The Eleventh Commandment

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John 13:30-37 (KJV)  He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.  [31]  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.  [32]  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.  [33]  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.  [34]  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  [35]  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  [36]  Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.  [37]  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

When I was in the military we often had to go out to the rifle range to “qualify” with our M16s. To those of you unfamiliar with this process it meant that we went and sat under an instructor for about 8 hours. Following training we went into the field, hung targets, then began by sighting in our weapons. I remember that we adjusted the front sights until we took center man every shot. If our sights were off we would never hit the target.

In the Old Testament God took Israel to the base of a mountain called Sinai. At the base of that mountain Israel waited until God instructed them in how He wanted them to live. The Israelite looked to the Law of Moses, adjusting their lives up or down to match that Law. The Law of God was a perfect and holy by which man was to live. But there was a problem with the Law.

That problem was US.
WE are sinners.
Our hearts are naturally corrupt.
WE in ourselves are unable to serve God.
And God wanted us to understand this.
This is why the Father sent Christ.

The Scripture says in:

Romans 8:1-5 (KJV)  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  [2]  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  [3]  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  [4]  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  [5]  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

The Law by itself could not fix us, but could show us that we need to be fixed. The Law of God is not null and void, dear friend. God sent Christ to condemn sin in the flesh. He sent Christ to die for our sins. He sent Christ to rise from the grace for our continued salvation. And Christ sent us His Spirit to live within us who are saved, enabling us to fulfill the righteousness of the law in our lives.

The Christian Live Is A Supernatural Way Of Life

We live for Christ, day by day, letting the Holy Spirit guide us through His Word to follow Him. Israel was given ten laws to live by, and these ten laws were expanded into, I am told, 613 Laws or Commandments. Jesus summarized these 613 Laws into two great Commandments:

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

Love is the nail that holds up the Ten Commandments on the wall of our lives. The commandments are to be interpreted through the lens of godly love.

The first Four commandments:

1. Love God first, put God first. (Exodus 20:3)
2. Do not make any other gods to love. (Exodus 20:4-5)
3. Love God with what you say about Him. (Exodus 20:7)
4. Take a day once a week to love God. (Exodus 20:8-11)

The next six commandments emphasize loving those around you:

5. Love and honor your parents. (Exodus 20:12)
6. Love life – do not murder (Exodus 20:13)
7. Love your own spouse (Exodus 20:14)
8. Lovingly respect your neighbor’s property (Exodus 20:15)
9. Love and respect your neighbor’s reputation (Exodus 20:16)
10. Love and respect what God has given to you (Exodus 20:17)

Do you think I take liberties with the text? I do not. The Apostle Paul heeding the Lord our Christ elaborated on the Law. He said:

Romans 13:8-13 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  

Tonight we see an Eleventh Commandment that Christ gave. Jesus said:

A new commandment I give unto you

The word “NEW” is the Greek καινός kainós, (pronounced kahee-nos’) which means “recently made, fresh, new, unworn”. The word “COMMANDMENT” (ἐντολή entolḗ, (pronounced en-tol-ay’)) is the same one that Jesus used in other places for the Commandments of God (see Matthew 15:3,6; 19:17; 22:36, et al). On Mount Sinai God gave Israel Ten Commandments that emphasized love. Now Jesus as God Incarnate is giving an Eleventh Commandment.

To Whom Is The Command Given?

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another …

Jesus said “A new commandment I give unto YOU”. Who is the YOU that Jesus is giving this commandment to? Let us first see who it is NOT.

  • It was NOT Judas Iscariot, nor to those who have the character of Judas Iscariot. Before Jesus gave the Eleventh Commandment He told His disciples:

John 13:21 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

One of the disciples had been with Christ throughout His ministry, but the betrayer’s eyes were not on Christ. This individual looked like a disciple. This individual had the high calling of an Apostle. But this individual did not love Jesus, but money and the things of this world. This individual was the son of Simon the Leper, a prominent Pharisee. This was Judas Iscariot. He loved himself and not Christ. And because Judas loved himself rather than Christ he could not fulfill nor even hear this commandment. The Bible says that …

John 13:27 (KJV) … Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Where the Spirit of God is not, there is no love but the devil. Satan entered Judas’ heart, and Jesus sent him away before He gave this wonderful commandment.

  • The Commandment was not given to the Scribes and Pharisees who rejected Christ. Jesus said:

John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

Jesus said “as I SAID unto the Jews”, not “as I SAY unto the Jews”. The Jews were not with Jesus now, but were out plotting His death. The Scribes and Pharisees were people who professed to know the Lord, but only knew tradition and ritual. They didn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ nor His disciples, but constantly found fault. We are told in the Gospels:

Mark 7:2-3 And when {the Pharisees} saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. {3} For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

The fault finders and so called sinless ones cannot receive the Eleventh Commandment. Those who receive this Commandment have a heart that loves Jesus. The Pharisees were – from the time of Isaiah – a people far from God. Jesus said:

Mark 7:6-9 … Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. {7} Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. {8} For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. {9} And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

To whom is this Eleventh Commandment? Hear Christ’s words:

John 13:33 LITTLE CHILDREN …

Jesus used the phrase “little children” to describe those who believed in Him.

Matthew 18:2-4 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, {3} And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. {4} Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The whom is the Eleventh Commandment given? To the CONVERTED. To the person who stops following themselves and the world and COMES TO JESUS. The person that wants to be held by Jesus. The person that loves Jesus. On Sunday mornings I ask the little children to come forward so I can take a moment and share Christ with them. It is such a blessing to be able to do this. There is one little girl that will come up and try and crawl into my lap every Sunday – she is so precious. Her parents tell me that she is the main reason they come to Church, because each week this precious child wants to see the Pastor. Oh, how that fills my heart. If I, being evil (Matthew 7:11), have my heart filled with such a thing, can you imagine how it blesses Jesus? He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to crawl up in His lap. Jesus loves this. He loves those who, like little children, come unto Him.

A genuine Christian is a little child. I remember as a child falling and scraping my knee. When I did I didn’t try to doctor it myself. With tears streaming down my face I would run into the house calling out for momma, knowing that she would make it better. A Christian is someone with a boo boo that needs to be fixed. The whole world is in darkness, and the Bible tells us that …

John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Lovers of darkness are not “little children”.
They will not come to Christ as “little children”.
Christ’s little children want the Savior’s Lap.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The commandment to love comes to “little children, because your sins are forgiven for His Name’s sake” (1 John 2:12).

The commandment to love is given to “little children who abide in Him, so that when He returns for us we will not be ashamed” (1 John 2:28).

If you have been loved of Him and saved of Him then this commandment is given unto you.

The Little Child Is To Love As Christ Loved

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

We are to love one another as Christ has loved us. This is a type of love that we cannot do in our own power. We are unable to love this way in our own power. You see the very illustration of this in our text.

Jesus told Peter:

John 13:36 (KJV) … Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Jesus had just told us as little children that we are to have a sacrificial love for one another. Peter heard this. But Jesus said “You can’t follow Me NOW”. Peter is the rough and tough fisherman. He quickly comes back:

John 13:37 (KJV)  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

I am sure that Peter meant what he said. “Love like You love, Lord. Absolutely! I will easily love sacrificially for You!”. But Jesus corrected Peter:

John 13:38 (KJV)  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Dear friends, the love that Jesus commands cannot be done in your own power. The love that Christ commands us to do is SUPERNATURAL. God must enable us to do it. The Bible defines this Love in:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love suffereth long, and is kind; Love envieth not; Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, {5} Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; {6} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; {7} Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. {8} Love never faileth …

As you and I surrender your lives He teaches us this Eleventh Commandment. It is the highest standard of God. We are to love as Christ loved.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 … Love envieth not; Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, {5} Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; {6} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

The Spirit of God must be in it, or we cannot do it.

Why Is This Eleventh Commandment So Important?

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

The love of the world is based on selfishness and feeling. What sets Christ’s children apart from the present evil world is the unique love we have for one another. It is this type of love that holds us together. We are to PROVOKE one another to this type of sacrificial love.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

It is sacrificial love that binds a Church together, and selfish love that tears it apart. The Church cannot operate on worldly love. The Church cannot help but win souls when it binds itself together under the Eleventh Commandment. I’ll end with the words of a stepbrother of Jesus named Jude. Jude wrote:

Jude 21-23 Keep yourselves in the love of God… making a difference: {23} And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;

Here is how we make a difference. God must drive our love. May we all seek His face and obey the Eleventh Commandment! May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Interpretations Belong To God

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Genesis 40:8 (KJV) …. We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

What do we do when nothing seems to make sense?
What do we do when the trials keep on coming?
We rest in God, trusting in His Word.

Proverbs 3:5 Every Word of God is pure: He is a Shield unto them that put their trust in Him.

A Butler, a Baker, and a Brother named Joseph are all in prison. Two are discouraged, but Joseph is not. Why is that? Because Joseph learned a lesson that we all need to learn.

… interpretations belong to God

Our God is the God of all that occurs. He is the God of whatever may come my way. When we come to the valleys of life let us – like Brother Joseph – focus on our Lord. God says …

Isaiah 50:10 (KJV)  Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

You Can Love God And Be In A Valley

Joseph was in a valley. He was imprisoned because of sin – not his sin – but the sin of others. He was in prison not because he did something wrong, but because he did something right. Joseph was the patriarch Israel’s favorite son. The Bible says …

Genesis 37:3 (KJV) Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children..

It is a parenting mistake to love one child more than another – particularly when you show it. Israel spoiled Joseph even to the point of giving him a coat of many colors, an expensive garment back in those days. Because of what his father did Joseph was hated by his other brothers. Hatred is sin. Pride is sin. And I’m sure their attitude hurt Joseph. Can you imagine being hated by the brothers you wanted to play with every day? Joseph probably cried himself to sleep at night. I don’t know this. The text doesn’t tell us.

But Interpretations Belong To God.

I’m just guessing. But being bullied as a child myself I can tell you that it makes you bitter and frightful and shy. I lay awake many nights fearing the sun rise, knowing that I would be punched and ridiculed in just a few hours. I could fall into despair, or look up. I could let the darkness swallow me or look up. Praise the Lord, He grabbed me before I became part of the darkness.

Psalms 34:17-18 (KJV) The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

God loves those who will love Him. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). If you are bullied, if you are lonely, if you are in the darkness of depression – look up. God is there. Jesus loves you!

God spoke to Joseph in the midst of his suffering.
God was going to turn a bad thing into a good thing.

Interpretations belong to God

God spoke to Joseph and told him that he was going to raise Joseph up above his brothers and even above his parents. Joseph should have cherished this Word from God. But he was an impetuous 17 year old, so he went and shared what God told him in a dream. Joseph told them …

Genesis 37:7-8 (KJV) … behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

It threw gasoline on the fire for him to share this Word. His brothers threw Joseph in a pit, and sold him as a slave to a band of traders headed toward Egypt. Joseph could have drowned in despair or surrendered to bitterness, but he didn’t. He kept looking up because …

Interpretations belong to God

Sold to a high ranking official named Potiphar Joseph did not despair. He continued to walk with God throughout his enslavement. The Bible tells us that

Genesis 39:2-4 (KJV) … the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

Joseph did not allow his circumstances to define him.
He allowed the LORD to define him.
Joseph was with the LORD, and
The LORD was with Joseph.

