SERMONS & TEACHING

May 27, 2018
The Gospel for Imperfect People: Church Members
The Gospel for Imperfect People
“Imperfect Church Members”
John 16

A Word to All of Us
I am happy to pastor this church. I love each one of you dearly. When I say I look forward to worshiping with you I do not say that to sound pastoral, I say that because it is truth. I know that being faithful to church is a struggle to some, giving hard for others, serving consistently is a heavy burden at times. I do not expect any of us to get it all right all the time. I simply love you and want you to stay. I want you to keep trying, keep praying, keep struggling, keep trusting God. I care for you when you give or do not, I will preach to the church when it is easy or hard, if you are late or on time, when your family is strong and when it is weak, through all seasons I want to be with you. All I ask is you stick it out and trust in Jesus through the good and bad of life. Church life isn’t easy, but we are in it together.
 
Jesus’s Imperfect Group
When we come to John 16 we can learn a lot from the many implications in the text. When I say implications I simply mean the things we as a church know because we have the full revelation of scripture. For instance, we know that the audience that Jesus was addressing in John 16 was an imperfect group for the scriptures state we are all sinners, including Jesus’s own group. The text is not written to say: “Hear thou me you group of damned sinners”. Yet we know what they were, for scripture tells us what we all are. So here we have a group of imperfect people that Jesus loves. A group that will soon abandon Him in His darkest hour (32). Jesus knew every squabble that would arise among them, every failure that would weigh heavy on them, the struggle of the mind that would always be at war in them and still He spoke to them and gave them words of truth, hope, and joy. This is the message I hope to give to the group of Jesus’ imperfect people today.
 
The Words of Jesus a Real Comfort (1-4)
This chapter opens with Jesus revealing why He is speaking to them with such simple but rich words. His goal is to equip them with knowledge so His group of imperfect people will not abandon their faith. Jesus knew hard times were upon His imperfect group and the inner urge to abandon their faith would be great. Noble ideas would call them away, Storage love (love for family) would seek to elevate itself above Jesus (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26), fear would impose itself on the weak group, physical pain and alienation (which is loneliness) had them in its crosshairs, and self-gratifying pleasure of the world would soon be undressing herself to lure the group away. The disciples were in a dangerous place and Jesus knew it. We are in the same dangerous place and Jesus knows it. Later on, in the pages of scripture as the Christian church was developing and expanding we read that Paul had friends in the faith that abandoned him because they loved the world “Demas has forsaken me loving this present world” 2nd Timothy 4:10. It was from the backdrop of temptation and danger that Jesus spoke to His group and the words He spoke them brings the same comfort to us today that it brought to His original group of followers many years ago. Jesus has a word for every fear and danger in your life.
 
Each imperfect church member today can have the truth, hope, and joy needed to survive and thrive as a follower of Jesus, by believing the following implications in John 16:
 

I. Though Imperfect You are Important (5-7)
 
The first implication we observe is that Jesus planned to return to the Father. Jesus was not talking about taking a vacation but suffering and death. The disciples did not like the sound of that. He tells them, and us, that going to the cross is a plus for us. Embracing the cross and becoming a curse is how He planned to show us our worth. You are very important to this local body of believers because of Jesus.

a. A Word of Hope
 
As a church member your importance is measured by what Jesus has said about you and accomplished for you. It is easy and also dangers to measure your value in a local body of believers by any other factor than Jesus’s teaching and cross. Our self-worth as an individual, or church, is not wrapped up in self, but the Savior, we are valuable because Jesus is valuable. Very valuable people have walked in and out of these doors because they were measuring themselves with another metric. You matter to me, you matter to this church, but most of all you matter to Jesus. Your many imperfections do not make you worthless. It is what God has declared about you in His Son the makes you an in-expendable commodity in His Kingdom.
 
In a large vast kingdom filled with riches and power was the most noble and handsome prince. Living outside his kingdom was the most hideous people. Tattered clothes that reeked of rot, breath ridden with the worse kind of halitosis, and absent of all manners of good will and politeness. One day the Prince set out on a ride to see the farthest corners of his kingdom and beyond. When he crossed over the border and came to the hideous people he encounters a lady most hideous to the 5 senses and decided to love her. He wrapped her in a royal robe placed her on his very horse and took her to the palace where he made her his princess. Not a beautiful sight even cleaned up and clothed right, not educated, not connected, yet she sits in the palace robed in valuable glory. Where did she get such worth? Simply from the indwelling love of the prince for her. We are like the hideous lady who has immense value because Jesus loves us!
 
Do you rejoice in the value Jesus has given you? Do you attend this church because of how Jesus has valued you?
 
II. Though Imperfect You are Gifted (13-15)
 
Jesus was headed to the cross to make a worthless group eternally valuable to God, and at the same time looking beyond the horrific suffering to the coming of the Spirit of God into the lives of His imperfect followers. Jesus going away (resurrection from the dead and accession into heaven) would be beneficial to His group because of the coming of the Holy Spirit to teach, direct, and empower His Church of imperfect people. This second great implication from our text reminds the church how important each member truly is.
 
The Spirit of God is in each believer knitting us together, directing our steps, and gifting us in various ways for the glory of God and sake of man makes each gifted member a link in an unbreakable chain. It is this very chain that you are a link in that pulls others out of the fiery pits of hell. You are gloriously gifted and the people seated all around you need that gift. It is important for you to stay faithful to this local church because we need you.
 
We need you to grow, groom, and exercise your spiritual gifting right here with us. My gift of teaching is valuable to the church, your gift of mercy, giving, or hospitality is just as important to the church. Jesus died, rose again, ascended to heaven, and sent the Spirit of God in order for you to be gifted for where you are now. I encourage you to do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest-ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. (Gary Inrig, Life in His Body)

The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his marvelous violin to Genoa -- the city of his birth -- but only on condition that the instrument never be played upon. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a peculiarity of wood that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little wear. As soon as it is discarded, it begins to decay. The exquisite, mellow-toned violin has become worm-eaten in its beautiful case, valueless except as a relic. The moldering instrument is a reminder that a life withdrawn from all service to others loses its meaning. (Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.)

We need to be put to use for the glory of God and sake of man. It was for this purpose that Jesus died, rose again, and sent the Holy Spirit. To do anything less is to make the work of Christ of none effect in our lives.

Will you stay and use the gift God has given you for His glory and our sake?
 
III. Though Imperfect You are Responsible (31-33)
 
The third implication is both a warning and encouragement. Jesus has died, rose again, ascended into heaven, and given gifts to men. We as Jesus’ imperfect group are now valuable, gifted, and accountable to God for how we respond to these truths. Jesus taught the disciples in parables about being responsible with what God has given. Each person here today will be accountable to God for how they utilized their redemption and gifting. Being imperfect does not excuse you from accountability.
 
On the day of judgment, we can say, the church you gave me was a bore, the preacher was not well spoken, the programs were outdated or far-fetched, or use the famous “I wasn’t getting spiritually fed” (says the conservative Christian that doesn’t believe in government handouts). Whatever excuse you can think of to avoid your responsibility as a saved gifted imperfect person before God will not be accepted. Jesus said the perfect words to imperfect people and then the responsibility to obey is on us. His disciples scattered on their own by no fault of Jesus. If you chose to scattered it is on you, and no one else. Today I want to encourage you to remain faithful and serve in all your imperfections because it is the will of God for your life. Jesus redeemed and gifted you that you may stand before Him accountable on the day of judgment awaiting great reward.
 
Will you serve God and be faithful in your imperfections as a church member?
 
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  • May 27, 2018The Gospel for Imperfect People: Church Members
    May 27, 2018
    The Gospel for Imperfect People: Church Members
    The Gospel for Imperfect People
    “Imperfect Church Members”
    John 16

    A Word to All of Us
    I am happy to pastor this church. I love each one of you dearly. When I say I look forward to worshiping with you I do not say that to sound pastoral, I say that because it is truth. I know that being faithful to church is a struggle to some, giving hard for others, serving consistently is a heavy burden at times. I do not expect any of us to get it all right all the time. I simply love you and want you to stay. I want you to keep trying, keep praying, keep struggling, keep trusting God. I care for you when you give or do not, I will preach to the church when it is easy or hard, if you are late or on time, when your family is strong and when it is weak, through all seasons I want to be with you. All I ask is you stick it out and trust in Jesus through the good and bad of life. Church life isn’t easy, but we are in it together.
     
    Jesus’s Imperfect Group
    When we come to John 16 we can learn a lot from the many implications in the text. When I say implications I simply mean the things we as a church know because we have the full revelation of scripture. For instance, we know that the audience that Jesus was addressing in John 16 was an imperfect group for the scriptures state we are all sinners, including Jesus’s own group. The text is not written to say: “Hear thou me you group of damned sinners”. Yet we know what they were, for scripture tells us what we all are. So here we have a group of imperfect people that Jesus loves. A group that will soon abandon Him in His darkest hour (32). Jesus knew every squabble that would arise among them, every failure that would weigh heavy on them, the struggle of the mind that would always be at war in them and still He spoke to them and gave them words of truth, hope, and joy. This is the message I hope to give to the group of Jesus’ imperfect people today.
     
