What Do You Do When The Worldly Take Advantage Of You?

good-samaritanIt seems like it happens too often.

A man was forced to leave his home. My wife and I open our home to him, allowing him to stay in our guest bedroom for 6 months. While with us he contributed $200 per month for full rent, board, WIFI, etc. He contributed absolutely nothing else. In fact, he often invaded my office in the morning, monopolizing my time with chatter. He refused to contribute either at home or at the Church. At the end of 6 months he abruptly left, and I’ve not seen him since. People ask “Whatever happened to …?” I have no idea. He promised to be back in Church but instead he is gone like a puff of smoke. POOF!

I am at the Kroger gas pumps on January 3rd 2017. On my van are two signs that read “Look up – Jesus loves you”. A man walks up and asks “Do you believe what’s on those signs?” I tell him I do. He then tells me he had been out of work, just got a job, but needs steel toed boots if he’s going to go to work. So I put $20 in his car (he was, he said, on his last 2 dollars) and gave him $50 for boots.  I invited him to Church and gave him my card after praying for him, and he promised to be in Church Sunday. About 8:30 that night I get a call from the same man. His boots will cost about another $100. So I leave home, go to the bank ATM, and head to another city to take him the money. While trying to get to him he calls me 4 times asking “Where are you?”. When I meet up with him I give him the money, he thanks me and says he’ll be at Church Sunday. Sunday comes and goes, but he doesn’t. Like a whiff of smoke he’s gone. POOF. Then about 1:30 am one morning that next week he calls again. He needs money for a plane ticket to Chicago. His daughter has been shot, and he needs to get to her. I don’t give him money because I don’t have it. POOF! He’s gone.

A month passes.

I get a call on February 3 2017 from this man’s brother. The man, I am told, tried to kill himself, and will get out of the hospital the next day. The brother found my card in his wallet, and the man will only talk to me. So I go to another city to see the man. He is going to be evicted out of his home the next day, and his car is in the shop. If he could get his car he could look for work. “What do you need?” I ask. “I need $47 to get my car back”. I knew he was in need, so I had purchased a $50 Kroger Gift card on my way to his home. I give him the $50 card and the $47 I had in my wallet, the exact amount he said he needed for his car. I took him to an apartment complex where his “mechanic” lived. He took the money to his mechanic while I waited. Then I took him home. EXACTLY as he did in January he calls me at 8:30 pm. He still owes the mechanic $120, can I give him $60 of that? So I go to my bank ATM, then drive to another city to take him the money. Once more I drive him to his mechanic’s apartment so he can pay the man, then take him back home. I get home about 9:30 pm, and try to go to sleep. The phone rings at 12:30 am – yes, just after midnight. It’s the man’s brother. The car I just finished paying for to be repaired is broken down on the highway. Will I go get the man? Will I go give him more? Will I give him more time, more money, more resources? I’m sorry, I cannot do any more. Is this for real, or just a scam to rob me? How much is enough? I tell the brother that I’m sorry, but I’ve given all that I can give.

But I feel bad about it.

Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:30-37 (NASB) Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

When I read this parable I don’t want to be the priest or the Levite. Too many people walk down the road, passing by on the other side. I want people to know Jesus, to see Jesus, to come to Him and be blessed. That’s what I want with all my heart. I want to be the Good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable. I’ve tried to show mercy to my neighbor. But when is enough?

The man in Christ’s story had been beaten up by the dark forces of life. The Good Samaritan took the man to a safe place. He bound his wounds with oil and wine. He told the innkeeper “take care of him. Whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you”. But Jesus,

what if the man NEVER leaves the inn?
what if he keeps on taking advantage of the situation?
what if he builds up a bill ordering room service,
costing the Samaritan hundreds of dollars?
The truth is, in Jesus’ day most people were raised to not stay on perpetual welfare.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 (NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

Too many in our great country have become so self focused that they are not the people of Jesus’ Good Samaritan parable but are those who will not focus on work. They are looking for the easy way out. They have made bad decisions. They do not belong to a community of faith, but perpetually call the local churches every week with welfare requests.

“The Electric Company is going to turn off my power tomorrow
if you don’t pay my bill today”. 

“I have a wife and two small children, and my land lord is going to
evict us tomorrow if you don’t pay my rent”.

“My wife is bipolar manic depressive. I left the bank card with her, and she emptied our bank account. We’ll be homeless tomorrow if you don’t help.
(This one cost me $500 I didn’t have, putting it on a charge card)

I have a lady who comes by our Church at least once a month. She needs gas, food, and money. I tell her to sit through the Church service and I’ll put $20 in her gas tank after Church, and give her food from our pantry. The last time I gave her what she called “much needed gas” the tank would not hold but $16 – it was that full.

I pumped the gas myself. When is ENOUGH?

So when is enough? I don’t know, and I don’t think you know either. The liberal thinks that we should give perpetually, without end, that welfare ad nauseam is the way to go. The Bible doesn’t support that. As a Church and as Christians we have given above and beyond. At present we are collecting soup for the homeless, and have about 3000 cans gathered. We are collecting money for the local Pregnancy Support Center. We give to missionaries. Giving is good, and God loves a cheerful giver. … But we have been ripped off by many. We took up money for a struggling family only to hear them later brag that they bought the latest X-Box equipment for their kids for Christmas. Or the lady who is out of money, but smokes $5 a pack cigarettes and needs us to pay her cell phone bill. I had one lady run into my office in a bikini. She was on the way to the beach with her three kids, and needed money for rent. When I tried to tell her about Jesus she said “I don’t have time for this. I’ll try another Church”.  Or the family who lost a loved one, and when our Church carried food to the family stood at the door, took the food, then slammed the door in our face. When do we say “No!” “Enough!”

So what do we do? I pray we do not become cynical. I pray that our hearts are not hardened. And I try to remind myself daily that I have taken advantage of Christ my Lord many times, yet He continues to show me mercy. I despised Him when I was lost, and let Him down as we all do now that I am saved.

I do feel better blogging this out. So I think I’ll keep giving, and ask you to do the same. Maybe we will be taken advantage of, dear Christ Followers. But one day we will inherit the world. So let’s give as we can for God’s glory, and pray for those who take advantage of us. Maybe they will see Christ in us, or maybe they will see us as just a mark. Either way I will glorify God and prayerfully give.

For Christ’s sake. Amen.

 

Posted in General, giving, Strictly Blog, Taking Advantage Of or Bullying | Leave a comment

The Law Is Good

A Sermon preached at Riverview 798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia Tn
On the Evening of February 5 2017

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Since the start of His Church many people have made many mistakes about the Law of God. Some have even started teaching that you can be saved by Grace in Christ and then can violate God’s Law with impunity. Jesus was very clear, though. He said:

Matthew 5:18 (KJV)   For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Until Heaven and earth passes away not even the smallest part of the Law will cease to be. Jesus speaks of a jot or tittle that will not pass from the Law. The word “Jot” is the Greek ἰῶτα iōta a word we brought into the English language to mean “an extremely small amount”. In the Hebrew language the “Jot” is the smallest Hebrew letter, the ninth letter of their alphabet. The “Tittle” is the tiny horn that was part of the Hebrew letter. In our example the lack of a “Tittle” – a tiny extension – changes the Hebrew letter “Beth” to the Hebrew letter “Kaph”. I know this is early in the morning to expect you to have to think (grin) but what Jesus was emphasizing was that the Law must be fulfilled – it cannot be nullified. This is what Jesus told John the Baptist at His Baptism. John did not want to baptize Jesus because he said “I am not worthy to do so”. Jesus told John:

Matthew 3:15 (ESV)… “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

The Law MUST BE FULFILLED.

WE must fulfill the Law.

The Law of God – His Commands – can only be circumvented by God Himself.

Jesus declared …

Matthew 5:17 (KJV) THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, OR THE PROPHETS: I am not come to destroy, but to FULFILL.

Jesus came to this earth to fulfill the Law and to fulfill Prophecy. He did not come to wipe out the Law. He never said He did.

Misunderstanding Number 1 – The Law Is Negotiable

There has always been a Law of God. When God put man in a perfect Eden – where the weather was always so nice you walk around nekkid (that’s Southern for “naked”).

Eden, where food was plentiful.
Eden, where there was no killing.
Eden, where Adam worked at cultivating a Garden that never grew weeds.

Eden. Paradise. How beautiful it would be to be in Eden. And yet there was God’s Law in Eden. God gave man everything, but told man:

Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV) … “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The Law said to Adam “You can have everything BUT the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. Adam, you can tend it. But Adam, you cannot eat it. This is non-negotiable. The devil slithered into the Garden and told Adam and Eve:

Genesis 3:5 (ESV) For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

God is trying to keep something good from you. He knows if you eat of that tree you’ll be just like Him. He’s trying – jealously trying – to rob you of your fun.” The devil convinced Adam that the Law given was negotiable, that man could somehow redefine what God had said. But when man defied the Law man lost Eden.

We always lose Paradise, the blessing of God, when we break His Law. Sin is the breaking of God’s Law (1 John 3:4) and the Wages of sin is ALWAYS DEATH (Romans 6:23)

The Law is not Negotiable.

You Are Saved By Faith In God, But Breaking The Law Can Kill You

The Law was never meant to be a means to salvation.

You cannot be saved by keeping the Law, but you can die from not keeping it.

God illustrated this with Israel. God placed Israel in Egypt, giving His chosen people time to grow into a mighty nation. Israel and his twelve sons went from a small tribe to a mighty nation over a period of four hundred years (Genesis 15:13). God raised up Moses and had Moses go to Pharaoh. God told Pharaoh:

Exodus 5:1 (KJV) … Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

Exodus 8:20 (KJV)… Let my people go, that they may serve me.

Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. Then God gave Moses a Law to give to the people. Exodus 12:3-13 is a Law from God, and it is not negotiable.

  • Take a Lamb without spot or blemish.

  • Keep the Lamb in your home from the tenth to the fourteenth day of this month.

  • Kill the Lamb in the evening.

  • Put it’s blood on the side and top posts of your doorways.

  • Roast the flesh of the Lamb and eat it all.

None of this is negotiable. None of this is debatable. This is God’s Law. God said:

Exodus 12:12-13 (KJV) For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  [13]  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Israel was Israel whether they obeyed this Law or not BUT if they disobeyed they would have died with the unbelievers. God never gave the Law as a means of salvation. Even in the Old Testament Law the Bible tells us:

Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV) “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

A person who considers his own law to be greater than God’s Law is proud, unrighteous, not right with God. Those who love the Lord live by faith. The Bible tells us that the Law tells us what God considers right or wrong – and shows the lost person WHY THEY ARE LOST.

The Law Diagnoses The Unbelieving Sinner

The Apostle Paul declared in Romans 3:9-12 (NKJV) … For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.”

The Law says that ALL ARE SINNERS, that ALL have violated God’s Law. The Law said “Do this and live” but gave no power to “do this”. Paul declared:

Romans 3:19-20 (NKJV) Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that EVERY MOUTH MAY BE STOPPED, AND ALL THE WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The Law shows that we are all guilty, that we all fall short. The only Man Who has ever perfectly kept the Law of God is Jesus Christ. Jesus came to fulfill the Law.