Remain Faithful To God No Matter How Dark It Is

The Bible is filled with stories of people who were in darkness and yet trusted God. Job comes to mind, or the Prophets Habakkuk or Jeremiah. In the New Testament I think of John the Baptist imprisoned, waiting to be beheaded by an evil king. Trust in God no matter how dark the night, for God is in control.

Though enslaved, things are going well for Joseph. He is actually prospering and gaining ground though a servant. Joseph is prospering because he is serving God. You cannot out give God.

When times get tough, serve God.
When things are rough, serve God.
When the valley seem deepest, serve God.
Trust the Lord to do the best for you.

Joseph was not done being tested. In time his master’s wife decided that Joseph would become her sex toy. She approached Joseph and said “Lie with me”. Joseph was not tempted. The Bible tells us that Joseph told her …

Genesis 39:9-12 (KJV) … how then can I do this great wickedness, and SIN AGAINST GOD?

Some would have justified their sins. They would have said, “Well, God let me be a slave in this household … and if that’s what she wants, then fine!” Yet Joseph knew that God would never tempt him to sin. The Bible says:

James 1:13-14 (KJV) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

God cannot look on sin, and God does not tempt us to sin. Joseph refused her advances. This woman kept tempting him daily, but the Bible says

Genesis 39:10 … as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

Joseph wouldn’t even stay in the same room with her. One day she caught him, and demanded that he lay with her. The Bible says that Joseph …

Genesis 39:12 … left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

Joseph did the best thing he could do. He FLED. He ran away from sin. This is the best thing we can do when confronted with sin. We should PLEAD THE BLOOD OF CHRIST and RUN AWAY. The Bible says …

2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

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

Interpretations belong to God
If God has said it is wrong, should we not flee it?

Joseph did the right thing and ended up in prison. If you read your Bibles you’ll see that Joseph was released from prison when he was 30 years old (Genesis 41:46), and he was 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:2). Joseph could have been imprisoned up to 12 years. Again, he could have become bitter over his circumstances, but he wasn’t. What kept him from bitterness is that he trusted the promise of God.

Interpretations belong to God.
God promised Joseph that his family would bow before him.

Numbers 23:19 (KJV) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Apply this to your life, dear Christian. Has not God promised:

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) … I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Hasn’t God promised you eternal life?

1 John 2:25 (KJV) … this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

Beloved of God, has not God made you exceedingly great promises? Haven’t you been promised Heaven?

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

Hasn’t God promised you that He is overlooking your lives, controlling all things for your good if you love Him?

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Joseph had a dream that he held on to.
We have a Word from God just as sure.
God is faithful.
Like Joseph, God wants to bless you.
He wants to lift you up.
He does this in His own time and in His own way.

Romans 8:32 (KJV) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, HOW SHALL HE NOT WITH HIM ALSO FREELY GIVE US ALL THINGS?

Interpretations belong to God!

Is He not good. Is God not gracious? Would God be so unjust as to make a promise that He would not keep. Kathy sings one of my favorite songs:

For the God on the mountain, is the God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right.
And the God of the good times
Is still God in the bad times
The God of the day is still God in the night”

So when Joseph is in prison he is not discouraged.

Let Us Live Our Lives CONSISTENTLY Leaning Into God

Joseph embraced the Word God gave him, and kept on leaning into God’s arms no matter what came his way.

One day two of the King’s men, the Baker and the Butler, did something to offend the King. They ended up in prison. Now Joseph is in prison with them. The Bible says:

Genesis 40:4 (KJV) And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.

Joseph is a prisoner of even the prisoners. The jailer said “Now Joseph, you serve these other prisoners.” It seemed as if Joseph couldn’t even get a break in prison! Yet Joseph did not despair. He kept looking to God. He kept trusting His Savior and Lord.

One day Joseph came in and saw that the Butler and the Baker looked sad. Joseph asked them …

Genesis 40:7-8 (KJV) … Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? 8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. …

Joseph asks that wonderful question – one that we have repeated throughout this message:

Do not interpretations belong to God?

And then he says … “Tell me them I pray you”.

Interpretations belong to God. Joseph was not putting himself in the place of God when he told the Baker and the Butler “Tell me your dreams”. Joseph knew that interpretations belonged to God. But Joseph had spent his life listening to God, obeying God, loving God. He knew that he was loved of God. So if these men would tell their dreams, Joseph knew that God would give him the interpretation.

You gain power with God by CONSISTENCY.
You CONSISTENTLY read your Bibles.
You CONSISTENTLY pray daily.
You CONSISTENTLY adjust your behavior to please Him.
The Grand Canyon was carved by
consistently dripping water.
The snail made it to the Ark by being
consistent.
CONSISTENCY does not rely on feelings but on faith.
CONSISTENCY does not depend on the mountain,
Nor the valley, but
ON THE GOD WHO CREATED BOTH.

What does the Bible say?

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

Joseph diligently sought God in the light and in the dark.
Joseph diligently sought God in the good and in the bad.
Joseph diligently sought God in freedom and in slavery.
Joseph diligently sought God when bullied and when blessed.
Joseph trusted God so much that he knew God would tell him.

The Butler told Joseph:

Genesis 40:9-11 (KJV) … In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: 11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.

Interpretations belong to God. Almost without a pause Joseph shares what the Lord tells him. He says,

Genesis 40:12-13 … This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.

You’re going to get your old job back. That was good news! Then the Baker told his dream:

Genesis 40:16-17 (KJV) … When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: 17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.

The baker expected to hear some good news. The Butler after all had good news. Why not the Baker. But Interpretations belong to God, not to Joseph. Again without a pause Joseph says:

Genesis 40:18-19 …. This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: 19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.

Do not interpretations belong to God?
Joseph doesn’t add to God’s Word.
He speaks the truth as God gave it.

Interpretations belong to God

It all happened exactly as Joseph said, for Joseph spoke what God told him to say. And yet the Bible says:

Genesis 40:23 (KJV)23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

But God never forgot Joseph. In time God would raise Joseph up, and fulfill every promise He made to him. God is like that. God is good like that. God would use Joseph to do a great thing that would glorify the Lord. Why?

Interpretations belong to God

Oh Beloved, live your lives looking unto Jesus. Look unto Him Who loves you and gave Himself for you. Do not let your circumstances define you, but let your Savior define you. This is where life is the most blessed. Let God be God. Surrender your lives to Him, in Christ’s name I beg you!

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Being Grace

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1 Peter 3:8-9 (KJV)  Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:  [9]  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

The boss of a large company is driving to work one day when – at a stop light – a young person texting on a cell phone rear ends his car. After waiting on the police, the accident report, and the other driver who still kept on texting, the boss is filled with repressed anger. When he gets to work 2 hours late he finds that one of his junior supervisors has once more failed to leave him a morning report. Furious, he calls the man into his office and chews him out! The supervisor heads back to his office, stomps past his secretary, and slams his office door. His secretary wonders what is wrong, so she taps on his door and asks if there’s anything she can do. The supervisor – upset because he was chewed out – chews her out and slams the door in her face. At the end of the day the secretary goes home and finds dirty dishes in the sink and her husband playing video games on the television. She blisters him for his laziness, stalks out, and he angrily gets up and heads outside. As he is heading for the door the dog is quietly laying on the floor watching whatever in the world is going on. As the husband goes outside he kicks the dog …. and the dog yelps, running away and wondering what he did to make everyone so mad.

So who kicked the dog?


If you are a Christian God has not called you to kick the dog – or anyone else. Christians are not to be part of the problem, not to be part of the darkness, but we are called to be part of the Light.

How Does One Become A “Christian”?

Christians are products of G R A C E. I have heard GRACE described as:

God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

Grace is to receive MERCY when you deserve PUNISHMENT. Grace is to not get what you deserve, but to get what you DO NOT deserve. Grace is God showing us undeserved love.

God is holy, righteous, and just.
He is the Owner of Heaven.
Heaven is therefore holy, righteous, and just.

Yet we are all – young or old, rich or poor, male or female – separated from God because we are sinners.

We were born in sin (Psalm 51:5)
We are guilty of breaking God’s laws (Romans 3:9–20, 23)

We were enemies of God (Romans 5:6, 10; 8:7; Colossians 1:21)
We deserve death and damnation (Romans 6:23a)
We once reveled in unrighteous (Romans 3:10)

And we could not save ourselves (Romans 3:20)

So God stepped in. He sent Jesus to take our sin burden on Himself so that we could stand clean before God.

Romans 8:3-4 (KJV) … God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  [4]  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Jesus gave Himself for you and for me. The day that you realized you were a sinner destined to hell, that you were without God and without hope, that very day you cried out to Jesus the Lord saved you. You and I were saved not because we earned it, not because we deserved it, but because God gave it to us as an absolutely free gift. One of the greatest texts that explain GRACE is found in:

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

We have faith in what Christ did, not in what we do. When our faith is placed wholly in Christ then God saves us. It is a gift. It is by GRACE. But GRACE was not just given to us to save us, but if you are saved by GRACE then this GRACE should operate in you. Grace is how the Christian lives, moves, and breathes. GRACE is not the end of our faith. Many people teach GRACE as a gateway by which we are saved and then go no farther than that. That is untrue. GRACE is not a train ticket punched to get you to Heaven.

Grace is THE way of life

Grace is not just the way TO life eternal,
it is THE way of life.

In our text today we see that those who are saved by grace are to live by grace. We treat one another as Christ treated us. We treat the lost as Christ treats us. We are to love as we are loved. The first thing that the Apostle tells us is to …

be ye all of one mind

We who believe are called to “be ye ALL of ONE MIND”. Let’s examine that. What is our mind to be? We are to have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (KJV)  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

We are to think like Jesus thought. We are not to think like the world thinks, but to be like Christ in thought and therefore in deed. The Bible says:

Romans 12:2 (KJV) … be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, …

How do we as believers become Christ-minded? Do we query the world, asking it what is politically acceptable? No! Absolutely not! We are commanded:

Colossians 2:8 (KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The world is not our resource. The world does not have the mind of Christ. We have the mind of Christ available to us. We become united in mind and in practice by adhering firmly to both Spirit and Scripture.

The Christian has the mind of Christ. What gives us the mind of Christ? Two things – God’s written Word, and God’s indwelling Word or the Holy Spirit.

When you received Christ as Lord and Savior you also received the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit was given to you to “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The written Word of God is truth. Jesus in His High Priestly prayer said:

Sanctify them through Thy Truth.
Thy WORD is Truth (John 17:17)

What is the MIND we are ALL to have? Here is what God’s Word says:

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

The Mind of Christ did not puff Himself up. The Mind of Christ lowered Himself, washing the feet of the disciples:

John 13:14 (KJV) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

This was not meant to be a mindless ritual, but a way of life where we lovingly serve others. This is what Christ did throughout His earthly life. He gave Himself for us. He loved us, even doing the dirty tasks. In this world people elevate themselves. They put themselves first and foremost. Christ calls us to put God first, to put others before ourselves, and to do so unashamedly.

Our minds are to be grace oriented, grace filled. This is radical love.

Matthew 5:38-39 (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.

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

Children imitate their parents. We are to imitate Christ. I was in a fast food restaurant the other day when someone near me made an ugly remark about a woman and her child. I will not repeat the remark, but I can honestly say it was a remark unworthy of a saint. We who are Christ’s are to have HIS mind – putting others before ourselves, loving as He loved. What has God said?

