Following Jesus

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist March 1, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 30401

Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

matthew_8_18t22_follow_jesusMy Jesus was never a crowd pleaser. He was not politically correct. Jesus spoke the truth in love, but that truth was often offensive to the crowds. Multitudes are following Jesus, but Jesus knew how fickle the multitudes are. The Bible says:

Matthew 8:18 (KJV) Now when JESUS SAW GREAT MULTITUDES ABOUT HIM, he gave commandment to DEPART UNTO THE OTHER SIDE.

Jesus saw the multitudes. Multitudes are following Jesus. Multitudes are following Jesus because He has healed people.

Jesus healed a leper with a touch (Matthew 8:3)
Jesus healed a centurion’s servant with a word (Matthew 8:13)
Jesus healed Simon Peter’s Mother-In-Law with a touch & a word (Matthew 8:15)

Jesus had crowds following Him to be healed. We are told:

Matthew 8:16 (KJV) When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed ALL that were sick:

The world loves Jesus when He gives temporary healing. The Great Physician is Doctor Jesus. “He healed ALL that were sick” Matthew tells us. So crowds are following Jesus. There are lots of numbers here. So Jesus says:

Let’s stop right here and build us a mega Church. We have BIG NUMBERS.
Let’s throw up some walls, and pass the plate.”

No, this is not what Jesus said. Now I’m not knocking mega Churches or large Churches. My son is the Family Pastor at a Church with a membership of around 2200 people. If people are coming together to serve Jesus and to follow Jesus and to love Jesus, praise God for it! But there are so many Churches that come together and yet rarely speak of Christ. There are Prosperity Gospel Churches that tell you that God wants everyone to be rich, healthy, and happy. But this is not the truth.

Being “Saved” Means Loving Jesus Above All Else

Jesus looks around Him and sees a multitude that is following Him to get what He has, not to be blessed by His Teaching and His Lordship. Out of the multitudes come what the Bible calls “A Certain Scribe”.

Matthew 8:19 (KJV) And a CERTAIN SCRIBE came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

The CERTAIN Scribe says to Jesus “I will follow you whithersoever you go!”. I want you to think about what this Certain Scribe said.

  • The Certain Scribe Is RESPECTFUL

The Scribe calls Jesus “Master”. “Master” is the Greek διδάσκαλος didaskalos which means “Master Teacher”. He gave Jesus a very high honor. The Scribes were educated people, people who daily copied scripture onto parchment and animal skins. These men were very careful in handling the Word of God. To be called a “Master Teacher” by a Scribe is like having a Doctor of Theology acknowledge a country preacher. “Master”. Jesus is a Master and Teacher. He said in another place:

John 13:13 (KJV) Ye call me MASTER AND LORD: and ye say well; for so I am.

The Scribe is right. He is RESPECTFUL of Jesus. Jesus IS Master. He knows the Word of God so much that the Apostle John called Jesus “The Word”.

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

Jesus is not just another Rabbi or another Teacher nor even another Prophet.
He is the INCARNATE WORD OF GOD.
He is God become man.

He speaks with authority, for He speaks as God and for God. Many called Jesus “Master” who sought to undermine Him. The Pharisees, hypocrites as they were, said “Master we know You are true and speak the Word of God” (Matthew 22:16), but they were just seeking to hurt Jesus. Jesus showed His supremacy as Master of God’s Word over and over again. He is Master. The Scribe is correct.

  • The Certain Scribe Is ENTHUSIASTIC

He is on fire to go with Jesus. “Where He leads me, I will follow” could have been a song written about his life. When someone comes forward to receive Christ as Lord and Savior there should be a certain amount of enthusiasm. In fact, every convert should be enthusiastic in following Christ. After all, is He not King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Has He not promised that we can do all things through Christ Jesus? Didn’t the Apostle write:

Philippians 4:12-13 (NKJV) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Hasn’t Jesus promised us victory if we abide in Him? Did Christ promise ..

John 15:4-8 (NKJV) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

  • The Scribe Is Also CERTAIN

He was not hesitant. The Scribe wanted to be with Jesus “whithersoever”. That is a great thing. He said “Master, I WILL follow You”. Not “if” but “WILL”.

There was no hope so in what he said. Those who are saved in Christ SHOULD be enthusiastic. Jesus has said:

John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”

Oh, it is a good thing to be certain. But what caused the certain Scribe to be so certain? Because everything that Jesus had shown to the Scribe and to the crowds has POSITIVE. There were no negatives. There was no downside. But there is a downside to following Jesus.

Following Jesus Means Walking Apart
From The Multitudes

I was at a member’s home the other day ministering, praying for a sister dying. The daughters told me afterward “You are a nice man”. I was flustered, and at first didn’t know what to say. Then I told them “I try to be nice, and kind – but many times the Word I preach angers others”. I don’t seek to anger people, but those who reject God’s Word are often angry at what it says. Just last week I read Scripture from the pulpit and one of you looked up and GLARED at me. I didn’t write it, but I don’t publish FAKE NEWS. I publish GOOD NEWS! Following Jesus will often put you at odds with the multitudes, but the same was true of Christ’s ministry.

Jesus was getting on a ship to “go to the other side”. Why? Because there were two broken souls on the other side that Jesus wanted to bless. The Bible says:

Matthew 8:28 (KJV) And when {Jesus} was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, THERE MET HIM TWO POSSESSED WITH DEVILS, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

I don’t know if this was two men, a man and a woman, or two women. The text doesn’t tell us, just that they were possessed of devils. These two lost souls lived in the tombs, amongst dead bodies and skeletons, something that is terribly abnormal. God made us in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26). He did not make us to be monsters. These two are possessed of monsters.

Matthew 8:29 (KJV) And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, JESUS, THOU SON OF GOD? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

The demons tremble at the Name of Jesus! They know Him. He is the Son of God, Incarnate God among us. It amazes me that DEMONS know Jesus on sight, but sinful man will not come to Him.

John 1:11-12 (KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Oh, that people would receive Him as Lord and Savior!
Oh, that people would at least have the faith of a demon!

Matthew 8:30-31 (KJV) And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

At this time in Israel’s history it was unlawful to eat pork. This requirement was voided after the death and resurrection of Christ. But at this time it is wrong to eat pork. Why? Because God said so. He said in:

Leviticus 11:7-8 (CEV) …. you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean, and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies.

When God says don’t do it, don’t do it.
When God says you can do it, then you can do it.
When God says don’t do it, don’t do it.
When God says you can do it, then you can do it.

There are pigs feeding in Israel because the Israelites disobeying God. They are not only eating pig, they are raising pig to eat. They are black marketing. They are like pushers, doing what is unlawful. The demons look out there and see this sinful activity … and the devil will always run to sin.

Jesus, if You’re going to cast us out
Cast us out into those pigs!

The Devil always has a slick way of doing things. Of all the things these demons could be cast into, why did they want to go into the pigs? Because the devil knows who are his. He knows that the town – which has been eating pig – will be angered. But Jesus knew this too. We read:

Matthew 8:32 (KJV) {Jesus} said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

The demons wanted the pigs, but the pigs had enough sense not to want the demons! These men were healed, restored to normalcy. What happened next? You’re probably thinking:

I bet they had a ticker tape parade for Jesus!
You’d be wrong!

Matthew 8:33-34 (KJV) And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they BESOUGHT HIM THAT HE WOULD DEPART OUT OF THEIR COASTS.

The “whole city came out to meet Jesus” not in a ticker tape parade, but to run Him out of town. The world does not want Jesus. If you follow Jesus, you will not make the worldly happy. If you follow Jesus you will often walk alone. Jesus told this Certain Scribe:

Matthew 8:20 (KJV) The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus did not drive stakes into the world. His tent was always moving. He was often unpopular.

Jesus told people “I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. If you eat of this bread you shall live forever. The bread that I give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world (John 6:51). Then He said:

John 6:53-56 (KJV) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

How did the world respond? We are told in

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

Many of those who followed Jesus went away and walked no more with Him. The world loves to use Jesus for temporal things, but cares nothing for Him as Lord and Savior. The world wants a Band-Aid or a Make-Over but does not want to be BORN AGAIN. Listen Believer, to follow Christ is to take up your Cross and follow Him. To follow Jesus is to walk with Him and love Him whether you get your way or not. Follow Jesus means He will care for you, but that the world will hate you at times, and more often that you think. But I stand with Simon Peter saying in my heart:

John 6:68-69 (KJV) …. Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

I will follow Jesus if none go with me. I pray that you will, too.

Jesus Is Never Next Or Last

Matthew 8:21 (KJV) And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus is getting ready to “head over to the other side” and another “disciple” decides he needs to put the Lord on hold. He calls Him “Lord”. Jesus is Lord. He is always Lord and will always be Lord.

Lord”

A lot of people called Jesus “Lord” but He isn’t Lord to them. He is not L-O-R-D if He is L-A-S-T place in your life. Jesus demands obedience. He demands preeminence. Jesus Christ died so we could live. Peter wrote:

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Jesus is Lord of the Grave. He is Lord of life, eternal life. He is Lord. He is the Lord Who redeemed us from damnation, from Satan’s Hell. We are headed toward glory because of Him! The Apostle said:

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

He is Lord of what He has purchased. The problem in America today is that so many have dumbed down what it means to be saved. A believer in Christ receives Him as both LORD as well as SAVIOR. We who love Him put Christ FIRST, not LAST. We trust in His Word. We believe in His promises. And we follow Jesus no matter where we are.

What this young man said sounds reasonable. “Jesus, I’ll follow you, but FIRST let me bury my father”. I have read commentaries that tried to make this complex. It’s not complex. The person – and we don’t know if it’s male or female (the text does not say) wanted to put off following Jesus for something else. Listen Beloved:

A good thing becomes a bad thing when it stands between you and following Jesus.

To be saved is to follow Jesus.
You follow Jesus at home.
You follow Jesus at work.
You follow Jesus when you turn on television or radio.
You follow Jesus when you vote.
You follow Jesus at the Walmart.
You follow Jesus at the Kroger’s.
You follow Jesus on vacation.
You follow Jesus in sickness and sadness, in loss and in pain.
You follow Jesus in your families and in your marriage.
You follow Jesus in the Pulpit or in the Pew.
If you are saved you follow Jesus no matter what.

matthew_8_18t22If you want to “go to the other side” with Jesus, you must follow Jesus. No matter what anyone else says, no matter what the state of your family is, follow Jesus. Jesus told this individual:

Matthew 8:22 (KJV) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

I had a preacher ask me one time what I thought Jesus meant by that. I think Jesus meant what He said. He said “Follow Me. Put Me first. The world will put other things first, but YOU put ME first.” The MULTITUDES will not go with Jesus to the “other side”. You will, if you follow Jesus!

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Saved To Serve Jesus

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on the evening of February 26, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

 

matthew_8_14t15Matthew 8:14-15 (KJV) And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Mark 1:29-31 (KJV) And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Luke 4:38-39 (KJV) {Jesus} arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

To study the Gospel you often need to read more than one Gospel. Each Gospel gives us a different perspective of an event. Listen Beloved,

If you do not read and study your Bible for yourself,
But only trust in what the preacher says,
You are prone to error.