    The Words of Jesus a Real Comfort (1-4)
    This chapter opens with Jesus revealing why He is speaking to them with such simple but rich words. His goal is to equip them with knowledge so His group of imperfect people will not abandon their faith. Jesus knew hard times were upon His imperfect group and the inner urge to abandon their faith would be great. Noble ideas would call them away, Storage love (love for family) would seek to elevate itself above Jesus (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26), fear would impose itself on the weak group, physical pain and alienation (which is loneliness) had them in its crosshairs, and self-gratifying pleasure of the world would soon be undressing herself to lure the group away. The disciples were in a dangerous place and Jesus knew it. We are in the same dangerous place and Jesus knows it. Later on, in the pages of scripture as the Christian church was developing and expanding we read that Paul had friends in the faith that abandoned him because they loved the world “Demas has forsaken me loving this present world” 2nd Timothy 4:10. It was from the backdrop of temptation and danger that Jesus spoke to His group and the words He spoke them brings the same comfort to us today that it brought to His original group of followers many years ago. Jesus has a word for every fear and danger in your life.
     
    Each imperfect church member today can have the truth, hope, and joy needed to survive and thrive as a follower of Jesus, by believing the following implications in John 16:
     

    I. Though Imperfect You are Important (5-7)
     
    The first implication we observe is that Jesus planned to return to the Father. Jesus was not talking about taking a vacation but suffering and death. The disciples did not like the sound of that. He tells them, and us, that going to the cross is a plus for us. Embracing the cross and becoming a curse is how He planned to show us our worth. You are very important to this local body of believers because of Jesus.

    a. A Word of Hope
     
    As a church member your importance is measured by what Jesus has said about you and accomplished for you. It is easy and also dangers to measure your value in a local body of believers by any other factor than Jesus’s teaching and cross. Our self-worth as an individual, or church, is not wrapped up in self, but the Savior, we are valuable because Jesus is valuable. Very valuable people have walked in and out of these doors because they were measuring themselves with another metric. You matter to me, you matter to this church, but most of all you matter to Jesus. Your many imperfections do not make you worthless. It is what God has declared about you in His Son the makes you an in-expendable commodity in His Kingdom.
     
    In a large vast kingdom filled with riches and power was the most noble and handsome prince. Living outside his kingdom was the most hideous people. Tattered clothes that reeked of rot, breath ridden with the worse kind of halitosis, and absent of all manners of good will and politeness. One day the Prince set out on a ride to see the farthest corners of his kingdom and beyond. When he crossed over the border and came to the hideous people he encounters a lady most hideous to the 5 senses and decided to love her. He wrapped her in a royal robe placed her on his very horse and took her to the palace where he made her his princess. Not a beautiful sight even cleaned up and clothed right, not educated, not connected, yet she sits in the palace robed in valuable glory. Where did she get such worth? Simply from the indwelling love of the prince for her. We are like the hideous lady who has immense value because Jesus loves us!
     
    Do you rejoice in the value Jesus has given you? Do you attend this church because of how Jesus has valued you?
     
    II. Though Imperfect You are Gifted (13-15)
     
    Jesus was headed to the cross to make a worthless group eternally valuable to God, and at the same time looking beyond the horrific suffering to the coming of the Spirit of God into the lives of His imperfect followers. Jesus going away (resurrection from the dead and accession into heaven) would be beneficial to His group because of the coming of the Holy Spirit to teach, direct, and empower His Church of imperfect people. This second great implication from our text reminds the church how important each member truly is.
     
    The Spirit of God is in each believer knitting us together, directing our steps, and gifting us in various ways for the glory of God and sake of man makes each gifted member a link in an unbreakable chain. It is this very chain that you are a link in that pulls others out of the fiery pits of hell. You are gloriously gifted and the people seated all around you need that gift. It is important for you to stay faithful to this local church because we need you.
     
    We need you to grow, groom, and exercise your spiritual gifting right here with us. My gift of teaching is valuable to the church, your gift of mercy, giving, or hospitality is just as important to the church. Jesus died, rose again, ascended to heaven, and sent the Spirit of God in order for you to be gifted for where you are now. I encourage you to do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

    Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest-ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton and when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. After their graduation, they planned to practice law together. (Gary Inrig, Life in His Body)

    The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his marvelous violin to Genoa -- the city of his birth -- but only on condition that the instrument never be played upon. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a peculiarity of wood that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little wear. As soon as it is discarded, it begins to decay. The exquisite, mellow-toned violin has become worm-eaten in its beautiful case, valueless except as a relic. The moldering instrument is a reminder that a life withdrawn from all service to others loses its meaning. (Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.)

    We need to be put to use for the glory of God and sake of man. It was for this purpose that Jesus died, rose again, and sent the Holy Spirit. To do anything less is to make the work of Christ of none effect in our lives.

    Will you stay and use the gift God has given you for His glory and our sake?
     
    III. Though Imperfect You are Responsible (31-33)
     
    The third implication is both a warning and encouragement. Jesus has died, rose again, ascended into heaven, and given gifts to men. We as Jesus’ imperfect group are now valuable, gifted, and accountable to God for how we respond to these truths. Jesus taught the disciples in parables about being responsible with what God has given. Each person here today will be accountable to God for how they utilized their redemption and gifting. Being imperfect does not excuse you from accountability.
     
    On the day of judgment, we can say, the church you gave me was a bore, the preacher was not well spoken, the programs were outdated or far-fetched, or use the famous “I wasn’t getting spiritually fed” (says the conservative Christian that doesn’t believe in government handouts). Whatever excuse you can think of to avoid your responsibility as a saved gifted imperfect person before God will not be accepted. Jesus said the perfect words to imperfect people and then the responsibility to obey is on us. His disciples scattered on their own by no fault of Jesus. If you chose to scattered it is on you, and no one else. Today I want to encourage you to remain faithful and serve in all your imperfections because it is the will of God for your life. Jesus redeemed and gifted you that you may stand before Him accountable on the day of judgment awaiting great reward.
     
    Will you serve God and be faithful in your imperfections as a church member?
     
  • May 20, 2018The Gospel for Imperfect People: Family
    May 20, 2018
    The Gospel for Imperfect People: Family
    The Gospel for Imperfect People
    The Imperfect Family

    Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
    Genesis 17:4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
    Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
     
    Our Imperfect Families

    There has always been pressure on families to be near perfect. Husbands feel it, wives feel it, children feel it, and the family unit as a whole sense it together. There are two ways I have observed families handling the unseen pressure to get it all right.

    1. The family unit embraces it and attempts to get it all right when they see they cannot it turns into a show where outside the home they uphold an image and inside the home things get rough.
    2. The family unit rejects the notion in an unhealthy way by being so “genuine” they lose themselves or at least their testimony for Christ. It is the we are failures and will embrace our failures by living in and being controlled by them.

    The answer for the imperfect family is the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a lamb for your imperfections that teaches you to be forgiven and to move on repenting and rejecting sin while rejoicing in Jesus.
    To help us get a clearer view of imperfect families and the gospel we will study the life of Abraham.
     
    Abraham a Friend of God

    James 2:23 “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

    Abraham or Abram is mentioned over 300 times in the bible making him one of the most talked about people in the scripture. He is given the famous title “the Friend of God”. He is the man God chose to be the vessel from which His chosen people, and very Son would be born from. By the time Jesus came into His ministry nearly 2000 years ago Abraham was elevated to a very high position in the minds of the religious leaders and people of the day. Jesus was once asked are you greater than our father Abraham (John 8:53) revealing that Abraham was an adored man. We, as people, have a way of elevating each other higher than what ought to be and then watching each other crash and burn from expectations that have been set. These expectations that we have for ourselves or our families are often unbiblical. We do not expect to be forgiven, we often see ourselves as the forgivers and not the forgiven. I am sure this view is taken for a multitude of reasons. One reason we like to be viewed as the forgivers and not the forgiven is that forgiven people have to admit they are wrong, imperfect, fragile people, that want to get it all right but have failed in that endeavor. Yet the gospel is for those who are broken, willing to repent, and follow God. There is great reward in being forgiven.
     
    What does this have to do with Abraham?

    Abraham is truly a friend of God. Yet, it may come to a surprise that Abraham was not a friend of God because he was perfect. Abraham was a friend of God because God loved him, made him righteous, and accepted him. When you read the opening verses of this message you can read it in a proud righteous voice beaming with zealousness that such a noble man was selected to be the father of many nations. But if you read these verses rightly you will read them with awe and wonder that God chose such a sinner as Abraham. Surrounding all these great promises of God are accounts of Abraham being a liar, doubter, and for lack of a better word adulterer.
     
    There is also an account of his lovely wife encouraging him to engage in a sexual relationship with a servant girl in order for them to fulfil the promise of God. Then we have the running off of the servant girl and the distancing of Abraham’s son Ishmael. Finally, to top it all off Abraham’s descendants who would become kings and priest to God also had messed up families. I am not here to promote imperfection, but reality. The reality is Jesus is of immense eternal value to every imperfect person and family. The perfect gospel is preached in a setting of imperfections; hence we call it the “good news” of Jesus. Jesus is the prize of eternity.
     
    I do not invite you to Jesus in order to get to heaven, I invite you to love, trust, and serve Jesus because He is the greatest prize of heaven! And to preach Jesus rightly I must tell you we are messed up people destined for hell without Him as our Lord. When you have Jesus as Lord you have everything. You can grow and flourish in unimaginable ways.
     