Philippians 2:3-4 (KJV)  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.[4]  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Hell will be filled with people who elevated themselves while deriding others. If you are Christ’s then this mind must NOT be in you. Love as Jesus loved.

Grace Puts Itself In The Place Of Others

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV)  Finally, be ye all of one mind,
having compassion one of another

The word “compassion” is a compound word which means “to suffer or be in pain with another”. It is to put yourself in the place of another, to empathize.

Grace asks itself If I were in his place what would I feel?”

When we empathize with one another we become the unified Body of Christ with Jesus as our Head. It is Christ’s desire that …

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (KJV) … there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. [26]  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

When I was in the military the first lesson we learned was to work together, because we’re all in this together. This is why we marched. This is why we had inspections. When I ran my first 3 mile obstacle we helped the slowest member of the squad cross the finish line. Listen Beloved, we either stand together or we will fall apart. We empathize with one another as family.

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren

A Church is the Family of God.
We are not strangers with no purpose.
We are family serving our Father.
Our goal is to promote Christ.
We do this by love.

Jesus said in John 13:35:

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. “

Not just “love” but “have love”. Jesus said we are not just to have FEELS toward one another but to actually put love into action.

Illustrate I have had people come to me and tell me “I’m cold” when in this sanctuary. When that happens I go and look at the thermostat. If the thermostat tells me the room temperature is 78 degrees then it’s not cold in here. You may feel cold because of your metabolism, but in fact the room is not cold. That’s why I bought blankets for the Church. Some of you feel cold when the rest of us are burning up. But I love you, so I tried to provide a solution that doesn’t melt the rest of us. The thermostat tells us the actual temperature, the actual fact as to whether it is cold or hot in here.

Whether you actually do love or not shows
whether you are saved or not.
Love in action is the thermostat of your soul!

Don’t believe me? See what the Scripture says:

1 John 3:14 (KJV)  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

If you do not love your fellow believers then you are yet in the dark Kingdom of satan. Love lifts up and does not tear down.

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

If we put ourselves in the place of others we will …

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV)… be pitiful,

Word Study This word – the Greek εὔσπλαγχνος eúsplanchnos – means “to be tenderhearted toward another”. We are not to harden our hearts toward others, but to be …

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

I am so glad that God didn’t harden His heart toward us, but loved us enough to reach out and lift us up from the mire of sin and darkness. As you have been loved, love one another! Do so for God’s sake.

Grace Always Responds In A Godly Way

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) … be courteous

Treat others with the same respect you expect from them. The word rendered “courteous” (tapeinophrōn) means to be friendly and kind. The Apostle goes on to explain what he means by this. He says:

1 Peter 3:9 (KJV) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

We are to bless others because God has promised us a blessing. We are Heaven bound creatures – let us live that way. Let us be His children, shining in the midst of this present darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 (KJV) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

There are three ways we can respond to others. We can …

Return evil for good – which is satanic
Return good for good and evil for evil – which is worldly
Return good for evil – which is godly

If we belong to God let us be godly. By our lives and how we live them we may win others to His Kingdom. Let us do so for the glory of God – in Christ’s name I pray. Amen!

Posted in 1 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged

The Golden Prayer Of Jesus

John 12:27-28 KJV Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (28) Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

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It was a beautiful day yesterday, so I took a lunch break at Woodland Park. On pretty days I love to go there to pray and praise my Lord. While I was in the park I heard two of the strangest things I think I have ever heard. As I sat there I heard the music of an ice cream truck. What made it very interesting was that it was playing Christmas songs. “Silent Night, Holy Night” and “Little Town of Bethlehem” played as the driver sold ice cream to the children at the playgound. What made it surreal was that it is October 30th, and children are eating ice cream while Christmas music plays. I thought it was interesting, and an unexpected blessing from God!

Then I heard something else that wasn’t a blessing. The ice cream truck left and a mother drove up with twin girls – beautiful little girls. They were about 30 feet away from me, and the mother was horribly cursing her children. I don’t know what they had done, but she took God’s name in vain repeatedly and tossed the “F” bomb around like a wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. They got in their van and drove away, but my heart broke for these little girls.

God gives us life for a purpose. He gave us tongues and ears for a purpose. Our tongues were given to us to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to pray to Him. Our tongues were meant to help one another, to communicate, to care.

Tonight I want to talk about the Golden Prayer. Jesus taught us how to pray in His model prayer of Matthew 6:9-13. But tonight Jesus shows us how to pray a Golden Prayer. There are many great prayers in the Bible. Moses prayed great prayers. So did King David, and Elijah, and Daniel. There is a prayer that is greater than all other prayers, a prayer that will be answered in the affirmative at all times. That simple prayer is the one that our Lord Jesus prayed.

John 12:28 KJV Father, glorify thy name. …

to which God immediately replied,

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

This a golden prayer because, unlike the many prayers that men make for their own blessing, this prayer is going to be answered. God said “I have both glorified [my Name], and will glorify [my Name] again”. (John 12:28)

God will glorify His Name, and when we – like Jesus – pray Father, glorify Thy Name – this is a prayer that He has already promised to fulfill. He will glorify His Name.

This Prayer Is Golden Because It Chooses God Over Self

Often we pray because we are in turmoil, are worried, or are seeking relief from suffering. There is nothing wrong with praying for yourself. In fact, I know God would rather you pray than worry about something. The Bible tells us:

Psalms 55:22 (KJV)  Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

God wants you to bring your heartaches to Him. Do you not remember the sweet words of our Savior?

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  [29]  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  [30]  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The power of King David was that he knew when to bring his troubles to God. He said:

Psalms 34:17 (KJV)  The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

God wants us to pray, to take time to pray. Our Lord Jesus is facing the greatest trial He can possibly face. He is preparing to go to the Cross for you and I. As Jesus contemplates what is going to happen to Him He says:

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

Jesus’ soul is troubled. If I were in His place looking toward the Cross I would be in a panic. But Jesus is “troubled” (tarasso, meaning disturbed, distressed, anxious). He does not want to have to go through this terrible trial, but will do so. But anyone with human flesh would be troubled by this terror. Jesus says, “What shall I say? How shall I pray?”. How would you pray in this situation? Wouldn’t we ourselves pray “Father, save me from this hour”? If Jesus had prayed that prayer don’t you think the Father would have answered the prayer? And if the Father answered the prayer, don’t you know we would still be dead in our trespasses and in our sins?

If Jesus had prayed selfishly that the hour of the Cross pass, if He had prayed Father, save Me from this hour, the world would have died under sin!

But He didn’t. Jesus knew that He must go to the Cross if others were to be blessed. This prayer is golden because Jesus realized the primary reason He came into the world. He came to die for our sins.

for this cause came I unto this hour

The reason that God placed us on this earth is not to be all about ourselves, but to live our lives for a greater good. We – like Christ – are to live our lives to glorify God. Return to my opening story of the woman who was cursing her kids – horribly cursing them.

What seed is she planting in the lives of these children?

I am all for discipling children. The Bible commands it. Society needs it. We have too many grown up children beating on the doors of the Supreme Court because they were not disciplined when they were children. We have far too many biological adults running around in society who are psychologically no more than children because they were not disciplined when they were biological childen. Discipline is good! But to curse and blaspheme God is to plant evil, to use your lips to sow darkness. No good comes of it. These children will grow up just as their mother, for this is the seed she planted.

We need to plant godly seed.

As Jesus prayed He knew others would hear and record what He said. He wanted us to understand that our goal in life is not to be all about ourselves. Just prior to this Jesus said:

John 12:23 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you

Before Jesus prays this Great Prayer He begins it with His trademark verily verily or His double Amen to show that He is going to give us a great spiritual truth. Jesus now uses a wonderful illustration from the field – a grain of wheat. He says:

John 12:23 KJV … Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

When you cling to your comfort zone – selfishly staying on the stalk – you abide alone. I have read over the last couple of years obituaries of people who clung to the stalk of themselves, selfishly living out the lives God gave them just to satisfy their own whims.

They lived alone.
They died alone.

Many years ago I read the story of Frances Bavier who played Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show. When the Andy Griffith Show closed, Frances retired from acting and moved to Siler City, North Carolina where she bought a home. Frances never married and never had children. Though she would have been given the key to Siler City, she withdrew in her later years. She ended up dying in her home eight days short of her 87th birthday of conjestive heart failure. She died alone.

She is not the only one.
To live for self is a lonely life.

The grain still on the stalk has absolutely no value but for the basest of uses. Certainly it can be fed to cattle and lesser creatures as fodder, but it has no higher use than that.

Jesus chose to give His life for others, not to selfishly keep it. In so doing He is celebrated forever, How horrible to live lives of selfishness! It is to be a FOOL! Jesus illustrated this by this parable.

Luke 12:16-21 (KJV) … 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.

We are to live our lives as Jesus did, not for ourselves but for the glory of God. The Bible commands:

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

Everything we do should glorify His Name. The Golden Prayer of Christ sought God’s will over all else. He prayed:

John 12:28 KJV Father, glorify thy name. …

As Jesus Put The Glory Of God First So Must We

John 12:26 KJV If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

Jesus put all of His glory to the side in order to follow the will of God. He willingly left a palace in Heaven – a place of eternal Joy – to give Himself unselfishly for us. We are told in …

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

Jesus surrendered His Heavenly Home and Family to come and die for us on the Cross. He surrendered His earthly family, His earth mother and stepbrothers, in order to suffer that terrible fate for us. (Philippians 2:6-8)

If you hold to the stalk of family apart from God, God cannot bless you. Jesus told us that faith in Him could bring division in our families. We are to love Christ most. Jesus knew that this relationship would cause conflicts in the family. He said:

Matthew 10:34-38 KJV Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (36) And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Following Christ our Lord means to do as He did, to separate from the stalk that is family and surrender your life to the Family of God. (Matthew 10:34-38; Isaiah 53:2-6)

This may cause some dissension, some warring, some anger and separation between you and those you love. Jesus Christ’s own stepbrothers did not believe in Him until after His resurrection. His mother believed in Him, and was one of the few who stood at the foot of His Cross and wept instead of jeering. His disciples abandoned Him except for John. The Bible prophetically said of Jesus:

Isaiah 53:3-6 (KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

But remember the promise of God! Jesus surrendered the stalk of His family, and God honored His surrender. If you do not surrender yourself to God above the stalk of family, you may find that you have led your children down the pathway of condemnation. If you want your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren to be saved, then remember what Jesus said:

John 12:31-32 KJV Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Do you wish to see your family blessed? Then lift up Jesus above all else! A sure way to condemn your own kin is to minimize the Lord Jesus Christ, to cling to the stalk of family above surrender to the Lord. When the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die … it bringeth forth much fruit. There can be no blessing until there is the surrender to God. But

When we surrender to God, we will see God glorify His Name. We will see our loved ones led to Jesus, saved from condemnation. We will see the Evil One cast out, just as Jesus has promised. ( John 12:31-32)

Jesus Surrendered All For Us

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

This is the FIRST time Jesus expressed discomfort over the coming Cross, but it was not the last.

Jesus knew what was coming. It was like a perpetual toothache throughout His ministry.