One of the largest Churches in the world is the Catholic Church. I have a lot of respect for this Church. It is true that many years the Catholic Church martyred and attacked the Protestant faith, but the Catholics stand with us on the Sanctity of Life and the Sacredness of marriage, with one exception. The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the rock the Church was built upon, and that succession from Peter is the Popes that have ruled the Church. The Pope, as well as the Fathers who oversee the local Churches, are supposed to be single men, unmarried to wives. Yet here is my problem:

If this is true, then why did Peter have a wife?
Peter Had A Wife, Because He Had A Mother-In-Law

God gave us more than one Gospel so that we could have two or more witnesses to what happened while He was on the earth. In three of the Gospels we are told that Peter had a wife.

Matthew 8:14 (KJV) … when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother ..

Mark 1:30 (KJV) … Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever

Luke 4:38 (KJV) {Jesus} arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother …

Peter had a wife. We are told this THREE TIMES.

If Peter is the pattern for Popes then why don’t the Popes and Fathers marry?

In our America Biblical Marriage is under attack. But Biblical Marriage is honorable. We are told that …

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

Marriage is honorable in ALL”.
God designed us for marriage.
Marriage between one man and one woman was in Eden.

Some like the Apostle Paul never married so that he could focus on the work of the ministry. But the Bible tells us

Proverbs 18:22 (ESV) He who FINDS A WIFE FINDS A GOOD THING and obtains favor from the LORD.

Biblical Marriage and the stable home is so important that it is tied to the qualification for Pastors and Deacons in the Church. The Apostle Paul tells us:

1 Timothy 3:2, 4 (KJV)  A BISHOP (overseer of the Church) then must be …. the husband of one wife….   [4]  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection …

1 Timothy 3:12 (KJV)  Let the DEACONS be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

The leaders of the Church were to model Biblical marriage. One man, one woman, one family following one God. Peter had one wife – and one mother-in-law!

Jesus Loves To Visit Families

The Biblical family is a place Jesus loved to visit. He had been been busy healing people all day long. It is tiring to minister to people. It is a lovely thing to do so, but it still takes much out of you. I like nothing better at the end of a hard day than to go to my wife, to my home, to rest and unwind. Jesus wanted to rest.

So they went to Peter’s home.

If you read the texts you will find no where that this was Peter’s suggestion. The Bible says:

Luke 4:38 (KJV) {Jesus} arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house.

Jesus had been ministering, and now He needs to be ministered to. Jesus saved Peter not to sit on a pew, not to be a critic of the Pastor, not to be a barnacle on the bow of the Great Ship of Zion. The Church in America has too many of these barnacles! No, Jesus saves so that we can serve. And Jesus loves to save WHOLE FAMILIES. The Philippian Jailer asked in Acts 16:30:

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

To which the Apostle Paul promptly replied:

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Preach If there is more of Jesus and less of Nintendo in the family Jesus could save the whole family. If there is more of Jesus and less of ESPN and CSI and idiotic commercials on the one eyed boob tube Jesus could save the whole family. If children received Bibles and parents instructed in the Bible rather than buy the kids I-Pads, I-Phones, and WIFI connections then Jesus could save the whole family.

Jesus wants the whole family.
Jesus loves to save the whole family.
Jesus comes to the family and to the home to bless it.

When Jesus came to Peter’s home what did He find?

Matthew 8:14 (KJV) And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Luke 4:38-39 (KJV) {Jesus} arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever….

It is said that “A man’s home is his castle”. I love to come home to my precious wife and the peace that is my place. But a home with sickness in it is not a castle, nor even a palace, but a hospital. There is no cheer – or very little – in a hospital. People are sick in a hospital. The food is not that good. Jesus needed rest. The disciples needed rest. But Peter’s mother-in-law lay sick of fever. Luke tells us that it was not just a fever, but a GREAT fever.

What Could This GREAT FEVER Represent?

Many of our families are attacked by suffering. Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering. She had a GREAT Fever.

  • This GREAT Fever Could Represent SIN There is a fever gripping our country, people rioting, demanding that we call the abnormal and unbiblical normal and biblical. This fever is SIN. People are on fire with SIN. When a GREAT Fever is not controlled then it can harm a person. A fever of just 103° can cause damage to the body, and the highest survived internal body temperature was 115°. If Jesus did not intervene with Peter’s mother-in-law she could have died, and if Jesus does not intervene by saving a sinner’s soul then that person can die. The Bible tells us that:

Romans 6:23 (ESV) … the wages of sin is death

Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV) … The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Sin is a poison. It is unnatural. I heard a story once how – during the Korean War – a young man lay blind in a Mobile Army unit. His friend asked the doctors why he was blind. They told him that he bought some cheap liquor off of the Black Market so he could get drunk, and of course drank it. What he didn’t know was that the Koreans drilled a small hole in the bottom of the bottle, drained out the drinkable liquor, and refilled the bottle with wood alcohol before the plugged the hole. Drinking wood alcohol is like drinking antifreeze – it can blind or kill you. The young man’s friend went back to his tent, and pulled out of his foot locked a bottle of liquor. Turning it over he saw the tiny plug where his bottle was tampered with.

The Wages of Sin is death.

People with Great Fevers are restless, always moving. Nothing pleases them, and no one can please them. The sinner without Christ is seeking to fill a void that only Jesus can fill. The sinner, fevered, has tried numerous solutions but none seem to satisfy. They are thirsty, but cannot satisfy that thirst. They have no peace with God. But to those who have invited Jesus into their homes they have the Peace of God even in the midst of trials. They have the Precious Promise:

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Oh, how blessed to be in the Family of God! If you have a thirst and cannot fill it, come to Christ. He who comes to Christ will never be cast out. She who comes to Christ shall receive the Water of Life, and will be blessed!

  • This Great Fever Can Represent A Punishment For Sin When people get sick there are many who immediately think and perhaps says “This sickness was punishment from God”. Sickness and death CAN be a punishment from God. The Bible tells us in Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:5-8 (ESV) And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

God paddles His children by afflictions when we wander from His side. King David cried out:

Psalm 118:18 (NLT) The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die.

The Church of Corinth wandered away from the Great Shepherd and into the fields of sins thistles. They walked so far away from Jesus that they blasphemed the Lord’s Table. The Lord told them:

1 Corinthians 11:29-31 (ESV) For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

The believer who gets into sin and will not repent is the believer in trouble.

Perhaps you might be like the Prodigal Son who, wandering from God’s blessing, found himself eating food fit only for the hogs. Perhaps that horrible condition will cause the fallen to come to their senses and say:

Luke 15:18-19 (KJV) I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

When you repent and return to the Kingdom of your Father it is there you will find forgiveness, comfort, the new robe and the fatted calf killed.

Sin can sicken.
Sin can kill.
But we have a Great Shepherd Who can take that away and restore us,
if we but look to Him.

  • This Great Fever Can Also Represent The Testings Of God Many times sickness is not come upon us because of our sin, but for a greater cause. The Bible says:

James 1:2-4 (KJV) My brethren, COUNT IT ALL JOY when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that THE TRYING OF YOUR FAITH WORKETH PATIENCE. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

God allows trials on His Children to grow our faith, to teach us to cling tightly to Him by faith when the waves of this life threaten to overturn our boats. Trials test our faith, shape our faith, grow our faith. We need the trials so that we can grow into the Masterpiece that God wants us to be.

There are many who PROFESS Christ, but few who are POSSESSED of Christ. The trials shows us WHO is in charge of our lives. It is US or is it the LORD? If it is the LORD, then that is where we will turn and cling when smitten by the whip of suffering.

Jesus saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a FEVER

Illustrate I remember when I was a little boy and had a very high fever – a believe mother said it was 106 degrees. I was not hungry, the thought of food made me sick. I was thirsty, but could not drink. I was absolutely helpless. In the midst of this sickness I was totally reliant upon my mother and to the doctor she took me to. I hated a shot, but I did not cry nor even wince when I got a shot that day. I needed relief.

So it is with those who suffer in sickness.
Sickness makes us surrendered to our Lord.
It makes us pliable.

I have only once in my life met a person who was sick who would not allow me to pray for them. When we are sick we turn to Jesus. When our loved ones have Great Fever, we turn to Jesus. We read:

Mark 1:30 (KJV) Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and ANON they tell him of her.

The word “ANON” is the Greek εὐθέως eutheōs which means “immediately”. When Jesus entered the home they did not tarry, but IMMEDIATELY told Jesus about her suffering. Jesus was the FIRST place that they turned. They did not stop and sit Jesus in the corner while they ran out to get a doctor. No, they had the GREAT PHYSICIAN right there with them. All eyes went to Jesus.

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t use doctors. Doctors are fine. Use a doctor. Their training is a blessing you can use. But go to Doctor JESUS before you go to Doctor Ernheart. Go to Doctor Jesus before you go to Vanderbilt or Centennial Hospital. Luke (who was a Doctor) wrote:

Luke 4:38 (KJV) … and they BESOUGHT HIM for her.
Sickness tests our love for Jesus and our love for our family.
Sickness is the rain that make’s love’s flower bloom!

Too often we take advantage of one another, and take Jesus for granted. But now Peter’s Mother-in-law is sick, and Peter, James, and John come to Jesus on her behalf. We love You, Lord, and this is the one we also love. My mother-in-law is not a bad joke! She has always been good to me. You have healed others today, will you not heal this precious woman?”.

So they “besought Jesus”. Do you have a loved one in a Great Fever? Seek Jesus on his or her behalf. Let love bloom.

Jesus Ministered To Peter’s Mother-In-Law And She Ministered To Him

Jesus ministered to this precious woman. How did He minister?

  • Jesus Ministered By His Presence

Matthew 8:15 (KJV) And he touched her hand …

Mark 1:31 (KJV) And he came and took her by the hand …

Luke 4:39 (KJV) And he stood over her,

Jesus was there with her. The greatest blessing when the greatest trial is in our lives is the Presence of Jesus. Jesus is always there when we call for Him. He has promised:

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) … fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Christ is with His people, the Shepherd with His Sheep. He is there. He has promised,

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

The world may end, but He will not. The Great I AM is with us, even in the trials of life.

  • Jesus Ministered By His Look

Matthew 8:14 (KJV) And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he SAW his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.

When your Doctor says “I will SEE you”, he doesn’t just mean that he will look at you. He means that he will examine your affliction in his professional capacity, that he will search into a cure for your need. Jesus SAW Peter’s mother-in-law. He knows what you need. Jesus is able to heal you, to bless you. Jesus is a Specialist in Great Fevers. Give yourselves to Him today!

  • Jesus Ministered By His Touch

Matthew 8:15 (KJV) And he TOUCHED her hand, and the fever left her…

Mark 1:31 (KJV) And he came and TOOK HER BY THE HAND, and lifted her up; ..

Jesus did not heal from afar, but took her by the hand and LIFTED HER UP. Jesus will lift you UP. He will lift you UP in this life, and will lift you UP to Heaven in the next life.

  • Jesus Ministered By His Word

Luke 4:39 (KJV) And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

She was healed when He spoke the Word. Jesus healed the mother-in-law, and in turn once healed SHE SERVE HIM. Beloved, we are saved to serve Him. We are not saved so that we can win an all expense paid trip to glorious Paradise, where we can romp and play on the sandy shores of the River of Life. No, we are saved to serve the Master. As Spurgeon said:

With gratitude beaming from her face, she placed each dish upon the table, and brought forth water wit which her guests might wash their feet. The moment the Lord Jesus Christ saves a soul He gives that soul strength for its appointed service.”

She did what she could for the glory of Christ. Are you? Are you?