Romans 10:4 (NKJV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

We who are fallen humans could not fulfill the Law of God. We fall short. The Apostle said:

Galatians 3:21-26 (NKJV) Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore THE LAW WAS OUR TUTOR TO BRING US TO CHRIST, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH. 25 But AFTER FAITH HAS COME, WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER A TUTOR. 26 FOR YOU ARE ALL SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.

The Law was a Tutor, given first to Israel at Sinai then given to the whole world. The Law started with Ten Commandments written on two Tablets of Stone. The First through the Fourth Commandments were on the first Tablet, telling us that we must love God. The Fifth through the Tenth Commandments were on the second Tablet, telling us that we must love our neighbor. The Commandments were given, but God gave us no help in fulfilling these commandments.

Christ Fulfilled The Law And Died In Our Place
So That We Can Become Children Of God

When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior, you receive everything that Christ did for us. We were law breakers, due to be punished, but Jesus took our punishment. We were dead in trespasses and sins, but Jesus died so that we could be made alive. The Law diagnosed as sinners showing us that we needed the Savior. Christ is that Savior.

  1. The Blood Sacrifices Of The Law Are No Longer Necessary. Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Christ is the Atonement or covering for sin (1 John 2:2). The Bible says that Jesus Christ …

    1 Peter 2:22-25 (KJV)  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  [23]  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  [24]  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  [25]  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

  2. The Priests Of The Law Are No Longer Necessary. Under the Law the children of Aaron were High Priests and the other priests were the descendants of Levi. When Christ fulfilled the Law He became the High Priest for His people.

    Hebrews 7:23-27 (NKJV) Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But {Jesus}, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

    Jesus is not just our High Priest, but we who believe are now “Kings and Priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6). We have direct access to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord any time we want.

  3. The Physical Temple Ceased To Be The Only Place Of Worship. The Jew had to go to the Temple to worship God. Today we worship God not just in Church, but where ever we are, for …

    1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV) .. do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

  4. The Food Laws That Set Israel Apart Are Now No Longer Necessary. Jesus said:

    Mark 7:18-19 (NASB) And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (THUS HE DECLARED ALL FOODS CLEAN.)

    and God showed Peter …

    Acts 10:11-15 (NASB) … an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “WHAT GOD HAS CLEANSED, NO LONGER CONSIDER UNHOLY.

By when Jesus died on that Cross and rose again He opened the door to Heaven. When you receive Christ as Savior you are no longer UNDER the Law. The Law does not crush you. The Law does not step on you. The Law does not condemn you. The Law does not bring you guilt. When the Law says “thou shalt” and “I cannot” then I cling to Jesus.

Jesus paid it all.

All to Him I owe.

Sin left a crimson stain.

He washed it white as snow.

If I Am Not UNDER The Law, Does This Make Me Lawless?

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW.”

WE who are saved ESTABLISH THE LAW. Now that God’s Holy Spirit lives in me I am more lawful. The Law is the Word of God. Though you are not saved BY the Law but BY faith in Christ. God told Israel through the Prophet Jeremiah ….

Jeremiah 31:33 (ESV) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Israel had the Law of God written on tablets of stone, but not written on their hearts. God promised that He would one day “put My Law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. AND I will be their God and they will be My people”. Those who are save by faith in Christ have God the Holy Spirit inside. God writes His Law on our hearts.

Under the Law God was to be first. God said (Exodus 20:3) “You shall have no other gods before me”. That has not changed. Saved, you are not free to worship other gods. God said (Exodus 20:4) “You shall not make for yourself an idol to worship or serve it”. That has not changed. God said (Exodus 20:7) “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain”. Just because you’re saved you are still to love God and not curse Him. This has not changed.

You are still to set one day in seven apart to worship God.

You are still to honor your parents.

You are not free to murder anyone because you are saved.

Stealing and adultery are still just as evil as they ever were.

Bearing false witness is still a violation of God’s Law.

And no one should try to take what their neighbor has.

The Christian is not lawless, but a Law abiding Child of God.

What was evil in the Old Covenant is still evil under the New Covenant.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote: “I should like to say to any brother who thinks that God has put us under an altered rule, “Which particular part of the law is it that God has relaxed?” Which precept do you feel free to break? Are you delivered from the command which forbids stealing? My dear sir, you may be a capital theologian, but I should lock up my spoons when you call at my house. Is it the command about adultery which you think is removed? Then I could not recommend your being admitted into any decent society. Is the law as to killing softened down? Then I had rather have your room than your company. Which law is it that God has exempted you from? That law of worshipping Him only? Do you propose to have another god? Do you intend to make engraved images? The fact is that when we come to details, we cannot afford to lose a single link of this wonderful golden chain, which is perfect in every part as well as perfect as a whole. The law is absolutely complete, and you can neither add to it nor take from it”

The Difference Is That Now The Law Is Simplified For The Saved

Someone asked Jesus “What is the Great Commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied:

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) …. Thou shalt LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.   [38]   This is the first and great commandment.   [39]   And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.   [40]   ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

You do not need to memorize the Ten Commandments to keep the Law.
You need to love as you have been loved by God!

The Law told a loveless people “Do this and live”,
But Jesus tells us “If you are alive by faith in Me, do this”.

Preach This Love sent Jesus to Bethlehem to be born in a manger.

Love sent Jesus to Nazareth to grow up.

Love sent Jesus to John to be baptized.

Love sent Jesus to walk among us, suffering as we suffer.

Love sent Jesus to surrender to sinful men.

Love sent Jesus to stand before Pilate and be condemned.

Love sent Jesus to carry His Cross, beaten and shamed.

Love sent Jesus to Calvary, nailed to that Tree.

Love held Jesus suffering, crying, pleading.

Love said from the bloody Cross “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Love said “It is finished”, then gave up the ghost.

Love was laid in a borrowed grave, guarded and alone.

Love rose on the Third Day, triumphing over the grave.

Love redeemed us.

Love justified us.

Love sent us the Spirit of God.

God’s Law is Love.

The Law is all about love. If you are saved, born of His Spirit, then you WILL keep the first Table and Love God with all you have. You WILL love your neighbor, keeping the second table. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law being made a curse for us. The Law is not a curse, but now what we do in love toward God and others. The Apostle Paul said:

Romans 13:8-10 (NASB) Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

God has written love on the heart of the Christ follower. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he SHALL BE CALLED THE LEAST in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO AND TEACH THEM, THE SAME SHALL BE CALLED GREAT IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

To break God’s Law is to lose reward in Heaven, and those who are loveless and lawless may actually be unsaved. Jesus declared:

Matthew 5:20 (KJV) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Scribes and Pharisees loved neither God nor their fellow man. They loved THEMSELVES. They outwardly kept the Law, but inwardly had a heart of stone. Keeping the Law will not save you but if you are saved you love God and love others – and are not lawbreakers.

A Quick Example, Then We Close

Matthew 5:21 (KJV)   Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

This is the Sixth Commandment. “You shall not kill”. This is what is written on the Stone Tablets of the Law. But Jesus takes this one step further:

Matthew 5:22-24 (KJV)   But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.   [23]   Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;   [24]   Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

It is uncontrolled anger that leads to murder.

Love demands that we forgive our brother, that we reconcile to him, THEN serve God.

We who are saved by love are to love.

We who are children of Grace are to extend Grace to others.

Do you know Him? Do you know my Jesus? Have you received Him as Lord and Savior? Then love as you have been loved.

Posted in General, Law Of God, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

God Calls Us To Be Like Him

Preached the Morning of February 5 2017 at Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

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Matthew 5:48 (KJV) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Pharisees and Sadducees thought that they were perfect. They dressed perfectly. They prayed perfectly. They gave perfectly, and made sure that everyone knew that they gave, for they had a trumpet played every time they gave.

I attended a Church once where – if I remember correctly – rather than pass the collection plate the Praise Band started playing. One by one the members walked down the aisle to the collection box at the front and then, with a flourish, put their money in the box. People clapped and shouted all the while. It was quite a spectacle.

But was it Holy?

We don’t hear much about holiness anymore. The television preachers talk about love and how God is there to help you in your pain. He is, very much so. God loves you. But what of holiness? Jesus said

Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect”

That’s what holiness is – It is Being Like God. The word “Holiness” also called “Sanctified” or “Separated Unto God” means “to be like Him Who made you”. God calls His children to be like He is, to be loving like He is.

The Christian Is Given More, So We Should BE More

Everyone on the face of the earth has been blessed by God. How much have you paid for air lately? God gives us life. Our hearts beat, though we sleep. God has given us good lives. We as Americans are particularly blessed. We have unprecedented freedoms in this country because God has blessed America. But if you are a Christian, God has given you more.

Everyone in this room was born once, but the Christian is twice born. You were born of earthly parents, and you are born of Heavenly Parents. Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee who thought himself perfect as all Pharisees did:

John 3:3 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus asked “How can you be born twice? Can you enter your mother and be born again?” Jesus told Nicodemus, and us, that …

John 3:5-7 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Everyone in here has been “born of water”. Your mother’s water broke, and you came forth. But to enter the Kingdom of God you MUST be born of the Spirit.

That which is flesh is flesh

and that which is Spirit is Spirit

You must be born again!

If you are a Christian you are

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) … caused … to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

You are promised a place in eternity where the Son of God dwells because you are sons of God by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26; Romans 8:14). You are

1 Peter 1:23 (ESV) … born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable,

through the living and abiding word of God;

Our first birth is corruptible, dying because of sin. But you are saved by God’s Spirit, indwelt of the Holy Spirit of God, a living Temple of God. God did not make you so that you can become one with the Darkness, but that you be RADICALLY THE LIGHT.

Be ye perfect a your Father in Heaven is perfect!

The Christian Is Called To Love As God Loves

God has given us so much more. He called us to salvation, and gave us a salvation we have neither deserved nor earned. You are born again of God because God died for you. You are born again of God because you received Christ as both Lord and Savior. He died for our sins.

Romans 5:8-10 (NASB) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Do you see Him? Do you see Christ. He stands before Pilate. Pilate finds no fault in Him. Shall I release Jesus and let Him go – He is innocent? The crowd cried “Crucify Him. Release Barabbas and crucify Jesus”. Tied to a pillar, two soldiers beat Jesus with whips. Blood and flesh fly, staining the ground. Dragging Him to His feet they place His Cross on His raw back. Carrying the Cross – dragging it – the crowd mocks and jeers. “If you’re the Son of God save Yourself” the devilish crowd cries.

Jesus would not turn stones to bread in the desert to save Himself.

Jesus will not save Himself now.

Nailed to that Tree, Jesus paid for our sins. The Bible says that God …

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) …. hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Christ gave the most for us on the Cross.

The Father gave the most for us on Calvary.

We are saved “to be made the righteousness of God in Him”.

Practical Applications From Jesus

When we hear these words we cringe, for we know we are not perfect. But God knows we are not perfect – yet that does not stop us from striving to imitate our Father.

We are to imitate God in His love.

