not Rabbis or gifted and recognized teachers. They were men from the common people. They were not illiterate, but not Doctors. Who were these twelve? We read again:

Luke 6:14-16 (KJV)  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  [15]  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,  [16]  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

  • Simon is a married fisherman (Mark 1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 9:15). He was named “Peter” or “Cephas” which means “The Rock” (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Galatians 1:18; 2:9,11,14). Simon Peter would be the leader of the Apostles after Christ’s ascension into glory. He along with James and John was of Christ’s “Inner Circle” of leadership.

  • Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew was a former disciple of John The Baptist who led Simon Peter to Christ. Both Andrew and Peter came from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and were Galilean fishermen (Mark 1:16; Luke 5:2-3; John 21:3).

  • James the Son of Zebedee was of Christ’s inner circle along with Peter and his brother John. He was martyred by King Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2).

  • John the Son of Zebedee was of Christ’s inner circle. He lived the longest of the Apostles, and wrote the Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation.

  • Philip was from Bethsaida.

  • Bartholomew was a native of Cana in Galilee. He carried the Gospel to India.

  • Matthew was a tax collector that Jesus saved (Matthew 9:9; 10:3). He was also called Levi the Son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27).

  • Thomas has the distinction of doubting Christ’s resurrection.

  • James the Son of Alphaeus was Matthew’s half brother.

  • Simon called Zelotes. The Zealots were a nationalist group of rebels who advocated violence as a means of liberation from Rome.

  • Judas the brother of James was also called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). The only words ever recorded that he said are in John 14:22.

  • Judas Iscariot acted as treasurer for the Apostles. He was the only Apostle from Judea. Jesus knew that his heart was traitorous, but chose Him according to the will of God (Luke 22:21; Matt. 26:20-21).

Jesus chose each of these men carefully after a night of prayer with His Father. These men (minus Judas Iscariot) would carry His message after Jesus ascended to Heaven. They were the future of the Church that Christ would build.

The most important decision in any organization is its leadership. Bad leaders make bad decisions!

Jesus made sure that He chose the men that would best meet the needs of the Church in Jerusalem and beyond.

Jesus Prayed So God’s Power Would Work Through Him

Luke 6:17 (KJV) {Jesus} came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

When Jesus healed people while the walked this earth He did not do so using His own power. The Bible tells us in:

Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV)  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  [6]  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  [7]  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  [8]  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The phrase “made Himself of no reputation” is the Greek “alla kenoo heautou kenoo” which literally means “He emptied Himself”. When Christ came into this world He came into this world as fully God and perfect Man. He is called “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Dr. J. Vernon McGee said before he went to be with Jesus:

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 should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). He had to be a sacrifice that was acceptable. I couldn’t die for the sins of the world. I can’t even die a redemptive death for my own sins. But He can! How can Jesus be a Savior? Because He is Emmanuel, God with us. How did He get with us? He was virgin born. I say again, He was called Jesus; He was never called Emmanuel. But you cannot call Him Jesus unless He is Emmanuel, God with us. He must be Emmanuel to be the Savior of the world.”

Jesus Christ came to this earth to be “God with us”. He is incarnate, the Eternal Son of God Who robed Himself in humanity. What a fantastic truth this is. But Jesus did not walk on this earth using the power of God that was and is rightfully His. He “emptied Himself” is what we are told in Colossians. That does not mean that Jesus ceased to be God, but it means that He voluntarily refused to use His Divine power while He walked on this earth. He set aside His independent authority as the second member of the Godhead, and completely submitted Himself to the will of God.

So how did Jesus do the miraculous things that He did?
He used “The Finger of God”.
What do I mean?
Compare these two recorded texts where Jesus spoke.

Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Jesus prayed all night long so that the Holy Spirit would work through Him. Jesus did the miraculous things He did because He was in harmony with both the Father and the Spirit.

Jesus followed the will of God The Father,
and was empowered by God the Spirit.

Jesus had a superhuman thing He needed to do – He needed to heal people. When Jesus went to Nazareth (His home town) He read from Isaiah 61🕐🕐:1 ..

Luke 4:18 (KJV)  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Jesus prayed so that the Spirit of the Lord could use Him to heal the multitudes. Jesus prayed so that the Spirit of the Lord could cast out unclean spirits from the people of Israel. The Bible says:

Luke 6:18-19 (KJV) And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.  [19]  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

The virtue that went out of Jesus was the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through Him. Jesus operated within the limitations of humanity.

Jesus got weary as other men do (John 4:6)
Jesus became thirsty as we all do (John 19:28)
Jesus was limited in knowledge as a man is (Matthew 24:36)
Jesus willingly limited Himself for our sakes.

Jesus Is Our Example In Prayer

As Colossians tells us, Jesus limited Himself for our sakes. This is why the text starts:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus”
(Philippians 2:5)

Jesus knew that we would be His hands and feet in this fallen world. Because of that He showed us how we are to live our lives out for the Kingdom of God. We are to love God and one another with all our hearts. We are to store up His Word in our hearts. We are to obediently follow our Father, and do as Jesus did.

And we MUST do God’s work in God’s power!

It is through prayer that we, like Jesus, learn what the will of the Father for our lives is. One day Jesus had been preaching and ministering all day when the disciples came to Him. They begged Jesus:

John 4:31 (KJV) … Master, eat.

Jesus had not eaten, and they were worried about Him. But Jesus was not hungry. He told them:

John 4:32 (KJV) … I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

This confused His disciples. They began asking one another “Did you bring Him something to eat?”. None had fed Him. But Jesus found satisfaction in obedience to God. He said:

John 4:34 (KJV) … My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.

Though Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself (see Hebrews 1:8) He nonetheless subjected Himself to the will of the Father, which is right. The Father is the Leader of the Godhead. Jesus wants to do the Father’s will. Jesus wants His purpose to be one with the Godhead. To know God’s will and purpose, we must know God. And the only way to know God is to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word. Jesus tells us:

John 14:12 (KJV)  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

How can this be? How can we do the works of Christ? How can we do GREATER works than Christ did? God must work through us. God must use us. Only in Him and through Him can we do the super human, supernatural things of God. This type of power only comes by prayer. We must pray as Christ prayed. We must be serious about our prayer lives, or we will effect no lives for God.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in prayer, Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Walking With My Lord

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Photo by Zack Minor on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (KJV) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, {2} And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; {3} Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. {4} Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

As Israel moved into the Promised Land, they would move among many peoples with many ideologies and theologies. In other words, nearly every nation Israel passed through had its own god, and that god was not the God of the Holy Bible! So God our Father established parameters that His people whom He loved were to follow.

In America today the Church that Jesus died for is in much the same position that Israel was in. We find ourselves surrounded by strange world views and bizarre philosophies. Relativism is in, and absolute truth is out. Truth can be bent based on your point of view. There was a Rock group called Buffalo Springfield that was popular when I was only 9 years old and still in Elementary School. The song was called “For What It’s Worth”, and the lyrics actually made sense. Back when I was young you could understand what the bands were saying. One part of the song popped into my mind right now:

There’s battle lines being drawn;
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong …

Since you’re a Gospel and Country Music crowd I’ll stop there, but I have to say that what they sang was TRUE. Truth is absolute, and does not change based on your opinion. If you step off the roof of a ten story building you will die. That’s truth. It doesn’t matter if what you believe is contrary to that or not. Truth is truth. You can step off a ten story building believing you’re a bird, but you will only be goo in but a few moments. Period. It doesn’t matter what political party or color you are. Truth is truth. Our Lord Jesus stood in front of Pilate – His soon to be executioner – and said:

John 18:37 (KJV) …. for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Jesus bears witness to the truth. There is an absolute truth. Jesus said that He came to bear witness to it … and those who are true will hear HIS Voice. Of course, Pilate was a politician, and they never change. The Pontius Politician responded to Jesus saying:

John 18:38 (KJV) … What is truth? …

Though he found no fault in Jesus and told the people the same he nevertheless crucified an innocent Man. Why? Because the world and the devil will do its best to make truth flexible and relative. The world and its devil will kill any who believe in the absolute truth that Christ witnesses to. The world says:

Everything’s right
Nothing’s wrong
There is no moral imperative
Just do what you will
And God will look the other way

To which God responds:

Hogwash! There Is Absolute Truth

Deuteronomy 13:1-2 (KJV) If there arise1 among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, {2} And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them …”

People often watch various “religious programs” on the television or hear their figure heads preach on radio or podcast. When what they are saying is questioned they respond:

But they’ve got a BIG Church
But they do MIRACULOUS things
But they’ve been endorsed by so and so
But they’ve been to such and such a Seminary
But my uncle Bobsy said he saw them …
But they feed so many children

and so on, and so on. People speak of the outward signs or miraculous things these prophets or preachers do. What is interesting in this text today is that God said someone can do miraculous things and still NOT be walking with our Lord. God said:

IF they do a miraculous thing,
AND it come to pass,
BUT they try and lead you away from Me
THEN LOOK OUT!