When He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray just hours before His trial our Lord prayed three times:

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

Not once, but THREE times. He prayed that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE that the Cup of suffering pass from Him. And yet each time He prayed Jesus said:

nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt

Jesus sought the glory of the Father above all else. But it was hard, very hard, for Him to go forward. We are told in another place that as He prayed in Gethsemane that He prayed ….

Luke 22:44 KJV …. in an agony … prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

The answer to His prayer was not that Jesus be relieved from His burden. The answer the Father gave the Son as His sweat – like great drops of blood – poured from Him was the same answer He gave before: I have glorified My Name, I will glorify it again. After the third prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus allowed Himself to fall as a grain of wheat to the ground.

He would die for us, so we could live for Him.
He would suffer death for us, so we could find eternal life in Him.

He would surrender to the Ground, to Eternal God the Father, and rise triumphant three days later because God will glorify His Name. Yes, it is outside of the comfort zone to obey God and surrender fully to Him. And yet, if you will be blessed, you must surrender. We must first of all surrender to Him for salvation. Jesus Christ

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)  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.

God Will Be Glorified

John 12:28-29 KJV Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (29) The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

Tonight is what the world calls “Halloween”. Some will glorify selves tonight. Let us glorify God. It is only in glorifying God as Christ did that we will hear His Voice. Too few today hear the Voice of God.

Some heard an angel, others merely heard thunder.
Those who refuse to turn to God are in tune with this world
Hear only thunder.
Others heard an angel.
But only Jesus and His followers heard GOD.

You will not hear the voice of God unless you are willing to glorify God. When we make life about ourselves we will not hear Him. C.H. Spurgeon reminds us:

Learn hence, then, all of you who would have Christ as your Savior, that you must be willing to serve him. We are not saved by service, but we are saved to service. When we are once saved, thenceforward we live in the service of our Lord. If we refuse to be his servants, we are not saved, for we still remain evidently the servants of self, and the servants of Satan. Holiness is another name for salvation; to be delivered from the power of self-will, and the domination of evil lusts, and the tyranny of Satan,—this is salvation. Those who would be saved must know that they will have to serve Christ, and those who are saved rejoice that they are serving him, and that thus they are giving evidence of a change of heart and renewal of mind.

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Heaven On Earth

Revelation 21:1-8 (KJV)  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  [2]  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  [3]  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  [4]  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  [5]  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  [6]  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  [7]  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  [8]  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

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Heaven & eternity has been on my mind
Heaven & eternity should be on your minds as well

There are two things that every adult who is an adult should come to grips with and make peace with.

You should come to grips with your MORALITY.
You must come to grips with your MORTALITY.

Do You KNOW You Are Mortal?

Too few people have examined their lives and have come to a settled mental state on these two things. Morality and Mortality. I often talk to people who groan over death, making death out to be a horrible attack from the devil.

Death is NOT an attack from the devil. Do you know who controls DEATH? It is the same One Who controls LIFE. It is God. Let me show you the Bible texts.

Psalms 68:19-20 (KJV)  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.  [20]  He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

To God – our Sovereign God – there is escape from death. Why? Because God controls life and God controls death. Righteous Job said …

Job 14:1 (KJV)  Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. … 5 … his DAYS ARE DETERMINED, THE NUMBER OF HIS MONTHS ARE WITH {GOD}, {God} hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

The Apostle Paul preached at Mars Hill:

Acts 17:26 (KJV)  {God} hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath DETERMINED THE TIMES BEFORE APPOINTED, and the bounds of their habitation;

When King Hezekiah was told that he was going to die, the message he was given was from God, not the devil. Hezekiah prayed for more life, and God told Isaiah to tell the king:

Isaiah 38:5 (KJV)  Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

God controls both life and death – not the devil. Your God is too small if you think the devil controls death! The devil controls nothing. God controls all. The Prophet Daniel told King Belshazzar that he did not honor …

Daniel 5:23 (KJV) … the God IN WHOSE HAND THY BREATH IS, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

It is God Who gives life. When John first saw Christ on Patmos Jesus told him:

Revelation 1:18 (KJV)  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the KEYS of hell and OF DEATH.

Jesus Christ has the keys of hell and death. The One Who has the keys has the power to operate it. The Bible does say in Hebrews that Jesus Christ came to destroy the devil. We read:

Hebrews 2:14 (KJV)  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Satan by deceiving and leading Adam brought death into God’s creation. Satan does have the power to kill – but only at the allowance of God.
God ultimately controls all life and all death.

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)  And as it is APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgment:

Death is an appointment, not made by you or I, nor even made by the devil. It is an appointment that God has made for us all. As Solomon said “there is a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2). We are all mortal. We all have an expiration time determined for us by our Creator. We can ignore this, or we can embrace it. We must come to grips with our MORTALITY. God controls life and God controls death.

Am I A NEW Creature?

When we read about Eternity one word keeps coming up. See if you can find that word:

Revelation 21:1-2, 5 (KJV)  And I saw a NEW heaven and a NEW earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  [2]  And I John saw the holy city, NEW Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. … [5]  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things NEW.

Did you see the word? Did you hear it? The word “NEW” is repeated FOUR TIMES. This is significant because in Scripture FOUR is the number of rest. The FOURTH Commandment (Exodus 20:8) is to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”. God set aside a day of rest for humanity, a day where we were to dwell on and magnify our Creator.

Heaven is God’s rest.
Heaven is a place now even of rest.

What we are reading about in Revelation 21 is the beginning of eternity

If you love Jesus and have received Him as your Lord and Savior the Bible says something about you. It says that …

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become NEW.

The word “New” both in this text and in our focal text is the Greek KAINOS. The Christ follower is a NEW creature. The believer in Him has been born again. We are works in progress. We are different than we were. We are NEW. Distinct. Different. We belong to God. Because of Jesus when we die we do not cease to be, but go to be with our God in Heaven. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (KJV)  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  [7]  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  [8]  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ABSENT FROM THE BODY, AND TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD.

When we leave this body we are PRESENT WITH THE LORD. Our souls do not sleep, but our bodies sleep in the ground awaiting the Rapture of the Church. There are many proofs of this consciousness after death. One of Christ’s earliest sermons was on a certain rich man and a poor believer named Lazarus. Jesus said:

Luke 16:22-23 (KJV)  And it came to pass, that the BEGGAR DIED, AND WAS CARRIED BY THE ANGELS into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  [23]  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

No matter how you interprete this text you cannot help but see that Jesus believed both Lazarus and the rich man were conscious after death. The rich manm suffered, but Lazarus was comforted. The New Creature who was Lazarus went to be with others of faith in a place of comfort – in short, Heaven. But the rich man went to hell and suffering. We also have the testimony of John who saw into Heaven and wrote:

Revelation 6:9 (KJV)  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar THE SOULS OF THEM THAT WERE SLAIN for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

For the New Creature “to live is Christ, and to die is GAIN” (Philippians 1:21). Death is not a horror for the Christ follower but a doorway by which we are united with our Creator and Savior. Paul said to the Philippian Church:

Philippians 1:23-24 (KJV)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire TO DEPART, AND TO BE WITH CHRIST; which is far better: [24]  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

If you are a Christ follower – that is, trusting Jesus alone for your salvation and Lordship – the Scripture promises when you leave this life you go to Heaven. When the righteous leave this life they enter into a place of peace (Isaiah 57:1-2).

Revelation 14:13 (KJV) … Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that THEY MAY REST FROM THEIR LABOURS; and their works do follow them.

Oh, how beautiful Heaven must be. It is a prepared place for a prepared people. Oh that all would prepare their hearts for Heaven now, trusting in the Lord Jesus, receiving and believing on Him.

Just As God Brings Heaven To Us He Will Bring Heaven To Earth

We will all die, but death is no evil, but a doorway. God brought Heaven to us in Christ, and will bring us all to Heaven one day. What Revelation 21 teaches us is that God will also bring Heaven back to earth.

Revelation 21:1 (KJV)  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:

Following the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth God will do something extraordinary – He will recreate this earth and the heaven that is about it. The Bible teaches that there are THREE HEAVENS.

The FIRST Heaven is where the birds fly (Matthew 6:26)
The SECOND Heaven is what we call outer space (Deuteronomy 4:19)
The THIRD Heaven is where our God has His Home (2 Corinthians 12:2)

In Revelation 21 the Lord is recreating the earth and the heaven that surrounds it. Peter speaks of the destruction of this earth in:

2 Peter 3:9-10 (KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  [10]  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

God will destroy this planet and all of its atmosphere. But once He destroys it He makes it new – both earth and the heaven that surrounds it.

Revelation 21:1 (KJV) … for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 

This new Earth will be different from the earth we are on now. About 71% of our planet is covered with water, and 96.6% of this water is in the seas. Yet the new Earth will have no seas. John was cast out onto the Island of Patmos to die, and it was the sea around this island that held him prisoner. In the new Earth there will be no separation from our loved ones. The seas will cease to be.

Revelation 21:2 (KJV) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

The Old Jerusalem was a fallen place. But on the new Earth God will send a New Jerusalem down from His Heaven. It will be without sin. This New Jerusalem is holy, and wed to Christ Jesus:

Revelation 21:9-10 (KJV) …. I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  [10]  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Christ will reign on the earth from Jerusalem, and holy will be His reign. This Heavenly Jerusalem will maintain the purity of the new Earth. God will make it so. What a glorious day that will be! What shall govern this new Earth? Not sin, nor man, but God. We read:

Revelation 21:3 (KJV) ….Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 

Christ is the “Tabernacle of God”. John 1:14 literally states:

the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (skenoo – tabernacled) among us

Jesus will dwell with His New Creatures on this New Earth from a New Jerusalem. “They shall be His people”. We will serve Jesus on this earth – and beyond, I believe. God Himself will be with us. We shall have access to the fullness of God.

We shall have God’s Touch.

Revelation 21:4 (KJV)  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes …

We have cried rivers on this present earth. Barely a week goes by that I do not shed tears from pain and hurt. But Beloved, the New Earth that belongs to His New Creatures shall be tear free. Like the shampoo said, no more tears! God will be with us. He will touch us.

Revelation 21:4 (KJV) … and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

On this New Earth we shall know that all the horrors of this sin torn earth will have passed. There will no longer be death, but life.

Isaiah 25:8 (KJV) {God} will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

There is no evil in all this new Earth. It is not renovated. It is not renewed. It is BRAND NEW, and belongs to our Lord and we His people.

To Whom Is The Promise Of The New Earth?

God offers this wondrous eternity to whosoever will. He says to all:

Revelation 21:6-7 (KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  [7]  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 

“I will give to the one that is thirsty”. If you are thirsty the Lord says to come to Him. Jesus Christ gave Himself for all. When we give ourselves to Christ He promises us a glorious eternity, one in which God will be our God and we shall be His sons. We will inherit this beautiful new Earth.

Revelation 21:23-25 (KJV)  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  [24]  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  [25]  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

There are kings on the new Earth, but these are the saved who followed Christ. The Scripture says:

2 Timothy 2:12 … If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him …

Those who walk on this new Earth will be the saved who walk in the light of it. It will be those who had genuine faith in Christ. What did our Lord say?

He that OVERCOMETH shall inherit all things

A genuine faith in Christ is not flighty. It remains. It stays. The New Creature has faith in the God Who makes all things new. The faith that calls on Christ and is implanted by God’s Spirit is not like a vapor or a morning fog that burns off with the sun of affliction. It looks up and trusts the Lord no matter what might come. It is not sloppy, but focused on the Sovereign Lord Jesus.