We are not to imitate the Scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees all had an outward righteousness that looked good, but at heart they were dead. They had never come to Christ for salvation. They were make believe Christians. Jesus declared that they were …

Matthew 23:27-28 (KJV) … like unto whited {mausoleums}, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. [28] Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Their lips spoke of God. Their clothes spoke of religion. But their hearts were far from God for they had nothing to do with Jesus. God saves His Children through the Blood of Christ and the operation of His Spirit. Saving us, He expects us to BE more and to DO more. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:21 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

Thou shalt not kill” or literally “Do no murder” is an easy commandment to keep. As long as I do not take someone’s life by murder – and I doubt there is a murderer among us today – then I have kept the Sixth Commandment. But Jesus calls us not to the same standard the world has, but to the standard of God’s Child. He went on to say:

Matthew 5:22 (KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Love is the driving force of the Child of God. Love saved us. Love purchased us. Love gave us position in God’s family. Therefore we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. To be angry at a brother WITHOUT A CAUSE is to bring you in danger of the judgment of God. To mock or spit on your brother is terribly wrong, something that could have brought you before the Jewish Judges in Christ’s day. But to declare a brother a Fool – Godless – is to put yourself in danger of hell fire. Christ saved you as He saved me. We are brothers and sisters together, and love is the standard by which we operate.

Seek reconciliation within His Kingdom. Forgive as you have been forgiven. You cannot serve God with hatred and divisiveness in your hearts.

Matthew 5:27 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

It is not hard to avoid breaking the Seventh Commandment. I pray there is no one in this place today who is living in sexual sin, taking another person’s spouse. Yet Jesus went further and said:

Matthew 5:28 (KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

The Child of God not only doesn’t commit adultery, but we do not linger and fantasize on that which may lead to the wrong. We do not compromise with the darkness, but do as the Scripture says and …

Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV) … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do not give sin a toehold in your life, or Satan will climb that ladder and burn your house down! Love is to be our driving force. “By this shall all men know you are My Disciples in that You love one another”.

Love Your Enemies Like God Loved Us

We are to love as we have been loved.

Matthew 5:38-40 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: [39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

Offenses will come. People will attack us. We however are to resist not evil, but to love. We are to ..

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

Judgment day is coming, and God will avenge us on that day. Until that day we are to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Do we fail? Yes. I fail every day. But when I fail, I confess my fault unto My Jesus, and He lifts me back up. The Apostle Paul said:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

Dr. Adrian Rogers said: “Do you know the way to finish the course? Keep looking to Jesus. I’ve been preaching the Gospel for over 50 years, and God knows I have my faults and sins. He also knows I have repented and aim to get right with Him each and every day. I am far from perfect, but I can say that this same God has kept me on course. He has kept me preaching the Gospel. Finishing the course that God has planned for us is never easy. It takes discipline and hard work. It takes picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and starting over. One of these days you are going to have to look back on your life. And I hope you will be able to say that you fought as a warrior and finished as an athlete. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a). Keep short accounts with God. Confess quickly. Get back on the track.”

As we come to the Lord’s Table let us prepare our hearts. Confess your sins to God. Place them under the Blood of Christ. Look to your Perfect Heavenly Father and praise Him for Christ our Lord.

Posted in devil, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

Light And Salt


matthew_5_9t16_light_and_salt_riverviewMatthew 5:9-16 (KJV)   Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.   [10]   Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   [11]   Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.   [12]   Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.   [13]   Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.   [14]   Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.   [15]   Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   [16]   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Sunday we began to look at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ message to His Church. The sermon – as we noted – begins with nine “Supreme Blessings” or “Beautitudes” (μακάριος makarios). I want to start where I left off last Sunday:

Matthew 5:9-11 (KJV)   Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God.   [10]   Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   [11]   Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

The Seventh “Beautitude” seems to be contradicted by the Eighth and Ninth Beatitudes. If those who are the peacemakers shall be called the Children of God then why is persecution and reviling and defaming and false witnessing in the last two beatitudes? If we are “peacemakers” then why would the world be at war with us?

The Greek word translated “peacemaker” is the Adjective εἰρηνοποιός eirēnopoios which means “someone who loves and makes peace”. The verb form of this same word is found in

Colossians 1:20 (KJV)  And, HAVING MADE PEACE through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

When you read the context around this verse you see the Apostle Paul draw a picture of how man NATURALLY is with God, and how Christ SUPERNATURALLY offers a solution to our problem. Man is NATURALLY alienated from God, at war with God. The Apostle said:

Colossians 1:21 (KJV)  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Man is naturally born a sinner, separated from God by selfishness. In our unsaved state every person walks through this life …

Ephesians 2:2-3 (KJV) …. according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  [3]  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We are born sinners into this world. We are born in opposition to God. We are born hating righteousness and loving unrighteousness. The Bible says:

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

How can we get better? Some suggest that we can just try harder. We can work our way toward God. We can do penance. We can go to Church. We can dress up. We can be more religious. But any outward action without an inward change does nothing to draw us closer to God. We read in:

Titus 1:15-16 (ESV) To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). If there has been no supernatural change, no change of the heart, then a lost person doing good works is like one of those circus acts where you see a dog riding a unicycle. The dog looks cute, and is entertaining. The seal may do tricks, and the lion may walk the tightrope. But the dog is still a dog, the seal a seal, and the bear a bear. Nothing has changed. If you lay down with the cute tiger resting on its stomach as a pillow you may wake up in its stomach as a marshmallow!

Born Once, You Are Of This World. You Must Be Born Again.

The Peacemaker is the person who has found peace with God by finding Jesus. When Christ was born in Bethlehem the angels praised God saying:

Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  [11]  For UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD.

And

Luke 2:14 (KJV)  Glory to God in the highest, and ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.

The King of Peace came to earth for us. Jesus tells all who will heed Him:

John 16:33 (KJV)   These things I have spoken unto you, that IN ME YE MIGHT HAVE PEACE. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Jesus came to this earth to give us peace with God. He purchased that peace for us with His Blood. He died on Calvary for every person. He paid the penalty of sin so that He could be our Ambassador, our Representative, our Attorney before the Father. The Bible says:

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

Receiving Christ as He is – both Lord and Savior – the Christ follower is changed and being changed from a child of wrath to a Child of God. Because of Christ we have peace with God. Because we are brothers and sisters together in His Kingdom we have peace with one another. The Apostle Paul told the Romans:

Romans 14:17-19 (KJV)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and PEACE, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  [18]  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  [19]  Let us therefore FOLLOW AFTER THE THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR PEACE, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We who are His are not at war with our Father, and are not to be at war with ourselves. His is a Kingdom of Love, and every member should edify or build up the other. The God of peace is with us (Romans 15:33) and shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly (Romans 16:20). Because we have grace, we also have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3). One of my favorite verses is:

1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)  For God is NOT the author of confusion, BUT OF PEACE, as in all churches of the saints.

Through the Gospel of salvation we are saved.

Through the Blood of the old Rugged Cross we are redeemed.

Through the Holy Spirit released on us we are set apart from the world.

We are His Children by the Lamb and by the Spirit.

We have peace with God, and peace with one another.

But not peace with a fallen world.

The World Is Fallen Still

Matthew 5:9 (KJV)   Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God.

We who are not ashamed to come out of the multitudes and to climb up to where Christ is, sitting at His feet, we are peacemakers. We carry His message of peace through faith in Him to a lost and dying world. We are not ashamed of His message.

Romans 1:16-23 (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.  [17]  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  [18]  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  [19]  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  [20]  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  [21]  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 uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

The world is at war with God, but we who are saved are the Peacemakers. We share His Gospel with the lost. We stand unashamed to declare Christ alone the Way unto salvation. His Gospel has the power to bring anyone to Peace with God.

But the world does not like the Gospel.

God saves people FROM their sins.

God saves people FROM darkness.

The world hates that message.

Matthew 5:10 (KJV) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If you are saved from a world of darkness and into His Kingdom of light then your lifestyle and beliefs will be persecuted. You will be persecuted for righteousness sake. For calling sin “sin” the world will brand you:

Homophobe

Racist

Islamophobe

Self Righteous

Jesus was “persecuted for righteousness sake” by Pharisees, Sadducees, and Roman Authorities. Persecution will come. This is why the eighth and ninth beatitudes are so similar. The ninth beatitude is the longest:

Matthew 5:9-11 (KJV) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.   [12]   Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Christian who is indeed a Christian can expect to be:

Reviled or Insulted

Persecuted

Slandered for Christ’s sake

The world attacked the Prophets that came before us. Herod beheaded John the Baptist. Jeremiah was sawn in two. Ambassadors of light will always be attacked by the darkness. Be light anyway.

You Are The Salt Of The Earth, Dear Christian

Matthew 5:13 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Billy Graham once wrote: “Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer. Then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish.”

The Church of Christ is “the salt of the earth”. When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount there were no refrigerators or freezers in the land. Food was both seasoned and preserved by SALT. Armies fought over salt mines. Salt was a precious thing. Soldiers in the Roman Army were paid not coins nor gold but SALT for their service. That’s where the phrase:

He’s not worth his salt”

came from. When Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth” He wanted His Church to understand that THE ONLY THING THAT STOPPED GOD FROM DESTROYING THE WORLD WAS US. We are His Peacemakers. We are His Kingdom on the earth. When did God destroy the world by a Great Flood in Noah’s Day? The Bible says:

Genesis 6:2 (NASB) …. the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, WHOMEVER THEY CHOSE.

Righteousness blended with unrighteousness, light blended with dark. And as righteousness and light died out on the earth …

Genesis 6:5-6 (NASB) … the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

There was no Light, or very little Light. So God Who causes Light to spring out of darkness decided to purify the earth. Had Noah not been a man of faith God would have destroyed all of Creation.

Beloved, you who are Christ’s are the salt of the earth.

Do not lose your saltiness.

Church after Church has lost its saltiness. It has blended with the world. “It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be TRODDEN UNDER FOOT OF MEN”. The world is preserved as long as God’s Church is in it. When will the Great Tribulation come? When God’s Church leaves this earth. You are God’s Preservative, God’s Peacemakers, God’s People.

Matthew 5:14 (KJV)   Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

We are the “Light of the World” because God lit us up. A candle does not light itself. The match must be put to the wick and held until the flame catches. God starts the Bible by saying “let there be light”. It is He Who gives us light when we call on Jesus.

Psalm 119:130 (KJV) The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple

Psalm 27:1 (KJV) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the Gospel is received we who “were sometimes darkness” are now made “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). Christ has given us life and light.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Darkness cannot create light. Christ created us. We are His Church. We focus on Him. We praise Him. We climb the mountain to Him and sit at His feet. Jesus did not say to the multitudes “You are the Light of the world” but those Disciples who sat at His feet. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not. We are His city on His hill and cannot be hid. Let His light shine.

Matthew 5:15 (KJV) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

No one lights a candle and then covers it up. That is foolish! When the candle is lit it is held high so all can benefit by its light. God lit us up, brought us into His Kingdom, to light the world. As we shine for Him we do so without shame. God divided the light from the darkness, and called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night”. The darkness and the light are at war with one another.

Spurgeon said “Conflict is expected but conquest is assured”.

Matthew 5:16 (KJV)   Let YOUR light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

If you have been born again you are to let YOUR light shine before men. People must see the difference. The Church must not blend with the world. Jesus said:

John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Our light shines when we show love for one another. Our light shines when we do good works for Jesus. The purpose of a lamp is to be seen. God did not save us and leave us on this earth for nothing. We are here to serve Him, to be members of His Kingdom. We are not to hide our Christianity, but to shine. If you are saved, be baptized. If you are born again, cherish His Word. Let others see Jesus in you.