The Apostle told us that we who are Christ’s children by faith are not in a battle with flesh and blood:

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Though there are times when we feel our enemy IS flesh and blood or humans, but the Apostle said definitively NO!

The evil driving the martyrdom, manipulation, and misinformation about and to the Christian is NOT flesh and blood or human but
a fallen angel we call satan.

When Lucifer became lifted up with pride and rebelled against God the Bible says that he led a third part of the angels (Revelation 12:4) to rebel with him. Satan and his forces (called “principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness”) are behind the fall of Adam. It is the devil who is behind the relative truth movement. Shall I tell you what Jesus thinks of this? He said:

John 8:44 (KJV) … the devil … He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

The vain philosophies of this world that lead away from the Creator God are but lies from the pregnant belly of satan. The devil – that old dragon – led a third of the angels in rebellion against God, and leads the fallen world to resist its Creator.

The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know God Or His Word

He and his evil followers want to draw you away from the Real God and His Real Word, this Holy Bible. When they entice you to depart from God what should your response be?

Deuteronomy 13:2-3 (KJV) “… Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; {3} Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams…”

Don’t listen to them. Do what Jesus did when tempted of the devil. Jesus said “It Is Written”, then quoted God’s Scripture.

Matthew 4:4 (KJV) “… It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:7 (KJV) “… It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Matthew 4:10 (KJV) “… Get thee hence, Satan: for It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

The Phrase “It Is Written” Is Found 63 Times In The New Testament, In Most Instances From Christ’s Own Mouth

I treasure the works of Charles Stanley, Adrian Rodgers, J. Vernon McGee, C.H. Spurgeon, John Walvoord, John Wesley, John MacArthur, Dwight L. Moody, and too many others for me to name. These are all great men of God. However, my ultimate source of Absolute Truth is the Word of God, not what these men have said. The final authority for the believer must be, as Jesus made it, “It is written“. Otherwise, you will be led away after other gods!

Remember That The Devil
Can And Will Quote Scripture!

If It Is Of God It Will Lead You To God

Deuteronomy 13:4 (KJV) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

If what you are listening to is from God’s Word and God’s Throne, then that teaching will not elevate the FLESH nor will it magnify SIN, but it will draw you to God’s side.

The Bible teaches us that the works of the flesh, that is, the outflow from the Old Sin Nature is always selfish or self serving. The Apostle said:

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, {20} Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, {21} Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you walk in darkness you are not walking with God. If you walk in the flesh you are not walking with the Spirit of God. If you are walking with God the fruit or output of your life will be like Christ. The Scripture says:

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, {23} Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Note that the text says the FRUIT of the Spirit. There are many works of evil attributed to the devil and the flesh, but only ONE FRUIT with many flavors from the Lord. Now look at the flavors of the produce of God: love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Each flavor in the fruit of the Spirit supports the other flavors. The quality of life in Christ is amazing, and blessed. If you wish to have a blessed, satisfying life, then you must orient your life so as to follow after Jesus and not after the gods of this world.

Let’s Take An “I” Exam

  • If “I” am a Christian then “I” am designed to walk with God. God saved Israel to walk with Him, to follow after Him. God save me to follow Him. The Scripture says:

Romans 14:7-8 (KJV) For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. {8} For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

I” do not belong to me. “I” do not belong to the devil’s world. “I” belong to Christ. He purchased me with His Blood. “I” am bought with a price that Jesus paid on Calvary (see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV) … what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

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

As you have been given Grace from God, you are to be gracious to others. As the Scripture says:

Acts 20:35 (KJV) I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

  • If “I” am a Christian then “I” am to walk in the clearly revealed truths of God’s Bible. I am not to argue with that truth, but to live so as to support it.

3 John 1:3-4 (KJV) For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. {4} I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

We who are Christians walk in truth, Bible truth. We love His Word and seek to live it out each day of our lives. Jesus prayed for His Church, saying:

John 17:17 (KJV) Sanctify them (set them apart, dear Father) through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.

The reason that God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to the life of the believer is to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). The devil is the thief who seeks to rob you of joy. Jesus said:

John 10:10 (KJV) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

The only way you will ever experience the “peace of God that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) is to fill your heart and your hands with God’s Truth. There is an old saying that states:

What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket!

If worldliness is stored in your heart then your daily output will be the same as a lost person. But if God’s Word is stored in your heart then your daily output will be to walk with God.

  • If “I” am a Christian I am to follow after God or walk in God. The flesh will not be my driving force, but what God commands of me.

Galatians 5:16 (KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Deuteronomy 13:4 (KJV) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Cleaving” unto God is an intimate term. When Adam first saw Eve he said:

Genesis 2:24 (KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Just as Adam bound himself to Eve at the intimate level, we are to bind ourselves to God our Father that same way. We are to be “One” with God in our thoughts and in our actions. We are to walk AFTER God:

Romans 8:1 (KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The believer is not under condemnation because he or she is indwelt by and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. This indwelling Spirit directs us to live righteously, just as Christ did:

Romans 8:4 (KJV) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The righteousness of the Law can never be fulfilled by the unbeliever trying in his own power to do right. But the righteousness of the Law is naturally fulfilled by the God filled, God controlled believer. We walk after God!

  • If “I” am a Christian I am to put my faith in my God and His Word. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Christian, God calls you to do amazing things for Him. He calls you, like Israel, to impossible situations. He does this so that you will learn to rest in His Word and in His Promise. The battle cry of the Christian is:

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I rely on my God. I trust my God even when the situation looks dire, for I know that He is faithful. I choose BLESSING and not CURSING for my life.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. {6} For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. {7} Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. {8} For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

You can see the difference between cursing and blessing when you look at the life of the Shepherd King David. When David trusted God he destroyed a giant called Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17). But when David began to trust in himself and “numbered his people” (see 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21) he brought a curse on himself and on those around him. Seventy thousand people died (1 Chronicles 21:14) because David numbered Israel. Choose who you will serve, dear one. If you choose the Lord you will be blessed. If not, you will bring a curse upon yourself.

  • If “I” am a Christian I will walk in love with others. Every time we enjoy the Lord’s Table I quote this scripture:

1 John 1:7 (KJV) … if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

God brings believers together so we can walk together loving Him and His Children. The Apostle said:

Ephesians 4:1-3 (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 long suffering, forbearing one another in love; {3} Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The walk of the believer should be in sharp contrast to the walk of the unbeliever, as day is different from night. That which characterizes the Christian walk is the peace of God, honoring our Savior with all that we do.

Romans 13:13-14 (KJV) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. {14} But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

You are either God’s Child by faith in Christ or you are not. If you are not, Christ calls you to salvation by faith in Him. He will save you, dear one, if you will but unconditionally surrender to Him. Do so this very day. Follow Him in truth and in sincerity. Oh, how I pray that your hearts be settled on following Him. Here and only here is there peace and joy forever more. Praise You, dear Jesus. Thank You, dear Father. Blessed Spirit, lead me to You for Your glory.

1Qal Imperfect quwm {pronounced koom} , to come to power

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

Jesus Prayed With Song In His Heart

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Photo by David Beale on Unsplash

Hebrews 2:9-12 (KJV)  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 should taste death for every man.  [10]  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. [11] For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,  [12]  Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Hebrews chapter 2 quotes a LOT of songs from the Hebrew Hymnbook we call “Psalms”. For instance, in verse 6 there is two questions asked.

Hebrews 2:6 (KJV) …. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This question comes from the eighth song in the Hebrew Hymnal, which sings:

Psalm 8:3-4 … When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

That’s a good question that an arrogant person will never ask. The arrogant and prideful worship themselves and not God. They create idols. The Christian well aware of Grace and of our brokenness often asks God:

Father, Why Do YOU Love Me So?

God made the angels of starlight, way up high in the sky. Yet man is made of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). God took this pile of dirt, KISSED it, and gave us something the angels do not have.

God made us in His image and in His likeness!
God put us in charge of His creation.

Our hearts should sing with the Hebrew Hymnbook. We should praise Him and give glory to Him! Oh, what a wonderful God we serve.

Psalm 8:5-6 … For thou (O God) hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

God placed all of creation under man’s hands.
He did not give the world to the angels
But to us who are lower than the angels

We should be astonished that God loves us so. This should make us sing and praise His Holy Name. But then – given all things and blessed beyond measure – man fell. Adam sinned. You would think with that sin that God would wipe His hands of us. That’s what WE would do if we were betrayed. If we gave someone everything, and that someone turned on us, then our natural response would be to have nothing to do with them.

But God loves us so.
That’s the impact of the focal text today.
But we see Jesus.
We failed God, but rather than abandoning us,
God came to us.
We were crowned with glory and honor, and gave it all away.
But we see Jesus – God Become Man.

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 honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Jesus – the eternal Word made flesh Who came to dwell among us (John 1:14), the One Who is Immanuel or God with us (Matthew 1:23) – was made lower than the angels so He could die for us. Jesus came to us to taste death for every man. He died for all. He died for you, and died for me.