Posted in Belong To God, General, God's Children, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

The Faith That Amazes God

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist Church on February 26, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

 

matthew_8_5t13Matthew 8:5-13 (KJV) And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, [6] And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. [7] And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. [8] The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. [9] For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. [10] When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. [11] And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [13] And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

I don’t usually start out a sermon by doing a “Word Study”, but I feel it’s necessary to our sermon today. Do you see that word “Marveled” in verse 10 of the text we just read?

The Centurion had a faith that caused Jesus to “marvel”. Do you see it? “When Jesus heard it, He MARVELED”. This is the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō which means “to hold in admiration, to wonder at, to marvel”. This word is found in several places in the New Testament, in fact, just a few verses down. Our Lord Jesus was continually traveling, and often used the fishermen’s ships to cross the Sea of Galilee. We read:

Matthew 8:23-26 (KJV) And when {Jesus} was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. [24] And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. [25] And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [26] And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Crossing the Sea of Galilee a storm came up – a not infrequent thing to happen on that mountainous body of water. Jesus went to sleep, and while asleep the storm got so bad that the disciples woke Jesus up. They ran to Him Who was resting and said “Lord, save us … we PERISH”.

Oh, you cannot perish while Jesus is in the boat with you.
You cannot perish when you put yourself in His Presence.
It is impossible to perish where the Almighty is.
It is impossible to drown while standing on the Solid Rock!

There are so many times in my life when I have felt frightened by circumstances, by sickness, by loss of loved ones, by the insidiousness of Satan’s plottings, of things outside of my control. I have cried out

Lord, save me! I perish!”

then Jesus arises and rebukes the storm. “Peace! Be Still!”. And when He does

There is a great calm”

A calm that only Jesus can bring. Then He looks at me and says, “Why are you so fearful, O ye of little faith? Are you not My disciple? Am I not your Master? Are you not My sheep, and I the Great and Faithful Shepherd?” And every time Jesus saves me I respond the same way that Jesus’ disciples did on that ship on that day.

Matthew 8:27 (KJV) But THE MEN MARVELED, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Thought I was chasing rabbits didn’t you? I’m not. Do you see that word “Marveled”. Again, this is the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō – to wonder, admire. The men – just as I often do – marvel at the love and power of Christ. I marvel that He could love a sinner like me!

When Jesus healed the paralyzed man, saying “Take up your bed and walk” the Pharisees murmured but the people marveled. The Bible says:

Matthew 9:8 (KJV) But when the multitudes saw it, they MARVELED, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

When Jesus cast a demon out of a man we are told in Matthew 9:33 “the multitudes MARVELED, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”

When Jesus cursed a fig tree which then died we are told in Matthew 21:20 (KJV) … the disciples saw it, they MARVELED, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

When Jesus told His followers to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17)”
the people MARVELED at Jesus’s teaching.

I could go on and on. In every case the word the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō – to wonder, admireis used. We have an amazing Savior and Lord, and it is not surprising that we who love and serve Him MARVEL at what He does.

But Jesus Marveled Only TWO Times In The Scripture

It is one thing for we mortal humans to marvel at Jesus, but quite another thing for Him Who is “The Word made flesh”, Immortal God in human form, to marvel at one of us. Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion. I only find two places in Scripture where it says that Jesus marveled. Here, and when Jesus tried to minister in His hometown of Nazareth:

Mark 6:5-6 (KJV) And {Jesus} could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. [6] And HE MARVELED because of their UNBELIEF. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

What causes Christ to marvel, to be in wonder, to admire?
Faithlessness causes Him to marvel, and faithfulness causes Him to marvel.

When God does mighty works and people still do not believe in Him, God is amazed at the depth of that foolishness. To look at the clear design of God’s hand in nature, to see the intricate design of the bee, the bird, the humming bird, a flower, the grasses of the fields, the variety of everything around us. To see the beautiful self sustaining earth as God has clearly designed it. To see the innumerable stars in the night sky, the sun blazing for billions of years, the moon at a set distance from the earth. To experience the tides and the beaches, the seasons, the rains and the bounty that God has given us. To look at all that God has done and His fingerprints all around us and say:

We just evolved from goo
We are accidents, from cell to monkey to human
We just happened, order from chaos

When humans created in the image of God reject God to this level of unbelief the Bible says …

Romans 1:21-25 (KJV) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

When God hears and sees our immense unbelief
He marvels! He can do no mighty work where unbelief is.
He turns the amazing unbeliever over to dishonor their own bodies,
Worshiping themselves rather than He Who made them.

The Bible says Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

God is amazed by faithlessness, and is not pleased by it. He is amazed by the faithless unbeliever, and looks in wonder at the faithless professing believer. God will not reward or answer prayer to those who are faithless. A faithless prayer is like a spiritless preacher – none are moved to grow or go, and neither is God. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, but He never rewards faithlessness and lukewarmness.

God will not bless you if you are faithless.
God will not save you if you are faithless.
God will not answer your prayers if you are faithless.
God will not bless your Church if you are faithless.
God is AMAZED and WONDERS at faithlessness, but will not EMPOWER it.

Jesus declared in Matthew 21:22 (KJV) And all things, WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK IN PRAYER, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.

Has not Christ promised us if we BELIEVE when we ask in prayer WE WILL RECEIVE. To ask unbelieving is to amaze God in the wrong way. Why ask if you do not believe He is able? Why go to God at all if you think Him little and petty? Oh, open your eyes, and believe!

The Centurion’s Faith Amazed Jesus

What is amazing about the Centurion’s faith? Well first of all,

  • This Man Is A GENTILE. He is not a Jew. He is a Gentile, just like every person in this room today. When Jesus first came, He came to the JEWS not to the GENTILES. The Bible says:

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

The first people that Jesus came to were the Jews. When He sent His twelve disciples out to preach the Gospel of salvation we read:

Matthew 10:5-7 (NLT) Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Now God intended to save the Gentiles. When God spoke of the Coming Messiah He said in:

Isaiah 42:6-7 (KJV) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a LIGHT OF THE GENTILES; [7] To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

The day Jesus was circumcised old Simeon blessed that Child in the Temple, recognizing Him as “a light to lighten the Gentiles”. God intended to save the Gentiles. But God came FIRST for Israel, for the Jews. The Apostle Paul declared this when he wrote:

Romans 1:16 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew FIRST, and also to the Greek.

God made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, promises that He fulfilled in Christ. Christ came for the Jew FIRST. Jesus was born a MALE JEW because it was a MALE that sinned, causing us to lose Paradise. It was a JEW that God promised salvation to FIRST. The Centurion was a Gentile. God would send Christ to the Gentiles at the second half of His earthly ministry. But at this time The Gentiles are not being approached.

But the Centurion comes to Christ. He is a man on the outside looking in. He is a Gentile.

  • This Man Is A CENTURION. The Centurions were Professional Soldiers of the Roman Army, the people who conquered Israel. They were the captors of Israel. The Centurions commanded centuries of around 80 armed men, but could command up to 1000 men. Centurions had immense power. Roman citizens could not be struck or disciplined by common soldiers, but Centurions could strike or discipline any as need be.

This man represented the invaders of Israel, yet this man respected and knew of God. In Luke 7 the Elders of the Synagogue at Capernaum went to Jesus on his behalf, saying:

Luke 7:4-5 (KJV) … That he was WORTHY for whom he should do this: [5] For HE LOVETH OUR NATION, AND HE HATH BUILT US A SYNAGOGUE.

This is in itself amazing. He loves Israel, and has built us a Synagogue.

  • This Man Had Every Right To Be Proud And Puffed Up, But Was Not. The regular Centurion was known for his cruelty and oppression of the Israelite, but this man was not inflated by his high office.

Oh how many people will not see God because of pride.
PRIDE destroys a life.
PRIDE keeps a person from receiving the Gospel blessing of salvation.
It is PRIDE that says: Walk the aisle and profess Christ!
I would rather die and go be with the proud in hell,
Than kneel and profess Jesus!

Pride. Pride.

Pride Is What Caused The Damnation Of Adam “God knows in the day you eat of this which He has forbidden YOU WILL BE LIKE A GOD, knowing good and evil” saith Satan (see Genesis 3:5).

Pride Causes The Damnation Of The Lost Psalms 10:4 (KJV) The wicked, through the PRIDE of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

God HATES Pride Proverbs 8:13 (KJV) The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: PRIDE, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Pride Destroys All It Touches Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) PRIDE goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

{PRIDE Is One Of The} Evil Things That Come From Within that defile the man. (Jesus in Mark 7:23)

The Centurion Understood His Place Before Christ

Notice how the Centurion came to Christ …

Matthew 8:5 (KJV) …. there came unto him a Centurion, BESEECHING him,

The Centurion did not come DEMANDING.

He did not ORDER Christ as so many of us do with God, demanding that He do this or that, BARGAINING with God. “God if You’ll do this then I’ll do that” as if God needs anything from us. Christ needed nothing from this Centurion. What does God need of ANY of us? God said ….

Psalms 50:10-12 (KJV) For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. [11] I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. [12] If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Christ needed nothing from this Centurion – and the Centurion knew his place. He BESEECHED Jesus. He παρακαλέω parakaleō called out to Jesus “please walk with me. Please Comfort me.”

Furthermore, the man did not ask for himself.

Matthew 8:6 (KJV) …. And saying, LORD, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

Though he was a Gentile Centurion, on the outside of God’s Promises looking in, he had LOVE in his heart for Jesus and love in his heart for his Servant. LORD is what the Centurion called Jesus. Lord! LORD! He reached out in love to Jesus, submitting himself to Him. “My servant is at home lying sick of the palsy, suffering”. Do not say that you are a Christian if you do not love those around you. This man – a Centurion – a high ranking officer – loved his servants. He did not demean them, but loved as we should all love. He lowered himself that his servant might be healed.

Matthew 8:7 (KJV) And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

When we come to God
knowing He is God
and submitting to Him as God
then God will be God to us!

Jesus did not hesitate nor delay. He said “I will come and heal him”. The Lord does not delay to honor the prayer humbly offered in faith. He saw the Centurion’s heart. He was ready to heal. But then the Centurion says something that amazes the Lord …

Matthew 8:8 (KJV) The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

This is what faith says. This is the faith that amazes God. Lord – I am not worthy that you should come to my home. Just speak the Word – not many words but THE Word. When You speak, the universe listens. You speak, Lord, and my servant will be healed.

Matthew 8:9 (KJV) For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

The Centurion knew that he had authority over his servants. It is not pride to exercise authority over that which God has given you. But the Centurion knew that Jesus had authority over EVERYTHING. He knew that Jesus only had to command, and it was done.