Let YOUR Light SO Shine.

Not just a little, but a bunch. Spurgeon said “Good works are works of love, unselfish works, works done for the benefit of others and the glory of God. Deeds of charity, kindness, and brotherly love are good works. As also careful attendance to duty, and all service honestly done; together with all courses which promote the moral and spiritual good of our fellow men”.

Letting our light shine does not mean blending with the darkness, but to confess sin and turn fully to Christ. This is where power is – in Jesus. Draw near to Him, and SHINE!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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

Jesus Shows Us The Way

Preached on the Evening January 29 2017 at Riverview 798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia TN


matthew_5_1t12_jesus_shows_us_the_wayMatthew 5:1-12 (KJV) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: [2] And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, [3] Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [4] Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. [5] Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. [6] Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. [7] Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. [8] Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. [9] Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [10] Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Multitudes” or “huge crowds” flocked to see Jesus. Why did Jesus attract such a following? Because we are told in the previous chapter that:

Matthew 4:23-25 (KJV) And Jesus went about ALL Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people. [24] And his fame went throughout ALL Syria: and they brought unto him ALL sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatics, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. [25] And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

There are five ALLs in our above text. Five is the number of Grace.

Jesus came “preaching and teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom”. He came preaching Grace. He came teaching Grace. He came preaching the Way of God. This was what Jesus placed His emphasis on. He is “the Word become flesh Who dwelt among us”. The most important thing is what God’s Word has to say to us. I say again:

The Most Important Thing Is What God’s Word Has To Say To Us!

Jesus “went ALL about Galilee in their synagogues”. Where ever the Bible was, Jesus was. This was His focus. But Christ also cared for those whose lives were in the valleys, in the “valley of the shadow of death”. What brought Jesus fame was that

He healed ALL MANNER of sickness and

ALL MANNER of disease among the people

This is what drew the crowds. We as Christ’s Church can have eating meetings or fall festivals or Christmas or Easter programs or Children’s events and people will flock in to be entertained. If God gave us the power of healing and people were healed like in Jesus’ day:

they brought unto Him ALL sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatics, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them

This brings the crowds. People came to the Living Word but had no interest in the Word. They wanted to be healed. They wanted to be entertained. But Christ came for more than healing or entertainment. Christ came to teach us the Way of God. So what did Jesus do?

Matthew 5:1 (KJV) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain:

These “multitudes” were following Jesus for a quick fix, a healing, a quick blessing. These multitudes were down in the valley of life. So what does Jesus do?

Jesus went UP into a mountain

If you want to go from a valley to the mountaintop you must follow Jesus

The blessings of life are on the mountaintop

But you must go to Him and only Him

You cannot sit on your derrière and be blessed

You MUST go to Jesus

What is interesting is what we read next.

Matthew 5:1 (KJV) …. and when HE WAS SET, his disciples came unto him: 

Jesus sat down, and His disciples came to Him. This is a picture of a King delivering great truths to His people. Jesus went out seeking and saving the Lost. He went through ALL GALILEE preaching and teaching the Gospel. But now Christ is going to deliver great truth to His Church through what we have come to call The Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:2 (KJV) And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

The Word of God cannot be assumed, it must be taught. The truths of God’s Way have to be spoken.

Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The things that the world believes it loudly promotes. God’s Word must be spoken. Christ makes no apology for what He is about to say. He speaks authoritatively, as one who knows truth. He tells the people who were part of the multitude but who now come to Jesus as Disciples the truths of God.

You cannot know God’s truth following the multitudes

Truth is found by going to Jesus

By stepping apart from the crowd

By following Him

 Nine Times Jesus Uses The Word “Blessed”. This is the Greek μακάριος makarios which means “Supremely Blessed” or “Happy”. The multitudes thought they were “supremely blessed” because Jesus healed them. Though every person healed was blessed, eventually disease, sickness, or death will strike again. No one is immune to the ravages of time and the old sin nature, this body of corruption we are in. Healing is a temporary blessing. Lazarus was temporarily blessed when he was raised from the death – but Lazarus still died later. What Jesus is telling those who come to Him is:

Here is the Eternal Blessing

Here in My Presence

Matthew 5:3 (KJV) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Christ is not speaking of “the poor” but “the poor in spirit”. The “poor in spirit” are those who know they are spiritually bankrupt.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were religious roosters, crowing all about how good they were. These self righteous people would parade around in fancy “religious”, strutting like roosters. They made a show of giving, though they robbed widows houses. They prayed numerous times during the day, stopping traffic so the multitudes could see them and admire them. Jesus said of the self righteous …

Isaiah 65:5 (ESV) … who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.

Self righteousness and pride cannot enter into God’s Heaven. There will be many Church goers on the Day of Judgment Who are like the Pharisee of Jesus’ parable:

Luke 18:10-14 (NRSV) Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Not only does “pride cometh before destruction” (Proverbs 6:18) but PRIDE COMES BEFORE DAMNATION. I am sure there were many in those multitudes who saw Jesus sitting and said to themselves “Let Him come to me. Why should I climb this mountain for Him?”

Matthew 5:3 (KJV) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven.

Did you notice that Jesus didn’t say theirs SHALL BE the Kingdom of Heaven, but “theirs IS – Present Tense – the Kingdom of Heaven”. You who recognize you are broken, spiritually bankrupt, totally enable – Jesus came for you. Jesus said:

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

When someone comes to Jesus repenting, crying out for help, Jesus saves them. He will save the broken. He cannot save the self righteous.

Matthew 5:4 (KJV) Blessed are they that MOURN: for they shall be comforted.

We all have reason to mourn. We have lost loved ones. We have suffered in this sinful world. But God tells us that our mourning shall one day be comforted. The Scripture says:

Psalm 34:18 (NLT) The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Those who mourn but come to Jesus shall be comforted. But we must come to Him. We must sit at His feet, surrendered, loving and listening to Him. The Bible tells us that:

Revelation 21:4 (ESV) {God} will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

We may mourn now, but Christ will comfort us. We will be reunited with our loved ones if they were Disciples of Christ as well. Oh Blessed reunion! Johnny Cash sang a song I love years ago. Part of it goes:

Oh, I followed close behind her

Tried to hold up and be brave

But I could not hide my sorrow

When they laid her in the grave

I went back home, the home was lonesome

Since my mother, she was gone

All my brothers and sisters crying

What a home so sad and alone

We sang songs of childhood

Hymns of faith that made us strong

Ones that mother Maybelle taught us

Hear the angels sing along

Will the circle be unbroken

Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye

There’s a better home awaiting

In the sky Lord, in the sky

Mother Maybelle” is a reference to Mother Maybelle Carter, his mother-in-law and June Carter Cash’s mother.

Matthew 5:5 (KJV) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Those who chase power and live according to the flesh think that they shall inherit the earth. A person is “meek” when they are submitted to God and His will. The Bible says of Moses that:

Numbers 12:3 (ESV) … Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

God uses Moses because Moses was surrendered to God. A meek person does not live for himself, but for the Lord Who made him. We are told by the Apostle Paul:

Romans 12:2-3 (KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

“Meek” does not mean to be a doormat, but to be “humble in the sight of God” and then to do the will of God. Though Jesus called Himself “meek and lowly” (Matthew 11:28-29) He didn’t hesitate to chase the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13).

The enemies of God will one day be destroyed by their own sin, but God’s meek shall continue on. We shall be “the last man standing” because we are “the first ones kneeling” before the Blessed Savior.

Matthew 5:6 (KJV) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t look at the condition of our world and cry out to God “how long, O Lord, shall the wicked rule?”. God’s people cringe at the condition of evil that possessed America. We have gone from Mayberry to Malice, from one nation under God to one nation gone under. So often my heart feels like King David’s when he wrote:

Psalm 94:1-7 (KJV) O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. 7 Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

God promises us His Children that one day our desire for righteousness shall be fulfilled. There is coming a day when there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. We who love Jesus shall see the new, the clean, the righteous. That day is coming. God will make a way.

Matthew 5:7 (KJV) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

We who are saved have been given mercy, therefore we are to give mercy. Jesus was teaching one day when Peter asked Him:

Matthew 18:21 (ESV) … Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?

Peter wanted to set a limit on forgiveness and mercy. Seven (7) is a holy number, so he used 7. But Jesus told Peter:

Matthew 18:22 (NASB) …. I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Then Jesus spoke a parable to illustrate mercy and forgiveness. Jesus said:

Matthew 18:23-35 (ESV) 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.

If we have received God’s Grace and Mercy we must extend Grace and Mercy to others. This is the Way of the Master.

Matthew 5:8 (KJV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Those who are “pure in heart” are the saved by Grace in Jesus. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit of God washes you, sanctifies you, justifies you through Christ. You are no longer hate filled, but God empowered. You love, for you have been loved.

My time is ending, so let us close with these words.

Matthew 5:9-12 (KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [10] Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

We will return to this text next week to finish it. But I must ask:

Do you know Jesus? Do you know Him as Savior and Lord. Has He washed your heart and claimed you as His own? If not, will you not receive Him? Will you not receive Him?

May God touch your hearts with His Gospel and His Spirit.

Posted in Following Disciples, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

To Defeat The Devil Know That “It Is Written”

Preached on the morning of January 29, 2017 at Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia TN

matthew_4_1t11_defeating_devil

Matthew 4:1-3 (KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [3] And when the tempter came to him, he said, IF ..

I was wondering how to start this sermon then I got a picture. Someone sent me a picture of a group of young women who had just finished marching in Washington DC. That didn’t bother me. It bothered me somewhat that in the pictures these young women were holding signs that read:

God Loves Diversity

Keep Your Laws Off Of My Body

Love Is Greater Than Hate

Feminist As F***

Of course I expect those who are without Christ to endorse strange things in the name of love. The Bible says that when we were in the world that we ALL …

Ephesians 2:2 (NASB) …. formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

A “lost” person is “lost” because they “wander in darkness” (Job 12:25). The lost are

Ephesians 4:18 … darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

But what bothered me a lot was that I knew one of those young women in that picture. She came forward in a Church service about 13 years ago. I baptized her. She sat under the preaching of God’s Word. This precious child went off to college, fell away from the faith, and is now no different than the darkness around her. How did she drift away? The same way everyone drifts from God.

She stopped reading and living God’s Word.

When we look at our text today we immediately see several things. First, we see Jesus.

Matthew 4:1 (KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

We see Jesus.

Hebrews 2:9-10 (KJV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

THEN was Jesus” the “Word of God made flesh to dwell among us” (John 1:14).

THEN was Jesus”

the One Who is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17)

THEN was Jesus”

Colossians 1:16 (KJV) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven,
and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones,
or dominions, or principalities, or powers:
all things were created by him, and for him:

THEN was Jesus”

Baptized of John in the wilderness
Declared Beloved by the Father in the wilderness
THIS is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased”

We see Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.

Why would God not only ALLOW but LEAD
Jesus to a wilderness to be tempted of the Devil?