But we see Jesus – Setting us apart as His Family!

Hebrews 2:11 (KJV)  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord we are made one with Him. We are identified as sons and daughters of God because we have received Him. Jesus is not ashamed to call us “brethren” or “family”. By His Blood we have been bought.

But we see Jesus – SINGING!

Hebrews 2:12 (KJV) Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Jesus Christ sings to the Father in the midst of His Church. He sings praises unto the Father because of God’s salvation. The reason there is a Hebrew Hymnbook called Psalms is because of Jesus. This text is a quotation from that Hebrew Hymnbook:

Psalms 22:22 (KJV)  I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

The twenty-second song in the Hebrew Hymnbook – Psalm 22 – speaks of our Jesus. While Jesus hung on the Cross He quoted this song. Compare the two texts:

Matthew 27:46 (KJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Psalms 22:1 (KJV) … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

While Jesus hung on Calvary, the crowd mocked Him. Compare the song to Matthew’s account:

Matthew 27:42-43 (KJV) He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Psalms 22:8 (KJV)  He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

Jesus quoted from songs as He hung on the Cross. I do not know if He actually sang from the Cross, but I do know He sang before He went to the Cross. He sang with His disciples before He was betrayed.

But we see Jesus – Singing on the way to Calvary.

Mark 14:26-28 (KJV)  And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (see also Matthew 26:30)

Jesus sang. I believe Jesus sang a lot of His earthly life. Do you know why I believe this? Because Jesus quoted the Hebrew Hymnbook we call “Psalms” more than any other book in the Old Testament.

When called to verify His ministry He quoted Psalm 78:24
Calling Himself the Chief Cornerstone He quoted Psalm 118:22
Foretelling Jerusalem’s Destruction Jesus quoted Psalm 118:26
Talk of His betrayal Jesus quoted Psalm 41:9
Dying on the Cross He quoted Psalm 22:1
Committing His Spirit to the Father Jesus quoted Psalm 31:5

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. Before Jesus and His disciples left that first Lord’s Supper the commentaries said they probably sang the great Hallal (the selection of songs found in Psalms 113-118).

But We See Jesus Singing To Glorify God.
His Work Would Destroy Satan’s Hold On Creation.

Hebrews 2:14-15 (KJV)  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  [15]  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Jesus sang because He knew that His work would free us from sin and Satan. Jesus sang because He knew that as our Great High Priest He would redeem us from hell, and keep us redeemed forever more.

Hebrews 2:17 (KJV)  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Singing hymns and praying is what the family of God does. We sing because He sings. We look up to God and praise Him in song. The birds sing daily without having to be told to do so, because they were made by God. We too should sing and praise Him. Jesus sings in the midst of His Church, in the midst of His family.

Singing In The Heart To God
Is Evidence Of The Filling!

The Church is commanded to sing from the heart. The Lord says:

Ephesians 5:18-21 (KJV)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  [19]  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  [20]  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  [21]  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Singing brings us into harmony with our God Who sings, and with our neighbor. We are in one accord when we sing. It is for this reason God calls us to sing.

Pray Until You Can Sing
Sing From A Christ Filled Heart
Praise God For All That You Have
You Have Every Reason To Sing, Dear Believer.
Sing with our Jesus!

Posted in Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,

The Days Of Heaven Upon The Earth

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Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (KJV) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

When I read or hear the word of man my heart is often discouraged. I read with shock and dismay how many are leaving the Church that Jesus built and are turning to Eastern Religions like Buddhism. One man who claims to be a pastor stated:

I was surprised to learn how Buddha and Jesus were so similar in their settings. Their messages were so similar that, to a people who were in many ways stuck in oppression, there was a way to find hope or change.”

That is discouraging to me because God
specifically forbids idolatry in His Bible.

When we engage in idolatry we turn away from the Living God and magnify ourselves and our self made gods above Him Who made us and loves us.

In the very context of our Deuteronomy 11 passage we read of a time in Israel’s history when Korah (a Levite or minister of God) and Dathan and Abiram (from the tribe of Reuben) lead 250 men in revolt against Moses and Aaron. The story is told in detail in Numbers 16. God had Moses stand before the tents of Dathan and Abiram. He then called upon those who followed them to repent, to get away from the tents of these rebels. Those who refused to repent died in one of two ways. Those closest to Dathan and Abiram, the Bible says:

Numbers 16:31-33 (KJV) … that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.

What happened to the 250 rebels? The Bible says that:

Numbers 16:35 (KJV) … there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men…

Though God’s people initially repented, the next day they returned to their idolatry. God sent a plague upon Israel, killing 14,700 people (Numbers 16:48-50). There would have been more dead but Moses sent Aaron to stand between the living and the dead; and the plague was stayed (Numbers 16:48). This is the picture of the believer who stands up for the Lord. This is also a picture of our Christ, Who protects us from the evil one.

The word of man and idolatry brought HELL upon the earth.
What does this have to do with our text?
Everything!
The word of man and vain religions the world follows brings DEATH.
The Word of God brings LIFE.

Proverbs 12:28 In way of righteousness (God’s Way) is LIFE; and in the pathway thereof there NO DEATH.

When I hear the word of man I am discouraged and bewildered and confused. But when I hear the Word of God my heart is lifted up. God says and promises such blessings for those who hear HIM and HIM ALONE. Did you notice what God promised? Oh, do not miss it! At the beginning of chapter 11 He warns of hell upon the earth. But in the last 8 words of the text we read today promises:

as the days of heaven upon the earth

God promises “days of Heaven upon the earth” to those who love Him and follow Him. There is no blessing in idolatry and in a self serving religion. There is blessing in hearing and obeying Him.

You may think there can be no Heaven on this earth, but you would be wrong. The first Heaven described to us in the Bible is the Heaven that was in the Garden of Eden. Every day was a perfect day. It was a perfect environment. The Bible says:

Genesis 2:5-7 (KJV) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

It was with a kiss that God breathed life into man. There were no storm clouds in the sky. There was no sickness, death, nor pain. The Bible says:

Genesis 2:8-9 (KJV) … the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God gave man absolute liberty.
God gave unlimited YES’s and only one NO.

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

God’s NO was for man’s benefit. “If you eat it, you will die that very day”.

God was not speaking of physical death – though that would eventually come. But God spoke of spiritual death.

To disobey God would bring confusion and an end to Paradise. To disobey God would cause us to lose the best thing we ever had. What was the best thing we ever had? It was companionship with God. To walk with God daily. This is what Heaven is all about. When people think of HEAVEN they think of the place.

Heaven is where there is no suffering.
Heaven is where there is peace.
Heaven is a Buddhistic Nirvana.
Heaven is where I get everything I want.
Heaven is a street of gold.
Heaven is my fellowship with my relatives once more.
Heaven is … you fill in the blank!

Are these things HEAVEN? No. Heaven is not an experience you will enjoy. Heaven is not absolute self gratification. Heaven is COMPANIONSHIP WITH GOD.

Heaven was on the earth in a place called Eden until man’s word took precedence over God’s Word. Heaven will one day be on the earth once more. When the Apostle John saw the end of evil in the new Heaven and new earth how did John describe Paradise reborn? He said:

Revelation 21:3-4 (KJV) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Why is there no more suffering at end of time? It is not the environment, but it is the Person of God. Heaven is all about God. God is with men. There is no racism or hatred or evil, for God is with us. He dwells in the midst of His people. God Himself shall be with them and be their God. No one will be chasing after false gods, nor will anyone be elevating themselves to the status of god. God will be God, and we will be His Children. There will be no death, sorrow, crying, or pain because God will touch us. As He breathed life into Adam with a kiss, so will He breath into us eternal life and love. If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your only Savior, for He has said:

John 14:6 (KJV) … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You cannot come into the Presence of God the Creator and Father except through Christ.

Buddha will not get you there. Good works will not get you there. Lifestyle changes will not get you there. Unless you come to the Father through the Son you shall never inherit Heaven. Period. Jesus told those who not believe in Him:

John 5:37-40 (KJV) And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

There is life only in Christ, in repenting of the false gods and false ways, in cleaving to my Jesus. Too many of you who are “religious” have listened to the words of the thief, or thieves. That so called pastor is a “thief” who was ordained probably by “thieves”. Jesus said:

John 10:10 (KJV) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Christ came to give you and I abundant and eternal life. He came so that we can experience days of Heaven on the earth. The Bible tells us that it was written:

John 20:31 (KJV) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

If you are a Christian you can remember “days of Heaven upon the earth”. The first time I experienced Heaven on earth was when God kissed my soul through His Gospel. I left home when I was 16 years old. I chased after things that I thought would bring me happiness. Alcohol, drugs, things I am now ashamed of. But one day someone invited me to a Church service. I went to Church that day expecting to go through the same old boring routine I grew up suffering under. The mindless catechisms we had to learn. The rituals we did. The songs that we drearily sang. But I went because it was a friend who had encountered a day of Heaven upon the earth, and wanted to share this with me. I went that day, and actually heard the Gospel preached. And I had a day of Heaven upon the earth. Jesus reached out to me. He saw my sin sick soul, and saw my aching heart filled with loneliness and need. Just as He did with Adam He put His nail scarred hand on this walking pile of dust – and He kissed me with Grace. Oh Beloved, the kiss of God is such Heaven!