What will NOT be on this new Earth, nor in Heaven itself? The Bible tells us:

Revelation 21:8 (KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Those without faith in Christ – fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremnongers, sorcerers, idolators, liars – they shall not inherit this new Earth. They will be cast away from Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). They will hear Christ say “Depart from Me – I never knew you!”. They have rejected the Lord Jesus. They have chosen their own path. They crucified the Lord of Glory, but would not hear His Word.

And they are cast away forever. The inheritance of the unsaved is the unparadise. The inheritance of the sinner is sizzling. Those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ and sing “I did it my way” throughout this life have no part in God’s glorious new creation. This chapter on the new Earth ends with:

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

Only those who’s names are entered in the Lamb’s Book of Life shall enter into this new Earth. All others are cast out. Are you in His Book? Who is the overcomer? The Scripture says:

1 John 5:5 (KJV)  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you given your life to Him? Have you believe that He died for your sins, and rose to walk with you daily? Jesus has said:

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

Let your faith be in Jesus. Hear Him. Follow Him. Learn of Him. If He is yours, yours is eternity. May God touch your heart with His Word.

Posted in Revelation, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , ,

Christ Is Our Example

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1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Once more we come to a Communion Service. We gather around a table and partake of hard bread and a little grape juice. What do we commemorate when we do this which we call “The Lord’s Table”?

We have sanitized much of what Christ did in our Churches today. Look at the Cross behind me. It is a piece of craftsmanship, pretty to look at. The original Cross was not marked with wood stain and precious metals like silver and gold. It was a tree cobbled together. It was stained not with Minwax nor was it painted with Sherwin William’s. The Cross that Christ suffered on was an executioner’s chair. A raw tree stained with blood. Each criminal did not have his own Cross, but it was reused over and over again. It was horrible.

Those deemed criminals were made to carry the means of his death to an ancient landfill outside of the city gates. It was a place of death, decay, and disease. Once the criminal reached Golgotha – the “place of the skull” – he was not given the slightest comfort. His body was beaten so that his pain would be enhanced. He was forced to lay against the rough wood, and his hands and feet were nailed to the tree.

The criminal never died of blood loss. The executioners knew exactly where to drive the nails so as to avoid the major arteries of the human body.

Hanging between the heaven and the earth the criminal was literally strangled to death. If he wanted to breathe he had to pull upward so as to relax his diaphragm, tearing at the wounds in his hands and feet. When death came it was a sweet relief. If the criminal was unfortunate enough to linger beyond the setting of the sun his knees were shattered with a large wooden hammer. The Cross was the most devilish and most terrifying means by which a person could die. The French guillotine was terrible, then “Drawing and Quartering” of the Middle Ages was grisly, the American electric chair an awful means of death. But rising above all these methods of death and dying there stands the Godzilla of torture and execution, the Cross of the Roman Empire.

Jesus Christ went to that Cross for you and for me.


Jesus went to the Cross WILLINGLY.

John 10:17-18 (KJV) … I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself….

No one murdered Jesus. He was the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus is the second Adam Who would obey the Father, taking our punishment on Himself (Romans 5:17-19).

Jesus went to the Cross JOYFULLY.

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) {Jesus} … 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.

Jesus knew that His sacrifice would bring others into the Kingdom of God. Souls would be saved. The devil would be defeated. Jesus dreaded the suffering but did not turn away from it. “Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (John 12:27). Jesus never wavered because of His great love for you.

Jesus went to the Cross KNOWINGLY.

Matthew 16:21 (KJV) … Jesus began to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Jesus knew what was coming, but surrendered to it anyway. He did this for you and I. He did this because He wanted us to be members of God’s Heavenly Kingdom.

Now let us look at our text and read it again carefully:

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Every Christian Is CALLED To Imitate Christ In Suffering

The Apostle says:

For even hereunto were ye CALLED

Every Christian is called of God. You have heard His Gospel. You have understood that you are a sinner. You know that you can only be saved by Grace. You heard the Spirit call, and heard Jesus call. You are a CALLED person.

You are called according to God’s purposes.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God made you on purpose for His purpose. You have purpose in Him, in Christ. Your life revolves around Christ, not around yourself. You are CALLED.

You are called to be the children of the Living God.

Romans 9:26 (KJV) … there shall they be called the children of the living God.

As Christ died for us, we die for others. We lay our lives down to reach others for Christ. We do not consider ourselves anything, but consider others greater than ourselves. We live in opposition to this world, knowing that it will hate us – but we love all anyway. Jesus said:

John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. {19} If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. {20} Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;….

Isn’t that suffering? The world will hate the Christian. The darkness always hates the light. Love them anyway. Do good. Jesus did good no matter what the pain. Do good.

You are called to be Saints.

A “Saint” is not a statue we worship, but a person set apart to follow Jesus. We are called to be saints (1 Corinthians 1:2), set apart and distinct from the world. Let others see Christ through you.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (KJV) …. walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

It is our Call that defines us, not the world.

1 Corinthians 7:22-24 (KJV) For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

We are to live for God’s glory and for Christ’s smile. We are to follow His steps. We share this Lord’s Table TOGETHER because as brothers and sisters in Him …

We are called to love our neighbor as ourself.

Galatians 5:13-16 (KJV) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

As Christ went to the Cross loving, we too must take up His banner and follow Him. We must love others when suffering. In our suffering we are to be LIKE Christ so that others can SEE Christ in us. We are not to look at the darkness, but look to the light. Our Jesus kept His focus on God’s purpose, even when suffering,

Christ Kept His Focus On God’s Purpose

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

What were the “steps” that Jesus took when suffering on Calvary. Our text tells us:

1 Peter 2:22 (KJV) Who did no sin…

When we suffer, it is easy to allow the suffering to push us toward sinful behavior. How did Jesus respond. When He suffered He kept His eyes on the Father. Jesus suffered unjustly – there was no fault in Him. The trial judge called Pilate said “I find no fault in this Man”. When pressed to crucify Jesus Pilate …

Matthew 27:24 (KJV) … saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Pilate did wrong for convenience sake, and murdered rather than judged. And yet Jesus kept His eyes on the Father. Jesus was betrayed by a good friend named Judas Iscariot, who declared:

Matthew 27:4 (KJV) …. I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. …

and all of Christ’s disciples save John ran away and denied Him. Yet Christ did not sin. And as Jesus hung on Calvary between two thieves even then our Lord prayed for those who wrongfully accused Him, saying:

Luke 23:34 … Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. …

1 Peter 2:22 … neither was guile found in his mouth:

Jesus did not deceive, but spoke the truth in love. When He could have recanted the truths He came to present He refused to do so. He kept His eyes on the Father. Pastor John MacArthur said,

“Forgiveness is man’s greatest need. It is the only way that we can enter into fellowship with God and avoid hell, and that’s why Jesus prayed for it”.

These people did not need the judgment of God to rain down on them, but they needed God’s forgiveness. The Christian must understand this great truth! Everyone needs the Lord!

1 Peter 2:23 (KJV) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; 

As Jesus hung on that Cross suffering He was reviled, mocked, and purposely shamed. The Bible tells us:

Luke 23:34-37 …. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. {35} And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. {36} And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, {37} And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

The people stood beholding but not believing.
The rulers derided and drug Him down.
The soldiers mocked Christ, offering false comfort.
And all made fun of Him.
If You are the King of the Jews, save yourself!

We would be tempted to shout out against this horror, but Christ kept His eyes on the Father. Even those who were crucified with Him made fun of Him.

Mark 15:32 … they that were crucified with Him reviled Him.

Yet Jesus did not revile those who reviled Him.

1 Peter 2:23 (KJV) …when He suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Jesus committed Himself to the hands of the Father. In the midst of terrible suffering Jesus reached out in love to the thief. He reached out to the Apostle John and His mother Mary.

John 19:26-27 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! {27} Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

He kept doing the good that God called Him to do, ignoring His suffering, and looking to the Father. We who are His are called to do the same.

Keeping His Eyes On The Father Christ Triumphed

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) 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.

Christ triumphed because He was not distracted from His calling. He gave Himself for you and I so that we can be the children of the Most High. We who belong to God in Christ are to have this same mindset. The Apostle says:

Philippians 2:4-9 (KJV) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Jesus lowered Himself in order to raise us up.
We who are His are to lower ourselves so as to raise others up.
Righteousness always brings lowering, not self exaltation.
Sin elevates self and in so doing destroys others.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

The Lord’s Table reminds us that Christ lowered Himself for us. We are to lower ourselves, to give ourselves to others as He did. He was broken so that I could be made whole. He bled and died so that I could be covered and live. He gave expecting only our salvation. We are to do the same. This is a Table of Love. Let us come to it.

1 Peter 2:25 (KJV) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Let us imitate Christ!

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Peter | Tagged

We Must See Jesus

John 12:20-26 (KJV) And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast (of the Passover): [21] The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. [22] Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. [23] And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. [24] Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. [25] He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. [26] If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

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Homosexuality and sexual sin abounds throughout the nation. Bloodshed is exalted and watched as people murder one another before watching and cheering crowds. Life is cheap. Abortion is legalized and the child – a gift from God – is often thrown away by the mother for convenience sake. Prostitution is a major industry, and temples are built where people come to defile themselves and others. False prophets and false religions are not only tolerated, but mandated – and you are considered intolerant if you do not play along. God’s people are mocked, but also required to pay taxes to a government that does ungodly things with the money that is collected.

This may sound like I was describing America, but I am describing the Roman Empire at this time in history.

There is nothing new under the sun. As Solomon declared …

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (KJV)  The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  [10]  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

That nation – like ours – was rotting from the inside out. It was rotting because God was not in it.

We Need to See Jesus!

Though many admit that we have terrible problems in America, few seek Jesus. We think we can fix what ails us by psychiatry or drugs or science.

We Need to See Jesus, not a Doctor!

The darkness grows in America and the Church, which is to be the Light of God, retreats. Many have cancelled Prayer Meeting nights and midweek Bible study. Many Churches have no services but on Sunday morning. People come to Church for the coffee, for the contemporary music, for the beat. There’s nothing wrong with music – contemporary or otherwise.

But WE NEED to SEE JESUS!


We need to see Him not as Santa Claus,
To sit on His lap but a moment to get
That shiny new truck.
Oh, how we need to see Jesus!
Our children and grandchildren need to see Jesus.
We need to see Jesus.
Look around – see how many are here tonight.
Praise God for those who are here,
But I weep for those who do not want to see Jesus.

1 Israel Wanted To See Jesus, But Only As A Quick Fix. When Israel heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for the Passover the crowds turned out. The Scripture says that they …

John 12:13 (KJV) … Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the KING of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

This is the Jesus who healed the sick. He cured leprosy. And while many Pharisees watched, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Israel was tired of being in bondage. They hated Rome and its laws. They were tired of Herod the politician sitting on his throne, and dishonest Pilate ruling over him. Here was Someone Who could be a King. They called Him “King”.