I believe it is so that we can see something. Jesus is not immune to the Devil’s attacks. No one is. The Devil – old Lucifer – attacks all who are on this earth. The Devil slithered into the perfect Garden of Eden to draw Adam into the darkness. The Devil spread throughout civilization until God saw only evil, and told Noah:

Genesis 6:17 (KJV) …. behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

The Devil wants to draw the Light into the darkness. The only way the Light can compromise with the darkness is to become less Light, to dim itself, to blend with evil. God the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. Jesus was, the Bible says,

Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) … was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus would be tempted by the Tempter, just as we are all tempted by the Tempter, but Jesus would not follow the evil one. The Devil tempts us at our weakest point. Notice how he slithered up to Jesus. We are told that:

Matthew 4:2-3 (KJV) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [3] And when the tempter came to him …

Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights. Why “forty days and forty nights”? I looked it up in the Bible and found that Moses went into Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights to receive the Law:

Exodus 34:28 (KJV) {Moses} was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Moses spent forty days and forty nights receiving the Law, but Jesus spent forty days receiving the Gospel of Grace and Truth. When Moses came off the Mountain andf ended his fast he found the people had turned from the Light of God and Moses shattered the Tablets of the Law. But when Jesus came out of His fast he found not a darkened people, but the Devil who darkens every soul.

The Devil attacked Jesus at His weakest moment. The Bible says that Jesus was “an hungered”. Strong’s Lexicon tells us that “hungered” is πεινάω peináō, (pronounced pi-nah’-o) which means “to famish, to crave, to be hungry”. Jesus was hungry. Not hungry like some of you are when the the preacher is five minutes overtime during the service. Jesus was famished. His body demanded bread. He needed to eat badly.

And this is when the devil comes. He comes to tempt us at our weakest moment. And the devil is quite reasonable. I’ll say that again. In his tempting:

The Devil Is Quite Reasonable

Matthew 4:3 (KJV) And when the tempter came to him, he said, IF thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Now that is quite reasonable. The devil looks for our weaknesses, then offers a reasonable solution. Jesus, IF You are the Son of God, COMMAND that these stones BE MADE BREAD. You’re hungry, Jesus, so satisfy that hunger. How reasonable the devil is. What a gentleman!

I remember several years ago having a discussion with one of our Tennessee representatives. He told me that he was against abortion except in cases where a woman was raped and with child because of the rape. That sounds noble. That sounds reasonable. But in independent studies by the Alan Guttmacher Institute only about 1% of those who seek abortions are doing so because of incest or rape. Some people choose abortion because they believe the child is defective, or to save the life of the mother. All these seem to be quite reasonable whispers as to why abortion is justified.

But God says ALL LIFE is sacred. ALL are created in the image of God. The child in the womb is precious and has potential.

Psalm 127:3 (NLT) Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

The devil is always reasonable. “Well, as long as they love one another” often is used to justify things which God has forbidden as darkness. After all, “God is love”. God IS love, but God is also just, and holy, and righteous. We are told in Peter:

2 Peter 2:5-6 (KJV) {God} spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; [6] And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

and

2 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: [10] But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Oh, it is so reasonable, the devil says, to revolt against God. “If You’re hungry, Jesus, just take some stones and make You some bread!” How did Jesus counter the devil?

It Is Written

Matthew 4:4 (KJV) But {Jesus} answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The Jesus Who is hungry, hot, tired, wore out from being in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights does NOT say “Well, I think.” He could have said that. He is the Word of God made flesh Who dwells among us. But no.

Jesus does not rely on FEELINGS.
Jesus does not listen to “REASONABLE”.
Jesus doesn’t call a BUSINESS MEETING TO GET A CENSUS.
Jesus doesn’t POLL JERUSALEM to find out what the “man on the street” thinks.
Jesus doesn’t TURN ON THE TV to Fox or CNN or ABC.
Jesus DOESN’T CARE WHAT BILL O’REILLY THINKS (and I like Bill).
Jesus doesn’t care what the DENOMINAL LEADERS think or advise.
Jesus has His focus on but one thing.

IT IS WRITTEN.

Jesus doesn’t say “It HAS BEEN written”.
He says “IT IS WRITTEN”.
It is written in the Bible and it stands.

Jesus said “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus quoted out of the OLD TESTAMENT, from

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV) {God} humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Israel in the wilderness learned that man does not live by bread alone, but by every WORD that comes out of the MOUTH of God. Jesus in the wilderness now quotes this Scripture to deflect the tempter.

If Jesus were liberal He would say “Well, God wrote that THEN but this is NOW, so OK, let’s get to baking bread!” Jesus is not liberal. Jesus does not throw away the Old Testament. Though salvation is by Grace, the Cross of Christ does not destroy the Law but fulfills it. The Old Testament is still God’s Word, and still has truths that stand even today thousands of years after they were written. IT IS WRITTEN. Not IT WAS but IT IS. God’s Word stands.

Isaiah 40:8 (ESV) The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Psalm 119:89 (KJV) … For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

That Prophet of God A.W. Tozer wrote:

What would the liberals and modernists say if you backed them in a corner with the question, ‘Do you think God has been forced to change His mind?’ I do not think anybody would quite have the courage to say yes. Nevertheless, they do say it little by little until they have brainwashed their people. In effect, they say that the Bible must be interpreted in the light of new developments. A book that was written in the day when people rode donkeys must be reinterpreted to mesh with contemporary society. They say that the prophets and apostles mistook what God intended to do. The Bible is outmoded and largely irrelevant. … the Bible is out-of-date–a back-issue magazine. We must, therefore, reassess its teachings and rethink our beliefs and hopes. I am not overstating this at all. This is what is being taught today. It gets into the newspapers, and people are saying that the Bible must be interpreted in the light of all these changes. The apostles and prophets were mistaken. They had ideas that were good and advanced for their day, but not advanced for our day. We know more about ourselves, human motivation and the nature of things than they did back then. ”

Jesus said “It IS written”. Devil, I will not become your Baker. Jesus knew that the first compromise with darkness would bring more darkness, and after a while the Light would be no light but darkness.

The Devil Is Not Only Practical, He Is Persistent

The devil’s first attempt is thwarted because Jesus says “IT IS WRITTEN” and focuses on God’s Word. But the devil is not stopped. He is both practical as well as PERSISTENT. He comes back with a Show And Tell Event.

Matthew 4:5 (KJV) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

The highest point in Jerusalem is the Southwest corner of the Temple, the highest point in Jerusalem. It was from this pinnacle that the trumpet was blown to announce the Sabbath and the other Holy Days. You can get pretty high in this life with the devil. He has the souls of many, both rich and poor, anarchist and citizen, law abiding and lawless.

Matthew 4:6 (KJV) And saith unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Please note that the devil this time QUOTES SCRIPTURE. He quotes from

Psalm 91:11-12 (NASB) For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. 12 They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

The devil LOVES TO QUOTE SCRIPTURE OUT OF CONTEXT. He didn’t quote verses 9 &10, which read:

Psalm 91:9-10 For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. 10 No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.

The devil “cherry picks” scripture, finding just part of the truth but not the whole truth.
God is LOVE, period. Love is greater. Nothing but LOVE.
God forgives sinners, Nothing is said of REPENTANCE.
God saves the lost, but nothing is said of how the SAVED ARE TO LIVE FOR GOD.
God has a Kingdom of Light, the devil has a kingdom of darkness.

Which side are you on?

The devil is the master of deception, the part story, the gutted truth. But Jesus will not take the bait. The devil tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread, and now the devil tried to get Jesus to fall down on stones because He is the Bread of Life. Jesus responds to the tempter:

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

Jesus once more quotes from the Old Testament, in

Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV) You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

Israel tested God, and ended up dying in the wilderness. Jesus pointed out to the devil – and to us – that to test or tempt God by sinning or by presumption is to risk DEATH. It IS written, YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD! The wages of sin is always death – ALWAYS!

Let the devils test God. If you belong to God,
Ignore the devil and live to please and glorify the Father!

But the devil has one last temptation. This is what he has wanted from the very beginning. This is what the devil always wants.

The Devil Wants To Dominate

The devil was not there to help Jesus. He was not there to offer sage advise, to help Jesus feed Himself, to glorify God. The tempter is there for one thing only. He wants your worship. He wants to be your god. We read:

Matthew 4:8-9 (KJV) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Jesus, I own the world. My darkness is everywhere. If you’ll fall down and worship me “all these things I’ll give to You”. If you’ll fall down and worship the devil you may gain the whole world. But as Jesus once said:

Mark 8:36 (KJV) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Jesus didn’t argue with the devil. He fought him just as we all must fight him, saying:

Matthew 4:10 (KJV) …. Get thee hence, Satan: for IT IS WRITTEN, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Jesus once more quoted Deuteronomy, the Book of the Law, from:

Deuteronomy 6:13 (ESV) It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

God alone is to be worshiped. God alone should be feared as God. God saves a people to serve Him and only Him. The blessings of God are found only by clinging to and living by His Word. God says to His people:

Psalm 78:1 (ESV) Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

Read His Word. Live His Word. It is His Word that saves, it is His Word that empowers. May God lead you to a deeper desire for His Word!

Posted in devil, God's Children, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Sermons Preached | 1 Comment

Follow Me And I Will Make You

Preached The Evening Of January 25, 2017 at Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

matthew_4_12t20_follow_meMatthew 4:12-20 (KJV)12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by {Isaiah} the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Jesus’ Ministry Did Not Begin In Earnest Until John’s Ministry Ended

The Bible tells us that:

Mark 6:20 (KJV) … Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Though Herod enjoyed hearing John’s preaching he would not repent. So when John told Herod “it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” Herod threw John in prison. Jesus was in Nazareth. Hearing this Jesus did not hide, but moved toward the darkness. The Light does not hide from the darkness, but confronts it, drives it away. As Jesus moved guided by the Spirit of God the Bible says that His movements were

Matthew 4:14 …. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by {Isaiah} the prophet …

There’s something very interesting here. Matthew inspired of God quotes:

Isaiah 9:2 (KJV) The people that WALKED in darkness have seen a great light: they that DWELL in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

But God through Matthew changes the text slightly. He writes:

Matthew 4:16 The people which SAT in darkness saw great light; and to them which SAT in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

God wrote the Bible, so God can change the words if He wants. God changed “the people that WALKED in darkness” to “the people that SAT in darkness” because this is what darkness and evil does.

When You WALK In Darkness It Drains You, And Eventually You SIT In Darkness

… hopelessly hoping someone will save you. The Bible is clear that:

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

sin when it is finished it brings forth death (James 1:15)

In Isaiah’s day the people WALKED in darkness. Now many years later the nation is stagnant. The people walked, wandered, and now SIT in darkness.

They are used to the darkness.

Evangelist Vance Havner once preached “People get so used to the dark that they think it’s growing brighter”. Just as the person in physical darkness will adjust to it over time, those in darkness now SIT in darkness and are satisfied to DWELL in darkness.

John was a single star of light in the midst of that great darkness. But now he is imprisoned for speaking the truth. It looks as if the darkness has won. But it has not. As the father of John the Baptist prophesied:

Luke 1:78-79 (ESV2011) … because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

John went to prison, and the sun, it seemed, set. It looked as if evil would win. But blessed be the Name of the Lord our Heavenly Sunrise came. As He walked from Nazareth to Galilee and ever closer to Jerusalem the darkness departed. As Christ came He preached the first word of that glorious Gospel:

Matthew 4:17 (KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 Jesus BEGAN to preach. The word “Began” is the Greek ἄρχομαι archomai which means He started preaching, making this the preeminence. Jesus focused on that word:

Repent

μετανοέω metanoeō – META (change) + NOEO (mind). “Change your mind”. You are SITTING in darkness. Quit sitting in it. Get up, and move toward the Light. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. You have a decision to make. You can WALK in darkness till it takes your strength away, then SIT in it until you DIE. Or you can change your mind and go to Jesus. You can run to His embrace. Jesus told those Jews who would reject Christ:

John 8:12 (ESV2011) … I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life….