I breathed out human evil and human ways,
And inhaled life from the Son of God!

I went home that day and lay in a lonely bed where I used to weep. Now I wept with joy. I looked upward, and over and over praised the God Who died for me and rose again to lead me upward. This was a day of Heaven upon the earth. The prodigal son had come home!

I have not forgotten our Deuteronomy text. This text is a formula for finding “Days of Heaven upon the earth”. What does God command of us? How can we experience His presence in our lives?

Deuteronomy 11:18 (KJV) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

The ancient Jew – probably inspired by those who had no genuine relationship with Him as Father – took these verses quite literally. They created the phylacteries or tefillin which were small square leather boxes that were worn in pairs during weekday morning prayers. The word phylactery comes from a Greek word that means “safeguard, protection, or amulet”. The phylactery was strapped to the arm (shel yad) and the other to the forehead (shel rosh). Inside the phylacteries were verses from the Bible (usually Exodus 13:1–10, 11–16; Deuteronomy 6:4–9; 11:13–21). Jesus chastised the Pharisees for wearing phylacteries:

Matthew 23:5 (KJV) But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

God did not call Adam to ritual worship, nor does He call His children to the same thing today. Counting beads, genuflecting, or wearing religious symbols without loving God is worthless. What does God want of us? He tells us:

Deuteronomy 11:13 (KJV) … ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

God wants us to love Him as He is, to honor Him as God. He wants us to store His Word in our hearts, so much so that our worldview is God’s view. God wants us seeing the world through His eyes and His Word. He wants our hands to do the things He said do because we love Him. We are to obey Him. Our God is the “Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind”. He sees where your heart is pointed. And where your heart is, that is your God. If God is yours and you are God’s then:

Your eyes will behold Him
Your feet will follow after Him
Your hands will serve Him
Your lips will praise Him
Your ears will listen for Him
Your heart will rejoice in Him

Jesus said in:

John 14:21-24 (KJV) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

God does not manifest Himself to the world, nor to the worldly. He manifests Himself to those who love Him and follow Him. Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep – do – My commandments. And if you DO what I have said then both I and the Father will come and live with you.” Beloved, this is the days of Heaven upon the earth, to know that God is with you and loves you.

Deuteronomy 11:19 (KJV) And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

If God’s Word is in your life, then you will share His Word with your children and with those of your household. You will dwell on His Word not just occasionally, but all the time. When at home (when thou sittest in thine house), when at work or the market (when thou walkest by the way). You will heed God’s Word at the end of your day (when thou liest down) and at the daybreak (when thou risest up).

Deuteronomy 11:20 (KJV) And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

People who know you will be able to see that you are God’s Child whether at home (the door posts of thine house) or at work (and upon thy gates).

Deuteronomy 11:21 (KJV) That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

It is Heaven upon earth to follow the Lord. Will you join me? Will you repent, and turn to Jesus Christ believing? Will you seek the Father through His Son? Will you hear His Word and believe that He loves you? If so, you will have days of Heaven upon the earth.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Praying Like Jesus #7

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Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

Jesus Prayed With A Thankful Heart

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (KJV) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. [16] Rejoice evermore. [17] Pray without ceasing. [18] In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

In the news today I read how the FDA just announced approval for a new severe depression drug. The article went on to note that over 16 million Americans suffer from depression. That amazes me. I do not want to be patronizing, but as a retired Airman I have travelled to many of the countries around the world. I’ve been in Japan, Germany, Korea, Egypt, the Phillipines, Thailand, and England to name a few. In America we have unprecedented freedoms, freedoms that other countries dream of having. Though it is expensive we have access to the finest medical care in the world. We have absolute freedom to worship where ever we want to worship. In Egypt we had to post guards around our tents during our Sunday Chaplain services lest a local Muslim find out we were worshiping the Lord and attack us. Yes, that’s the truth. I have noticed poverty in other countries, and poverty in the United States. Yet in the United States even our poor are many times overweight. That’s not the case in other countries. I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of children in other countries with skeletal arms and legs and puffed up, worm filled bellies. I have yet to see ANYONE in America in that condition. Not even the sojourning homeless we see periodically at the entrance to the mall and the Walmart.

We are blessed in this country. We are blessed beyond measure by God, though many barely acknowledge His awesome Presence!

It is certain that depression can be attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain, but much more comes from ingratitude. When the human appetite is filled to overflowing and we neglect that the bounty came from a gracious and faithful Creator, then any perceived lack becomes an opportunity for depression and murmuring. Scott Hubbard of Desiring God Ministries wrote:

“When Paul says that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17), he really means enjoy. God’s ocean of gifts is meant for swimming. … But the simple pleasures of earth are never completely safe in the hands of sinners — even redeemed ones. Without care, we feast on the abundance of God’s house and forget that it is his house. We eat and eat, and gradually neglect the host. Eyes lower from heaven to earth. Spiritual senses dull. “Desires for other things” begin to choke the word (Mark 4:19). In moments like these, it is one of God’s severe mercies to deal with us as he dealt with Israel, and to send us into the wilderness.”

The Father Gave The Son Many Wilderness Experiences

It is significant that before Jesus began His ministry of Grace and healing
that He was “Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1)
.

Jesus’ Life Did Not Begin With Blessing,
But With Things That Looked Like Cursing.

Jesus was born in a stable, and laid as a baby in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Jesus spent His first few years on this earth as a fugitive. Before Jesus ever began ministering – while He was still in diapers – King Herod wanted to kill Him. The Angel of God told Joseph “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” (Matthew 2:13). Many people suffer depression because of the suffering of their childhood. I understand. I’ve been there. But if any should be depressed, it should have been Jesus. When His ministry began He was constantly hounded by Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. Jesus was sought out and pursued by the sick and diseased once it was discovered that He has the power to heal. Jesus was sent to this earth to preach the Gospel. The Gospel has the power to bless! Jesus said:

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because HE HATH JesusReadingScriptureANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

People Pursued Jesus For The Wrong Reasons. He Came To Preach The Gospel, But Humanity Focused On His Miracles.

It is God’s Gospel that lifts up the Poor, the broken hearted, the captives, and the blind. It is the Gospel that focuses us on the Coming of our Lord. It is the Gospel that is the most important thing in the world. The Gospel teaches that God loves us so much that He sacrificed the much for us. Yet throughout His ministry people chased after Jesus not for the eternal blessing of the Gospel, but for temporal healings. Often Jesus told people when He healed them:

Don’t tell anyone Who healed you!
(see Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; Luke 5:14)

Why? Because humanity chased after Jesus for the wrong reason. After Jesus fed the five thousand plus people with five small loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:17ff) the next day He was approached by a huge crowd looking for another free meal. Jesus refused to feed them, saying:

John 6:26-29 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. [27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? [29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Jesus came preaching the Gospel, but many ignored the Gospel while seeking temporal blessings. If anyone should have been depressed it should have been Jesus. Yet Jesus was never depressed.

Jesus Was Always Thankful

As Jesus preached the Gospel and was ignored and even persecuted He maintained a thankful heart. We read:

Matthew 11:20-24 (KJV) Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, BECAUSE THEY REPENTED NOT: [21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Many preachers – myself included – could become depressed at the wholesale faithlessness of the people around them. But Jesus was not depressed. At the end of upbraiding these cities for a failure to repent Jesus prayed:

Matthew 11:25-26 (KJV) … I THANK THEE, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. [26] Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Jesus recognized the Sovereignty of God and praised the Father though it seemed like His ministry was fruitless. Jesus did what God tells us to do. Instead of worrying or feeling inadequate or threatened Jesus thanked the Father. He did as the Scripture commands:

1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: [7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

He was confident of the love of God the Father, and confident of God’s power to handle whatever might come His way. Jesus prayed with a thankful heart. Jesus thanked God though rarely was He thanked.

Of The Thousands Of People That Jesus Healed During His Ministry, Very Few Ever Thanked Jesus For What He Did.

One day Jesus went to the home of a leper He had healed by the name of Simon. You’ll find the story in Luke 7:36-50. As Jesus sat there at Simon’s table a “woman of the city, which was a sinner” came into the house. She took an Alabaster Box of perfume. The Bible says that she:

Luke 7:38 (KJV) … stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

As Simon watched this spectacle he judged both Christ and the fallen woman. Jesus perceived what Simon was thinking. He told Simon:

Luke 7:44-48 (KJV) … Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. [45] Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. [46] My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. [47] Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. [48] And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

It is the thankful and repentant heart that is blessed by Christ. This woman went away from Simon’s house that day with the greatest gift of all. She was saved from her sins and adopted into the Family of God because she was thankful and repentant. The greatest gift God has given us is Himself and His Heaven.