    What does the Gospel of Jesus mean to Abraham and our imperfect Christians families?

    Let’s look at a list of a few of the Abrahamic families:

    Isaac’s Family
    The two sons were always at each other taking advantage of each other, stealing from each other, and Esau wanted to kill Jacob. Mom and Dad had favorites and this made the matters worse as Mom helped trick Dad to get her favorite son the blessing of the family.

    Jacob’s Family
    Had twelve sons, two wives, and two concubines. Most of his children plotted to kill Joseph, decided to sell him into slavery, and lied to their father about all of it.

    King David’s Family
    David had an affair, some tend to believe it could have been rape or at least sexual assault, had a child that died because of the affair, some of his children hated each other and sought to kill one another. Absalom kicked his father off the throne for a while and was killed in a battle.

    Solomon’s Family
    Solomon had a palace full of wives. Need I say more?

    Jesus’s Family
    Joseph and Mary left Jesus, The Son of God, in Jerusalem and made it a long way before the realized they had lost Jesus. His siblings thought he was a bit looney and did not believe on him at first.

    What we see time and time again is imperfect families that God loves and redeems for His glory. These reveal:

    I. Imperfect Families can Believe God (Genesis 15:6)
     
    Abraham’s flawed life was not his legacy. His legacy was “he believed God”. Your dark spots do not have to be the highlight of your life. You can believe what God has said about you today and be recognized as a believer. What did Abraham believe about God?

    a. He believed in the Heir God Promised (Genesis 15:4)
     
    Abraham longed for a son and the time of life to have children had passed by him. Yet God said there would be an heir that will come from your own body. Abraham believed God more than he believed biology.

    b. He Believed in the Future God Promised (Genesis 15:5)
     
    There would not be just one heir, but many heirs produced through Abraham. Abraham’s future looked bright when his present was bleak. I believe in the heir of Abraham, His name is Jesus. I believe in the future God has promised, that Jesus will return with all the “dead” heirs of Abraham to reign on the earth.

    Imperfect people can believe God. Look around today at how many imperfect families have believed God by assembling with other believers, singing, praying, giving, and serving. We are imperfect people that believe God. This is only possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel of Jesus the compels us to believe.

    II. Imperfect Families can get it Wrong and God is Still Faithful (Genesis 17:4)
     
    I want to be very clear on this point. Abraham and Sara missed God’s will by a long shot. They were not even on the same continent as God’s plan, yet God stayed faithful to them. He did not throw them away. He understood they were just dust and had divine compassion on them. We should take note that their sin cost them greatly and the consequences of their sin still ripple through the world today. There is a long history of conflict between Isaac and Ishmael the two sons of Abraham. Ishmael, Abraham’s illegitimate son, is the father of the Arabic people and Isaac the legitimate son brought forth the nation of Israel. Still God passed over Abraham and Sara’s sin in order to keep His promise. The promise God made to Abraham was not contingent on Abraham, but on God alone. When God chose to save us through Jesus Christ He did it solely based on the merit of Jesus. He did not look at me and say “Robert thou son of Robert art holy, and I thy God shall save thee.” No, that is not how it happened at all. God has said “Robert you are a filthy sinner deserving of the darkest hottest hell but by my Son’s life, death, and resurrection I will make you what you are not, righteous”.

    a. What Does This Mean for Imperfect Christian Families
     
    It means you miss family devotion and God is still faithful. Your family struggles to do right under pressure and God is still faithful. Our everyday failures as families always has the presence of God’s faithfulness. Knowing this encourages me to serve, pray, study, give, and obey. Even when my family gets it wrong God is faithful to forgive and that truth gives me great courage to continue.
    Recently I visited an elderly couple that does not attend this church. I have made trips to their home before and knew that the trip would be pleasant. I know the older man has a great testimony and we talk about it nearly every time I visit. Years ago, when he and his wife had 4 small children he was over at a friend’s house drinking and arguing the bible.
     
    When it was time to go home his wife got in the driver’s seat with her drunk husband in the passenger seat and 4 children in the back and that is when it happened. He said something, Someone, fell across him. His wife could see in his face something was wrong with him. He says that the alcohol had surrendered its influence and the Holy Spirit was arresting him. He asked to be taken to the church that night where they had revival. His wife felt that everyone would be gone home, he didn’t care he would go to the house of the Sunday School Teacher or the Pastor if need be. To keep the story short, he ended up at the altar of the church asking Jesus to forgive and save him. He stood up completely sober and began serving God from that day till now. His testimony is God was and is faithful to him no matter how many times he has failed God has never failed.
     
    Does God’s faithfulness amaze you to the point you serve Him in spite of imperfections?

    III. Imperfect Families can Leave a Lasting Story of Brokenness, Forgiveness, and God’s Grace (Galatians 3:8)
     
    Abraham and his imperfect family had the gospel preached unto them. The promised Seed would come and stand in the stead of Isaac and his descendants. You see God used Isaac as a lesson when He asked Abraham to sacrifice him. If Isaac would have been killed the people of God would have died that day. The death of Isaac would have been well deserved because he was a sinner and would pass on the sin nature to a nation he was to father. Yet, God intervened and showed Abraham what was to come in order to save His people. One would be substituted for the sake of Isaac and many other sinners from many nations.
     
    God’s people would be spared because God would provide a Lamb. Each time a sin would happen Abraham could say “There is a Lamb for that” in brokenness Abraham could say “there is a Lamb for that”. Every time we ask forgiveness we are reminded there is a Lamb for that! We press on because there is a Lamb for our sins. We have hope because there is a Lamb that gives hope! Our story only magnifies the Story of the Lamb of God. Our story is His story of Grace. At the end of the age our failures will simply be megaphones that shout “the Lamb of God is supreme and we mere trophies of His sufficiency”. Worship God today because there is a Lamb for all your imperfections!

    Will you point your imperfect family to the Lamb of God in every situation?
     
  • May 13, 2018The Gospel for Imperfect People: Mother’s Day
    May 13, 2018
    The Gospel for Imperfect People: Mother’s Day
    The Gospel for Imperfect People
    Acts 16:1; 2nd Timothy 1:5; 2nd Timothy 3:15; 1st Timothy 2:15
     
    Mother’s Day
    Mother’s Day is a reminder of the curse of sin and God’s grace (Genesis 3:16). Children are born in much pain, sorrow, and the promise of death to come because of sin. At the same time God ordained motherhood to bring forth His Son who would suffer much labor pain, sorrow, and death of every man in order to save man from sin. Mother’s Day reminds me both of sin’s curse and man’s redemption born through the vessel of women (Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4).
    Mother’s Day also reminds me that we have assembled here today not to receive honor but to give honor, and that goes for mothers as well as all others. We have come to honor God and mother’s and since each has a mother none has come to receive honor but to give honor to God and mom. I am reminded that a person who gives honor has honor to give and that in itself is a great gift from God. We have honor from God to share with God and man. The honor we give others is only the honor God has bestowed upon us.
    Mother’s Day also reminds me of my wife, mother, grandmothers, and great grandmother. I have known all of them for some period of time in my life. Each one of them are, and were, exceptional women.
    My great-grandmother was an older lady that I remember as pleasant. She was never mean to me in any way. She leaves me with the memory of my first death. I stayed with my cousin Janet (who is now with the Lord), while my family went to my great grandmother’s wake. I have a memory of sitting in Janet’s lap while she told me great granny went to heaven to live with Jesus.
    My mother’s mother, whom we called granny, was always kind and could cook. I loved her macaroni and cheese. She left me with the memories of suffering. I stayed with her one Christmas night. I remember going in her bedroom as she laid in the bed reading the book of James (My grandfather’s name). She told me it was her favorite book because of the name it bears. My Granddaddy whom she loved dearly was named after the Lord’s half-brother James. She never got over my granddaddy’s death, and the lesson of suffering has stuck with me. I never told her but watching her struggle the last few years of her life was the greatest gift she gave me.
    My “mammy” was a stern woman that instilled in me reality that most children today miss out on. “Work wins” is the great lesson she taught me. Work wins you peace and prosperity at the end of the day. Peace knowing you did what you were supposed to do, and prosperity in that your hands provided for your mouth.
    Then there is my mother. She sowed the seeds of my faith in Jesus Christ in my life at young age. I am a preacher of God’s Word, husband, and Father, because she took me to church. I remember mom taking my brothers and I to church, reading her bible (I always like to hear the pages of her bible turn), and writing checks of $25.00 to the church (we were poor and I knew that was a lot of money to her). Come to think of it my family’s success financially may be in those little checks of faith. She was my biggest supporter when I started Bible College. She always helped me with any ministry event I ask her to be involved with. The greatest impact she made on me was loving my dad, not that he was unlovable, but that she was a biblical woman. She has always loved, supported, and submitted to my dad and all of us boys know it.
    And finally, the woman I met later in my life than any of the rest is my beautiful wife. She is a devout wife and mother. She loves her boys and spends herself everyday for the glory of God and sake of men, mostly for the 5 men that live with her, our 4 sons and me. She is special in every way and I love and respect her greatly. Tara is a treasure from God and I am glad to be her husband and have her as the mother of my 4 sons.
     