John 8:23-24 (ESV2011) …. You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.

Here is the Sunrise of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. He comes demanding “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Time is fleeting. Do not hesitate. Run to His arms, loved Him as He loves you. “Repent”.

Preaching “Repent” Jesus Now Illustrates It

Matthew 4:18 (KJV) And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Jesus sees two fishermen casting their net into the Sea of Galilee. Jesus walks to where they are, and says to them …

Matthew 4:19 (KJV) …. Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

There are two parts to what Jesus said. There is a COMMAND, and there is a PROMISE. The two go together. The COMMAND is “Follow Christ”. That is what the believer must do. You stop following self, and begin to follow Christ. You bind yourself to Him. Jesus told us:

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

Most people stop at this point.

All right, I am burdened,

so I will go to Jesus and He will give me rest.

He will kiss my boo boo. He will make me feel better.”

But this is not where Jesus stopped. He said:

Matthew 11:29 (KJV) Take MY YOKE UPON YOU, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Jesus did not call these fishermen to come to Him like He was a HOSPITAL or like He was a GROCERY STORE or like He was a WALMART. No, Jesus said “Follow Me”. How can God transform the lowly fishermen into Apostles? They must follow Him.

It seems to me as if our Beloved Baptists are always looking for another program, another method, another thing to do to impact our world. I am not saying that programs are necessarily bad. But listen Beloved, until you Follow Jesus He will not make you into anything.

Following Jesus Means That He Is Most Important

Jesus said “Follow ME”. Let Christ be your focus. Work is important, but following Christ more important. I want you all to prosper, to be blessed, to have material and physical needs met. But following Christ must be the most important. Jesus told these fishermen “Follow Me”. What did they do? Did they say

Let us get washed up, then we’ll follow.

Let us put up our fish, and we’ll follow.

Let us string out our nets to dry, and we’ll follow.

No, they did none of these things. The Bible says:

Matthew 4:20 (KJV) And they STRAIGHTWAY left their nets, and followed Him.

These men were tired of sitting in darkness. They STRAIGHTWAY left their nets. They dropped the nets where they were. If you know anything about fishing nets you know that if they are dropped on the grounds and left in piles they will rot. These men didn’t make excuses. We read that:

Matthew 4:21-22 (KJV)21 And going on from thence, {Jesus} saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

These men not only left the family business, but they left the ship and their father. Jesus said:

Luke 14:26 (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.

The American Church has modified this Scripture to make it suit our culture. I have heard preachers say “Jesus really didn’t mean hate, but to love less. And you can be saved but not a disciple.” I’m sorry, but you are putting words in Christ’s mouth. “Hate” means “to choose one over the other”. The Bible says of Jacob and Esau:

Romans 9:12-13 (KJV) {God told Rebecca} … The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

The word “hate” means to leave one to prefer another one. James and John left their father holding the net by himself. They heard Jesus and ran toward the light. Zebedee could have come as well, but chose instead to stay where he was. The people who sat in darkness saw a Great Light. Zebedee kept sitting, his sons ran toward the light.

Jesus must be first. Jesus will be first. We are told in:

Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. … 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.

Zebedee stayed with the boat and lost the Light. The man in Matthew 8 wanted to go bury his father before serving Jesus, and missed the boat! If you be blessed of Christ you must “Follow Him”, separate yourself unto Him.

Following Jesus Means Following Jesus, Not The World

Jesus said “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. You cannot be fishers of men if you are in the same element as those men.

Fish do not fish for fish.

When I go fishing, I pull fish out of the water to where I am. I don’t jump in the water, but pull them out. One reason that the Church is so ineffective in America today is that there is as much world in the Church as there is in the world. The worldly Church and the worldly Christian cannot convert the world. When you were saved Jesus said “Come follow Me”. The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (KJV) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

And James sharply said:

James 4:4 (NASB77) You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The moon shines brightest when it is closest to the sun, but as the world comes between it and the sun the moon shines less and less. The same is true for the Child of God. Christ calls “Follow Me”, not “Follow Me and the world”. Follow Christ in His love for God’s Word. Jesus is called “The Word”.

John 1:1 (NASB77) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Why is Jesus called “The Word”? Because Jesus wrote the Bible. He loves the Bible. He is “the Word became flesh”. His movements were directed by the Word. The reason that He left Nazareth and went to Galilee was because the Word directed it.

He was born of a Virgin because God’s Word said so.

He was born in Bethlehem because God’s Word said so.

He became flesh because God’s Word said so.

He ministered where God’s Word told Him.

When He was 12 years old He taught the Word to the Scribes in the Temple.

Jesus lived, loved, and laid His life down because of the Word.

How many of you have your cell phones with you tonight? Don’t raise your hands, just think. Now, how many of you have the Bibles you study during the week with you tonight? How many of you will read His Word outside of the Church? How many of you carry His Word to work with you? How many have His Word in your hearts?

He said “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. When we follow Him – not the world but Him – then He promises to use us as catalysts to change a darkened world. Jesus reached out to sinners, but never became part of their sin. He is:

Hebrews 7:26 (KJV) …. holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

Christ never bound with the darkness. We are to cling to Him as a branch clings to the Vine. The world will hate us for it, but who cares what the world thinks? To live with Christ is the best way to learn how to win souls. Learn soul winning at His feet. He has said “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men”. Jesus asked 12 men to follow Him, to cling to Him, to receive Him as Lord and Savior.

11 followed and became Apostles.

1 tagged along, and ended up murdering himself.

As Peter said Acts 1:17-18 (KJV) {Judas} was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

There is a difference between FOLLOWING and BEING IN PROXIMITY. Judas was in proximity with Jesus, but Judas was like many of Israel, of whom Jesus said:

Matthew 15:8 (KJV) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME.

Jesus calls us to FOLLOW Him, not just with our bodies, but with our hearts. To receive Him, His Words, His behavior. Following Jesus means to IMITATE GOD, for Jesus is God.

To Follow Jesus Is To Both Imitate And To OBEY Him

When Jesus said “Follow Me” He expected immediate obedience. Christ is to be Master and Lord of everything in our lives.

John 14:15 (KJV) If ye love me, Keep My Commandments.

John 14:23-24 (KJV) … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Do not say that you love Jesus yet will not do what He says. What He says is in this Book, this Bible. When you follow Christ in love then The Spirit of God comes to indwell you. The Father and the Son come to you, and take up residence in your life. As you obey Jesus, as you follow Him by reading & meditating on His Word and by praying, God comes to you and fills you. The Light of God grows in you. And you become fishers of men.

Our community and our America will only change when we commit to Follow Him, to cling to Him, to love Him above all else. Here is the Way to victory, blessed believer. Follow Him, and He will change you. May God through His Spirit drive this Word home to our hearts.

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

I Belong To God

Preached the evening of January 22, 2017 at Riverview, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1_corinthians_6_19t20_

A dear friend told me a cute little poem I’d like you to hear. It goes like this:

A mouse gnawed on the pantry door,

He gnawed, I guess, for a month or more.

When he got in the pantry, he found not a bit,

Life is tedious, isn’t it?

I thought that was cute – but also so appropriate. That little mouse worked hard to get to what he thought would make him happy. Slaving away, driven by his appetite, he finally got where he thought the bnlessings were, only to find there was no blessing there at all.

Life is tedious, isn’t it?

A man was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He was asked by his Christian friend do you know Jesus”? The man replied “I try to stay away from all faiths and religions. It seems like they all want something from me”.

What does God demand of us? We know that salvation is a free gift. The Scripture tells us that:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Salvation is a GIFT. It is a GIFT you can neither earn nor deserve. But in order to receive this gift, you MUST give God Something. What does God want you to give to Him?

Yourself

Just prior to Romans 6:23 and the discussion of the GIFT of God you read (and context is important):

Romans 6:18-22 (KJV) Being then made free from sin, YE BECAME THE SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. …. yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But NOW BEING MADE FREE FROM SIN, AND BECOME SERVANTS TO GOD, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

A person is saved by giving themselves to God. This is what God requires of any to be saved. You give Him YOU, for He gave us HIMSELF. When you give Him YOU, then HE comes inside us and, through His Spirit, begins to change us into His image.

A Christian is very much a servant of God. That’s what Paul is telling us in our text today.

You Are NOT YOUR OWN – And Never Have Been

IF you have been saved from eternal damnation then you got saved by turning yourself over to God unconditionally. God demands YOU. God wants YOU. You say,

But how can salvation be a free GIFT if God demands all of me?
Isn’t that a cost?

No, not at all. You see, we all belong to God anyway. God says:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) Behold, ALL SOULS ARE MINE; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Everyone belongs to God. God made the earth, the birds, the bees, the flowers and the trees. He made Eden and made man and woman. God owns what He has made.

Psalm 24:1-2 (NKJV) The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, THE WORLD AND THOSE WHO DWELL THEREIN. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.

God made us. He owns us. He owns the righteous, and owns the unrighteous. Man rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden and has been rebelling ever since. The Bible tells us that …

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

We are all wrong. We are all born the first time rejecting God.
But this doesn’t mean God doesn’t own us.
He owns the blasphemer, the whore monger, the murderer and the moral.

Psalm 89:11 (ESV) The heavens are Yours {O God}; the earth also is Yours; the world and ALL THAT IS IN IT, You have founded them.

1 Corinthians 10:26 (ESV) For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

Being saved means understanding that God owns us all, and that we revolted against Him. Being saved is coming to God and saying, “I know I am a sinner, and know that You are God. I give myself to You, believing that Jesus gave Himself for me.”

There was a time when we all – every person in this place – were children of wrath. The Bible says that we were

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)… dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

There was a time when every Christian walked apart from God. We were hijacked by the Devil and this world. We followed the evil, not the Good Lord Who made us. We served sin and Satan, self and selfishness. That’s the bad news. But the Good News is that …

Jesus Bought Us With His Blood

Ephesians 2:4-9 (ESV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

God didn’t have to buy us back. He didn’t have to die for us to cover our sins. We were His to destroy if He so desired. But God in love purchased us with the Blood of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) … ye are NOT YOUR OWN? 20 For YE ARE BOUGHT with a price:

You were, dear Christian, bought by the Blood of God.

A faith that can live in hell or like a child of hell cannot be from Heaven!

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) For {God the Father} hath made {God the Son} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.

You were bought with a price. What price was paid for you? Blood. What type of Blood? It was the Blood of the Son of God. God shed His Blood for you. He made payment for you. On the day that you were saved the Lord offered to pay for you, and you willingly accepted that payment. You no longer belong to yourself. You belong to God. His Great Love purchases the believer.