The Thankful Heart Is The Whole Heart

In another of the very few times in Scripture where Christ was thanked is found in Luke 17. The Bible tells us that:

Luke 17:12-14 (KJV) And as {Jesus} entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: [13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, JESUS, MASTER, HAVE MERCY ON US. [14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Now Jesus could have healed these ten men – miserable lepers – immediately if He wanted to do so. Yet God often requires our obedience for our blessing. In the Old Testament God established a Law for Lepers. If a Leper was ever to be considered “clean” then he had to be examined by the priest, who then would offer a sacrifice unto God (see Leviticus 14:2-3). Jesus told the lepers “Go and show yourselves unto the priests”. None were healed until they obeyed His command. So all ten go to the priests and sure enough, praise the Lord, their leprosy was healed.

Luke 17:15-16 (KJV) And ONE of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, [16] And fell down on his face at his feet, GIVING HIM THANKS: and he was a Samaritan.

Only ONE returned to Jesus. Only ONE humbled himself before the Lord and GAVE JESUS THANKS. No one else did. Ten were healed, but only ONE returned to Jesus and thanked Him. Notice what our Lord said:

Luke 17:17-19 (KJV) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? [18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. [19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Ten were cleansed, BUT ONLY ONE WAS MADE WHOLE. Did you get that? Jesus told Him:

Arise, and go thy way: Thy FAITH has
made thee WHOLE

Wholeness is not found in healing of disease, but in reuniting the soul to God through Christ. This is what makes whole – the faith that humbles us and magnifies God by praise!

We should all be thankful to God for His abundant blessings. You may not have a huge bank account. You may have health problems. You may struggle physically. Regardless as to whatever limitations you have, if you have responded to the Gospel of Salvation and belong to the Lord because of Christ, then you should be thankful! God is your Portion, and a glorious eternity your destination. Praise God for His wonderful gifts! God tells those Who are His:

Psalms 50:14-15 (KJV) Offer unto God THANKSGIVING; and pay thy vows unto the most High: [15] And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

It brings glory to God when we thank Him for what He has done, and call upon Him as we belong to Him. God is my Portion, my Father, my Savior, my Rock. Yes there are times when we, like Jesus, are led into the wildernesses of life. Yet Good is faithful. I say again:

God is faithful!
The Lord thy God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
God is faithful with His Saints (Hosea 11:12)
God is faithful in our call (1 Cdorinthians 1:9)
God is faithful when we are tried (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Our God will never leave nor forsake us (Matthew 28:20)

When worry comes our way, and it will, let us turn that WORRY into PRAYER. Go to your Father in the Name of Christ. The Bible declares that we are to:

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) … {Do not worry} but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God does not want us to be worried, to fret and be consumed of troubles. When the devil brings a worry your way, take it to the Cross. The Bible tells us FOR EVERYTHING:

by PRAYER
and SUPPLICATION (Humility)
with THANKSGIVING

…let your requests be made known unto God. The Apostle went on to say:

Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When we pray with thankful hearts we look UPWARD instead of DOWNWARD. We do as that old song said:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Jesus appreciated all the things that His Father had provided. He tells us not to worry, that God is indeed faithful.

Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV) … {Do not worry} saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We like Jesus need to occupy our minds not with worry, gloom and doom. We do not need to look at what we DON’T have but what we DO have. We have a faithful Father Who knows what we need even before we ask Him. If we focus on doing His Will by promoting His Kingdom Gospel then “all these things shall be added unto you”.

The Cure For Depression? A Thankful Heart

Are you depressed? Then do as God has directed.

Psalms 92:1-5 (KJV) … It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: [2] To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, [3] Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. [4] For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. [5] O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

It is said that “misery loves company”. Do not focus on being miserable, or on your lack. Do as Jesus did and praise the Lord not just on the mountaintop but also in the valley. Jesus thanked the Father for hearing Him

John 11:41 … Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

Praise God that He does hear us. He hears the sinner’s prayer when that sinner repents and calls on the Name of the Lord Jesus. He hears the saint’s prayer when the child that He loves cries out.

Psalms 106:1 (KJV) Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

God’s patience endures. He waits, dear sinner, that you might come to Him by Christ. His mercy endureth. You have been given another day to seek Him and to rest in Him. Have you done so? Oh Beloved, come to Him Who is faithfully calling you.

Psalms 107:1-2 (KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. [2] Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

Jesus has conquered death, that great enemy of mankind. Jesus has conquered sin and the devil. He has destroyed the enemy. The Father does not ignore us, but listens to us who are His. He always has, and always will. Look upward! If you are not saved, look upward and know that Christ came for you, too. He loves you and gave Himself for you. If you are His Child by faith then look upward. You may be in a valley, but you are not alone.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

May God touch your hearts by His Word.

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Praying Like Jesus Series #6

The Shepherd’s Prayer (part 2)
Jesus Prayed For The Unity Of His Church

John 17:11-23 (KJV)  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  [12]  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  [13]  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  [14]  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  [15]  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  [16]  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  [17]  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  [18]  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  [19]  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  

[20]  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  [21]  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  [22]  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  [23]  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

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Last Wednesday we looked at the “Shepherd’s Prayer” in John 17. As Jesus was preparing for the Cross of Calvary He prayed not that He would avoid that trial, but that His Church would be in one accord. Jesus had already set His mind on the Cross. He no longer saw Himself as “in the world”. He said:

John 17:11 (KJV)  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

Jesus spoke as if the Cross had already happened, spoke as if He was already crucified, buried, resurrected, and on the right hand of God the Father. He spoke this way because His mind was not set on satisfying the world, nor those who are of the world. Jesus was focused 100 percent on doing what the Father told Him to do. He prayed that the disciples whom He was going to leave would be as committed to obeying and living by the Word and Will of God as He was.

Jesus Prayed That His Church Be One
With God – Not With The World

Jesus prayed to His Father and every Christian’s Father:

Holy Father, keep through thine own name
those whom thou hast given me

Let’s break this down. Our Father is the “Holy Father”. This term occurs only here in the Bible. The word “Father” emphasizes that every Christian is born into the Family of God. God is not merely “God” to us, but He is the “Father”, the Head of the Godhead, the One Whom we obey.

The Christian is a walking miracle.

We were born in this world, and this world was in our hearts. But Christ calls us out of the world and into an intimate relationship with the Father. Being “Born Again” is more than to be religious. A religious leader called Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night. Jesus told this Rabbi:

John 3:3 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.

No one can “see” (εἴδω eídō, pronounced i’-do) the Kingdom of God unless they are “born again”. The word “see” means “to perceive with the senses”.

Before a baby is born it knows nothing but darkness and warmth and the beat of its mother’s heart. But once the baby is born it leaves the darkness of the womb and enters into the world to see light. But that baby can only perceive the things of this world because of sin resident in it. We are born the first time as sinners. This is why the Bible says:

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

We are bound in darkness like that baby. We must be brought into the light. The person born into this world can only perceive that which is around them. They must be born again so that they can enter into the family of God. It is the Word of God that causes our new birth. The written Word tells us of Christ’s Gospel. That Word is planted in our hearts. When we believe that Word God through His Spirit causes us to be born into His Family.

1 Peter 1:22-23 (KJV)  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  [23]  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Jesus prayed that the Father would “keep” (τηρέω tēréō, pronounced tay-reh’-o) those sheep saved by God’s Gospel. This word means “to post a guard over”. Jesus prayed that every believer be guarded by the Father so that they would stay the course of the faith. He wanted these born again “Sheep” to be protected from evil. Jesus guarded the disciples while He was with them on the earth. Jesus prayed:

John 17:12 (KJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept (τηρέω tēreō) them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept (φυλάσσω phylássō, foo-las’-so – to guard so as to keep safe), and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

He guarded the sheep that the Father gave Him before Calvary. Now Jesus asks that the Father guard these sheep. He also notes that one was not kept. Why was he not kept? Because Judas Iscariot was “the son of perdition”. Perdition” is the word ἀπώλεια apṓleia, (pronounced ap-o’-li-a) which means “child of destruction”. It was prophesied that Judas Iscariot would betray Christ in:

Psalms 41:9 (KJV)  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Psalms 109:6-8 (KJV)  Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.  [7]  When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.  [8]  Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

John 13:18 (KJV)  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

The one who was lost was Judas Iscariot, but he was lost because he was never “found”. Though he ministered alongside the other eleven Apostles and was daily with Jesus outwardly, inwardly his heart was not God’s property. Jesus kept His disciples safe from the world, but Judas never left the world in his heart. He is the picture of the outwardly converted Church member who inwardly cares nothing for the Father not His Kingdom. The unbeliever disguised as a Christian will in time show their true colors. They do not stand with the Father nor the Son but with “Satan at their right hand”, ever willing to become part of the fallen world once more.