Matthew 8:10 (KJV) When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Israel was God’s Chosen people, a people He called to Himself. But this Gentile, this outcast, looked up and found a great faith in God. He surrendered totally to Jesus. Our Lord ended with this:

Matthew 8:11-12 (KJV) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Those Gentiles who trust and obey Jesus will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who have received Christ are adopted into God’s Family. We who are Gentiles who love the Lord are the wild olive branch grafted into the promises of Israel. But the Israelite, for whom Christ came first, who rejects Christ, they shall be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. For the Scripture says:

John 3:16-19 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Have you received Him? Has God marveled at your faith, or is He now marveling that you choose darkness and gnashing of teeth over Him? Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior today? Will you not believe on Him while there is time to do so? Please, I beg you, come to Christ today. As Jesus told the Centurion:

Matthew 8:13 (KJV) Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

As Jesus healed the servant with a word, He can save you eternally with His Word. Believe Him. receive Him. Do it today, now, without delay. May God touch your hearts with His Word and Spirit.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

The Untouchable Is Made Touchable

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on Wednesday, February 22 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

matthew_8_1t3_the_untouchable_becomes_touchableMatthew 8:1-4 (KJV) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

The multitudes followed Jesus, but the multitudes did not impress Jesus. Jesus had just finished His Sermon on the Mount and those disciples closest to Him heard His teachings. But the multitudes followed Jesus not for what what He taught, but for what He could give. The Bible says that:

Matthew 8:16-17 (KJV) When the even was come, they {the multitudes} brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by {Isaiah} the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Matthew quotes Isaiah 53:4 which says “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”. The Messiah would come healing the people, lifting our burdens. But many came to Christ not to worship Him nor to honor Him as Messiah, but to get temporal healing.

The multitude wanted the services of the Great Physician
but did not want to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We will see two people today who came to Christ for healing, but who honored Him as Messiah. These two people were considered among the Jewish people to be hated, untouchables, people unworthy of God’s attention. But Christ touched them, just as He will touch all who come unto Him by faith.

The Leper Was Untouchable

Matthew 8:1-2 (KJV) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matthew doesn’t say “BEHOLD, MULTITUDES followed Him”.

There are many who profess to follow Jesus with the crowd. That doesn’t amaze God. When it is fashionable to follow Jesus many will. But Matthew said “BEHOLD, there came a LEPER”. Think about this Leper. The multitudes ran after Jesus, many taking their friends and family to be healed.

  • The Leper Came Of Himself. He is an unnamed person. Many of those led to Jesus had loved ones who took them, but this person has no one. There was no friendly hand to guide him. I remember reading in the Gospels of a man who was so sick that his four friends took him to the roof of a house where Jesus was teaching, who cut a hole in the room, then lowered their friend down by ropes to be before Jesus.

This man had no one. His disease was hideous. Leprosy is so contagious that the Law of God strictly addressed it. If a person thought he was infected he was to go to the priest who would diagnose it. If the person was found to be infected …

the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45-46).

There was no known cure for leprosy outside of that of God. People believed that God inflicted leprosy on people as a punishment for sin. In fact, the leper was synonymous with the sinner. Lepers were cast out of the community, a people apart. They were untouchable, despised.

There were sixty one ways that you could be defiled according to the Law of God. The first way was to touch a dead body. The second was to touch a leper!

The Leper couldn’t come within 6 feet of any other human, nor within 150 feet if the wind was blowing. What a terrible thing leprosy is. But we read:

behold, there came a leper and WORSHIPED him

Jesus Loves The Untouchable

If you feel alone and despised, if you feel that the world itself has turned against you, Jesus still loves you. This leper knew how bad his condition was. He knew that he was untouchable. The leper made no excuses. He did not seek to justify himself. He knew what he was, and ran to the love of Christ.

He had probably lost his family, his friends, his fortune, everything he had because of this terrible disease. There are multitudes there following after Jesus but not one person will take his hand, not one person will reach out to him …. but Jesus will.

The leper comes to Jesus and before he asks anything he WORSHIPS Jesus.
This is where the blessing begins. Jesus is Lord. He is God.

John 1:1-4 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  [4]  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

The leper came to Jesus and worshiped Him. He didn’t debate Christ. He didn’t try to make a deal with Christ. “Jesus, if you’ll heal me I’ll do this or that”. No, the leper came submitted to Christ.

He worshiped Him.

The things he used to worship he now puts away. The idols, the gods, the self image, everything he submits. He is not ashamed for the crowd to see him worship Jesus. Others have given him up as hopeless. No others care for him. But Jesus cares.

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cares for me!

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me;
All my heart was full of misery and woe,
Jesus placed His strong arms about me
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cares for me!

I think that the BEHOLD is not because an untouchable came, but that God wants you to see the love of Christ. Jesus loves the unlovable. He loves the submitted. He loves us even when we are diseased by sin.

We as God’s Church are supposed to be reaching out and telling the untouchables about Jesus, but so often we are like the multitudes who followed Christ. We believe. We see others in need. But we do not reach out. Oh, that we would reach out! Oh, that we would be the hands and feet of Christ.

  • We’ve Never Done It That Way Before! I’ve heard these words before, and they are like icy water on the fire of faith. This Leper had no precedent set before him. If you read Matthew to this chapter you will see that no leper ever went to Jesus at this point in His ministry. There was no precedent to encourage him. This was the first Leper of Christ’s ministry, and he went to the Savior just as a moth would be guided to the Light.
  • I’ll Go To Jesus When I’m Worthy! I have heard so many people say this, and lose the blessing that only Christ can give. If this leper had waited until he was “worthy” he would never have been healed. Toward the end of His ministry the Pharisees and Scribes bitterly complained about Jesus, saying ….

Luke 15:2 (ESV) … “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus receives sinners, sinners of all types.

When despair whispered in his ear “Give up, you are nothing but disease” it was the Holy Spirit through faith who shined through the Leper’s darkness, saying “Go to Jesus. He receives sinners. He will receive you!”.

No matter what your sin Jesus will save you. He will forgive you. He will cleanse you. He will make you right with God. Run to Him, Beloved ones, and let Him prove His love to you!

  • This Man Had No Specific Promise That Christ Would Heal Him. There is no place in Scripture that says

Come unto Me, all you who are lepers, and I will heal you”.

Yet the Leper worshiped Jesus, saying:

Matthew 8:2 (KJV) … Lord, if THOU wilt, THOU canst make me clean.

The Leper had no specific promise, but he knew Christ is “Lord”. Nothing hindered the Lord from healing this man but the WILL of the Lord. This man had faith in Jesus. He believed that He is Lord! And believing this, he cast himself on the mercy seat of Christ. Lord, if You will You can!”. God has promised throughout His Word to bless those who come unto Him in faith. He has said:

Isaiah 55:7 (ESV) … let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

This leper saw God in Christ and cast himself upon Him. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31). This man put away everything but Christ. His entire hope was in Christ. It was not Christ PLUS this or that, but Christ Alone.

Only Jesus can make that which is filthy clean. And Jesus has said “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He that believes is born again. He that believes is the called of God.

  • The Leper Was Focused On His Own Life, Not On The Multitudes. Many will go to hell because they will not go to the Master. Why? Because they fear what others will think or say. “What will the crowd think if I walk to Jesus? If I stand apart from the multitudes? If I go up and take the Preacher’s hand?” There were multitudes there, but the leper cared not for the multitudes.

It is the MULTITUDES that will stand before Christ to be judged.
You will not be judged BY the multitudes.
But by Christ.

This man put aside all pride, and cast himself before Jesus saying “Lord, if You will, You can heal me!” He didn’t say “You can heal LEPERS” but “You can heal ME”. That was his focus, and that should be your focus too. He submitted himself in joyful hope. His words were his own. His humiliation his own. He cast all that he was before Jesus, trusting Him to do the right thing.

  • The Leper’s Faith Was Rewarded. The Bible tells us:

Romans 10:11-13 (NKJV) For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God rewards faith. We read:

Matthew 8:3 (KJV) And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And IMMEDIATELY his leprosy was cleansed.

Notice The Order Of What Jesus Did

First, He put forth His hand, and touched him.

Though the Law said “touch not the unclean thing” Jesus, the Fulfiller of the Law, reached out to touch this man. No one touched lepers. This man had not felt a kind touch probably in years. Lepers had things thrown at them, but Jesus was moved with compassion.

Second, Jesus said “I will”.

Jesus has never said no to a seeking soul. He has never said “I will not” to those in need. He loved the man, just as He loves you and I. The Bible says that:

Romans 2:6-11 (ESV) {God} will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.

The greatest good is to bring your broken self to Jesus and let Him heal you. He will not turn any away. When this man came to Christ, the Lord touched Him, said “I will” then commanded “Be thou clean”.

The Leper Became Clean IMMEDIATELY

When Jesus pronounced him clean he was immediately clean. The leprosy left immediately.

Oh, there are those who believe that Christ will save you IN your sins.

That you can come to Him a sexual deviate, a murderer, a liar, a thief, and that He will save you so you can go on and continue unabated in your sins.

This is not so.

Those whom Jesus touches become IMMEDIATELY CLEAN.

Whereas you were once a sinner, now you are a son.
Whereas once you were a convict, now you are a child of God.
Now listen – those made clean DO NOT BECOME SINLESS,
but they DO BECOME OBEDIENT.
All are sinners because of this flesh.
But those who are born into the Family of God now love God and love one another.
We become obedient to God’s Word.
We become members of the Family of God’s Kingdom!

Jesus did not come to this earth to put a bandage on our boo boos. He came to this earth to bring us into the Kingdom of God. As soon as the leper was healed Jesus began to command him:

Matthew 8:4 (KJV) And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

This man was a Jew. Jesus told him as a Jew to go to the Temple, and show himself to the priest. Don’t stop along the way, but do as God’s Word commands. Take your clean body to the priest so you can be pronounced whole, and offer a love gift to God. There was still a Temple, still a Priest, and still a Biblical Law that had to be met. Once Christ died the Bible says:

Romans 10:4 (ESV) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Galatians 2:16-19 (KJV)  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  [17]  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.  [18]  For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  [19]  For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

Jesus commanded this man to go and do as the Law said, to offer an animal sacrifice, to have the priest declare him clean. This is what the leper did as far as we know.

Today we who have believed in Christ are freed from the leprosy of sin. We are freed to serve God. We are commanded by Christ our High Priest to serve God. Those who are born again obey Christ and God’s Word. Freed from the Law we do not become lawless, but serve the higher law of walking in the Spirit of God.

The untouchables become touchable by faith in Christ. May God touch your hearts today!

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Does Christ Know You?

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on February 19, 2017
at 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401


Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.   [22]   Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?   [23]   And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

nnyThere is a strange spirit in our world today. Perhaps this spirit has always been there. I see it in the riots following our 2016 election. It is odd, because those rioting and bashing store widows are doing what they are doing, they say, to combat hate.

But they are hating.

The Spirit I see manifested today is a spirit of confusion. We need, now more than ever, Jesus Christ. We need to learn of Him, and we need to focus on worshiping Him.

God calls His Church to come together in full and wholehearted worship of Christ!

God called out to His people in Amos saying …

Amos 3:3 (KJV)  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Jesus calls His people to walk in the Spirit which means to follow Him.

Salvation is to follow Jesus.
Salvation is to love Jesus above all else.
Salvation is to not just call Him Lord, but follow Him as Lord.

When you follow Jesus – to paraphrase Adrian Rogers – “you won’t be down a dark alley eating tin cans with the devil’s billy goats.” The only way to KNOW Jesus is to walk with Him, to follow Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN;

SAYING To Jesus “Lord, Lord” Is A Good Thing But It Is NOT A SAVING Thing

Jesus is Lord. It is a good thing to recognize Him as Lord. Jesus was BORN TO BE LORD of all. The angel of God said:

Luke 2:11 (KJV)  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is CHRIST THE LORD.

Jesus is the OVERCOMING LORD. Revelation 17:14 (KJV)  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY LORD that the Father acknowledges, the Lord Who will be worshiped.