Blessed is the KING of Israel

Jesus has every right to be King of Israel, but the crowd doesn’t know this. They don’t know Jesus is of the Line of Judah, of the House of David. Yes, He can and will one day be King. The Bible tells us that as Jesus rode into Jerusalem according to prophecy …

John 12:14-15 (KJV)  And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; AS IT IS WRITTEN,  [15]  Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day as a fulfillment of prophecy, a prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9. He is the King of the Daughter of Zion, the King of Israel. But Christ is not riding into Jerusalem to overthrow Rome. If He were, He would have rode a white stallion, not a donkey. A King rode into a town on a stallion to conquer, but on a donkey to bring PEACE.

Oh, this was not the first time the mob tried to make Jesus King. When Jesus fed above five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fishes right after this FEAST the mob wanted to make Him King. Yet the Bible says:

John 6:15 (KJV) When Jesus therefore PERCEIVED THAT THEY WOULD COME AND TAKE HIM BY FORCE, TO MAKE HIM A KING, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Jesus did not come to be A King”, another in a long line of politicians. The Pharisees worried when they saw the people excitedly shout for Christ.

John 12:19 (KJV) The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? BEHOLD, THE WORLD IS GONE AFTER HIM.

The whole world was gone after Jesus”. He was the preferred King, the preferred Candidate. The WHOLE WORLD wanted Jesus to be the next earthly King. But this same crowd when it was not appeased would just a few days later shout AGAINST Christ.

When Jesus stood beaten and bleeding before Pilate and Pilate could find no fault in Him, Pilate would ask this same crowd:

John 18:39 (KJV)  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

You wanted Him to be King just a few days ago.
Do you want Him released now?

The same crowd that demanded a golden crown for Christ
NOW demands a crown of thorns.
The crowd that demanded Christ sit on a throne
NOW demands He be hung on a cross.

John 18:40 (KJV)  Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

Release a murderer in His place. Crucify Him.
Why the sudden change?
The Bible like a Great Physician examines mankind.

Humanity sits on the cold metal table in the Doctor’s Office. The Bible places a stethoscope to our chest. What is wrong. We have heart problems. The Bible says:

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Genesis 8:21 (KJV) … the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth …

Wickedness is bound into the heart of ever person born onto this earth.
We must be born again. We must receive a new heart.
A Politician cannot fix the human heart.
A king cannot fix the human heart.
We need God.
Sir, we MUST SEE JESUS!

2 Jesus Came For Both Jew And Greek. We All Must See Jesus!

John 12:20 (KJV)  And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

These Greeks – Gentiles really – came to WORSHIP God. They did not come to start a riot. They did not come to elect a politician. They came to see Jesus. God prophesied of the Messiah that He would be:

Luke 2:32 (KJV)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

And Isaiah prophesied …

Isaiah 60:2-3 (KJV)  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  [3]  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, …

These Gentiles came to Jesus, attracted by His Light as is a moth to the bulb. They came first to Philip. Philip was a believer. We are told in Scripture that right after Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus, that …

John 1:43 (KJV)  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

Why do you think these Greeks – Gentiles – went to Philip to find Jesus? Because Philip was found of Jesus.
Philip loved Jesus.

John 12:22-23 (KJV) Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 and Jesus answered them saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man SHOULD BE GLORIFIED. …

Jesus came to be glorified. He came to die for both Jew and Greek, both bond and free. Jesus said:

John 12:24 (KJV) Verily, verily, {AMEN-AMEN} I say unto you, Except a {grain} of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Jesus Christ had come – not to cling to this life, but to “fall into the ground and die”. Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!

How would Jesus “take away the sin of the world”? He would come from Heaven as the Son of God, but go to the Cross as the Son of Man. Jesus would die for our evil hearts. He would die so that we – receiving and believing on Him – could have forgiveness from God. Jesus took my place in judgment and your place in judgment on the Cross. Only God can change the heart. When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior God promises you life.

In Adam all died, but in Christ all can be made alive
(1 Corinthians 15:22)
.

Praise God for Jesus. Praise God that He came to give Himself for the sins of man. We are told that He Who is very God of Very God …

Philippians 2:7-8 (KJV) {Jesus} made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And BEING FOUND IN FASHION AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS.

Jesus Christ fell from the head of the wheat – into the ground and died. He died for your sins and mine. His perfect heart suffered the agony of Calvary because our hearts were fallen. His Blood was shed for us. He died in agony for us. Never has a Person suffered as Jesus Christ suffered for us. The very wrath of God fell upon Him, He Who

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

He died for His creation.

Colossians 1:15-17 (KJV) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 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: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Oh how we need to see Jesus! Do you see Him? Do you? Do …

Hebrews 2:9,17 (KJV) … we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. … to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Those who believe on Jesus go through a change of heart. God changes the redeemed from the inside out. On our hearts He writes His Law – and we are both citizens and children of His Kingdom.

3 How Then Shall We Change Our Rome? By First Seeing Jesus Ourselves. And then by showing others Jesus by how we live for Him. Like Philip and Andrew we are to walk with Him daily, letting Him shine through us. It is those who walk with Jesus that can share His Word.

If we want to fix our culture, we must share His Kingdom Gospel.

We must preach REPENT and TURN TO CHRIST.

Jesus said:

John 12:25 (KJV) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that HATETH his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

As long as people love their present fallen condition they shall lose their lives. God did not make us to make our own rules, to wallow in sin as pigs wallow in the mud, to do hateful and evil things. God made us in His image and in His likeness so that we could walk with Him and glorify Him. The Gospel of the Kingdom calls people back to where God wants us to be.

John 12:26 (KJV) If any man serve me, LET HIM FOLLOW ME; AND WHERE I AM, THERE SHALL ALSO MY SERVANT BE: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

Jesus Christ came to redeem people from the darkness and to bring them into His Kingdom. Once saved, we are called to serve Him. We served sin before we were saved. Now saved, we serve a Risen Savior. We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We who are Heaven bound no longer serve ourselves by sin, we serve the Savior through His Spirit. We live as Light, following the Light, proclaiming His Light. Jesus said promised His followers:

John 12:31-33 (KJV) NOW is the judgment of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, IF I BE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

The devil is defeated by the Cross.
Evil is defeated by the Cross.
The heart is corrected by the Cross.
The mind is stabilized by the Cross.
We must shine as lights in darkness,
Else the world will never change.

We must see Jesus. We must see Him as He Who died for all.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:  [15]  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.

C.H. Spurgeon once said: “Brothers, if we want to have fruit in our ministry—if we want to see sinners converted—we must preach up Christ’s death! As the blacksmith strikes the hot iron upon the anvil, we must keep the hammer of the Gospel at work upon this great foundation Truth of God, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” It is no talking to men upon other topics in the hope that it will lead to their conversion. The great soul-quickening agency is, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Whoever will come and trust in the God-appointed Substitute for sinners shall be eternally saved, for life comes only through His death! “

The Cross must be preached. We must tell them that Christ died for all, that God loves all. We cannot fix what ails us, but Christ can. God’s Gospel can – and we must keep on telling the world. Watchman Nee said:

Everything in our service for the Lord is dependent on His blessing.”

God will always bless the sharing of Christ’s Gospel. Be a blessing to our nation. Shine for Christ. Share Christ. We must see Jesus. We must ALL see Jesus!

Posted in John, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Christ Is Precious

1_Peter_2_6t8_Transfiguration of Christ

Francesco Zuccarelli, “The Transfiguration of Christ”, c. 1788

1 Peter 2:6-8 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.[7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,  [8]  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The word “Precious” is used twice in our focal text today. It is used first in Peter’s quotation from Isaiah 28:16. Peter wrote in verse 6:

Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:
and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded

Peter uses the word again in verse 7:

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious

In both cases that which is “Precious” is a “He” not an “It”. In our world today we consider things to be precious. That word “Precious” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as:

“Of great value or high price”
“Highly esteemed or cherished”
“Excessively refined”

As Peter writes, he is not writing about a rare metal like gold, nor a rare stone like a diamond. He is writing of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Precious. He is more precious than anything on this earth. He is more precious than all the gold in Fort Knox. When my wife and I were in England we were allowed to see the Crown Jewels, that which belonged to the royals of Great Britain. We were told that these Crown Jewels were priceless. Jesus Christ is more precious than the Crown Jewels. He is more precious than the Hope Diamond. He is more precious than the billions that the rich own.

Jesus Is Precious Because There Is No Other Way Unto God

We read again:

1 Peter 2:6 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

The Apostle Peter is quoting from an Old Testament text found in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah is a very interesting Book, often called The Old Testament Gospel of Christ. When God called Isaiah to preach for Him God allowed Isaiah to look into Heaven and to see the glory of God. Most of us think that if we were to look into Heaven we would be transfixed, blessed beyond belief. Isaiah looked into Heaven and saw the glory of God. He saw God in His glory

“sitting upon the Throne, high and lifted up”

Isaiah saw the angels of God flying around the Throne saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the lord of hosts!”
“The whole earth is full of His glory”

Though God allowed Isaiah to look into Heaven – he did not steal his way in – Isaiah was horrified at what he saw. Suddenly Isaiah – looking upon the thrice holy God – realized that he in no way measured up to His righteousness. Isaiah cried out:

Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

When exposed to God as He is Isaiah realized he – and we – fall far short of His glory. We are all unworthy to stand in His presence. Isaiah only found relief when an Angel took a live coal from the righteous altar of God and put that coal on his mouth, saying …

Isaiah 6:7 (KJV) … Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

God had to place His own righteousness on Isaiah – to IMPUTE His righteousness to Isaiah’s account. Without this free gift Isaiah could not stand before God. We cannot hope to be righteous enough on our own to stand before the thrice Holy God Who inhabits Heaven. This is the testimony of the Scripture.

Many people do not believe this. When given the statement:

“Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature”

Some 52% of professing Christians said they believed this statement. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And we are told in Ephesians

Ephesians 2:2-3 (KJV)  Wherein in time past ye walked 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.

In our natural states we all are followers of sin. The Scripture makes this clear. We were “children of wrath” because we sinned. The Scripture says:

Genesis 8:21 (KJV) … the LORD said … the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth …

Whether man or woman we are all born into this world as sinners. Though we may not even understand what we do nor why it is wrong, even as babies we sin and fall short of God’s glory. This is why the Bible declares:

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

Mankind is not – as the world would say – basically good. We have all departed from God. From birth we follow the pattern of Adam, of whom the Scripture says:

Romans 5:12 (KJV)  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The world is not divided into “good” and “bad” people, but is homogeneously and naturally “sinners”.

And this is why Christ is precious.

Peter quoted Isaiah, who wrote as God directed:

Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

We are all sinners, but God has provided a way to salvation in Christ. “Thus saith the Lord GOD”. God says. The Eternal and Everlasting I AM says. “I lay in ZION”. Zion is the City of God, the place where God is. In the New Testament ZION refers to the Heavenly Jerusalem, God’s Holy, Eternal city. How did God build this city? How will He inhabit it? He says:

1 Peter 2:6 (KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in {Zion} a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

God laid in Zion a Chief Corner Stone. When the foundation of a building was laid in the ancient world the heaviest and most substantial stone was placed on the corner of the building. All walls and floors attached to this cornerstone. Heaven is attached to Christ and Christ alone. The Scripture says to those who have received Christ as Savior:

Ephesians 2:18-22 (KJV)  For through {Christ} we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  [19]  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  [20]  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  [21]  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  [22]  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The Cornerstone of the Christian is Christ.
The Cornerstone of the Church is Christ.
The Cornerstone of Heaven is Christ.