John 17:13-16 (KJV)  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  [14]  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  [15]  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  [16]  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Jesus prayed in the world – but not of the world. He prayed that the Christian would have the joy of Christ in themselves. How do we receive this joy? We maintain a separateness from the world. Jesus left His disciples in the world to make a difference, but we cannot make a difference while we are worldly. Jesus prayed not that we would be taken out of the world, but that the “evil” of this world would not mark us. We are called to be light in the midst of darkness. A.W. Pink noted:

It was, therefore, protection from “the evil” (Gr. ek tou ponerou) in the world that they needed. This phrase could mean “evil,” generally, or it could be a reference to “the Evil One”: Satan. Other occurrences of the phrase, elsewhere, encourage us to interpret it as referring to “the devil” here (cf. Matt. 6:13; 1 John 2:13-14; 3:12; 5:18- 19). However, both ideas may have been in Jesus’ mind.”

The focus of every Christian is to be in one accord with the Word of God, and in one accord with one another.

The Apostle in another place equates oneness or friendship with the world as spiritual adultery. We read:

James 4:4 (KJV)  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The Christian is called of Christ to have a demonstrated world view that is in harmony with God and His Word, and in disharmony with the darkness. The only way a candle can be part of the darkness is to have your fire blown out. Jesus was called a “friend of sinners” by the Pharisees, as He said:

Luke 7:34 (KJV)  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Jesus came to save the lost (Luke 19:10), but He did not come to justify lostness. Jesus came to save the sinner from sin, but He never winked at sin. Jesus befriended all who He met, but never justified the acts of darkness. What Jesus did He taught His disciples. What He did He teaches us. Jesus declared:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Christian, you are IN the world but not OF the world. If you are a Christian you have been “translated” into God’s Kingdom:

Colossians 1:13-14 (KJV)  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  [14]  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Jesus Prayed That His Church Be Focused
On God’s Word Not On The
Devil’s World

John 17:17 (KJV)  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

The word rendered “sanctify” is the Greek ἁγιάζω hagiázō, (pronounced hag-ee-ad’-zo) which means to separate, to cleanse, to consecrate or dedicate to God”. It can be rendered “to make holy”. God is holy. Jesus taught us to pray:

Matthew 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed (ἁγιάζω hagiázō) be thy name.

God is holy, apart from sin.
We who are His are to be holy, apart from sin.

Just as Jesus was sanctified by the Father (John 10:36) we who are sons of God are sanctified by the Father. We believe the Word of God. We form our worldview based on the teachings of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit of God sets us apart (Romans 15:16) to serve God. There is no salvation without sanctification. Let me say that a few more times.

There is no SALVATION without SANCTIFICATION.

Before God set us apart from the world we were OF the world. We followed the sin pattern of the world. But once we came to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel; once we received Christ as He is (for He IS Lord and Savior) then we changed. The Scripture declares clearly:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankindsodomites,  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  [11]  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

At the point of salvation the once born sinner becomes born again. We are moved from worldliness to godliness. We are to live our lives having and demonstrating the Mind of God.

Jesus prayed:

John 17:20-21 (KJV) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  [21]  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

What we are told today by the “Modern Church Growth Experts” is that in order to reach the world we must become like the world. This is not what Jesus prayed nor said. Jesus said that the way to convince the world of the authenticity of out faith is that we become like the Trinity of God. Jesus Christ walked in perfect union with the Father. He said “if you have seen ME you have seen the FATHER” (John 14:9). Jesus prayed:

That they all may be ONE; as thou, Father, art in me,
and I in thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US

Jesus as God the Son is “One” or in perfect union with the Father. God the Father is “One” or in perfect union with the Son. Jesus prayed that we who are saved would be in perfect union with the Godhead. Father, Son, nor Spirit ever suffered from disharmony BUT for that one moment that Christ bore our sins on Calvary (for He said in Matthew 27:46 “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”). At all other times the Godhead acts with ONE mind to fulfill the will of God. Jesus prayed that we would be equally unified. That we would “be one”:

John 17:22 (KJV)  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

When we walk in harmony with God’s Word and with one another then the world sees the Kingdom of God in us. It is not compromise that will reach the world, but commitment to Christ. Let us live our lives so as to fulfill our Great Shepherd’s prayer.

John 17:23 (KJV) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Fruit of the Spirit

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Inspirational Creative Writings

Fruit spirit

LOVE
Love is one of God’s indescribable gifts. It is His passion for human beings. The love of God is a commitment, but it is not dependent on feelings. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son that whoever believes on him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is the greatest love of God bestowed to all humankind. However, because of its greatness it is very hard for us humans to understand why God send forth His only Son to suffer and die in our place. Jesus offers His life on the cross for the salvation of our souls. May the love of God can be seen in us, through our Godly deeds and tender compassion to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

JOY
The Holy Spirit creates and fills our hearts with much joy, which is the result…

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Praying Like Jesus #5

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Jesus Prayed Before Meals

The Apostle Paul warned the Church that there would come a day when people would depart from the faith. Let’s read this text responsively:

1 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

What causes people to depart from the faith? The Holy Spirit said that first people would heed seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, rejecting the Word of God for the word of the fallen world. Hypocrisy will abound, and the conscience will be hardened and de-synthesized. Then God given appetites would be ignored, Yes, God gave you your appetite.

He gave you the appetite for marital companionship.
He gave you the appetite for food.
These appetites are to be fulfilled as God directs!

What causes the “departure from the faith” but the rejection of God’s Word and the rejection of God’s design. God designed us with appetites. He made our bodies. He gives us food to eat, and companions to live with in a union called “marriage”. But the devil has twisted this, minimizing marriage and establishing taboos on food items. How shall we “contend for” what Jude (in Jude 3) called “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”?

We need to emphasize PRAYER,
especially at our mealtimes.

(vvs 4-5) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, IF IT BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING: [5] For it is SANCTIFIED by the WORD OF GOD and PRAYER.

It amazes me that so few Christians pray over their meals before eating them. There was a show on television I saw once called Kitchen Nightmares. In that show Chef Gordon Ramsay would go into failing restaurants and demonstrate “behind the scenes” why that restaurant was failing. In many cases customers were eating at restaurants that were selling bug infested or rotted and tainted foods. When I saw that show it impressed upon me when I ate “out” to insure that I prayed over the meal.

The Apostle told us as Christians to pray over our meals because this “sanctifies” or “sets it apart for God’s glory”. We need to pray and thank God for our meals prior to eating … especially when we are eating in someone else’s kitchen.

There are times when we are in a hurry and skip prayer so that we can rush to another appointment. When that happens we need to remember the example of the Apostle Paul. Imprisoned and traveling against his will to meet the Caesar the ship that he was on was caught in a bad storm. For fourteen days those on board ate nothing at all. Finally on the fifteenth day at sunrise:

Acts 27:33-36 (KJV) And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. [34] Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. [35] And WHEN HE HAD THUS SPOKEN, HE TOOK BREAD, AND GAVE THANKS TO GOD IN PRESENCE OF THEM ALL: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [36] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

Though all were hungry (for they had not eaten in 14 days) the Apostle “gave thanks” (the Greek εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō). He thanked the Father for that which he and the others were about to eat. He “said grace”!

Our Lord Jesus Always “Said Grace”

Most of us in America have never truly experienced hunger nor scarcity of food. We as a nation have been blessed. Pastor Jon Bloom of Desiring God Ministries calls this “The Dark Side of Abundance”. He writes:

Those of us who live in prosperous regions of the globe and have never known food scarcity perhaps don’t feel much awe in it. That is a sad thing: a lack of awe. It’s the dark side of abundance. We sinners tend to grow blind to glory when there’s a lot of it. God is kind not to give us heaven yet. We would not appreciate more than a fraction of it.”

In our country even the “poor” that I come in contact with are often overweight. The 21 poorest countries in the world are located on the continent of Africa. Other countries with great destitution are Afghanistan, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and Haiti. Much of the illegal immigration in our country comes over the border from Mexico.

Our Lord Jesus confronted hunger. The Bible tells us that people had flocked to Him to hear Him teach. Jesus, like John the Baptist, often preached away the Temple and in the desert. As time for the evening meal was upon them the disciples told Jesus:

Mark 6:35-36 (KJV) And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: [36] Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.

Perhaps you think these men were heartless, but that wasn’t the case. They knew that they had an insufficient amount of food to feed five thousand men and an uncounted amount of women. So they did as we often do – they looked to the “practical” and not to faith. But Jesus had a better idea.

Jesus asked the disciples if they could find anything to eat, to give it to the people. The disciples found a child’s meal. “We have only five small loaves of bread, and two fishes” (verse 38). How could that many people be fed with no more than that? Jesus took the little meal and we read:

Mark 6:41-43 (KJV) And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, HE LOOKED UP TO HEAVEN, AND BLESSED, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. [42] And they did all eat, and were filled. [43] And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

Our Lord “blessed” (εὐλογέω eulogeō) the food. Earlier we saw that the Apostle Paul “gave thanks” (the Greek εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō) for what food they were about to eat. Now Jesus eulogeō or “praises God” for what He has, though it is but a small amount. Praising God for His provision released His power on the little until it became a lot!