If You Belong To God You Will Love Others That Belong To God

1 Corinthians 6:1-2 (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?

The Corinthians were suing one another in the local courts. We don’t know what they were suing over, but their actions were harming the witness of the Church. The Apostle told them:

1 Corinthians 6:5-8 (KJV) 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. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? WHY DO YE NOT RATHER SUFFER YOURSELVES TO BE DEFRAUDED? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Jesus taught us as His disciples to turn the other cheek. He said:

Matthew 5:39-40 (ESV) But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

I belong to God if I am a Christian.
I was purchased by enduring Love.
My love is not made in China, but made by God.

If you are a Christian you belong to God. Rather than bring a black eye to the Church the Apostle said it would be better to be defrauded than to harm your brothers in Christ. One day you and I will inherit the glories of Heaven TOGETHER. We are therefore to be TOGETHER now.

Those Who Are Driven By Unrighteousness Will Not INHERIT God’s Kingdom

In 1 Corinthians 5:11 the Apostle said there were six different types of sinners that we were not to keep company with if they claimed to be Christ followers but did these things. In this chapter the Apostle tells us that there are ten behaviors in people that will keep them from inheriting the Kingdom of God. In other words those who habitually practice one of these ten things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. We read:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul said “Be not deceived”. Those who shall not inherit the Kingdom of God are:

  1. Fornicators πόρνος pornos – male prostitutes, those who sell themselves to illicit sexual activity

  2. Idolators εἰδωλολάτρης eidōlolatrēs – worshipper of false gods or goddesses, image worshipers

  3. Adulterers μοιχός moichos – adulterer or adulteresses, those who violate the wedding bed

  4. Effeminate μαλακός malakos – a catamite (boy kept for homosexual practices), a male who who submits his body to unnatural lewdness

  5. Abusers of Themselves With Mankind ἀρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs – one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual

  6. Thieves κλέπτης kleptēs – embezzeler, stealers, thief

  7. Covetous πλεονέκτης pleonektēs – one greedy of gain

  8. Drunkards μέθυσος methysos – intoxicated with alcohol

  9. Revilers λοίδορος loidoros – those who are abusive, troublemakers, blackguards

  10. Extortioners ἅρπαξ harpax – robbers, extortioner, to take by force like a wolf

Those who habitually follow these patterns of life will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God! Do not be deceived. Do not dumb this down. This is God’s Word. But the Apostle doesn’t stop here. He goes on to say:

1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV) And such were some of you …

Do not ever say “that person can’t go to Heaven”. How horrible a thought that is. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world. He died for every sin, no matter how we minimalize it, no matter how monstrous. The Bible tells us that:

1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Jesus is the propitiation, the means of appeasing God (ἱλασμός hilasmos), the expiator, the covering for sin. Jesus died on the Cross for those ten types of sinners that were so common in the city of Corinth. Every type of debauchery was practiced in Corinth, which was like:

San Francisco, California
Portland, Oregon
Austin, Texas
Providence, Rhode Island
Baltimore, Maryland
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Which are rated the top six cities for sexual immorality in the United States. Those who made up the Church at Corinth had once engaged in those types of forbidden activities. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV)  And such were some of you: BUT ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

BUT you are WASHED. Not with our hand, but by God’s. The person who recognizes their sin comes to Him Who saves and is WASHED, CLEANSED from sin.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

You may have been “born that way” or you may have been “led that way” by other sinners. You must be born again. You must come to Christ. He will wash you white as snow. The threefold blessing of salvation is that

You are WASHED – cleansed from sin
You are SANCTIFIED – set apart from the world, a Child of God
You are JUSTIFIED – now considered right by the Righteous Father

This is brought about by the Spirit of OUR GOD. The Christian is not to live in the pigpen of this world, but to live in a higher world. You are not lost, but found. You are not slaves of satan, but servants of righteousness. This is why the Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We are to live to glorify our God. Our God reigns. Our God is able. Our God saved us. Our God adopted us. Our God leads us. We are to glorify Him. We are to live our lives as to bring glory to Him in all that we do. The world watches. Is our God a little God, or a big God? Is our God a Savior or a charlatan? Jesus said to His disciples:

John 13:35 (NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We are to love God and love one another. We are to glorify God. We are to magnify Christ. He is our Savior, our King, our Lord, our Everything.

The late Dr. S. M. Lockeridge, a pastor from San Diego, California said these words in a sermon in Detroit in 1976:

My King was born King. The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King. He’s the King of the Jews – that’s an Ethnic King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that’s my King. … I’m coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens can’t contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King. … Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but in the end all that matters is God’s power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever. . . And when you get through with all of the ever’s, then . . .Amen!”

May God touch your hearts and lead you to Christ through His Word!

Posted in Belong To God, General, Love One Another, Sermons Preached | Leave a comment

The Firsts – Matthew 3

Preached at Riverview the morning of January 22, 2017

Matthew_3_The_Firsts.jpgMatthew 3:15-17 (KJV)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  [16]  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  [17]  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Chapter Three of Matthew is filled with Firsts.

  • This is the first ministry appearance of the Herald of the Messiah, John the Baptist.
  • In this chapter we hear the first recorded words our Lord Jesus Christ speaks.
  • And we see after the baptism of Jesus the first words of the Almighty Father endorsing Christ and Christ alone as Messiah.

I want us to look at these three Firsts today. Let’s start with

John The Baptist, The Herald Of The Messiah

Matthew 3:1 (KJV)  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the WILDERNESS of Judaea,

John the Baptist is the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth, the cousin of Mary the mother of Christ. John was born about 6 months before Christ was born. He was born to a mother well past child bearing years to fulfill God’s prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, a prophecy Matthew quotes:

Matthew 3:3 (KJV)  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet {Isaiah}, saying, The voice of one crying in the WILDERNESS, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The King of Kings has a Herald, one who will announce His Coming, and this Herald is John. Where is John preaching? The Bible tells us that he came:

preaching in the wilderness

Why isn’t he preaching in the Temple?

Why doesn’t he start in the Temple, then move to the wilderness?

  1. I believe it is first of all because simply the prophecy said he would preach in the wilderness. What God has promised, He does.

  2. But secondly, the Temple of God, a place supposedly to be used to glorify God, has been corrupted by RELIGION and RITUAL.

That which makes the Temple a holy place and the Church
a blessed place is that God is in the place.

When Moses spoke to God before a burning bush God told him

Exodus 3:5 (KJV) … Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

The burning bush was holy because God was there communing with His son. The Garden of Eden was holy while God walked with man every day. The Temple was holy when God was in it, when God and His glory was its focus. The Church is holy as long as God is in this place, as long as we are glorifying Him, living for Him, loving Him.

John is in the wilderness because the Temple is corrupt.

But the devil goes into the wilderness, too.

John looks out and sees those who have corrupted the Temple. He speaks to them, and John is not politically correct. No man of God can afford to be. We read:

Matthew 3:7-10 (KJV)  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  [8]  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:  [9]  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  [10]  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

John calls the self righteous Pharisees and Sadducees – the conservative and liberal religious crowd – a

generation of vipers

Vipers are sneaky, and their mouths are poisonous. Vipers hide in plain sight, their colors blending them into the background. John told these religious hypocrites to “bring forth fruits meet for repentance” or

Matthew 3:8 (NASB) Therefore bear fruit in keeping with REPENTANCE;

People were coming to John and hearing his message

Matthew 3:2 (KJV)  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Repent Is The First Word In Salvation

Though the Pharisees and Sadducees left the Temple and came to the wilderness to see John, they in reality had not repented. The first word of salvation is to repent. People today often define repent as:

to feel sorry for something you did or are doing

They make “repentance” a thing of feelings. But repentance doesn’t have as much to do with feelings as it does with action. Repentance is the Greek μετάνοια metanoia = meta (to change) + noia (the mind), literally “to change your mind”. Someone at Enduring Word described it this way:

Repentance does not describe something we must do before we come to God; it describes what coming to God is like. If you are in New York, and I tell you to come to Los Angeles, I don’t really need to say “Leave New York and come to Los Angeles.” To come to Los Angeles is to leave New York, and if I haven’t left New York, I certainly haven’t come to Los Angeles. We can’t come to the kingdom of heaven unless we leave our sin and the self-life.”

and may I add this. Unless you direct your mind to come to Los Angeles, unless you leave New York, you will never get there. The Pharisees and Sadducees left the Temple, but their minds were not focused on God when they went to see John.

  • Repent was the first word in John the Baptist’s preaching:

Matthew 3:2 (KJV) …. REPENT ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

  • Repent was the first word in Jesus’ preaching:

Matthew 4:17 (KJV) … Jesus began to preach, and to say, REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

  • When Jesus sent His disciples out to preach, what was their message?

Mark 6:12 (KJV) And they went out, and preached that men should REPENT.

  • It is repentance that leads to remission of sins (Luke 24:47) according to our Lord Jesus. This is why the first word in Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost was:

Acts 2:38 (KJV) … REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

You cannot be right with God while YOU are GOD. You must REPENT.

The repenting soul says “I know I am not God. I know I am a sinner, and I know I need a Savior. I will stop following me and stop living for me. I will go to God’s Son believing He died for me. I want His salvation and His direction in my life.”

As John baptized these precious repenting people in the Jordan (and he did NOT baptize even ONE Pharisee or Sadducee) his focus was on preaching Christ. The Messiah was coming. John said:

Matthew 3:11 (KJV)  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear…

The vast crowds are coming to John to repent and be baptized, but John wants them to focus not on him but on Jesus. John says:

I am not worthy to bear His shoes

This is God in the flesh. This is the Son of God to Whom the Father said:

Hebrews 1:6 (KJV) … when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

He is God in the flesh, the God-Man, perfect and sinless Man and infinite God. The Father declared:

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

John was not in the wilderness preaching the Health and Prosperity Gospel so prevalent in America today. John was not in the wilderness preaching the meek and mild Jesus Who loves us, and expects nothing of us Gospel so prevalent among Evangelicalism today. John preached Jesus. He said:

Matthew 3:11-12 (KJV) {Jesus} shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  [12]  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Jesus is coming to gather His wheat, but to burn up the chaff. Jesus is coming to destroy evil, wickedness, and sin. Chaff is the worthless residue of a wheat stalk after the good kernel of grain is removed. When wheat was harvested it was tossed up into the air on a fan. The wind carried the chaff off, while the heavier wheat fell to the ground. Jesus was coming to shake up the world. He shakes up the world even now. He will burn up the chaff with UNQUENCHABLE FIRE. Jesus Christ came to be the Savior of the world. The Bible tells us that:

1 John 4:14 (ESV) … we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.

1 Timothy 2:6 (KJV) {Jesus} GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.

1 John 2:2 (KJV) {Jesus} is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV)  And that HE DIED FOR ALL, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to show us His sinlessness. He was without sin. He lived a perfect life, but then died not for His sins but for ours. Jesus Christ came to save whosoever believeth Him, but He will one day judge those who have rejected Him with unquenchable fire.

Then Jesus Comes

Matthew 3:13-14 (KJV)  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  [14]  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Who told Jesus He had to be baptized? Before Jesus started His earthly ministry He came from Galilee (Nazareth was in Galilee) to Jordan to be baptized by John. John immediately baulked at baptizing Jesus. He said:

Jesus, You should be baptizing Me, not I You!