Philippians 2:6-11 (KJV){Jesus Christ}, 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.  [9]  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  [10]  That AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  [11]  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Lord. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV)  But to us there is BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Lord to Whom the blind cried out

(Matthew 20:30) “Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David!”

Jesus commanded they see, and they saw.

Jesus is the Lord Who stood with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter said “Let us build three altars, one for Moses, Elijah, and You”. He is the Lord of Whom God the Father said from Heaven …

(Matthew 17:5) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

Jesus is the Lord that the poor leper saw, who cast himself before Jesus saying …

Luke 5:12 “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

He is Lord when the woman taken in the midst of adultery is cast before Him and her accusers depart, Jesus asks her “Who now accuses you?” She replies …

John 8:11 “No man, Lord”.

And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more”.

Jesus is the Lord Who coming to Martha’s home following Lazarus’ death wept, then prayed …

John 11:43 “Lazarus come forth”!

… and death was conquered with His Word. Lazarus lived! Christ is Lord over death.

Jesus is the Lord Who hung on the Cross dying, to whom one of the thieves said …

Luke 23:42 “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.”

… and Jesus promised “today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

He is Lord. He IS Lord. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords Who cried out:

John 19:30“It is finished”

… and was buried in a borrowed tomb.

He is the Lord Who rose from the dead on the Third Day just as He said.

Luke 18:32-33 (KJV)   For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:   [33]   And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

He is Lord. You are saved by your profession of Him as Lord. The Bible declares:

Romans 10:9-11 (ESV) …. if you confess with your mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  [10]  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  [11]  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

When these of whom Jesus spoke called Him “Lord, Lord” they were doing a good thing. They called on Him not once, but twice. They said

Lord …. Lord

But they were not saved. Why? Because the Holy Spirit had not come upon them. Their cry was disingenuous, fake. The lips did not match the heart.

With The Saved, The Lips And The Hands Are Synchronized

Matthew 7:21 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; BUT he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.

You can call Jesus “Lord” but if you are not doing the will of the Father then He is NOT Lord to you. What is the Will of the Father which is in Heaven? It is what the Disciples were told on the Mount of Transfiguration.

This Is My Beloved Son – Hear Him!
Don’t just HEAR then walk away, but DO what Jesus says do.
Too many HEAR, PROFESS, then WALK AWAY.
Jesus is fire insurance.
Jesus is a hobby.
Jesus is a Facebook Friend.
Jesus is a pet to occupy our spare time.
But in action JESUS IS NOT LORD.
Jesus spoke of GIVING and how we are to GIVE, to glorify God.
This is what we must do.
Jesus spoke of PRAYING and how we are to PRAY, to glorify God.
This is what we must do.

You cannot do YOUR will and ignore the WILL OF GOD and expect to be blessed. You must DO THE WILL OF OUR FATHER which is in Heaven. We are to HEAR and DO.

Matthew 7:12 (KJV)   Therefore ALL THINGS whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jesus gave us the Golden Rule of Love. This is God’s Law in both Testaments. We are told in:

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV) You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: I am the Lord.

The Jews saw “loving your neighbor” in the framework of loving other JEWS. Jesus told us to “love our neighbor as ourselves”. A Jew asked Jesus one day,

Who is my neighbor?”

The Bible says that He did this “willing to justify himself”. So Jesus told a parable.

Luke 10:30-37 (KJV) …. A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.   [31]   And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.   [32]   And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.   [33]   But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,   [34]   And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.   [35]   And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.   [36]   Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?   [37]  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Your neighbor is not just other Jews, other Christians, but EVERYONE. God does good to EVERYONE, so we are to do good to EVERYONE. We are to follow Jesus. We are to do as Jesus did. We are to love as Jesus loved. We are to hate the things that Jesus hates. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)   Enter ye in at the STRAIT gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:   [14]   Because STRAIT is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The word translated “Strait” is the Greek στενός stenos which means “narrow”. The world ands the worldling takes the WIDE way, but the follower of Christ takes the NARROW path, directly behind Jesus. We do not walk ahead of Jesus, we do not walk away from Jesus, but we walk WITH Jesus. He is Lord, and as Lord directs our steps.

These people who said “Lord, Lord” were not saved though outwardly they appeared to be so. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)   BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.   [16]   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?   [17]   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.   [18]   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   [19]   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.   [20]   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

What is the fruit of their lives? Regardless as to what they say, what are they DOING? What is their PRODUCE? Are they bringing forth good fruit or evil fruit? A good tree brings forth good fruit, but an evil tree brings forth evil fruit. I cannot read your mind, nor see your heart, but I can see your hand.

The Produce Of The Christian Is CHRIST

If you belong to Jesus you love Jesus. You do not just SPEAK, but DO. There are many who “prophecy in His Name” but do not DO.

Are we doing love?
Are we bound to Christ as the branch is to the Vine?

If so, the Holy Spirit flows through the whole, and the Holy Spirit cannot produce evil fruit. If bound to Christ you will produce:

Galatians 5:22-26 (KJV)  … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  [23]  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  [26]  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Oh God save us from preachers who are not saved! Oh God, save us from the spirit of Ecumenism, an evil spirit of our age. The evil tree produces from the flesh …. and

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, revellings, 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.

Those who live according to the flesh will not be saved on judgment day. Judgment Day is coming.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me IN THAT DAY, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

IN THAT DAY is a reference to Judgment Day. IN THAT DAY these poor lost souls will stand before a Great White Throne, not before the Judgment Seat of Christ. They will stand before The King of Kings and Lord of Lords and justify themselves:

Have we not prophesied in Thy Name?
We taught Sunday School.
We preached before hundreds, no, thousands.
We represented You Jesus!

And in Thy Name have cast out devils?
We went out and, using Your Name, saw possessed people relieved.
We did the Benny Hinn cure on them, and they are clean.

But Jesus told them when the Seventy returned:

Luke 10:20 (ESV) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but REJOICE THAT YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN.

The greatest thing is not that the evil spirits are subject to the Name of Christ, for Jesus’ namer has power. But we should rejoice in knowing that our Names are written in Heaven’s Roll Book. We should rejoice in that Jesus knows our names, that we have surrendered our lives to Him, that He is not just Lord in our mouths but Lord of our hands as well.

And in Thy Name have done many wonderful things?
The Mormon Tabernacle is one of the most magnificent structures on earth.
There are Cathedrals all over Europe that are tremendous works of art.
Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is unparalleled.
And Westminster Abbey has long been the place where royalty is ordained.

But Does Jesus Know ME?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Are there four sadder words in the English language? I never knew you. You had an opportunity to know Jesus, to lay your life down at His feet, to surrender to Him, but you would not. Rather than lower yourself and admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior you became religious.

You prophesied, but did not pray.
You did not seek Christ’s face.
You attended to marvels, but not to essentials.

And because of this, they found out their error in the worst way. I think on that Great Day, that Judgment Day, that Jesus will weep tears for those who never knew Him. They thought they knew Jesus but Jesus did not know them. They are like the man who had an autographed copy of Ronald Reagan hanging on his office wall. “Did you know Reagan?” one asked him. “Why yes, I knew him, but he never knew me”.

Knowing Jesus means to follow Him, to kneel at His feet,
to hear His Word then to GET UP AND DO what He said.

Knowing Jesus means to live a committed life to Him, even when bad times come. Jesus Christ should be the most important Person in your life if you are saved of Him. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 2:2 (KJV)  For I determined not to know any thing among you, SAVE JESUS CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

and

Philippians 3:7-11 (KJV)  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  [8]  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  [9]  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  [10]  That I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  [11]  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus calls a people to Himself not just to SAY that He is Lord, but to DO what He says. Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus said “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with them” (John 14:23).

Our PROFESSION must match our ACTIONS, otherwise we may not be saved.

I have had so many professing Christians come to me whose lives are falling apart. I end with these words of Christ:

Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)   Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:   [25]   And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.   [26]   And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:   [27]   And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Storms will come to every life, righteous or unrighteous, saved or unsaved. But those focused on Christ will stand through the storms of life. If you know Jesus, and Jesus knows you, then no trial will defeat you. Your anchor will hold because it grips the Rock that is Christ.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Threefold Cord of Prayer

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist February 19 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew 7:6-11 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he githreefold-cordve him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 

Last week we looked at the MODEL of Prayer. This week we are looking at the NECESSITY of Prayer. It is written in the Scripture that:

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV) And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN.

Illustrate I can easily break a single thread, but when I bind three threads together – the threefold cord – it becomes much stronger. One man might prevail against another, but one man with his two friends more than likely will prevail. The threefold cord is not easily or quickly broken. In our text today we see the threefold cord of prayer. These cords are:

Ask
Seek
Knock

Prayer is NOT just asking God. Prayer is NOT just seeking an answer. Prayer is NOT just knocking on Heaven’s door. If prayer is to prevail and give you victory for God’s glory then all three cords must be present in prayer.

ASK Is The DIRECTION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 ASK, and it shall be given you ….

To WHOM are you praying? Is your prayer to God or to god?

Many people around the world go to god and not to God. I’ll say that again. Many people go to a little g god and not to the Big G God of Scripture. The little “g” gods are false gods, idols created in man’s image. There are many names for these little g gods:

Moroni (of Mormonism)
Mammon (of Materialism)
Allah (of Mohammedanism)
Mankind (of Humanism and Hinduism)
Self Godhood (of Buddhism)

There is a difference between the man-made gods of the world religions and the God of Truth and Scripture. The Psalmist defined this difference when he wrote:

Psalm 115:3-8 (ESV) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

The idols – the little g gods – are figments of man’s creativity. Someone once said that “God created man in His image, then we turned around and created god in our image”. When Jesus says “Ask”

  • He is NOT saying to pray to some idol that you have invented.

  • He is NOT saying that we are to pray to some generic god.

  • He is telling us to pray to the God of Scripture,

  • To ASK OUR FATHER, the One Who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Before you can ASK God in prayer you must ASK to be part of His Family. The Model Prayer started with “Our Father which art in Heaven”. Is God your Father? Are you God’s Child? I am not saying that the unbeliever cannot pray. I have prayed for unbelievers and have seen unbelievers healed by the Lord. Jesus heals people who have no concern for Him. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus was entering a village …

Luke 17 (ESV) …. He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Jesus healed ten, but only one came to faith. I have seen Jesus heal many an unbeliever, bringing them back from hospital beds. Yet it is a fact that only about one in ten return to Church to give glory to Christ. Very few thank God for their healing. They thank the doctors, they thank the hospitals, they may even give a nod of the head to the Preacher that prayed for them, but very few return to give glory to God.

Oh Beloved, if you would ASK God in prayer FIRST receive Him as Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I understand that our Youth Department has started teaching the ABCs of Christ to the young people. That is so very good, very commendable. Maybe you need to hear this too.

ADMIT that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. The Lord says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All are sinners (Romans 3:10-18)”. You have no union with God unless you first admit that you are lost and a sinner.

BELIEVE that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, that He is YOUR Savior. Believe that He died on the Cross to save you from your sins. Believe that He rose again on the third day to be your Lord, Lord of your life.