God will feed His Children. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 37:25 (KJV) I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

and God told the Prophet Ezekiel 34:14-15 (KJV) I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

God cares for His Children. When we have little this should not stop our prayer. We should look to Him Who loves us. He will provide.

Following another three day revival meeting in the wilderness Jesus called His disciples to Him and said:

Mark 8:2-5 (KJV) I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. … How many loaves have ye? …. And they said, Seven.

There were four thousand to be fed, but an insufficient amount of food. Again, Jesus did not complain.. What did He do?

Mark 8:6 (KJV) … He commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and He took the seven loaves, and GAVE THANKS, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

The Bible uses the same word that the Apostle used on the storm tossed ship. Jesus εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō thanking God for what he had. The Father responded and gave an increase until all could be fed. Our God is in control of every situation that we encounter. When we come to the lean times we need to thank Him for that – and our Father will give us the increase!

Jesus taught us to rely not on the situation, but on the Father. Jesus praised God (EULOGEO) and thanked God (EUCHARISTO) for what God had given, and trusted the Father to supply that which was lacking.

Jesus Taught Prayer At The Lord’s Table

Just before our Lord was to go to the Cross Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with His disciples (Luke 22:7-8). As the meal progressed Jesus told His disciples:

Luke 22:15 (KJV) … With desire I have desired to eat THIS PASSOVER with you before I suffer:

Jesus took the Cup of the Passover meal and gave it to His disciples. Notice the text:

Luke 22:17 (KJV) And he took the cup, and GAVE THANKS, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

Jesus εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō “said Grace” or thanked the Father for the Cup. But following this ending of the Passover Jesus once more takes Bread and uses the Bread to illustrate His sacrifice for us. We read:

Mark 14:22-24 (KJV) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Jesus “blessed” the bread (εὐλογέω eulogeō) “praised God” for the bread which represented His Body. Then Jesus took the Cup once more and “gave thanks” (εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō) for the Bread which represented His poured out Blood. The Bible tells us that Jesus both PRAISED GOD and THANKED GOD for the Cross that was on the horizon. Jesus prayed over this simple meal. Every time we practice the Lord’s Supper we remind ourselves that Jesus said grace before every meal – even this one!

On The Road To Emmaus

Following His crucifixion and resurrection the Lord Jesus walked on the Road to Emmaus with the disciple Cleopas and his wife. As Jesus walked with these grieving disciples they lamented over the crucifixion of Jesus, not knowing that they were speaking with the resurrected Savior. Jesus rebuked their tears, saying:

Luke 24:25-27 (KJV) …. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Still, Cleopas and his wife didn’t realize this was the resurrected Jesus. It was only as they came to their house in Emmaus that they invited Jesus to eat with them. Normally the master of the household said prayers over the meal. Yet we read that …

Luke 24:30-34 (KJV) And it came to pass, as {Jesus} sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it (εὐλογέω eulogeō), and brake, and gave to them. And THEIR EYES WERE OPENED, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Just as Jesus praised God the Father for the Bread at the Lord’s Table, He praised God for the bread at this Emmaus household. This is what opened their eyes to see Jesus. Listen Beloved, if we were to pray and thank God for our meals at home our children would see Jesus. If we were to pray and thank God for our meals while eating out, others around us would see Jesus.

As Christians we are to have thankful hearts for what God our Father has blessed us with. The Bible says:

Colossians 3:17 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

IA little girl had eaten all of her meal but the turnips. She hated turnips! At the beginning of the meal she pushed them out of the way, and cleaned her plate except for those turnips. She sat there looking sadly at the now cold pile of vegetables. Her momma said, “Honey, you should have eaten those first. Now they are cold and the grease is congealed on top of them.” The little girl looked up and said, “I know momma. I guess I was just trying to delay the inedible.”

We may not always get exactly what we want in life. Let us nevertheless praise God for what He has given us – especially over our meals. It was prayer that turned the Roman Empire upside down, ushering in the faith of Christ. Adrian Rogers said:

“In ancient Rome Christians were taken into the Coliseum and put to death before laughing, mocking mobs. But underneath the Coliseum were catacombs—passageways where believers worshiped Jesus and prayed. … they ignited a spiritual revolution that turned the Empire upside down. Comparing coliseums and catacombs, I want to be in the catacomb crowd.”

The Christians of the catacomb overturned the citizen of the coliseum because those Christians cultivated praise and thankfulness to God. Mealtime is a wonderful time to do this. We can bring the light of Christ to a needy world by simply praying over our meals … especially at restaurants. This is one way that we can …

Romans 12:21 (KJV) … Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to cultivate a praise filled and thankful heart before Him. We should thank God for our food, reminding ourselves that it was provided by the Lord Who loves us.

Praising and thanking God for our food reminds us and those around us that it is God Who has given us our blessings – even this meal. God told His Old Testament Church:

Deuteronomy 8:15-16 (KJV) Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; [16] Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;

It is God Who provides that which we need. We are the beneficiaries of good things because God loves us. God has blessed us with the ABILITY as well as the RESOURCES we have.

Final Thoughts On Mealtime Prayer

Jesus said:

Mark 8:38 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Someone once said that praying before a meal would offend their non-believing friends. It probably will. So what? Let them be offended. Jesus said:

John 15:18-20 (KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Will you offend? Maybe. Maybe not. Who cares? Live for the smile of Christ our Lord, not for the applause of man.

A few final points on mealtime prayers.

a Pray, but don’t preach. Be brief and to the point. Thank God and praise Him for the food you are about to receive.

b Be sincere. Talk to the Lord conversationally like you would if He were standing in front of you (and He is, by the way). As much as I love the King James text, know that the Lord doesn’t require us to speak King James English when we pray!

c Be a witness, but don’t be a show off. When Jesus prayed He gave thanks or praised God. He never preached a sermon over a meal.

d If our waiter or waitress is near the table I ask if I can include them in the prayer. You would be surprised how many waitresses and waiters have been thankful to be included in those prayers. You would also be surprised how many waiters and waitresses will stay with us while we pray over the meal and for them. Many of the studies done by Lifeway on the Millennial Generation note that they are not unspiritual … they just don’t like hypocrisy. Be the Christian God made you to be. Tell your Father you are grateful for the food and for the person who made it and delivered it to your table.

e When you pray in a restaurant remember to leave a proper tip. It has been said that the smallest tips are left by people who professed to be Christians. Don’t be a positive witness through your prayers and then a negative witness through your tipping. And don’t use those fake tracts that look like money as tips. Leave a fair tip, honoring Christ and blessing your server.

May God touch your hearts as you grow in Him!

Posted in Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

A People On Purpose

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (KJV) And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, {13} To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

I know many of you do not use so called “Social Media” such as Facebook or Twitter or Linked In. I do, and use the services to preach and hopefully reach others for Christ. Frequently I find things on my newsfeeds that I question. One of those things was a picture with a woman looking up with the caption:

Don’t Go To Church – Be The Church!

The reason I question this is because many today believe that they alone are the Church. That’s not true.

The Church – like God’s Old Testament Israel – is never one person. The Lord Jesus Christ ministered on this earth for 3 ½ years and He Himself never ministered alone.

After His baptism and His trial in the wilderness Jesus called twelve men to follow Him. Jesus then built those twelve into a network of people who believed that Jesus alone is …

Matthew 16:16 (KJV) … the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Every Christian should live for Christ whether in Church or out of Church. That is true. But the Church is never just one person – it is a group of people, however large or small, that work together for the glory of God. When we are in the Old Testament we see God reaching out and changing the world not through singular people but through Israel, His Old Testament Church. Now God has not cast away Israel (see Romans 11:1-5). Jesus entered humanity from eternity to reach out to Israel first (see Romans 1:16; John 1:11). Christ came for the Jew first, but also for the Gentile. Jesus Christ came unto His own people, but His own people would not receive Him. So Jesus formed a New Testament people governed by Him that He called the Church or literally (ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) “The Called Out Ones”. In the Church …

Galatians 3:28-29 (KJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Both Israel (Old Testament) or the Church (New Testament) are the people of God, a people with purpose. What is the purpose of God’s people?

What Does God Require Of The Believer Of Any Age?

God does not save a people to Himself and then ignore them. God saved the Jew and Israel from Egypt in the Old Testament, and saves the Christian and the Church from the world in the New Testament. What does God require of His people?

Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV) … what doth the LORD thy God REQUIRE OF THEE, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul …

God requires His people do four things.

To FEAR the LORD thy God
To WALK in His ways
To LOVE Him And To SERVE Him

Let’s discuss these four basic requirements for the believer of every age.