    These things are snapshots of what Mother’s Day means to me.
     
    More than a definition:
    I can describe the emotions, thoughts, and meaning of Mother’s Day, but we did not assemble just to do that. We have come to Embrace, Encourage, and Entice Mothers to do their God given calling with all their might. The message today is not limited to mothers alone, for it is the calling of every believer to influence others to follow Jesus.
     
    Meet Eunice:
    Eunice was the mother of Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy who influenced her son to trust God and was the wife of an unknown Greek man. She taught her son the faith she had from his earliest years of life instilling in him the seeds of truth that would turn into radical faith. Her great purpose in life was to invest in her son Timothy. What made Timothy a great man of God?
     
    His Mom was a Believer (Acts 16:1)
     
    Every believing mom is a great blessing to her children. Scripture mentions Timothy as a disciple and points quickly to his believing mother. Her believe was not without some difficulties at home. Her husband was not a believer and Timothy, although half Jewish had never been circumcised. Scripture states him as a Greek and later Paul would address Timothy as his son in the faith. It is very possible that Timothy’s father was dead by this time and Paul took on the role as a father figure. What we do know is Timothy’s belief in God was fashioned after his mother’s and for this the whole Christian world is thankful.
     
    His mom’s faith was unwavering (2nd Timothy 2:5)
     
    Timothy was solid in his faith. Hard circumstances had come that made others that followed Paul abandon him, but Timothy was still around and serving God and hearing Paul like a son hears a father. Paul accredits that to the unwavering faith of two prominent women in Timothy’s life. Again, it is no accident that Paul brings up mom and grandma. These women must have preserved obvious hardships that caught the attention of Paul and taught young Timothy how to act in hours of darkness. The secret they shared with Timothy is stay the course. Mom’s, whatever visible trouble you are going through, stay the course and serve God. Your children will reap the rewards of your efforts.
     
    His mom taught the Scriptures (2nd Timothy 3:15)
     
    Timothy’s training to be a great man of God began as a young boy. His mom did not know what he would be, but she know he would be great if he knew and acted on the wisdom from the scripture. Our children do not become great men and women over night. They become great people overtime spent in secret and public prayer, through memory verse at the kitchen table, bible truths while lying in bed, church services where God’s word is honored, and preserving the anxiety of life to keep the word in front of them when there is so much that can distract us from them. Phones, tablets, movies, sports, piano lessons, nor the boy scouts can make your child wise to salvation, but God’s word can. Are we teaching our kids to keep their eye on Jesus or eyes somewhere else? Hitting a ball, calling a play, doing a stunt, and being valedictorian of his or her class are things we want our children to experience, but nothing, hear me on this, nothing is more important than them hearing God’s word. Timothy did not get in the right stance to hit a ball when persecution came, he didn’t do the stunt he learned at cheerleading camp, he didn’t call out an audible from a high school football huddle, he didn’t right a thesis on the psychology of suffering, but he did cling to God’s word and it gave him direction, determination, and comfort. Read your children the scriptures at the youngest age possible.
     
    His mom allowed her labor pain to be her greatest joy (1st Timothy 2:15)- God destined motherhood to bring salvation to the world. The pain and suffering of child birth can leave a mother physically and emotionally scarred. There are women who many years after child birth battle depression and anxiety. There are others who have physical issues from a hard labor, especially in other countries where there is little medical treatment available. Mother’s have a chance to influence their children to redemption. They have primary influence over younger children and it would be a waste of all the pain and suffering to bring them into the world if labor is not put forth to save them from the world. Timothy’s mom was not an elder. She did not occupy some CEO role in the church and thank God she didn’t. Her time instead was focused on her son who became a great Christian and the letters written to him concerning his call still teach us today. Do not misplace your pain and suffering as a mother.
  • May 6, 2018The Gospel for Imperfect People: Marriage
    May 6, 2018
    The Gospel for Imperfect People: Marriage
    The Gospel for Imperfect People
    “Marriage”
    Genesis 2
    Genesis 3
     
    The Gospel from the Perfect Not for the Perfect

    I believe it is important to make two points and then read three statements from the Gospel authors.

    1. It is okay not to be okay. - There certainly are some holds in this statement but the idea is that Jesus died for those not okay therefore it is okay not to be okay. Jesus cannot be your Savior if you do not need salvation.
    2. The only thing you bring to the table of salvation is the sin you need to be saved from. - Each believer must totally depend on Jesus Christ to be made righteous before God. Jesus is the hope for all “not okay” people; therefore, it is only okay not be okay if you totally rely on Jesus.

    These two points lead us directly to the records of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, and Luke clarify as follows:
     
    Matthew 9:12-13
    Mark 2:17
    Luke 5:31
     
    Did you note that? Jesus came for the sick, broken, and unrighteous people. Why did He come for people like us? He did so to purchase us for God and cure us from sick, broken, unholy lives. I like what C.S. Lewis wrote about one of his obnoxious characters, Eustace, when he met Aslan, (the Jesus-like character in the Chronicles of Narnia) “It would be nice, and fairly nearly true, to say that ‘from that time forth Eustace was a different boy.’ To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.” (The Chronicles of Narna Series: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). We are completely saved to Christ and this salvation here on Earth looks like a progressive sanctification.
     
    I say these things to begin our series on “The Gospel for Imperfect People” because I want our congregation to see that Jesus loves people and you do not have to meet a quota of “perfection” before you hear what Jesus has to say. Perfection is not a requirement for singing to God, repenting to God, praying, or reading the Bible. In fact, built into the Lord’s prayer is “forgive us” and “lead us not into temptation” meaning it is not a prayer for people that think themselves perfect. You do not have it all together, and neither do I, and that is why we are here. We are not here because we are the “haves” but because we are the “have not’s.” Our marriages, children, jobs, and lives are “have not perfection.” In Jesus we find sanctification, fulfillment, and direction. We are not here to blow our trumpet of “got it all togetherness,” but to worship God for His love toward broken people like us.
     
    Christian Marriages are not Christian Marriage Blog Posts

    The scripture we read starts with a perfect couple in a perfect place called Eden and ends in exile. Not even the perfect couple was perfect. Your marriage is blessed but it is not without some dark spots that weigh heavy on your heart. I have read blogs on marriages and while some are good, others reek of a better than the perfect Disney movie relationship. The wife sounds like the perfect well-dressed, house-in-order, work-out driven, church servant, supermom out of a dreamland and the husband is the suit-and-tie, kind, understanding, fighting against social injustice, patient, perfect dad. Couples like this do not go to this church, live in this town, or exist in the world we call “reality.” There are well-rounded Christian couples, but they did not get that way without trials and they do not stay that way without trials.
     
    What Christian Marriages need to Embrace in Order to be Sanctified:

    We have not come today to be less “perfect,” for sure, but we have come for the “better.” We have come to hear a better word, become better people, and take steps toward better marriages. We will do this by embracing the following truths about our marriages and then apply them from this point forward.
     
    I. The Atmosphere “We aren’t in Eden anymore” (2:21-25)

    a. Eden
     
    God created man and woman then placed them in the Garden of Eden. Eden was the perfect atmosphere for marriage. A man would perfectly leave father and mother and be attached to his wife perfectly. They would enjoy each other fully without stress. They would be naked and unashamed of their physical state. No beauty salons, tanning beds, make-up, clothing stores, gyms, or marriage counselors were needed in Eden. Eden was a place where all needs were met for the couple because they were in perfect harmony with God and each other.

    b. Exile (3:23-24)
     
    One day Eve made her way to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She was convinced it was food for thought, disobeyed God, and Adam followed along. Sin had now entered the Eden. Their marriage and relationship with God suffered a major blow.

    i. They were ashamed of their bodies before each other (3:7) - At this point they stood awkwardly before each other and blushing. Intimacy was attacked from that point forward.

    ii. They began a work not fit for the garden (3:7b) - The perfect place of fellowship between God and man was no longer a place of rest and enjoyment but of labor. Adam and Eve began to labor to be accepted by each other and God.

    iii. What was open now was closed (3:8) - An open relationship between God and man was now closed. Man looked at the trees of blessing and saw a use he never saw before, a hiding spot from God. It was not God hiding from man, but man hiding from God and God pursuing man in their sin. God still seeks man and man still attempts to hide from God. Today, bring your life and marriage out of hiding and come to Jesus.

    iv. Fear (3:10) - Adam was afraid before God because he had become ashamed of himself. Adam had a sense he was alienated from God and that God was displeased. He was right.

    v. Blame (3:12-13) - Eve had never heard Adam blame her before. I am sure that stuck with Eve the rest of her long life. Eve took a page out of Adam’s playbook and blamed the serpent.

    vi. Judgment (3:16-24)- A harsh environment, harsh childbirth, exile from the perfect atmosphere, and death was the reward of Adam and Eve’s sin. Verse 16 points toward the conflict within marriage. The woman will fail to be submissive and the man will fail to lead with complete compassion.
     
    What this Means for our Marriages:

    We are not in Eden and the circumstances surrounding our marriages are difficult. We live in a sin-cursed world and should not expect life without conflict. The atmosphere we came together in is beyond our control. Trust God and expect life’s atmosphere to present difficult challenges.
     