John 3:16-18 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

CONFESS – which is to say aloud – your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

No one is saved as a “Secret Agent for the Lord”. You must stand up for Him. When you take a stand with Jesus He promises to be with you forever. Furthermore the Scripture tells us:

John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received {Christ}, to them gave he POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name:

When you are born into the Family of God by faith in Christ you have the right to ASK your Heavenly Father anything. What a blessing this is. ASK! What blessed words are these:

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

SEEK Is The DESIRE Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … SEEK, and ye shall find;

When I SEEK something it is because I DESIRE it. When I seek something merely to please myself (as I often do) then what I find is just for me. But when I pray, the DESIRE of Prayer for the Christ Follower is not to please myself or to advance myself, but to advance the Will and Kingdom of God. This was what Jesus showed us in the Model Prayer.

Matthew 6:10 (KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The prayer that God loves to answer is the prayer that seeks to glorify Him, to magnify His Name, to build His Kingdom on the earth. The Apostle John speaking of prayer wrote:

1 John 5:11-15 (ESV) … God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL HE HEARS US. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

When we pray we are to SEEK the Will of God in it. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

When you pray, will God be glorified in the answer to your prayer? Will God’s Kingdom benefit by it? Will souls be saved and lives changed because of an answer to your prayers? Jesus said:

John 15:7-8 (KJV) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

God loves to answer prayers that are in accordance to His Will. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane prior to going to the Cross three times Jesus prayed:

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: NEVERTHELESS not as I will, but as thou wilt.

As you know, Jesus had to go to the Cross. It was not something He looked forward to. But it was something He did for the glory of God. God the Father could not answer His prayer, even as much as He loved His Son. Jesus had to die on Calvary. Yet Christ still prayed, Christ still sought, and Christ was willing that God be glorified and we be saved no matter what the cost. The Stepbrother of Christ, James addressed the Church:

James 4:1-3 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye HAVE NOT, because YE ASK NOT. 3 Ye ASK, AND RECEIVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Two of the greatest causes of unanswered prayer is:

  1. To ASK NOT, and
  2. To ASK AMISS

When you ASK NOT you try all other resources before you try God. God will not answer unspoken prayer. But God will not answer prayer that is ASKED AMISS “that you may consume it upon your lusts”. When we SEEK God in prayer we must ask according to His Will, according to His desires. The Psalmist put it this way:

Psalms 37:3-5 (KJV) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and HE SHALL GIVE THEE THE DESIRES OF THINE HEART. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS.

Pray asking, SEEKING to glorify God. That is the Golden Prayer, the Prayer that glorifies God.

KNOCK Is The DETERMINATION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you:

When we pray our Father can answer every prayer three ways:

Yes, I will answer
No, I will not answer
Wait a while and we’ll see

Not every prayer is answered immediately. KNOCK speaks of a closed door. Sometimes God presents to us a closed door. Why?

Because FAITH is PERSISTENT
Genuine FAITH KEEPS ON GOING
Saving FAITH OVERCOMES

A faith that will not stand through a trial is not a faith that can take us to Heaven!

It is the OVERCOMING FAITH that is promised blessing.

Revelation 2:7 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the tree of life!

Revelation 2:11 He that OVERCOMETH shall not be hurt of the second death!

Revelation 2:17 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the hidden manna!

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

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

God hears every prayer that His Child utters, but often waits until He thinks the time is right. When I was a child I wanted to drive a car as soon as I was able to think. I told Daddy I wanted to drive. He told me “You’ll be able to drive, but you’ll have to wait till your 16th birthday. Until then work and get enough money to buy yourself a car”. So I did. I bought a car, and had a car before I could legally drive it. I tested out on my car. Got my license. Today I’d rather someone else drive! Oh for a chauffeur!

Persist in prayer. If the door seems closed, keep knocking. Jesus illustrated the Determination of Prayer when He said:

Luke 11:5-10 (NASB) … “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves {of bread}; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he shall answer and say, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Persist in prayer. If God does not answer do not stop praying until God changes your heart or God changes the situation.

A woman came to Jesus one day, a Canaanite Woman. She came to Jesus and cried out:

Matthew 15:22 (NASB) … “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

Jesus did something astonishing.
He ignored her.

In fact, Jesus told her “I was sent only to the lost Sheep of Israel”.
What did the woman do?
Did she go off in a huff?
Did she curse Christ?

What did she do? The Bible says “she came and bowed down before Him, saying ‘Lord, Help me’”. What did Jesus do? Again, this seems shocking.

Jesus calls her “a Dog”.

Do you remember the first verse we read today? We read the words of Christ:

Matthew 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the DOGS, neither cast ye your pearls before SWINE, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

What is a DOG in Scripture? It is an unbeliever, someone who has rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible tells us that …

Revelation 22:15 (NASB) Outside {of Heaven} are the DOGS and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Dogs are unbelievers in Christ, people who practice habitual sinful activity. They follow self rather than what is right. I saw my dog eat something that he found dead in the yard the other day – I didn’t get close enough to him to see what it was! DOGS are UNBELIEVERS. SWINE are those who hear the Gospel then turn away from it anyway.

2 Peter 2:20-22 (NASB) For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A SOW, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

A DOG or PIG sits under the preaching of salvation by faith in Christ, then turns away without repenting and believing. Jesus calls this woman a DOG. He says to her:

Matthew 15:26 (NASB) … “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

You’re a DOG.
I’m not going to heal your daughter!
Did this woman walk away mad?
No, she KEPT ON KNOCKING.

Matthew 15:27-28 (NASB) But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And HER DAUGHTER WAS HEALED AT ONCE.

Often prayer is not answered because we DO NOT KNOCK. Keep on knocking. Keep praying until God clearly answers the prayer, or until the Father says “No”.

Matthew 7:8-11 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God your Father wants only the best for you. So Ask, Seek, and Knock. And remember, the promise of our text is reserved for God’s Children, those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. If you do not know Him, call on Christ today, right now. Repent of your sins, and cast yourself on the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ alone is your Savior and Lord. Ask Him to forgive you. Acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.

May God cause man to come to Christ through this His Word.

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Judge Not But Reflect

Preached To The Saints at Riverview Baptist Church on February 15, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

One of the most abused Bible texts is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Let’s read this verse responsively:

matthew_7_1t5_judge_notMatthew 7:1-5 (KJV)   Judge not, that ye be not judged.   [2]   For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.   [3]   And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?   [4]   Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?   [5]   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

People quote this text to justify all types of sin. One of the most common sins that are justified by this text is sexual sin, either heterosexual or homosexual. When a person in sin is told they are in sin they retort:

Jesus said ‘Judge not that you be not judged’.
You aren’t qualified to be my judge. Only God shall judge”
.

I agree, only God is qualified to judge.
But most take this Scripture out of context.
The Bible must interpret the Bible.

When the Apostle Paul was being judged by the Corinthian Church he declared:

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

In this case the Corinthians were comparing Paul to Apollos and to them, Paul’s ministry was much less than that of Apollos. The Apostle said in effect that:

No One Should Judge Another Person’s Ministry

Only God is the judge of His workers. Your work will stand or fall based on whether it glorified God. You will receive rewards of God at the Judgment Seat of Christ based on how you did what God called you to do. Therefore I am not to judge your ministry, your calling, for the Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 12:18 (KJV)  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

I am not an effective judge of your ministry, nor are you of mine. In time Apollos’ ministry did what God called it to do, just as did the Apostle Paul’s.

Furthermore, the Church is to judge when members argue over things pertaining to this life. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:1-6 (KJV)  Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  [2]  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  [3]  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  [4]  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  [5]  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  [6]  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

No Church member is to ever sue another Church member, or put the petty things of this life above the glory of God and His Kingdom. Therefore the Apostle said that we are not to go to law against a brother or sister in Christ – that the Church should be called on to judge this in such matters.

So you can already see that Jesus is not telling us to judge at all. If Scripture is used to interprete Scripture, and we “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) then we know that Jesus is NOT telling us not to call sin SIN.

If so, the Apostle Paul and Jesus are at odds, because Paul spoke against a brother who was in sexual sin. Paul also said:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 (KJV)  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  [10]  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.  [11]  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

The Apostle is very clear that we are NOT to KEEP COMPANY with ANYONE who professes to be a brother in Christ who is in sexual sin, or is greedy, or who worships false gods, or who love to fight or drink or force others to do his bidding. To KEEP COMPANY or PAL AROUND with the sinner is to justify their sin. Those who belong to Jesus do not justify sin. We provoke one another to love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). We do not justify sin.

So what did Jesus mean when He said “Judge not, that ye be not judged”?

Jesus Did Not Mean To DENY Scripture

The Scripture is the Word of God

Proverbs 30:5 (KJV) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Jesus prayed for His Church

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

The Apostle Paul Told Us

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Scripture is the Word of God, and the Scripture is true. Jesus tells us not to use OUR OPINION as to what is right or wrong, for our opinions may be right or wrong. We are to view all things through the Scripture. The Scripture is the Mind of Christ. The Scripture is the Word of God.

What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.

God establishes the standards or right and wrong. God said “the day you eat of this specific Tree you will die”. Man looks at it. “Looks all right to me. I think it will be ok. After all, this talking snake told me it was ok.” He eats. He dies. He is cast from Eden. Why. Because you listened to a talking snake instead of God’s Word.

God’s Word is always true. When God said:

1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

He meant that sexual sin is wrong. Period. Sin outside of one man one woman marriage is wrong. When God said:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you think that God means that it is ok to engage in any of those mentioned sins? That it’s all right to be a …

fornicators
idolaters
adulterers
homosexuals
sodomites
thieves
covetous
drunkards
revilers
extortioners ?????

The Bible says that those who engage in such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Heaven is God’s Kingdom. When the Bible says that:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NASB) … realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,1

It is equating the lawless and rebellious to the ungodly and sinners, to the unholy and profane, to those who kill fathers and mothers, for murderers and immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers. These are not good things. God is not commending them. If God says a thing is sin then I am not judging you if I say what God said.

I am not authorized to deny God’s Word, and neither are you!

When the Apostle said:

Romans 1:26-32 (KJV)  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  [27]  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.  [28]  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  [29]  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  [30]  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  [31]  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  [32]  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

He was not justifying sin, but declaring what is sinful. We have no right to deny Scripture.

We Have No Right To Add To Scripture

Mark 7:1-9 (KJV)  Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.  [2]  And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.  [3]  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.  [4]  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.  [5]  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?  [6]  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.   [7]   Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.   [8]   For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.   [9]  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

The Pharisees, like many professing Christians in the Church today, hold to traditions teaching that these traditions are commandments of God. They are not. Unless it is clearly presented in God’s Word it is not God’s Word. We have no right to add to or take away from wat God has said. We are not God. In the name of God I have heard some of the worst things said, things like:

The Blacks Belong in Their Own Church
Women Shouldn’t Wear Britches Or Open Toed Shoes
The Only Holy Bible Is The Version I Like
Men Ought To Shave
Men Ought Not To Shave
God Ordained Where I’m Sitting, And I’m Not Moving
(Or “I Shall Not Be Moved”)
Unless You Meet My Expectations, You Aren’t Serving God
If You Eat With Unwashed Hands You Are Defiled
If You Pick Corn On Sunday And Eat It Raw You’re Harvesting
You Have To Wear A Suit To Church, etc, etc

What makes something right or wrong is whether God has said it is right or wrong. We should love one another and be patent with one another. We should lift one another up to God. But we should aways ask ourselves before declaring something wrong:

Where Is That Written In The Bible?”

What Is The Plain Sense Of What Jesus Was Saying?

Now that we’ve looked at what Jesus was NOT saying, let’s see what He WAS saying.