Believers Are To FEAR The LORD

Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV) … what doth the LORD thy God REQUIRE OF THEE, but to FEAR the LORD thy God

We do not hear much of “fearing the Lord our God” in modern pulpits. We hear a lot of the love of God – and God does love you. The Scripture speaks of this many times. But the Scripture also speaks of FEARING the LORD. For instance the phrase

Fear The LORD” Is Found Nine Times
In Deuteronomy Alone.

It is found twice in this chapter – in the above verse and in:

Deuteronomy 10:20 (KJV) Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.

The word “fear” is the Hebrew יָרֵא yare’ (pronounced YAH-RRAY) which can mean to be in dread of or to make afraid. This phrase is found throughout the Old Testament. As well known place where it is found is in the final address that the great man of God Joshua made before stepping down as Israel’s leader. Joshua told the people:

Joshua 24:14-15 (KJV) Now therefore FEAR the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. [15] And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Decide which you will follow. Commit to follow the one True God of Scripture or follow the false. Make a choice, then be ALL IN in that choice. God does not like the lukewarm behavior of wishy-washy people. Jesus told the Church at Laodicea:

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

The Lord does not care for lukewarm! Be all in. The Prophet Samuel told God’s Israel:

1 Samuel 12:14-15 (KJV) If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voiceBut if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, THEN SHALL THE HAND OF THE LORD BE AGAINST YOU, as it was against your fathers.

When those who should be light become like the darkness God will not condone it. We are commanded to ..

Psalm 22:23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him

Psalm 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for THERE IS NO WANT TO THEM THAT FEAR HIM.

Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: HE IS THEIR HELP AND THEIR SHIELD.

In all of these texts the Bible uses the Hebrew יָרֵא yare’ which can mean to be in dread of or to make afraid. The wisest man who ever lived – King Solomon – went even farther. He wrote:

Proverbs 9:10 (KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Here the word “fear” in Proverbs is the Hebrew יראה yir’âh which is stronger than yare’. How can we describe fearing God?

  • The unbeliever should fear God because they have no personal relationship with Him. The unbeliever should fear the judgment of God and eternal separation from God. Our Lord Jesus said to whosoever would listen:

Luke 12:1, 3-5 (KJV) … Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy…. [3] Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. [4] And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. [5] But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: FEAR HIM, WHICH AFTER HE HATH KILLED HATH POWER TO CAST INTO HELL; YEA, I SAY UNTO YOU, FEAR HIM.

Jesus warned those who would listen to “fear Him” (φοβέω phobeō, to have a fear or phobia of) who has “power to kill, then to cast into hell”. There is a place of eternal punishment, a place where those without God in this life go to in the next life. Those who have no knowledge of God through Christ should fear God. And those who have knowledge of God but who are disrespectful and disobedient of Him should also fear Him. The Lord tells us in:

Hebrews 10:30-31 (KJV) For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [31] It is a FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD.

  • Believers in Christ should fear God in the sense that we respect Him, knowing that He will discipline the wayward believer. The Apostle told the Church at Corinth that they were mishandling the Lord’s Table. He told them:

1 Corinthians 11:21 (KJV) For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

1 Corinthians 11:29-30 (KJV) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

God can shorten your life.

To the believer acting as an unbeliever we too should have respect for God. Too often we minimize sin and maximize a sickly sweet love of God. God is to be respected. We are to stand in awe of Him. We are not to minimize His commands, nor to to neutralize them so as to satisfy a sin sick world. God tells us that He shall judge His people. God tells us that:

Hebrews 12:5-8 (KJV) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

The great theologian J.I. Packer noted “Some redefine the fear of God for believers to “respecting” Him. While respect is definitely included in the concept of fearing God, there is more to it than that. A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment on sin — even in the life of a believer. Hebrews 12:5-11 describes God’s discipline of the believer. While it is done in love (Hebrews 12:6), it is still a fearful thing.”

God punishes His errant children. He scourges us when we are disobedient. We are not to make a truce with sin nor with sinners, but we are to rapidly and with dispatch confess our sins to God. We are not to regard His directives as suggestions, but commandments. God loves you, but He will not tolerate evil among His children. We are to respect and love Him.

God despises sin for what it has done to His creation. God despises sin for how it harms us and our families.

Look what God did to Jesus for us. He covered our sins with the Blood of the Cross. See Him, beaten and bruised. See Him with crown of thorns and throne of nails. See Him, bleeding and despised. We dare not make light of sin in the light of the Cross. If you have received the Son as Lord and Savior then you know better than to make light of sin. We are in His Kingdom because of His Cross.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (KJV) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (εὐλάβεια eulabeia): [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

Let us revere and respect our Lord and King. He will be respected!

Believers Are To Follow The Lord

Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV) … what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways …

The Bible uses the term to walk to describe how a person lives their life. Before a person meets God in Christ they walk according to their own desires. To the unbeliever who has no fear of God, they walk in their own desires, following their own path.

One day a group of lost but religious people interrupted our Lord and cast a woman taken in adultery – in the very act before Him. They taunted Jesus:

John 8:5 (KJV) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

Jesus ignored them for a bit. Then He said:

John 8:7 (KJV) … He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

The men left the square that day, leaving Jesus with His Bible class and this now disgraced woman. Jesus asked “Woman, where are your accusers”? She relied “No one condemns me, Lord”. Jesus tells her “Neither do I condemn thee – go, and SIN NO MORE”. Jesus forgave her upon her respectfully receiving Him as Lord. But then Jesus says something that many forget at the end of this episode. He says:

John 8:12 (KJV) … I am the light of the world:

he that followeth me shall NOT walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life
.

Those who belong to God are to follow God daily. You see, walking is your way of life. You walked into this Church house today. You will leave shortly, walk to your car, go home, and walk into your houses. You’ll get up tomorrow and walk to your car, go to work, and then you will walk. You walk in the marketplace. You walk! God uses walking to describe your mode of life. If you belong to the Lord, you walk in the light. You daily and hourly follow God. He is with you, always watching, always caring. You do not walk in darkness nor make light of sin. You follow Jesus. God said:

WALK in ALL his ways

God wants His Children to walk in ALL His ways. This phrase is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:33; 8:6; 11:22; 26:17; 30:16 – five times in this Book alone. If we are His and He is ours we are to imitate Him as we live our lives. We no longer belong to this world, but to the present and eternal Kingdom of God. The Child of God does not live as he did before salvation as he does after salvation.

The person who says “I am saved BUT I will follow my own path” should heed Christ’s Word.

John 11:9-10 (KJV) … If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. [10] But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

A fish cannot live in two worlds,
and neither can the Christian.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Those born by the power of faith and by the operation of God’s Spirit are born to walk imitating God in Christ. We walk in the Spirit, in love, in truth, and in wisdom. We respond to Christ’s command and follow Him, children redeemed from the darkness!

Believers Are To Love And Serve The Lord

Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV) … what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

Our God gave His all for us, and wants us to give our all to Him. He does not want us to serve Him because we MUST, but wants us to serve Him because we love Him. God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (KJV) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: {5} And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

God wants our all, our full heart. Our Lord Jesus brought this command in the New Testament when He said:

Matthew 22:36-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. {38} This is the first and great commandment. {39} And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. {40} On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

There is an inherent blessing in loving God with your all. When you love God with all you have He lifts you up. The Lord told Israel:

Deuteronomy 10:22 (KJV) Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

When Israel entered Egypt there were only seventy people in that family. Now seventy is a pretty good sized family! But when Israel left Egypt there were an estimated 6 million people. The family of 70 became 6,000,000! That is tremendous growth, especially considering that Pharaoh instituted a policy of enforced murder on all male children. Yet God grew His people. Listen Beloved:

What has corrupted our nation?
It is the uncommitted Christian!
We must commit to love God with our all.

We are to put Him first in our day, first in our lives, first in our families. We are to share Him with our children. To turn off the television, and teach our children to love God. We are to read His Word daily, and speak to Him in prayer frequently. We are to commit to assembling together to worship Him frequently. A one day a week or one day a month Christian is of no more use than a light that is only turned on one day a week or one day a month. Oh, that our hearts would be fully focused on Him!

The most important thing in your spiritual life is to love God wholeheartedly. You may understand all the Bible Doctrine you want, but if you do not love Him Who loves you, of what use is it? The Scripture cannot be interpreted and applied apart from Love! You must love! You must love God absolutely, with all your heart …. and then God will compel you to love your neighbor as yourself.

Deuteronomy 10:17-20 (KJV) For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: [18] He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. [19] Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. [20] Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.

If you belong to Him, serve Him in your daily walk.
How do you serve God?
Love the stranger.
Do good toward others.
As you have received, so give to those around you.

Loving God is more than giving a tithe to the Church. It is to make others center stage. To do good. To let Christ shine through you.

If you do not belong to Him then He bids you come. Come to Christ. Come and find rest in Him. Be not half hearted, but fully sold out to the One Who loves you! And if you do belong to Him, let Him use you to show His love toward others.

May God the Holy Spirit speak to your hearts and move you this very day!

Posted in Deuteronomy, Sermons Preached | Tagged ,