    Do you hold onto each other in an environment that is rough? Do you prize God above all circumstances in your marriage?
     
     
    II. The Anatomy: “We are sinners married to each other” (3:11-12)
     
    The atmosphere in which we are married is beyond our control. The world is sin cursed and all the harsh things that come along with sin weigh on our marriages, but that is not the only obstacle we are up against. We are sinners married to sinners. I recently challenged our youth to make a list of what they wanted in a spouse. When we were finished talking about what each looked for in a spouse they had nobly described Jesus. Each student wanted their future spouse to be perfect. I reminded them that wanting a spouse like Jesus is great, but their spouse won’t be Jesus and neither will they. We demonstrate love to one another in marriage when we overlook shortcomings and hold our spouse in honor. Adam and Eve taught us something about being sinners married to sinners.

    a. Stay Together
     
    Adam and Eve stayed together. With all the judgment and failure upon them they stayed together. They shared life and intimacy and held to each other in the hardest times of life. Jesus taught that God placed man and wife together for life. There are few exceptions where man and wife should part from one another. The preferred resolution for marital conflict is to forgive and forbear one another.

    b. Serve God
     
    Adam and Eve proved imperfect people in an imperfect world can still serve God. They left Eden together and they stayed together. Two imperfect people in an imperfect world destined for their fallen marriage to be the ground from which redemption would grow. Do you ever argue with your spouse before church? Do you ever push your spouse’s buttons before you do a service for the church together? Do you ever show up to church or some other social event feeling guilt ridden for acting like a child in your marriage? I encourage you today never view your God-given marriage as obsolete. The first couple messed up big time and yet, they still served God in His great plan to redeem the world. You and your spouse do the same this morning.
     
    Will you serve God in your marriage no matter how low and dark it seems at times?
     
     
    III. The Answer “God is willing and Faithful” (Genesis 3:15)
     
    Often the work of God seems to get overshadowed when rehearsing the Eden exile in scripture. It seems God gets viewed as the Judge that did the exiling and we overlook that He is the God who, knowing Adam’s sin, went to the Garden to search for Him. We also forget that God presiding over the first trial found all parties guilty yet amid the sentencing looked at Eve and promised her she would give birth to the Messiah and told Satan that Eve’s son would crush his snake’s skull. The entire gospel narrative unfolds around this promise. God was willing in the Garden of Eden to save man and He has been faithful to fulfill that promise to Adam and Eve. He has formed and destroyed nations, set up and thrown down kings, sent prophets to remind His people He had not forgotten them and would save them, exiled His chosen people, sent His Son to die the death of the cross, and empowered the church with His message all to keep one promise! Today you can be sure that God is willing and faithful in His promises to you. Adam and Eve’s marriage, tattered to the point of near brokenness, found hope in who God was. Your marriage can grow and flourish on the promise of who God is. God alone is the answer for your marriage. He alone is the centerpiece that holds together fellowship between husband and wife. Our good life together is not found holding each other, but God holding us! Today trust in Jesus as the Savior of your marriage. Embrace the perfect God in your imperfections and know that His message of hope, love, forgiveness, and purpose is directly mailed to the addresses of imperfect people like us!
     
    Will you pray with your spouse and family this morning, thanking God for His sure promises, faithfulness to keep them, and His love for imperfect people?
     
  • Apr 29, 2018Stewardship of the Good Things of God
    Apr 29, 2018
    Stewardship of the Good Things of God
     
  • Apr 22, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: What Happens Before the King Returns
    Apr 22, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: What Happens Before the King Returns
    The Effects of the Resurrection
    What Happens Before the King Returns
    2nd Thessalonians 2:1-17
     
    Jesus is alive today. He is living in a real way, not in an allegorical way. He is not in heavenly places with God as a mere spirit, but He literally appears in the heavens in a human body. He lives to make intercession to God for each believer. He is there as the hope of heaven to all the saints who have died. The saints look at the body of Jesus, alive from the dead, and know they will have resurrected bodies one day because Jesus has His!
     
    King and Judge of the entire World
    Jesus is King. He is King of all things and rules with supreme wisdom and patience. As we can see, His creation is under a curse, yet we that are redeemed look for the redemption of all things that are to come. We believe that Jesus will return to the earth and we will rule and reign with him. Jesus will return as King and as King He will exercise judgement (Acts 17:31). As it happens we are not the only ones who believe that Jesus will return. Jesus Himself believed that He would return (Matthew 16:27, Mark 13:26, and Luke 21:27). The apostles taught Jesus would return, and the early church taught that Jesus would return.
     
    Disagreements on Arrangements
    There have been some disagreements on the arrangements of events concerning the coming of Jesus, but the unifying stand of the church of God is Jesus will come to judge and reign on the earth. We believe He will come bodily in the air to receive the living saints with the dead saints. He will set up His Kingdom here on earth for a thousand years, before the age of eternity. The lingering question is will His return be before, during, or after the tribulation. You may have heard of terms pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation rapture. These terms help define what a Christian believes about the return of Jesus. There is a question of the “when”, but not of the “if”. There should be no quarrels with people, who from scripture, seek to unravel the “when” of Christ return (in a theological sense for no man knows the day or hour Matthew 24:36), but for those who doubt Jesus’s physical return as King and judge I have concern.
     
    What to Know
    Jesus taught that there would be a great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-29). The great tribulation is like child birth for a woman. The pains become worse and worse until the joy of a child being born takes place. Therefore, the tribulation, when it is finished, brings about a very good thing which is the return of Jesus.
    What you believe concerning the tribulation and rapture does not determine if you are saved, if you are qualified to be a member of the church, or if you are a sanctified Christian. God did not make your understanding of His return a deal breaker in your salvation. However, the coming of Christ is a real event that brings real comfort in very real trials and heartache. Studying the return of Jesus should cause our hearts to rejoice and be determined not to quit!
     
    Paul and the Thessalonians
    This young church has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the promise of His return, and has embraced it with their full heart. The return of Jesus has given them great hope in trials, but it has also given way for false teachers to come in and lead people astray (V:2). Paul decides, using his letter writing ability coupled with his theological mind, to give markers that truly indicate the return of Christ to this New Testament Church. If these indicators are yet to be seen, then Jesus has not returned.

    What are the markers, or road signs that point to the return of the King that Paul shared with this Church?
     
    First things First
    Paul is rehearsing what he already taught them (V:5). There is little doubt that Paul is taking his teachings from the very teachings of Jesus recorded in the gospel accounts. Jesus teaches that false teachers will claim He had already come (Matthew 24:26), and Paul is dealing with the very issue. Matthew 24:10-12 Jesus teaches about a falling away and in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 Paul echoes the same thing. What we see then is Paul’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaches to a local New Testament Church. This is not just an interpretation, but an inspired interpretation from the mind of God penned through the hand of Paul, therefore we should pay close attention to it.
     
    What Paul Said must happen before Jesus Returns

    I. There Come a falling away (V:3b)
     
    The falling away is “apostasy”. Apostasy means a denial of something once believed. Christianity is not based on a once held belief, but a held belief. Truth faith that saves is active faith that works continuously. Apostasy is not mere doubt in a moment or moments of weakness. Apostasy is full out rejection of core doctrinal truth. Apostasy does not have to be a verbal decree, it can be an acted-out decree (V:12). An example looks like a person once lived as Jesus rose from the dead as Lord, and while they still make those statements they do not live as though those statements are real, these have apostatized from the faith of Jesus Christ. Apostasy is seen in word and deed. The first marker Paul tells the church to look for concerning the coming of Jesus; are those who claim Jesus yet speak against the truth of Jesus, live against the truth of Jesus, or both. Once this begins to happen the Lord is soon to come. Jesus foreseeing the falling away says, “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

    Growing up I heard about the return of Jesus. Every natural disaster was an indicator, every election, every military crisis, and so on. It seemed that everything pointed toward the end, yet the end cannot come unless there is a great falling away. The earth could shake all over, but until we see claimed saints living out apostatized lives in bulk Jesus cannot come. Therefore, my mind is made up to look at the church in order to get a better few of the coming of Jesus.

    Today my call to Bethany Baptist Church is to look about at the apostasy in the church world. Examine how many claim Jesus but have never really trusted Jesus and repent from such notions in your heart for the King is coming quickly.

    Will you take heart in the fact that Jesus is coming repent from your sins and stay steadfast in the faith?
     
    II. The Man of Sin Revealed (V:3c)
     
    This is the man of lawlessness and he has not yet come but is already here in some sense. The very demonic spirit that will occupy this man is felt today. The stage is being set, but the actor has not yet been cued. We see scattered bits of the demonic ideas that will empower this individual, but we do not see it fully possessed by one man. Paul told the church to be on the look out for the lawless one. This lawless one would make such an impact you could not miss him, even in the days of this letter (AD 51) if the lawless one had appeared the people of the church would know it.

    How would they know it?

    a. Opposing and Exalting (v:4)- The lawless one will oppose the truths delivered to the saints. He will be powerfully convincing to the point he exalts himself to a place of human worship. He desires the worship only due to God. Those who oppose God’s teachings and desire to be admired to the place of worship has the spirit of antichrist.

    b. Sitting and showing (V:4b)- The lawless one will sit in the place of power and honor showing through signs and wonders that he is God (v:9). The great deception that will be believed is that this man’s works are authentically God’s.

    c. It will be unmistakable- The lawless one first opposing God and secondly exalting himself as God makes Him undeniable to the faithful Christian eye.