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)   Judge not, that ye be not judged.   [2]   For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.   [3]   And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?   [4]   Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?   [5]   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

1 Be Light, Not Darkness. Before you judge someone a sinner make sure that that particular sin (or something worse) is not in your own life. Pull the beam out of your eye before you try to pull the sliver out of someone else’s eye. As Jay Adams wrote in Handbook on Church Discipline:

Taken out of context, {this} verse has been used to incorrectly justify never taking a stand on anything that would require a judgment to be made. Rather, the verse is referring to hypocritical, self-righteous, unfair kinds of judgment, especially where the confronter is guilty of the same sin as the one being confronted.“

The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). If we love someone we do not want them playing with poison snakes. If we love someone we do not want them drinking acid thinking it is water. If we love someone we will care enough to show them that the Scripture forbids their action – but we will make sure we are first not in that same sin. That is hypocrisy.

2 God Will Hold You To The Same Standard. Often we have a tendency to ignore our sin while finding fault in others. We are to look in the mirror first. We are to judge ourselves first. Don’t think because someone else is doing it it is right, and don’t think your wrong will be right if you point out another person’s wrong.

3 We Are To Read And Study The Word Of God, Then Reflect What We Have Learned. Never has this been so important. The Apostle tells us:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [2]  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  [3]  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  [4]  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  [5]  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

These are all states of sinfulness that we are to avoid. We are told to turn away from such people. After saying this, the Apostle tells us:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We must continue to put a priority on studying God’s Word. We do not know right or wrong apart from His Word. He defines righteousness. Not us, but Him.

The word of God is the THERMOSTAT and we are the THERMOMETERS.
The Word of God is the SUN and we are the MOON.
We are BRIGHT and SHINING LIGHTS Because of His Word.
We reflect His truth!

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

1The King James reads “1 Timothy 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  [10]  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”. The NASB is used here for clarity.

 

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When “Yes, Lord” Means A Trial

great post!

Found Who I Am

*Today, we are pleased to publish a guest post by another one of our good friends!*

Natalie! Please! Make it stop, it hurts too much!” my phone read as the screen illuminated, thus throwing shadows against my wall and near my bed. Still awake, my eyes struggled to focus on the text notification in my blackened bedroom. After a few minutes of talking to my friend, I had given the best encouragement I could and was virtually holding her until my body crashed for the night and I had fallen asleep. Never before had I felt heart break over my friend…..“Why her? God, what is your plan with this pain she’s in?” As these questions repeated themselves in my mind, I was hit with one answer…..”Why not?”

After waking up a few hours later and rereading our conversation, I sat there. Pondering on that answer, I thought back…

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Self Denial Is Necessary

Preached to the Saints of Riverview Baptist on the evening of February 12, 2019
798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

matthew_6_16t34Matthew 6:16-34   Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   [17]   But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;   [18]   That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.   [19]   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   [20]   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:   [21]   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.   [22]   The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.   [23]   But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!   [24]   No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.   [25]   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?   [26]   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?   [27]   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   [28]   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:   [29]   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   [30]   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?   [31]   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?   [32]   (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   [33]   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   [34]   Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

If I were to summarize this portion of our Lord’s “Sermon On The Mount” then it would be by saying:

Faith Grows When We Practice Self Denial

In chapter Six Jesus speaks expecting that every believer in him will (1) Give To The Poor:

Matthew 6:2   Therefore WHEN thou doest thine alms ….

Jesus said “WHEN you give”. Not “IF” but “WHEN”. Giving is what Christ Followers do. We who are saved by the wonderful Gift of Grace do not only GIVE, but we (2) Pray For All.

Matthew 6:6   But thou, WHEN thou prayest …

Again Jesus does not say “If” but “WHEN”. When you pray. Christ Followers should pray daily, pray without ceasing, for we live in a dangerously fallen world. But we also (3) Practice Self Denial. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:16   Moreover WHEN ye fast …

A lot of people have no idea what a FAST is. In our day FAST is the name of a movie where they stole cars (FAST and Furious). In our day FAST is how we expect our burgers and “Happy Meals” to be delivered. In our day FAST is how we like to travel down the highway. But FAST used to not mean speedy, but it used to mean to STOP DOING SOMETHING SO YOU COULD FOCUS ON GOD. To FAST is to deprive yourself for a time so that you can focus on God’s Glory. The word:

BreakFAST

something we use for the first meal of the day means that we allow ourselves to eat after an involuntary 8 hours of NOT eating. You “Break the Fast”. Jesus tells His disciples:

WHEN you FAST
Not IF but WHEN

Which means He expected us to Fast. Jesus Fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before His ministry began. Does He expect us to fast 40 days? I don’t think so. But He does expect us to practice self denial, to deprive the flesh for short times while we focus on God.

WHEN We Fast Do Not Do It To Be Seen Of Men, But Of God

Matthew 6:16-18   Moreover WHEN ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   [17]   But thou, WHEN thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;   [18]   That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Jesus commanded that our Fast – whether it be one meal, one day, or one whatever (for a “Fast” can be a voluntary giving up of one thing while you focus on God.

Let me chase rabbits for a moment…

You can give up a meal while you focus on Scripture and prayer, looking Godward.
You can give up a day (or even a week) of TELEVISION while you read His Word.
You can break down and forsake Sunday and Wednesday night television
… and COME WORSHIP THE LORD.
You can give up a vacation trip home to go on mission oversea for Jesus.
You can give up your fancy Starbucks coffee and give that money to a worthy cause.
A FAST can be anything for any duration where you focus on GOD rather than YOU.

Fasting – a form of self denial – is necessary because the flesh is greedy. If you give yourself EVERYTHING and do nothing that is UNCOMFORTABLE then you eventually will not serve God at all. A Fast does not have to be a horrible or torturous thing, but it is done to draw you closer to God. While Fasting you focus on God, not on self.

The Pharisees and Sadducees made Fasting a show for all to see. They “disfigured their faces” so as to look pitiful. They were looking for the praise of men rather than closeness to God. Jesus said “when you Fast anoint your head and wash your face”. Groom yourselves just as if you were NOT Fasting. Don’t go around telling people “I’m Fasting this week”. Just do it, and do it in secret.

Self Denial Is The Very Heart Of Our Faith

When we Fast, when we Give, when we Pray and take time looking upward we are practicing self denial. Self denial is the very heart of the Christian faith. In America we don’t realize this because of the number of “Cultural Christians” in our country, but in Christ’s day and in many countries around the world it is dangerous to be a Christian. The Muslim who comes to Christ risks being shunned, disowned, or martyred for the faith. It is easy to be a Christian in America because Christians founded America. But Christians suffered to found America. Of the original group of 132 on the Mayflower, 49 died. Christians suffered in founding America, and Christians suffered in the Revolutionary War. The American Constitution was written in the blood of Christians and those who were friendly to the Christ.

Our country was founded by believers who sought to establish Christ’s Kingdom on the earth. That is what has given us so many freedoms, freedoms that will erode under the tide of sin if we do not stand up for Christ.

Today the Gospel is preached as Easy Believism, but it was not so from the beginning. Jesus did not promise sweet nothings to His followers in order to inflate the numbers at His Church. He told us:

Luke 14:26-33 (KJV) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Jesus calls His people to Him willing to forsake all. Nothing is to be held back from Christ. Nothing! Our Treasures are not to be the relationships and the things we have on this earth, but our treasures are to be what God has for us in Heaven. That’s what Jesus is preaching. Listen to Him. Listen to Him!

Matthew 6:19-21   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   [20]   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:   [21]   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You can tell where a person’s “treasure” is by what they do. For some, the weather has got to be just right for them to come to Church. If it’s too sunny they stay home or go to the Park because, after all, God wants them to rest on Sunday. If it’s too rainy or cold they stay home or go out to eat because, after all, God wants them to take care of themselves.

Does a person treasure God or Heaven?
What they treasure is seen in their outward lives.

Many of those who were in the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount were there because Jesus healed them or someone they knew. Yet it was His disciples that came to Him, who knelt at His feet, who clung to His words, who loved Him more than all else. The crowds seeking blessing stayed in the valley, but the disciple – the truly saved – were willing to brave the mountain and sit uncomfortably in the dirt to hear Christ.

To trade their recliner for a rock.
To trade their bed for a slope.

When you seek Christ and suffer discomfort to get to Christ you are “laying up for yourselves treasures in Heaven”. There will be a Judgment Day for everyone, whether Christian or Unbeliever. The Unbeliever will stand before a Great Whote Throne (Revelation 20:11-15) and the Christian will stand before The Judgment Seat of Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:10  (KJV) For we MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Everything we do is laid up in Heaven’s vault. The unbeliever’s actions are stored up – there will be a Judgment Day. The believer’s actions are stored up – there will be a Judgment Day.

On Judgment Day the Child of God will give an account of the things done in his or her body.

On Judgment Day Christ will not ask which denomination you belonged to.

Christ will ask if you acted as if you belonged to Him, and honored Him in this life.

On Judgment Day I do not think Christ will judge how fine a suit you wore to Church.

Christ will ask if you “put off the old man and put on the new” (Ephesians 4:22ff)

On Judgment Day Christ will not ask if we loved others..

But He will ask “how did you SHOW you loved others?” Did people see Christ in you?

On Judgment Day we will not be examined to see how religious we were.

But God will look at our relationship to Him and to others.

Did we behave as Children of God?

On Judgment Day Jesus will ask not how sincere we were,

But we do the truth? Did we go against the crowd and DO what He said do?

On Judgment Day I will not be able to point to someone else to try and deflect my fault on another. On Judgment Day I and I alone will be judged, and each shall give an account to their Savior. Those who lived for Christ and loved for Christ shall have treasure in Heaven. Live for Judgment Day!

Choose Where You Will Focus. Choose Your Master.

Matthew 6:22-23   The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.   [23]   But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The eyes are the windows of the soul. Yes, I know there are some born blind, but very few. Most people are born with eyes. Where you focus your eyes will effect what happens to your soul.

If your eye be single – ἁπλοῦς haplous – SOUND, WHOLE, or GOOD – focused on the Godly thing – then your whole body will be good. This is what television has done. Things could be insinuated on the radio, but are shown on television.

Adrian Rogers said years ago that it is the Television Sitcom that will destroy the morality of our nation. His words have proven to be prophetic. We have let our eyes linger on television sexuality so much so that adultery no longer offends us and homosexuality is just a lifestyle choice. God says such things are death, that the Wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), but in America today it is but another word for freedom. Where your eye is focused is what will effect your choices. Sin begins with the eye. In Eden what was that which led Adam and Eve to perdition? The eye!

Genesis 3:6  (KJV) And when the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The Prophet Job gave some great advice on avoiding sin. He said:

Job 31:1 (KJV)  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

This is what Jesus is telling His disciples. Control where your eyes are looking. Look Godward. Look toward the Light of God, not toward sin. If you dwell on the wrong, it won’t be long before you are doing the wrong. When you focus on the evil, you flood your body with evil. No one starts out a murderer or an adulterer or a child molester or a kidnapper. It begins with a look. It begins by giving the devil a toe hold in your life, by focusing on the wrong thing. Then in time what happens?

The light that is in thee be darkness, and how great is that darkness!
Choose to follow Christ

When Moses came down off of Mount Sinai he saw all of Israel gathered around a Golden Calf to worship it. Moses cast down the Tablets of the Law and cried out:

Exodus 32:26 (KJV) …. Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

God’s people came together and stood together with Moses, and so Satan and the Goden Calf was defeated. Joshua would later lead the Children of God into the Promised Land. 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.