The early Church knew this and grew by it. Christ is precious because Christ is the ONLY WAY by which God has given us to be saved. Peter preached:

Acts 4:12 (KJV)  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When the world heard Christ preached as the only Way unto Heaven and unto God they “perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men”. The world has not changed. When the statement was given:

“God accepts the worship of all religions, including
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam”

Around 51% of professing Christians said that this statement is true. If so, then Christ is not precious. If Jesus Christ is but one Way unto God among many then His value has become no greater than the leaders of other world religions. But what has God said?

I lay in {Zion} a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

God says there is but ONE Chief Cornerstone. It is Jesus Whom God chose – He is ELECTED and PRECIOUS. There is no other way by which a person can be saved. The Bible declares repeatedly:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  [6]  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Romans 10:9 (KJV)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

and Jesus declared:

John 3:35-36 (KJV)  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  [36]  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

God the Father has provided but One Way to be saved, and that is to see Christ as “Precious”. He is the Only Way by which we can be saved from our sin. He is the Only Way by which we can enter into God’s Heaven.

Jesus Is Precious Because He Gave Himself For Me

1 Peter 2:7 (KJV) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious:

There are many who profess to follow Christ, but as I have shown today, many say they love the Lord but do not. Yet to those who have been saved Christ is precious. Christ is precious because He did not have to do what He did. Nothing forced Him from Heaven to this earth. God did not make Him do so, nor could have God have done so. Jesus Christ is God, God the Son, God in every way as powerful as both Father and Spirit. What does the Scripture say?

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

Jesus Christ – the manifest Word of God – Who was and is and always will be God – “was made flesh and dwelt among us”.

Jesus Himself said:

John 10:30 (KJV)  I and my Father are one.

and when Thomas saw the Resurrected Christ he knelt worshiping Him ..

John 20:28 (KJV)  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The Apostle declared that in Christ …. Colossians 2:9-10 (KJV)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  [10]  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

It is to Jesus that the Father said:

Hebrews 1:5-8 (KJV)  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  [6]  And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  [7]  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.  [8]  But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Jesus Christ is Eternal God. And yet He Who made the Heavens and the Earth, He Who made the plant-life and the seas, He Who made everything that flies or crawls, He that made man and woman in the Garden …

…. this same Christ came to this earth to give Himself for me.

Yes Beloved, He gave Himself for you, too.

Jesus started us all in a Garden called Eden, but surrendered Himself for our sins in a Garden called Gethsemane.

Christ made Adam from the dust of the ground, but remakes us from the Blood of His sacrifice.

When I was unable to fix myself, Christ offered to do so. He reached down into the much of my life and saved me in spite of myself. He is precious to me.

Christ saves the Christian out of Egypt. He brings us from that slavery and into the wilderness so that we might worship Him. There are many who attach themselves to the Church that do not see Christ as precious. When Moses departs to the mountain they tire of Christ. They call out to Aaron:

“Here is our jewelry, make us another god. Any old cow will do.
We will worship this, and follow it back to Egypt”

These are not believers, but lost people disguised as believers. What did Moses do when he came down from the mountain? He cried out:

Exodus 32:26 (KJV) … Who is on the LORD’S side?
let him come unto me. …

The Lord is precious to me because He lowered Himself for me. Therefore I will love Him more than anything else. Though my children and grandchildren are precious to me, Christ is MORE precious.

Matthew 10:37 (KJV)  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

In fact, though my life is precious, Christ is MORE precious. The Christians who is not willing to shed his own blood for Christ’s sake may not indeed be a Christian. Jesus said:

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

Christ is the MOST PRECIOUS to the true Christian.

The “Builders” Of Jerusalem Disbelieved And Died

1 Peter 2:7-8 (KJV) … but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,  [8]  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The leaders of Israel saw Christ, heard Christ, touched Christ … and yet disbelieved in Him. Jesus told them:

John 8:24 (KJV)  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

If you do not believe that Jesus and Jesus alone is precious – that He is the Father’s only Messiah, that He is the Only Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, then “you shall die in your sins”. Jesus Christ is the Only Way unto the Father. He has promised that if you give yourself to Him fully – if He is indeed to you PRECIOUS – then He will never leave nor forsake you. He has said:

Isaiah 46:4 (KJV)  And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Jesus is a Stone of Stumbling, and a Rock of Offense to those who wish to remain in their sins. Being disobedient, they reject Him for the ways of this world. One day they will be judged WITHOUT Christ because they reject Christ now. But to us who believe in Him, He brings us close to God. To those who have received the Precious Christ the Father has said:

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Come to Christ, dear one. Confess yourself a sinner. Admit that you have no standing before God but by Him. Believe that He gave Himself for your sins – that He is Precious – and you shall be saved.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

Posted in 1 Peter, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

The New Covenant And Our Responsibilities As God’s Children

Dali

Salvadore Dali – Christ of St John of the Cross

Hebrews 10:16-20 (KJV)  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  [17]  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  [18]  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  [19]  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  [20]  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

This Is The Covenant”. What Is A “Covenant”?

It is a contract between two persons, an agreement that both parties enter into in order to obtain a mutual blessing. In our modern age morality has slipped so far that most “Covenants” or “Contracts” are written on paper, executed and witnessed by lawyers, and are filed in public records with warnings of dire consequences should either party welch on their word. Among the ancients Covenants were made between two persons where each person was expected by society to keep their word. Integrity was not for sale.

The Bible begins with a Covenant between God and man and between husband and wife. When God placed Adam in the Garden He made a conditional, one sided Covenant with Adam. God made a covenant with Adam.

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

Adam had the free and unhindered blessing of Eden as long as he agreed to NOT EAT that which was forbidden. The contract was very clear, and one sided. If Adam violated the Covenant of Eden he would “surely die”. Period. Then God made Adam a wife. Adam made a Covenant with his wife:

Genesis 2:23-24 (KJV) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  [24]  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Again this was a conditional Covenant. It was one sided. Adam made a promise to his Eve, an unconditional promise to remain with her. Man and wife would be a unit, One. Adam promised to cleave to His wife.

Our Bibles are divided into TWO Covenants. You have the “Old Testament”, the word “Testament” an old English word for “Covenant” or “Contract”. You have the “New Testament” or “Covenant”. Our Bible is divided that way for a reason. There are a number of Covenants in the Old Covenant part of our Bible.

Noahic covenant [Genesis 9:8–17]
Abrahamic Covenant [Genesis 12-17]
Davidic Covenant [2 Samuel 7]

The largest Covenant – the one that overshadows the Old Covenant portion of our Bible – is the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was very much a conditional Covenant. God gave Israel a set of laws to follow, a set of sacrifices and festivals to adhere to, a mandate they must follow or else. God emphasized the or else of the Mosaic Covenant when – directly following the giving of the Law – He commanded Israel to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. When the leadership of Israel balked at obeying God’s Voice the Lord told them:

Numbers 14:32, 34-35 (KJV)  But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. … [34]  After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and YE SHALL KNOW MY BREACH OF PROMISE.  [35]  I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

Why did God cause the first generation of Israel to die in the wilderness? Because of a BREACH OF PROMISE. They broke the contract, the Old Covenant they had with God. Under the Old Covenant God’s people were to love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their might (Deuteronomy 6:5). Their lives were to be marked by their love for God, not for themselves. They were to love God above all else. This is what demands of His people, and this has never changed. Jesus was asked the question one day:

Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

What is ONE over riding commandment, the one that defines the Old Covenant? 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 neighbor as thyself.  [40]  ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

The Old Covenant – with all its sacrifices, rituals, and festivals boiled down to just this.

Love the God you cannot see.
Love the human that God created that you CAN see.

If you loved God then you did what He said.
You did the impossible things God said.
You did the hard things God said.
You did whatever God said.
Why? Because you loved God.

If you broke this Contract of Love then you lost the blessing. As hard as man tried to follow this contract it seemed as if no one could quite keep it. Why? Because the contract depended on the HEART of both parties.

God’s heart is pure.
God can easily keep the contract.
Man’s heart is corrupt.

The Pharisees kept the rituals to look good among men.
The Sadducees picked and chose what they thought was sacred.
The Israelite kept certain festivals, but did not daily approach God

The Law by its very nature was issued to a people whose hearts were unable to fully receive it. Why? The Apostle Paul said:

Galatians 3:22-26 (KJV)  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  [23]  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  [24]  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  [26]  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

No one was ever actually “saved” by keeping the Old Covenant.
God does not offer eternal life to those who do not LOVE Him.
Abraham was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Noah was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Enoch walked with God apart from the Old Covenant.
David was “saved” because he loved the Lord his God.

Salvation has always been a matter of faith, not works. The Old Covenant was a school master, a teacher Who would bring us to Christ, a teacher Who would show us that we needed new hearts. In the midst of the Old Covenant God promised His people one day that He would bring us a NEW COVENANT. Through the Prophet God spoke:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (KJV)  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  [32]  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  [33]  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  [34]  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Under the NEW COVENANT God promised to “put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people”. The OLD Covenant was written on tablets of stone. The NEW Covenant would be written on the heart. God promised that Israel and Judah would be under the NEW Covenant. That has not happened – yet. Israel today largely rejects the Christ that God sent. But the Lord grafted the Gentiles – that’s us – into the promises of Israel (see Romans 11:11-31). Christ came unto His own but His own did not receive Him (see John 1:11), but …

John 1:12-13 (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:  [13]  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

God today makes “sons of God” to those who turn to Christ. He writes His Law of love on our hearts. The standards we follow as Children of the King are those of LOVE:

Romans 8:3-4 (KJV)  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  [4]  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 13:8-10 (KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  [9]  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  [10]  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The Law could not write on the heart. But Christ can. The Law stands outside the body. The New Covenant imparts the Spirit of God to live in us who are His. Embracing Christ, we are embraced of His love. He covers us. He indwells us. He empowers us. His Spirit speaks to us, guiding us into all truth as our Lord said:

John 16:13-14 (KJV)  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  [14]  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

As we read of His Book – both Old and New Covenants – the Spirit guides each believer through God’s Will for his or her life. The Bible says:

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

Do We Have Responsibilities Under The New Covenant?

Hebrews 10:16-17 (KJV)  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  [17]  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

The Book of Hebrews tells us that YES we do have responsibilities under the New Covenant. God has promised under His New Covenant – a Covenant that the believer in Christ currently enjoys – to put His laws into our HEARTS and MINDS. God puts a knowledge of the holy in us. He makes us LOVE Him and LOVE one another. But God also promises to remove the breach between us. He says “their SINS and INIQUITIES will I remember no more”. This does not give us a carte blanch freedom to sin. God does not place us under the New Covenant so that we will be free to walk after the flesh. Oh Beloved, sin is still very much sin. But now instead of avoiding sin because it is written on a piece of paper we avoid sin because it hurts the God we love. Sin is a travesty against God and man. Sin is a destroyer. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). What God has deemed sin is not suddenly NOT sin nor NOT dangerous.

If it was WRONG under the OLD Covenant it is WRONG under the New.
If it was FORBIDDEN under the OLD it is forbidden NOW.
That which God despised is despised still, for God cannot change.
If we love God we will recognize this.


Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the
Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

What are our responsibilities under the New Covenant?