    III. The Restrainer Removed (V:7)
     
    We do not for sure what or who the restrainer is. A logic conclusion would be the powers that be. Rulers are appointed by God to execute judgement (Romans 13:1). Others think the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. What we know is God has appointed an unidentified restrainer that will be removed before the coming of the Lord.

    a. After the Restrainer- Once the retainer is removed God allows those who wish for a lie to believe the lie. All those who have professed Jesus as Lord without genuine faith will believe a lie without intervening of God’s amazing grace. This is done that they all might be damned who “loved not the truth” and enjoyed a life of unrighteousness. Many will be damned after the restrainer is removed and the lawless one can do as he pleases. Many have professed Jesus, but do not love Jesus. He is not their prize. He is not treasured above all else in their lives, and it can be seen in professing Christians every day living. When what occupies the daily routine of a “Christian” is no different than an unbeliever there is a problem. When marriages of Christians look identical with unbelievers there is a problem. When fellowship with other believers in worship are frequently set aside that other matters maybe attended to there is a problem. When prayers are neglected, giving scoffed at as money hungry preacher gimmicks, when the faith of Jesus becomes something to do instead of a life style to live there is a problem!

    With the restrainer gone those that are part of the true church can recognize the lawless one, but those who have pretended will be fooled. Paul is telling the church to look for these marks because the church will be there to see and determine these marks.
     
    It does not end there

    After the lawless one rules and reigns as if he is God, and many are left to a delusion, Jesus will return and call His people away. He will consume the lawless one with spirit of His mouth and brightness of His coming. Jesus will then rule and reign with His people for 1,000 years. No matter how dark the tribulations of life can be the dawn will come and a better day will rise! Jesus is coming take heart a new day is dawning!
     
    What should we do?

    Jesus has not yet come; therefore, we are to be aware of what is taking place in our world from a biblical standpoint. We are to be sober minded, God worshiping, right living, prayer warriors that obey the teachings of Jesus. The fact that Jesus is coming should encourage us in every trial and cause us to stay the course.

    Today, be reminded that Jesus is coming; therefore live hopeful, steadfast Christian lives.
  • Apr 15, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: Part Two
    Apr 15, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: Part Two
     
  • Apr 8, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: Part One
    Apr 8, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: Part One
    The Effects of the Resurrection
    Mark 16:1-8
     
    Last week we preached about “Glory in the Suffering of Christ”. All Christian suffering is for the glory of God and sake of man. Today we will set our sights on the “What the resurrection of Jesus Means to Us” or the effects of the resurrection. Suffering is part of the story. It is different color paints in the hand of a master artist. Years ago, I went and saw “art live” it was a Christian ministry where an artist told a story from the bible all the while drawing, and at the end it all came together and made a beautiful picture. I remember trying to guess what the seemingly aimless brush strokes would be, but only got the full picture when the artist had completed his work. Our suffering is a stroke-by-stroke work of art, and when it is finished we will see the beauty in it all, but for now we trust the Artist.
    When Jesus finished suffering for the sins of the world he was buried, the disciples scattered, and hope that He would be the deliver of His people vanished. But that is not all of the story. Jesus rose again and suffering became glory, death lost its sting, the disciples banded together, and the New Testament Church was born. The question we will answer today is what the resurrection of Jesus means for me today.
     
    Mark’s account
    The eight verses in Mark are full of shock and awe moments. The stone missing, the angel is in the tomb, the message that Jesus had risen, and the commission to tell the disciples about all about it. The resurrection is exciting, but it is so much more. Jesus coming forth from the grave sent a powerful God honoring shock wave through two thousand years and billions of people. Nations have been shaped by this one event. Minus the resurrection from the Christian faith the effect may not exist and if an effect did exist it would be a ripple in a pond and not a tsunami from the ocean. What effects does the resurrection have on us today? When we talk about the resurrection of Christ it means so much, here are a few things it means:
     
    I. It Means Christian Suffering is not a Punctuation (Matthew 28:5-6; Luke 24:39; Revelation 1:18)
    Take a moment and reflect on where you are. Tell yourself “this is not it for me”. This is because of Jesus’ resurrection. There are three points I want to make here that are real and encouraging;
    A. You will suffer (1 Peter 5:10; 2nd Timothy 3:12)
     
    This is just a reminder from last week of a reality that we must all face. Christians are not exempt from sufferings. Physical and emotional pain exist for every believer. Suffering is observed in the perfect sinless life of the Son of God and if the perfect Man experienced pain in this sin cursed world we can conclude that everyone of us will suffer as well. I say this for two reasons:
    1. I want you to understand that salvation is not for those looking for a smooth ride in life, but for those who want to follow Jesus in all seasons of life even the suffering ones.
    2. I want each person to understand that suffering comes to you when are doing everything right. Too many Christians get swallowed up in the “God is mad at me” attitude. I hope that each person here, when they suffer, trust God more and does not doubt God more.
    B. You will Die (Hebrews 9:27; Psalm 90:12)
     
    The life of Jesus teaches everyone that they will die. Moses prayed that God would teach him to value his days so he may live wise. Moses simply said, “teach me that I will die, that I may value every day”. When you ride past a grave yard, which there are many, it is a reminder that people die. I remind us of this for two reasons:
     
    1. To keep eternity in perspective. Remember that every word, every action, every thought, every dollar you earn, and every feeling you have may be the last before you die. Then everything will be called into account before God. Live with purpose is my plea today, and not for any purpose, but with the purpose of pleasing God.
    2. To keep you wise- Thinking we have all the time in the world is a foolish fantasy. I am saying this to burst your bubble that you may move to the fortress of truth and wisdom. Bubble’s are not safe places to live.
    C. They will not last (John 11:25)
     
    Lazarus suffered from sickness and died. His sisters were hurt deeply. All seemed lost, but then Jesus showed up and death lost its sting! You will suffer, you will die, and you will rise again because of the resurrection of Jesus! God’s love story toward His people is not you will die period, or you will suffer period, but it is you will suffer (COMMA), you will die (COMMA), and you will rise (EXCLAMATION)!
    The resurrection of Jesus teaches us that the suffering of Jesus was simply part of His eternal glory. His immense agony was a plus sign in the equation of God. (Revelation 1:18) Jesus has a title He shares with John, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen”! Because Jesus lives, suffering is only a temporary mode that has positive effects in eternity!
    The late Stephen Hawkins accredited his success with his suffering. He said he drank to much and worked too little before he found out he had ALS. Reflecting on his suffering and success he said "When one's expectations are reduced to zero," he said, "one really appreciates everything that one does have." (James Dobson, New Man October 1994 p. 36)
    Somerset Maugham, the English writer, once wrote a story about a janitor at St Peter's Church in London. One day a young vicar discovered that the janitor was illiterate and fired him. Jobless, the man invested his meager savings in a tiny tobacco shop, where he prospered, bought another, expanded, and ended up with a chain of tobacco stores worth several hundred thousand dollars. One day the man's banker said, "You've done well for an illiterate, but where would you be if you could read and write?" "Well," replied the man, "I'd be janitor of St. Peter's Church in Neville Square." (Bits and Pieces June 24 1993 p. 23).
    Will you view your suffering as a comma and your resurrection to come as an exclamation?
    II. It Means Joy and Revelation (Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:32)
    A. Joy in a Graveyard (Matthew 28:8)
     
    Christ’s resurrection shows us that joy can exist in the most depressing places of life. I have been in several grave yards, and none of them were places of joy. I recently saw a picture of a gentleman I went to church with years ago. His son died a few years back and he was at the graveyard thanking God that resurrection day was soon to come. It was a sad picture, mixed with some joy. Without the resurrection, this man would have zero joy at his son’s tombstone. The ladies that went to the graveyard on resurrection morning found hope where it had been completely absent. They came upon great joy in the most somber place on earth. Because of Jesus rising again we to find joy in our darkest hours!
     
    B.Revelation in our Sorrow (Luke 24:39)
     
    The disciples discovered, in their sorrow, revelation they had not seen. The scriptures they had been taught came to life, and questions were settled. What would the resurrection be (Mark 8:31-32) was a unsettled question among them, but with Jesus rising from the dead the curiosity is settled and hope sinks into the heart. Paul taught that if the Spirit that raised Jesus dwells in you then your mortal (physical) bodies will be raised from the dead. That is a great revelation that takes believers through the darkest hours of life. Christian pain and suffering brings us closer to God through revelation. As we are suffering with Jesus and being made comfortable to His death we are strengthen by His resurrection.
     
    The first two Scottish missionaries sent to the New Hebrides Islands were killed and eaten by cannibals on the day they arrived. After that it proved difficult to find missionary volunteers. Even when John G. Paton agreed to go, well-meaning people in the church tried to dissuade him. One elderly man warned that he would be eaten by cannibals. Paton replied, “I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.” After fifteen years of fruitful ministry, almost everyone on the island of Aniwa where Paton ministered was converted.
     
    What powered this man to go to a dark place? The Joy and Revelation of a Resurrected Savior.
    What motivates you to worship God every Sunday? What powers you through life’s darkest hours?
     