Joshua told the people “Make a choice. Choose who you are going to serve. If you’re going to serve the devil, do so. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

I recently read of a man who died – Leslie Ray Charping– who when he went his family celebrated. Mr. Charping made a choice – he followed the devil wholeheartedly, so much so that in his obituary (according to the New York Post):

The family wrote that Charping “leaves behind two relieved children,” in addition to “countless other victims including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.” …. “Leslie’s life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick [witted] sarcasm, which was amusing during his sober days,” the obituary read. No services will be held for him. They wrote “Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all”.

The man chose. We should choose who we will serve. Just as Moses and Joshua challenged the people, Jesus challenges those who will hear Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)   No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Some translations change Jesus statement to “You cannot serve God and Money”, but that is not what Jesus said. The word translated “Mammon” is the Greek μαμωνᾶς mamōnas which is the Idol of Materialism. People who worship at the altar of Materialism store up for themselves treasures on the earth while ignoring Heaven’s vault. They are like the rich man of Luke 12 who had much, but wanted more. The man who worshiped Materialism said …

Luke 12:18-20 (KJV)   … This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.   [19]   And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.   [20]   But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

God’s Children are not to chase after and be focused on getting rich, but are to be rich in faith. Material possessions are wonderful, but we are to be careful not to be possessed of our possessions. The Apostle Paul said:

1 Timothy 6: 6–10 (ESV) … godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Be content with what God has given you. What has God given us?

His love.
His care.
His presence.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

The God of Materialism never satisfies, but the God Who loves you does. This is why Jesus ends this section with …

Matthew 6:25-34 (KJV)   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?   [26]   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?   [27]   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   [28]   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:   [29]   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   [30]   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?   [31]   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?   [32]   (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   [33]   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   [34]   Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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After This Manner Pray

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on the morning of February 12, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

mpLast Wednesday we continued looking at Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount in Matthew chapter 6. Jesus addressed (1) Giving to the poor, and (2) Prayer. Both Giving as well as Prayer are to be God glorifying. We are neither to Give nor to Pray so as to be “seen of men”.

God Is To Be Glorified In All We Do

As Jesus prayed before He went to the Cross He felt the strain of what was coming. Jesus prayed:

John 12:27 (KJV) Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Jesus was coming to the hour of death. Calvary was in view. He knew the beating, He knew the humiliation that was coming – but Christ would not withdraw. He prayed:

John 12:28 … Father, glorify thy name.

Jesus showed us that what matters most is that we glorify God our Father. Even with the Cross in view the “Beloved Son in Whom the Father is well pleased” does not pray for relief, but that God be glorified. Immediately after His prayer – a public prayer that all heard – The Father spoke from Heaven, saying:

I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

God will answer any prayer that glorifies His Name. He is to be glorified, to be magnified, to be lifted up. In Matthew 6 Jesus gave His “Sermon on The Mount”. His disciples – those who have received Him as Master – are sitting at His feet. And as we saw last Wednesday Jesus scorches the “hypocrites” who do “religious” things to be seen of men.

We give to glorify God.
We pray to glorify God.

Prayer is communication between a loving Heavenly Father and His Child. Public prayer is not forbidden, for as we have seen, Jesus often prayed publicly. But prayer is never for show. If you NEVER pray publicly that is all right, but NEVER pray publicly to be seen of men. Let’s say the Lord’s Prayer together:

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)   After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.   [10]   Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.   [11]   Give us this day our daily bread.   [12]   And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.   [13]   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

There Is No “I” Or “Me” In The Lord’s Prayer

When we make our first overview of the Lord’s Prayer we notice first of all that there is no “I” or “Me” in the entirety of this prayer. Every pronoun tied to man used is plural. Everything is:

Our
Us
We

There is a reason for that. The basis of the Lord’s Prayer is LOVE, and LOVE never stands alone. Love always involves at least two parties. In eternity past before mankind was ever created God loved. God is One, but three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. Each member of the Godhead loves the other. God has designed us with self love, but a person who loves self and never extends outward to love others is either a sociopath or a narcissist. Jesus was oner time asked …

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB) … “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The Entirety Of Scripture Is Hung On The Heavenly Nail Of Love.

It is no wonder the Lord’s Prayer would emphasize Love. Those sitting at Christ’s feet are those who have been saved by Love. They have heard that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Those kneeling at Jesus’ feet have believed that Christ gave Himself for them. They have “confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and are saved” (Romans 10:9). They are now “Children of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

The Prayer that God expects from His Children is not to be “I” and “Me” but “Us”. We are His Family. I want you to notice also:

This Prayer Is A Pattern

Jesus says “After this manner you pray”. The three words translated “after this manner” is the Greek οὕτω(ς) houtō(s), which means “in this way” or “in this fashion”. What Jesus was teaching was a pattern of prayer. When I was little my daddy, an upholsterer, would take customer’s couches or chairs and put new material on them. Daddy was quite good. I found out that daddy would take the old material off of the furniture then flatten it out and trace around it, using the old as a pattern to cut out the new material. Jesus gives us a pattern of prayer. Jesus never wanted us chanting this Lord’s Prayer but following the outline He gave us.

Our Father

The first two words of proper prayer is to recognize our relationship to God. “Our Father”. Prayer is the privilege of the Child of God. God expects to hear from us if we are His. If you are saved by faith in Christ you are EXPECTED to pray. Jesus did not say …

IF you pray”, or
When circumstances make you pray”, but
After this manner YOU PRAY”

If you love God as your Father then you should want to pray. Prayer should not be an effort. When I was young my parents used to get mad at me and my wife because we couldn’t go home every Christmas. We had lives, and distance separated us. Though I tried to call momma on special days there were times when I missed calling her (and regretted doing so). But God is with you no matter where you are, dear Christian. Jesus has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” but Scripture doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say:

Hebrews 13:6 (NASB) … so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

The Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer should not be occasional, for our Father is with us no matter where we go. We should pray conversationally with our Lord, trusting Him Who loves us so. When we pray “Our Father” we are reminded that

Father is our Provider
Father is our Sustainer
Father is our Heavenly Parent

The Jews were frightened of God, so much so that they would not say His Name out loud lest they offend Him. But Yahweh loves us, and Jehovah fights for us. We are His, and He is ours.

Which Art In Heaven

We have fathers and parents who we love and honor on this earth, but our Perfect Father is in Heaven. He is above us. He knows what is best for us. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalms 139:1-5   O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.   [2]  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  [3]  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  [4]  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.  [5]  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

God is pure, and holy, and just. He is infinite, both in knowledge and in power. He is “our Father in Heaven”, and watches over us. What a Great God He is!

Hallowed Be Thy Name

This doesn’t say that we are to “Hallow” God’s Name, but we recognize that God’s Name is Hallowed. The word “Hallowed” is the Greek ἁγιάζω hagiazō, which means “holy, pure, consecrated”. When we come to God in prayer we are to remember that God is Holy and Righteous.

He will not answer nor even hear a prayer that is unholy, loveless, or evil. The Bible says:

John 9:31  Now we know that GOD HEARETH NOT SINNERS: but if any man be a WORSHIPPER OF GOD, AND DOETH HIS WILL, him he heareth.

1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US:

God will not answer sinful prayer, nor does He answer prayers that are outside of His will. God is Holy. He will not bless unrighteousness, but He will hear and save the lost if they cry out to Him. When the Christian comes to God in prayer it should be with the understanding that God is Holy. If we are in sin then we “should confess our sin, for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Any prayer that God blesses is directed first and foremost to building His Kingdom and accomplishing His Will. The Kingdom of God was central to Christ’s teaching and preaching ministry. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Any prayer that does not “seek first the Kingdom of God” will not be blessed. We are to pray that God’s influence INCREASES on the earth. We are to pray that WHAT IS UP THERE COMES DOWN HERE. We are to pray that God’s Kingdom comes to this earth, and that people realizer that our Father is King of THIS earth. King David prayed …

Psalm 74:12 (ESV) Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

And King David prayed in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV) Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Where man reigns there is chaos, but where God reigns there is peace and blessing. This world will never get better on its own.

Nihilism has proved to be an empty void

Atheism has brought only godless behavior

Humanism has fed greed and selfishness

Feminism has given us ashes for beauty

Pro-Choice has murdered millions

This broken nation – nay, every nation, needs God. People need the Lord. People need THE LORD. Not a buddy, not a religion, but a pure and holy LORD GOD to serve and magnify.

Give US This Day Our Daily Bread

What does “Daily Bread” represent?

  • Bread Represents Work. Some people do nothing, expecting the world to take care of them. This is welfare gone mad. The Apostle said:

    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  [11]  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  [12]  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and EAT THEIR OWN BREAD.

    Bread is the fruit of a person’s WORK. God expects His Children to work. When Israel was given MANNA in the wilderness (see Exodus 16), that “bread from Heaven”, each person had to go out and gather what they were allowed to eat. The Bible says:

    Proverbs 14:23  (ESV) In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

  • Bread Represents God’s Word. When tempted of the Devil to turn stones into bread Jesus told that old dog:

    Matthew 4:4 …. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    Pastor Rick Warren said “Real life comes by feeding on every word of the Lord. You don’t just need physical nourishment; you also need spiritual nourishment.”

  • Bread Represents The Saved In Fellowship With God And With One Another. Jesus said we are to pray “Give US this day our daily bread”.

    1 Corinthians 10:16-17  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  [17]  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

    If you are born again by the Grace of God you are brothers and sisters together. It is not the name on the membership roll that gets you into Heaven, but whether your name is on that “roll up yonder”, the Book of Life. Heaven is the place where God’s Children go. The Bible says:

    Revelation 21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    If you have eaten of the Bread of Heaven, then you are the Bread of Heaven. You are part of a Family that will last forever, the Family of God.

And Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors

Forgiveness of sin is contingent on our forgiveness of others. Jesus continues this thought at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, just after the “Amen”. He said:

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

“If you forgive MEN”. Jesus doesn’t use Adelphos here (“Brothers”) but ἄνθρωπος Anthrōpos which means “Mankind”. We are not called to just forgive our brothers or sisters in Christ who offend us, but ANYONE regardless as to race, sex, or religion. Those who pray are not to carry grudges. This doesn’t mean we FORGET the offense, but we FORGIVE the offense, releasing the offending party unto God. The Bible says:

Romans 12:17-21  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  [18]  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  [19]  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  [20]  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  [21]  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God will sort everything out. He is, after all, our Heavenly Father. I saw a movie one time where a married couple decided to take vengeance on the drunkard who ran their son over, killing him. They captured him, beat him, nearly killed him … then found out later they had the wrong man. They ended up in jail for no good reason. The Bible says to let God deal with the situation. Regardless of emotion, do good to those who have done bad to you. Release the grudge, and be Children of Light. Then you can pray “Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors”. We have all failed God many times, and He has and will forgive us. Let it go. Let it go!

Matthew 6:13   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

As the prayer is closed we pray that God will deliver us from Evil. We pray that God will draw us away from anything that will not glorify Him. Then we close the prayer as we began the prayer, giving glory to God.

Thine Is The KINGDOM

The POWER

And The GLORY
Forever!

We live for God’s Kingdom. We live for God’s glory. We live in His power, magnifying Him. This is what the Christ Follower does.

We glorify God.
We magnify our Father.

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