We Are To Draw Near To God

Hebrews 10:22 (KJV)  LET US DRAW NEAR with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

If God wrote His Laws on our hearts and minds then we should naturally – or supernaturally – draw near to Him. Under the Old Covenant the believer drew near to God by going to the Temple and offering sacrifices to God. Under the New Covenant we …

  • Let Us Draw Near By The Blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

The Old Covenant said “Go and do or be cursed”. The New Covenant “brought us near to God by the Blood of Christ”. Jesus Christ is not only the High Priest that we approach, but He is the Lamb slain for my sins. He paid the penalty of my failures, and brought me into union with God. I no longer go to Temple to draw near to God, but my Body is the Temple and God indwells me (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Jesus Christ died the Old Covenant Temple was desecrated, the veil ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Therefore the Scripture declares:

Hebrews 10:14 (KJV)  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:19-21 (KJV)  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  [20]  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  [21]  And having an high priest over the house of God;

  • Let Us Draw Near In Obedient Love To God. I have heard people justify continuance in sin because of their salvation in Christ. Yet this section of Scripture dealing with the New Covenant clearly states:

Hebrews 10:26-30 (KJV)  For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  [27]  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  [28]  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  [29]  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  [30]  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Many today who PROFESS Christ do not POSSESS Christ. If you are born again you will, at times, sin. Yet you will not justify that sin. Why? Because God has written His laws in your hearts and minds. When you sin you will CONFESS that sin before God as soon as possible. You love God and despise sin in yourself and in others. You see sin as a poison that caused the death of Christ. You will not wallow in sin, for to do so is to prove that your heart and mind are yet stone, and that God HAS NOT written His Law of love in you. In short, if you are saved you will BEHAVE SAVED. Not all of Israel was saved in Moses’ day. If you are, you will love the Lord Who saved you.

James 4:7-8 (KJV)  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  [8]  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

When you sin, dear Christian, do not try and work your way out of it. Return to God. Recognize the Blood of Christ, and confess your sins to Him Who loves you. Draw near to God, repent, and through His Blood be cleansed to love Him evermore.

  • Let Us Practice The Presence Of God Daily, Not Just At Church. He is with us through all we encounter.

Hebrews 10:8-10 (KJV)  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;  [9]  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.  [10]  By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Christian is a person who is SANCTIFIED, being SANCTIFIED, and will be SANCTIFIED. The word “SANCTIFIED” in the Greek is also used for HOLY or HOLINESS. To be “SANCTIFIED” means to be “set apart for God”. When you were saved God set you apart so that you can walk with Him on a daily basis. What has God promised in Christ:

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

I read a book several years ago which deeply effected my walk with God. It was called The Practice Of The Presence Of God. A Catholic Monk by the name of Brother Lawrence wrote how God convinced him that the Lord was with him not just in the special “holy” places or “holy” moments, but in every minute of every day. I never thought of my walk with God that way. God has said “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. To God, NEVER meas NEVER. He is with us when we go to bed. He is with us when we wake up. He is with us in the restroom, in the shower, in the marketplace, where ever I am there my Lord is. He rides with us. He flies with us. He is with us at work, in the hospital, and even if we are in the nursing home. He promised:

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

I read two articles the other day, one encouraging and one discouraging. The discouraging article talked about a couple named George and Shirley Brickenden who recently committed suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. They did this with the encouragement of the Dean of Toronto Canada’s St. James Anglican Cathedral.

Ontario, where recently threw a “bon voyage party” for their families, before committing suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. LifeNews reports that no one tried to stop them. And more shocking still, the dean of Toronto’s St. James Anglican Cathedral not only attended and blessed the procedure but then said he’d be honored to give the couple an Anglican funeral. The couple – married 73 years and neither of which were in terminal condition – just decided they wanted to die together. Their Church endorsed their suicides. Jesus Christ has given us eternal life, and every day is a gift from Him. Life has purpose and meaning because of Him. We live our lives for God, even when life is tough. We love our God first and foremost.

The other article I read was encouraging, a paradigm of faith. Dr. D.A. Carson wrote about an Anglican Bishop who was a great and godly man. This man was often referred to as the apostle to Tanzania. Yet later in life this great man suffered from Parkinson’s Disease so severe that he could neither walk nor talk. He communicated by shaky writing on a tablet he kept nearby, often having to write the same word several times to make it legible. Dr. Carson wrote:

We “talked” about a number of matters close to his heart — at least, I did the “talking,” and tried to ask most of my questions in a form where he could signal merely yes or no. In the short time I spent with him, I sensed a man of unshaken faith, and I had the audacity to ask him how he was coping with his illness. After decades of immensely productive activity, how was he dealing with his own suffering, with the temptation to feel he was now useless and fruitless? He penned his answer twice before I could make it out: THERE IS NO FUTURE IN FRUSTRATION.”

God was with this precious man when he ministered in Tanzania, and is with this precious man now.

  • Let Us Gather With Other Believers To Intentionally Love One Another. I have heard people say “I can worship God just as well in the woods hunting deer as I can in a Church building”. Yes, that is true. However the Law written on our hearts DEMANDS that we Love God first and foremost, and love others as ourselves. We are told:

Hebrews 10:23-25 (KJV)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  [24]  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  [25]  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We come together as Christians so that we can first of all share our profession of faith. The Bible says “a threefold cord is not easily broken”. Jesus emphasized the family of God when He told us

Matthew 18:20 (KJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

When Jesus sent disciples out to witness, they always went in minimums of TWO (Luke 10:1). John said “no one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us”. God’s Presence is magnified when two or more of us gather together in His Name. We come together to

provoke one another to love and good works

We work together as His Body (see 1 Corinthians 12) and His Family. We encourage one another, teach one another, and live out the life of Christ in the presence of one another for God’s glory. We worship our Lord both privately and together. We are obedient to Him Who loves us. We are called to be His People, His Light to a lost and dying world. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

Posted in Hebrews, Sermons Preached | Tagged , ,

Most Important

John_12_1t11_Rubens-Feast_of_Simon_the_Pharisee

image Rubens Feast of Simon

John 12:1-11 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. [2] There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. [3]  Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. [4]  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5]  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6]  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. [7]  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. [8]  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. [9]  Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. [10]  But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11]  Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

What is the most important thing to you?

Six days before Jesus was going to be crucified He went to Bethany. When I initially read this story I thought that Jesus was at the home of His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. But when you compare this text with Matthew 26 you see that …

Matthew 26:6 (KJV) … Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper

Simon was called “The Leper” not because he currently was a leper – for the Israelite was commanded to stay outside the town and to have no contact with healthy people (Deuteronomy 24:8-9; Leviticus 13:46). Simon had been healed by God. Simon was also a Pharisee (Luke 7:37-38). I suspect that Jesus accepted Simon’s invitation to supper because our Lord is always reaching out in love to others. Though the Pharisees hated Jesus, Jesus loved them too. Our Lord came to save whosoever will.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Lazarus?

John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

Jesus came to this supper not long after raising Lazarus from the dead. A week before this supper Lazarus became sick unto death.

We all take our lives for granted until death knocks at the door.
We sit and watch mindless television. We watch re-runs.
We invest our lives in many things that do not matter.

But Lazarus had seen death. He actually died, was buried, and had been through his funeral. Lazarus realized how fleeting life is. Though resurrected by Christ, he would one day die again, for it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Doesn’t the Bible tell us that:

James 4:14 (KJV)For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

What is important to Lazarus? Read the text.

John 12:2 Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with {Jesus}.

The one who has lost life then receives it again is not wasting it anymore. He realizes the preciousness of life. Lazarus “sits at the table with Jesus”. He wants to be close to Jesus. Jesus said:

John 12:26 (KJV)  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Martha?

John 12:2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served

What was most important to Martha was the applause of others. She loved being busy. This was not her house, and yet Martha served. I thank God for those who serve, for without them the Church would come to a standstill. And yet I ask, Why do you serve? There was another time when Jesus came to supper and Martha served. As Martha served Mary sat at Jesus feet and “heard His Word” (Luke 10:39). Finally Martha had enough.

Luke 10:40-42 (KJV)  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  [41]  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  [42]  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

When we come together as a Church we as individuals come expectantly – wanting a Word from God. We serve Him, and do as He says. But we need His Word so we can apply it to our lives.

We need to come SEEKING and leave SERVING.

God loves those who serve Him. Let our lives be about serving Him by hearing His Word FIRST and THEN putting it into practice.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Judas Iscariot?

Mary opened a bottle of precious oil, and began to bathe Jesus’ feet with it. The Bible says …

John 12:4-6 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5]  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6]  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

The most important thing to Judas was money. He loved money. The Bible warns us that …

1 Timothy 6:10-11 (KJV)  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  [11]  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; …

Money is a trap, and it has killed many.
We are to RESIST the devil, but FLEE from greed.

Judas Iscariot sold our Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. After doing this his conscience condemned him. When he tried to return the money the Pharisees would not take it back.

So Judas killed himself by hanging.
Jesus was supposed to hang on a tree for our sins.
But Judas
hung HIMSELF for HIS sins.
Which did nothing at all for Judas.

Better he should have heeded Christ’s words.

John 12:7-8 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. [8]  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Mary was ministering to Jesus. God had spoken to her heart, and she knew that our Lord was going to die soon. Lazarus should have looked away from the money and looked unto Jesus. There he would have found rest.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to the Chief Priests?

John 12:10-11 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11]  Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

The chief priests and Pharisees hated Jesus because He threatened their power. The chief priests were concerned with being “chief”. That was what they wanted, so much so that they plotted to kill Lazarus. Jesus told these people:

John 12:25 (KJV)  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

The chief priests would not only lose their power, but in 70 AD the Temple would be destroyed by the Roman Empire. They would lose their lives and their jobs because they made the wrong thing most important. They should have loved the Lord.

What is the most important thing to you?
I wonder what
was the most important thing to Mary?

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Money was not the most important thing to Mary. Spikenard is harvested from a plant that only grows in the Himalaya mountains of India and Nepal. It is very rare, and was imported to Israel. When Judas Iscariot – a greedy thief – evaluated the cost of the spikenard he said it was worth 300 pence or denarii (John 12:5). The average workman earned only one denari per day of wages, so this would be the annual salary of a blue collar worker. Mary without hesitation anointed the feet of Jesus with this costly spikenard.

Pride was also not an important thing to Mary. She anointed Jesus’ FEET, the dirtiest part of the human body in those days. She then wiped His feet with her hair. The hair of a woman was considered her crown and glory.

What was the most important thing to Mary?
It was to honor Jesus with her possessions.
It was to honor Jesus with her life.
She served the Lord.
Because of her service,

the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

When God’s people serve the Lord without pride and foolishness the house is filled with the odor of the ointment. God gave us life to serve Him. We are to worship Him with all our hearts.

There was one other person at that supper that we have yet to mention. He is not specifically mentioned in the text, but He was surely there. That person is the Heavenly Father.

I wonder what is the most important thing to God The Father?

The Father has said of His Son that He is “My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22). Jesus said:

John 5:22-23 (KJV)  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:  [23]  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

The most important thing to the Father is that His Son be honored. God sent His Son to die for our sins. Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, to be a blessing to us. Jesus is to be honored. He is precious to God. Mary knew this. Of all that were there that day Mary and possibly Lazarus, I believe, gained the smile of God. They both wanted to be near Jesus.

Let us live to honor the Lord Jesus.
Let us use what we have for His glory.
In Christ’s Name.
Amen!

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