    III. It Means an Impossible Mission is Possible (John 20:21)
     
    The task to go into all the world was not possible until the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If the Pharisees had it their way, it would be go spread all the law unto the world to create a legalized merit system to be accepted by God. They would have created a legal world, but not a saved world. The nations would have been schooled on right and wrong without ever being able to perform what they knew. Before Jesus the tools to go unto the world and preach the gospel were not at hand, but with resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Spirit, the church has been equipped and motivated to spread the message that being right with God hinges on believing in Jesus His Son.
    The message is simple. Jesus traded places with you. He died instead of you, He suffered the wrath of God in the stead of you, He was forsaken in the stead of you, He was buried in the stead of you, and now has the power to raise you from the dead! It was His life given to me and mine given to Him. Guilty given to Him and guiltless given to me. Accepted given to me and forsaken given to Him. Cursed given to Him and Blessed given to me! Through Jesus, God has adopted all that believe as children. This is the great message we proclaim, yet it would carry no weight if Jesus has not suffered, died, and rose again.
     
    A. Empowered in Weakness
     
    The weakest point of Peter’s life is when he thought Jesus was gone, but the resurrection changed that and he stood tall 50 days later and preached to multitudes. Today we discover that the resurrection of Jesus still powers people today. It sends people places they never would have went, causes people to speak when they would have been silent, and causes people to keep going when it seems they should stop. 11 scared disciples changed the entire world because of a possible mission being made possible by Jesus’s resurrection.
    Today I believe that reaching all the nations of Barnwell is possible because of Jesus’s triumph over the grave. I believe your children will be saved, marriages strengthened, and those that you bury in Christ will rise again. The resurrection powers my hopes and prayers, and I hope that it does yours as well.
    A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings he became petrified. His father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy.
    The father sensed his son’s terror. Once again he reached out his hand, but this time he pointed to this hand. There, stuck in his skin was the stinger of the bee. “You see this?” he asked. “You don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve taken the sting for you.”
    The Christian does not need to be afraid of death because Christ has taken the sting out of death and sin.
    Do you believe Jesus took the sting out of death with me that we may share the gospel with all people?
     
  • Apr 1, 2018The Glory in the Suffering of Christ
    Apr 1, 2018
    The Glory in the Suffering of Christ
    The Glory in the Suffering of Christ
    Matthew 27:27-54 27
     
    Today is Easter and we have gathered together to celebrate the work and victory of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel that it is impossible to celebrate the resurrection of Christ without first considering the depth of His suffering and the glory God produced from the greatest sin in human history. I truly believe the knowledge of Jesus’s suffering leads to a deeper level of love and worship toward Him. I also believe that His suffering helps us make sense of our suffering, the suffering of those around us, and the suffering that takes place around the world. We will examine everything from the cross as our starting point and work our way outward, or we can say we will start with Jesus and work our way to ourselves through Him. It is my goal to produce a spirit like the great George Mueller of Bristol England, who on the Lord's Day, February 6, 1870, lost his wife Mary to rheumatic fever. They had been married 39 years and 4 months. The Lord gave him the strength to preach at her memorial service. He said,” I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to His holy will to glorify Him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me.”
     
    The Scripture, The Starting Point and Finish Line for Glorious Suffering:
    How important is the crucifixion and suffering of Jesus?
    Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:3 that it is of primary importance. He also says his preaching is “Christ crucified” (1st Corinthians 1:23). The apostle Peter uses it as his theme in the message given to the multitudes at Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. Romans 4:25, 6:10, 1st Peter 2:24, 3:18 and Colossians 2:14 along with many other scriptures, teaches that Jesus died to take away our sins! Jesus dying was for the glory of God and sake of man. His suffering is supremely important to the world! In His death and resurrection, that is through His suffering, and victory over it Evangelism was born. If someone says why is personal evangelism important, we can say because Jesus suffered greatly, died horribly, and rose again victoriously.
     
    I want to read you several passages of scripture and sum them up at the end of our reading;

    Isaiah 53:10 10
    Acts 9:16
    Romans 5:3
    Philippians 3:10
    2nd Timothy 1:10-12
    2nd Timothy 3:12 12
    Acts: 13:27 
     
    God took pleasure in the glorious suffering of His Son and each of us will learn to glory in the sufferings appointed to us for the Name of Jesus. Such suffering places us in direct fellowship with Jesus Christ making us conformable to His death that we may know the power of His resurrection. The power of Resurrection does not come without suffering. The more we live as Jesus lived the more we will suffer as Jesus suffered and all this fulfills the will of God and works for His glory and our good!
    It is because of these truths that Paul proclaimed in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good. He also wrote in 1st Corinthians 3:21-22 that all belongs to believers. Both life and death belong to believers. Why is God’s good coming out of our suffering? Because every hurt, trial, sickness, and death that believers experience has a grand purpose and will turn out to be good! In eternity no pain of a child of God will be useless or bad, but all things will be seen as worth it. Paul writes in Romans 8:18 that the things we suffer are not to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Also 2nd Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.
     
    Where did Paul get his view on suffering? He found it in the life of Jesus. We too will find the great purpose of our suffering by looking at the crucifixion of Jesus.
     
    I. In His Suffering Another Learned to Carry The Cross

    A.Simon of Cyrene
     
    Simon did not make his journey to the holy city to carry a blood spattered cross. Jewish people in Cyrene (Northern part of Africa) would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem maybe once in a life time. If he had recently traveled to the city he had to walk 32 hard days to get there. He may have had many intentions but this was not one of them. A beaten man bathed in blood crossed his path, and Simon was captured by a tortuous event. Once he touched the bloody cross he was ceremonially unclean and could not partake of the Passover feast. Can you imagine the mental stress and emotional turmoil if you were forced to get so close to someone’s execution? I would venture to say it ruined his weekend stay in the city. The suffering of Jesus spilled over to Simon, and the things others suffer around us brings us to their suffering and causes us to suffer. These tribulations or sufferings teaches us patience, hope, and makes us unashamed. When we live righteously in our suffering we bring others to the will of God. A believer suffering is supernaturally inspiring. It makes others around them consider the cross and welcome it. Have you ever thought “me bearing this cross for the glory of God will cause another to carry their own for God’s glory as well”? Your suffering brings others nearer Jesus!
     
    Question: Who has taught you to carry your cross?
     
    II. In His Suffering Forgiveness was Embraced (Luke 23:34 and 41-43)

    A. The Thief
     
    The two thieves on the cross woke that morning expecting to be crucified with Barabbas, but instead they were beside Jesus. Neither thief cared for Jesus being next to them dying at first (Matthew 27:44). But the heart of one criminal was changed as Jesus suffered on the cross he prayed that forgiveness would be issued to those mocking and murdering Him. When we suffer as Christians we have the unique opportunity to teach forgiveness. I have been involved with suffering Christians that have taught forgiveness in the light of their sufferings. Whatever kept family, friends, and church members against one another dissolves as a believer they both know suffers. The glory of Christ shines brightest in sufferings including the glory of true forgiveness. Christ suffering was greater than sin, including sin that kept people from one another. Have you ever looked at your suffering as the only medicine that could cure bitterness between people? It was good for the thief that Jesus suffered, and Jesus suffered for the good of the thief.
     
    Question: When you suffer, as you suffer will you teach forgiveness?
     
    III. In His Suffering a Harden Man Found Saving Grace (54)

    A.The Solider at the Cross
     
    The sufferings of Jesus are beneficial to people, mainly because it is the preaching of Jesus crucified that brings people to repentance to God and eternal salvation. As Jesus suffered perfectly this harden soldier confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. I will admit it was an elementary confession, but it was a true confession based on what the soldier knew and observed. Jesus was not an ordinary man and the solider knew it. He had seen death, but not death like this. He had seen people suffer, but no one suffer so perfectly. He had seen awe striking events, but never events like this. The suffering of Jesus has brought man sons to glory.
    Question: Will you allow your suffering to be a tool to bring others to be saved?
     
    IV. In His Suffering Worship Changed for Eternity (51)

    A. Our worship
     
    Today the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus has brought us to worship God. Jesus’s resurrection shows us suffering is not in vain, but in hope of something greater. No one showed up with an animal to sacrifice today. No one is standing in the outer courts or before a massive veil that is concealing the most holy place of worship, because Jesus’ death ripped the heavy veil that kept us from intimate worship to God. The writer of Hebrews says we can come before God boldly because of the blood of Jesus. Suffering brings us into a deeper understanding and knowledge of God. The more you know God the deeper you can worship God. The more you live godly in Jesus the more suffering you will encounter, the more suffering you encounter the more you become like Jesus. The suffering of Jesus has made it possible for every person to worship God through Himself. Today if you are suffering, suffer like Jesus. While you are being broken by the good hand of God will you seek to worship Him?
     
    While your family faces sickness, death, and despair? Will you serve God when your body is weak, wounded, and diseased, or as you watch a love one wither away? Your suffering is not empty! Consider Jesus who went into darkness upon His cross. What was taking place in that black back drop of suffering? What was being written? Minute by minute in His suffering against the dark back drop of unimaginable grief God was writing a message to the human race. It is message that is still being written today it is a message written with the many crosses we bear. Your suffering is not without immeasurable Eternal glory! Today worship Jesus for taking your sin away with His suffering and worship God in your suffering! Worship God for using your suffering to write a message from God that will never fade!
     