But I want you to notice the first recorded words of Christ in the Gospel. Jesus said:

Matthew 3:15 (KJV)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Let’s put that in a little more modern English. Jesus said:

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

Jesus said “we must fulfill ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS”. John must do what God the Father set him to do. He must introduce the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But both Jesus as well as John must “fulfill all righteousness”. In His baptism Jesus identified Himself with the world He had come to save. Others were coming to John to repent of their sins, but Jesus came to John to fulfill all righteousness. He was not repenting, but was willing to lower Himself for our sake. The Baptism of Jesus and baptism of the believer represented two different things.

The Baptism of Jesus represented Him submitting Himself to the will of God. It represented that Jesus was willing to surrender Himself to the hands of sinful man. Jesus would not be taken at Calvary, but He would lay His life down for us.

1 John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us …

The unbaptized Pharisees and Sadducees would hate Jesus, just as the fallen world hates Jesus. They would plot to take His life. Yet Jesus said:

John 10:17-18 (NKJV) … My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. …

John 15:13 (NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Jesus laid Himself in John’s hands. He had nothing to repent off. He need not “bring forth fruits meet for repentance”. Jesus is pure, and holy, and just. Jesus Christ is the very righteousness of God in human form.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

John, we must fulfill all righteousness”. Christ must be submitted to the will of the Father. He must be lowered into the waters of death so that we can drink of the river of life.

In His baptism Jesus was numbered with the sinners. In His death Jesus was numbered with the sinners. He died a death He did not deserve, so we could gain a life that we do not deserve. At ther beginning of His ministry Jesus looked forward to the Cross. He knew it was coming in just over three years.

It is interesting that in His ministry Jesus had His disciples baptize others in water, and yet Jesus Himself never baptized one person. Why? Because Jesus Baptizes His believers in the Spirit of God. He sends the Holy Spirit upon those who receive Him as Lord and Savior. He empowers us. He uses us as His Temple. It is said that

Israel had a Temple where they were to worship God

But now in Christ the Believer is the Temple of God

Jesus is the One Who “shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). The Christian is indwelt by Christ. God is with you where ever you may go. He joins with us at the point of repentance unto salvation and has promised:

I will never leave you, nor forsake you!

As soon as Jesus was baptized we read:

Matthew 3:16-17 (KJV)  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  [17]  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

that both the Holy Spirit as well as the Father witnessed Christ. The Spirit of God descending like a dove landed on Jesus. Christ would minister the next 3 ½ years through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And then the Father spoke:

This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased

I am sure that the Father was pleased with John, and pleased that many were repenting and coming to Him by faith. The Bible tells us that:

Luke 15:10 (ESV) …. there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Oh how God loves it when a sinner returns home, coming to Him by faith! There is joy, rejoicing, a celebration when some one turns from following the false gods of self and satan and turns to the Savior. God is pleased with that.

But in Christ God the Father is WELL PLEASED

There is only One Son. There is only One Savior. There is only One Person in all of human history that God has declared:

In Him I am WELL PLEASED

and that Person is Jesus Christ. Do not believe that God is pleased in you if you are not pleased in Him the Father is well pleased in. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to peace with God. Religion will not get you there. The world will not get you there. Only Jesus can get you there. As He surrendered to John, as He surrendered to the Cross, as He surrendered to death, so YOU must surrender to Him.

Come unto Him, all you that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest.

May God lead many to Christ through the preaching of His Word and the power of His Spirit!

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Living To Glorify The Lord

James 4:13-17 (KJV) Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  [14]  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  [15]  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. [16] But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.  [17]  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

A family went to Church for the first time in a long time. After the services the father started complaining. He didn’t like the sermon – it was too long. The mother chimed in … the songs were the wrong sort, and the crowd wasn’t that friendly. Back and forth they kept complaining until they got tired. Injames_4_13t17_live_to_glorify_god the silence their ten year old son said:

I didn’t think it was too bad for a dollar!”

What is YOUR Life? When Life is YOUR Life then it is like a fog that is here one day, then the Son rises – and it is vanished. Like the fog dissipates, the life lived for SELF – YOUR Life – has no substance. We are to live our lives not like they are OURS, but like they are a GIFT from a LOVING GOD.

God has been good to all of us, in fact, better than we deserve. God gives us our lives. He gives us all that we have. He has given us our salvation, and has given us His Kingdom. Life – both eternal and temporal – is a wonderful gift from God. As James the stepbrother of Christ (for Mary had additional children after the virgin birth of Christ – see Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56) addresses the Church he chastises them not for making plans but for making plans for their lives without consideration of God.

The Bible tells us that we should plan for tomorrow. We are told by the Psalmist:

Psalms 90:12 (KJV)  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

If God has given us our lives as stewardships then
we who are His should not just be existing.
We should be living every day as a trust from God.

Too many people live their lives compartmentalized. They go to work, and there is a “Work David”. Then they go home, and there is a “Home David”. Then they go to Church, and there is a “Church David”. But this is not how God wants us to live. It was the Holy Spirit of God Who came to you on the day you called upon Jesus for salvation. It is the Holy Spirit of God Who caused you to be born into the Family of God:

Titus 3:5 (ESV){God} saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

It is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, Who indwells the believer.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV)  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

A Child of God is empowered by God. Jesus told us in Acts 1:8 (ESV)   But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Evangelist Billy Graham said:

There are times I feel that I don’t have joy, and I get on my knees and say, “Lord, where is the fruit of joy in my life?” I find that the joy is there, down deep. It is a deep river. Whatever the circumstances, there is a river of joy. The peace that passes understanding comes from the Holy Spirit. Whatever the circumstances, I have peace in my heart. I know where I am going, I know where I have been. And I know why I am here–by the Holy Spirit. Do you know Christ? The Holy Spirit comes to magnify, to glorify and to exalt the Son. Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall not speak of Himself. He comes to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes to glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). And the Holy Spirit is pleased when you glorify Christ in your life.”

If you are saved, God is with you always, not just at Church. He is there always. God the Spirit enables us to love and glorify the Christ Who saved us.

The Unbeliever Works Without God’s Will In View

James rebukes those whom he is writing:

James 4:3-4 (KJV)  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  [4]  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

He calls those who live their lives to please themselves adulterers and adulteresses. Why? Because those who are saved by the Blood of Christ should be more concerned about their Lord’s will than about their wants. God saved you in a very real and personal way. You are bound to Christ INTIMATELY, dear Christian.

The unbeliever lives his or her life without consideration of God. They do not PLAN, they PRESUME.

Planning without God in mind is called presumption.
Presumption is condemned in the Scripture.

Jesus spoke a parable about a certain rich man who PRESUMED rather than PLANNED.

Luke 12:16-21 (KJV)  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:   [17]   And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?   [18]   And he said, 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?   [21]   So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

If you are God’s child by faith in Christ then you are to live your life not to please yourself, but Him Who loved you and gave Himself for you. You are not saved by works, but by His Blood. But if saved by His Blood and indwelt by His Spirit, you will live to bring glory to Him.

This man in Christ’s parable was a FOOL.

God’s Will was no where in this man’s heart.

It was HIS WILL that was his god.

The rich man prayed to himself – not to God but to himself.

He was the center of his universe.

Notice how he prays to himself:

What shall I do because I have so much plenty?

There was no recognition of the God Who gave him the plenty.

I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger barns!

GREED and not GRACE led this man.

I’ll tell MY SOUL “You have all you need for years to come!

How did God reply to this man? He said:

You FOOL!

He was a FOOL because he had life and plenty because of God’s Grace (for God causes the rain to fall on the good and the evil, and His sun blesses both the wicked and the righteous).

He lived not in God’s Grace but in Man’s Greed!

Psalms 14:1 (KJV)   The FOOL hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

To live life as if God is not watching you is to be a FOOL.

To live life as if tomorrow is guaranteed is to be a FOOL.

Jesus said to the servant who did not care for his stewardship WICKED and SLOTHFUL (Matthew 25:26). But the person who serves not at all is FOOLISH, Godless.

This man was a fool for he lived as if he were immortal, as if life were forever. Life is a vapor which today is and tomorrow is not. God told the foolish rich man:

This night YOUR SOUL is required of thee.

The soul God gave you will go back to God. “All souls are mine” says the Lord, “And the soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

And who will enjoy these things that you have accumulated?

The man laid up treasure for himself, living as if he were God. But we are not God. God is God, and what we have we have in stewardship for Him.

We Are To Glorify God, Not Ourselves

James 4:13-15 (KJV) Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  [14]  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  [15]  For that YE OUGHT TO SAY, IF THE LORD WILL

Those who love the Lord, who are part of His Kingdom, are concerned more about HIS Will than they are about THEIR Will. He is our Leader, our King, our Savior. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God.

Our lives on this earth seem long to us, but are really short in comparison with the future lives we will have in glory. This life was only meant to be temporary, a warm up for better things to come. IF you are saved THEN you are to live THIS life for Christ. The Apostle said:

Colossians 3:1-4 (KJV)  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  [2]  SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, not on things on the earth.  [3]  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  [4]  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

God doesn’t mind that we take some “me” time, but this is certainly not to be the driving force in our lives. IF you are RISEN WITH CHRIST (that is, not a lost soul) THEN SEEK THOSE THINGS that are above. Your affections should be set on those things which are above, on pleasing the God Who saved you.

Israel lost the blessings of Canaan because Israel didn’t look UP but looked BACK. They were not GRACE oriented but GRUMBLE oriented.

A man known for complaining inherited a large sum of money from his grandfather. He decided to take the money and buy a farm. He told his wife “I know I got a lot of money, but I wish I had gotten more. I would have like to have bought a bigger farm! What am I going to call this pitiful purchase?” His wife said, “I know. Why don’t you call it ‘Belly Acres’?”

Israel was a bunch of “belly acres”. Rather than praise God and move forward to the Promised Land they looked backward to Egypt. The Bible says:

Numbers 11:4-6 (ESV) Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

When Israel was in Egypt they were slaves. They are slaves still, for they are not serving God but their bellies. God wants to give them Canaan, but they instead embrace defeat and death. How sad is that?

God has given us what He has given us for His glory. Let us heed to words of James:

James 4:15-16 (KJV)  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.  [16]  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

The Lord’s Will in our lives is what we should seek. We should live our Christian lives on purpose for God. Set goals, but make sure that ultimately your goal is to glorify God, to magnify His goodness. James ends with these words:

James 4:17 (KJV)  Therefore to him that KNOWETH to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

The word “KNOWETH” is the Greek εἴδω eidō, which means “to perceive with any of the senses, to have knowledge of a thing”. When you see a good that needs to be done but refuse to do it, this is sin. God speaks to His people through His Spirit. “My sheep hear My Voice, I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME” (John 10:27). Israel refused to hear and obey the clear leading of God and died in the wilderness.

We who belong to Jesus are to do good.

We are to plan our lives with the glory of God in mind.

We are to live each day knowing that tomorrow on this earth is not promised.

We will ONE DAY stand before Jesus. Let’s stand with Jesus NOW.

Do good. It is GOOD to share the Gospel. It is GOOD to give – both tithe and time – to God’s Kingdom. It is GOOD to prepare for tomorrow’s Church. It is GOOD to love and help fellow believers as we grow His Kingdom where we are.

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”
Psalm 116:7

May God touch your hearts with His Word

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