  • Mar 25, 2018Triumphant Entry: When Jesus Makes Himself Known
    Mar 25, 2018
    Triumphant Entry: When Jesus Makes Himself Known
    When Jesus Makes Himself Known
    Matthew 21:4-17
     
    Moving Multitudes with Scripture:
    Today is Palm Sunday. This is the Sunday that we celebrate the day that Jesus showed Himself as the Messiah (Savior and King) to the Nation of Israel. On this day nearly 2000 years ago Jesus showed up in a fashion that was foreign to His ministry. He made a big scene on purpose and turned the whole city’s attention toward Him during the most festive and populated time of the Jewish year.
    Jesus had charged people on more than one occasion not to broadcast who He was for his time had not yet come (Matthew 9:30, Mark 1:43-44, Mark 5:43, John 2:4, John 7:6). Jesus was on a strict schedule and on this day His calendar was marked with “Triumphant entry”. Gone was the days where He “laid low” and made people wonder if He was God’s Messiah, both the Son of God and Son of Man. Today He would let the anticipation of the people overflow the city walls starting on the outside and shaking the city until His presence was within its gates and temple. On this day the quick escalation of tensions with the Jewish leaders would trigger events that would lead Him to His Cross and the atonement of Sin.

    This great event begins with two disciples bringing a donkey and its colt to Jesus, and then Jesus makes the journey just a couple miles on the back of a donkey. His disciples and many traveling pilgrims followed them, most likely to see if He would proclaim Himself Messiah publicly at the great feast in the great city. The excitement of anticipation erupted into songs and show of worship to the extent that the whole city of Jerusalem was moved. People behind and before the humble holy King filled the air with praise. Jesus was making His way to the city knowing execution awaited Him, but I cannot help but think He looked past that to the Joy of the Kingdom to come! The city was shaking as the King approached and curiosity of who He was capsized into conversations.
    He did all this by fulfilling one scripture (See Verse 4). The scripture that He fulfilled is listed in Zechariah 9:9-13. The belief in scripture moves people. Scripture is powerful and able to save the soul. The Triumphant entry of Christ was sparked by the Word of God. Today it is my hope that the Word of God enters your mind and heart to the singing and worship of triumph to God.
     
    The Beginning of Passion Week
    Palm Sunday began the last week of Jesus’s pre-resurrection ministry. He would be crucified Friday, lay unmoved Saturday, and rise again on Sunday. Jesus enter the city during Passover week. Like all the events in the life of our Lord, His entrance was planned to the minutest detail. The city normally held 40,000 inhabitants. The population would swell to about 6 times that during holy week. People from all over would witness the event and take word back home of what they saw and heard. As soon as He enter the city in triumph the main conflict began and escalated until Jesus was betrayed and murdered. This was the hour that Jesus awaited. It was the hour of darkness that He was born to embrace, but on this day He showed Himself as Messiah and King, and on this day the multitudes magnified His name. Jesus’ grand entrance made quiet an impact on the people of the city. His entrance into lives today makes the same difference and…

    Today we will study what happens when Jesus makes a triumphant entry. We will examine what He ushered into the Holy City. I believe He brings these same things to us, and much more.
     
    What Jesus brings when He enters a life triumphantly:

    I. He Bring Humility and Honor (4-5)
     
    If any of our living presidents were to come by my house to have dinner, I would feel humbled and honored. Humbled because my home is really not presidential and yet a president would come by and honored for the same reason. I feel certain they would bring something to my house that is missing, mainly a presidential feel. Now imagine with me you are traveling toward Jerusalem on foot for the greatest week of the calendar year and you run into a foot traffic jam. At first you are agitated by the congestion because you wanted to get to the city to witness some great event. Then singing and shouting along with a gust of wind from palm branches fanning cause you to realize someone special is causing the slow down. You ask around and find out the most famous prophet in all the land is showing Himself as the true King of your country! How awesome would that be? If you were in the crowd here is what you would notice, and what Jesus would bring to your life.

    A. His Presence
     
    Jesus came to Jerusalem humbly. He did not show up on a war horses, there is coming a day that He will show up on a War horse, but this was not that day (Revelation 19:11). This day He came to offer Himself peaceably, in the Day to come He brings justice and war. Jesus was not intimidating on His donkey (a beast made for burden not conquering). He was not going to overthrow the Romans (which the leaders of the Jewish people may have desired). He came to offer Himself to the world and it was up to the world to reject or receive Him as He was. Today Jesus does not want to intimidate you to follow Him. He does not desire to ride into your life on a great warhorse, but He comes meekly to you, offering Himself as He is. Will you receive Him as He is? Will we worship Him as He is?

    B. His Position
     
    Put me in a car and I am still who I am. Place me in a house, and I am who I am. Give me a bible and place in front of me a pulpit and I am still Robert. If you put Jesus on a Donkey, on a cross, or at the center of your worship He is still King of Kings, the Son of God, and The Messiah. Where is the best place for you to place Jesus? When Jesus came on a donkey to the city of Jerusalem He came fulfilling a prophecy about the Messiah of God. He was humble and honorable in His arrival. Jesus brings humility and honor to all who accept Him. He elevates those that submit to Him, He forgives sins, He accepts and gives eternal places of honor. What Jesus brings to our lives is what real triumph looks like.

    Question: Are you in awe of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

    II. He Brings Hope (8-11)
     
    Jesus had recently raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43), and the word of Jesus’ power over death gave great hope to all those who witnessed and heard of it. The crowds tossing their coats on the ground to welcome Jesus as King is reminiscent of Jehu becoming king in 2nd Kings 9:13. Any person who was aware of such history would know that the people welcomed Jesus as anointed King to Jerusalem. The waving of palm branches signified He was a King returning from a victory, and the victory was over the death that held Lazarus. Soon He would fully conquer death and offer salvation from sins and promise of resurrection in His name, but on this day He set the stage from His crucifixion that would atone for the sins of all who would believe.
    Hope Expressed Through Scripture- Psalm 118 is the foundation of which they shouted. It was scripture that they used to praise God. It is scripture today that the believer clings to and proclaims for hopes sake.

    Hope Expressed Through Song- Psalm 118 was a song. Songs are great ways to express the hope we Have in Christ and the scriptures that verify who He is.

    Question: is your hope found in Scripture?

    III. He Brings Holiness (12-13)
     
    Recently Tara and I took our children to an attraction. It was a little costly but was worth the money because the place was jam up and the extra events inside the attraction were included in the original ticket price. When it came time to eat though, we were robbed! I believe a few hot dogs and waters cost about the admission price. Similarly, the people that made the trip to Jerusalem felt the price paid to get to the city was worth it, but when it came time to worship the price was outrageous.

    When Jesus arrives in the city He makes His way to the temple (place of worship) and starts cleaning house. Jesus took issue with the money changers swindling people out of their money once they arrived at the temple to buy sacrifices. These people were breaking the divine law of loving their neighbor. Their abusive techniques hindered true worship toward God so Jesus cleaned house. Jesus is in the house cleaning business. When He comes into our lives it is to clean them up so we can have a clearer and more full worship experience toward God. Jesus did not arrive in the city to allow the same ole same ole. He showed up to set things right. When you come to Christ know you are come to a Lord that will not leave you dirty. He is going to turn things over, run things out, and set things straight, for your body (His temple) is a place of worship and prayer to God and not a place for the mindsets of crookedness to operate.

    Question: What is it that Jesus is cleansing in your life that you may worship God fully?
     
    IV. He brings Healing (14)
     
    Jesus cleanses the temple and heals the blind and the lame. Jesus does more than strip your life bear. He also heals the hurts that go unrecognized in a temple filled with thieves. Often times we do not know how wounded we are until sin is run off, it is then we can see our fragile state and ask God to heal the parts in our lives that were hurting so long and we did not know it. The blind and lame of society were over looked by all the hussle and bustle of the money changers. You can imagine that they were ran off, over, and over looked until Jesus showed up with ability to heal. Know this that when Jesus comes to your life as King He does what no other leader can do, heal. Our governments job is to protect us, and far as I can tell they have done well. They can hold off nuclear missiles pretty well, yet they can stop sickness, disease, mental illness, or emotional instability. The King we need is one who can triumph for us on every level and Jesus is that King!

    Question: What part of your life needs healing today?
     
    V. He Brings Honesty (15-17)
     
    The leaders catch wind of all that is going on and make
    their way to Jesus to confront Him. As they approach Him the cheers of children fill their hearts. They look at Jesus and ask Him to silence them, yet Jesus points to the children’s honest remarks about Him. When Jesus is present in worship those that know and love the truth cannot help but rejoice in the truth of Jesus. Those who know Jesus as King take over the temple in songs of truth. The scripture gains volume and those that oppose Christ become concerned. Here at Bethany we want our worship to be honest. We want to be so in love with Jesus that we preach salvation in His name, holiness in His name, friendship in His name, and Evangelism in His name. We want the songs we sing about Jesus to take over every service and drown out lies in every mind.

    Question: Does your worship to Jesus represent the truth of Jesus?