April 29th, 2018          2 questions

Did you know that it is OK to ask Jesus who He is?  He is big enough to hear your questions and answer them.

But sometimes we are afraid….just like the disciple.

John 21:12 – 17 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.  After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”  “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.  Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.  A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” 

Mark 8:27 – 30 “Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”  Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”  Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”  But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.” 

To todays text….

 Luke 22:66 – 71  66 At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, 67 and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?”   But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. 68 And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.”   70 They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?”  And he replied, “You say that I am.”  71 “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

 The Holy Spirit inside you leads you to wonder “Who Is Jesus?”

Even unbelievers are led to ask, even if the disciples are afraid (John 21)

Are you the Messiah?  (Christ)

The Anointed One                                                                                                                                 The Savior or Liberator                                                                                                                         The Promised Deliverer                                                                                                                         The ONE WAY to the Father

Are you the Savior, Redeemer, Restorer we have BEEN WAITING ON?

  • Are you the Son of God?
  •             ** Jesus called Himself the Son of Man – the Religious Elite said “Son of God”***
  •             God come to us?
  •             God born of man
  •                         Facing life as we face life
  •                         Facing trouble as we face trouble
  •                         Facing temptation as we face temptation
  •                                     Living among us
  •                         Yet remaining fully God
  •                                     Yet remaining fully sinless
  •             Are You MORE THAN A MERE MAN?
  •                         We have been HURT and DISAPPOINTED by mere men MANY TIMES.
  •             We WANT…we NEED more – WE NEED GOD!

Jesus knew there was no need to debate who He really is

  • You either believe or you do not
  • He knew that even the Temple Elite were not believers
  • They may have head knowledge
  • They may have heard the Spirits call

They HAD rejected Jesus

  • Maybe because of their ingrained traditions
  • Maybe because of fear
  • Maybe to keep their power
  • Either way – God IS God
  •                         Without your permission being required
Advertisements

April 22nd, 2018                      “A Chickens Tale”

Luke 22:54-65 “So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s residence, and Peter was following far behind.  The guards lit a fire in the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.           A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”  Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know the man!”       After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter replied.        About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of Jesus’ disciples because he is a Galilean, too.”  But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.”                                 And as soon as he said these words, the rooster crowed.  At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times.”                  And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly.         Now the guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him.  They blindfolded him; then they hit him and asked, “Who hit you that time, you prophet?”  And they threw all sorts of terrible insults at him.”

  1. A Chickens Tale usually begins by chickening out from being where you really should be!
    1. Jesus was under arrest and being taken to the High Priests House
      1. Peter WAS following Him
      2. Found the warmth of the fire SAFER and MORE COMFORTABLE
        1. So he stopped following Jesus and joined the men at the fire
          1. There has to be a BBQ comment here somewhere
  • Peter was in the VICINITY of Jesus but was FAR from close to Him!
  1. How many times have YOU figured it would be EASIER or MORE COMFORTABLE to just go with the WORLD instead of staying the course with Jesus?
  2. How easy is it for the WORLD to distract you away from FOLLOWING JESUS?
  1. Being too chicken to follow Jesus QUICKLY became TOO COMFORTABLE!
    1. A servant girl called him out as a follower of Jesus
    2. Peter, warmed and happy away from Jesus by the fire replied that he DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HIM
    3. How do you respond when asked by the WORLD if you are a Christian? By your Boss when being asked to work on Sunday?
    4. By your friends/teacher/coach when school/practice/work is scheduled on Sunday?
    5. Is it easier to SUBMIT to the world on Wednesday Evening? Or Sunday Morning?  Or Tuesday afternoon?
  2. A little more time in the world away from Jesus
    1. Someone else said he was a follower of Jesus…that he was one of THEM
      1. Peter, warm and comfy in the warmth of the flesh DENIED BEING A FOLLOWER OF JESUS AGAIN
    2. An HOUR later, Peter is still to chicken to go see what is happening with his Savior Jesus; Peter remains a “safe distance away” in the warmth of the fire enjoying the fellowship of people gathered by the fire.
      1. Someone else INSISTS he is on of Jesus’ followers, an actual DISCIPLE
        1. Because he is a Galilean out of place
        2. Peter replied that HE DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT THE MAN WAS TALKING ABOUT
          1. Jesus who?
          2. Disciple what?
          3. Whatchya talking about Willis?
        3. But Peter, just like us, thought he was getting away with being a chicken, denying he knew Jesus or anything Jesus was about.
          1. He, like us, was wrong
            1. THE ROOSTER CROWED
          2. Peter remembered Jesus THEN
            1. He remembered what Jesus had told him
            2. He KNEW he FAILED and was CAUGHT
            3. He knew the reality of his SINS
          3. Brokenness overwhelmed our chicken
            1. Jesus LOOKED RIGHT AT HIM!
              1. Guilt washed over him
              2. Tears, tears and anguish flowed through him
              3. He left the warmth of the fire – the world
  1. Even in all that was going on in the life of Jesus right then, He still knew EXACTLY where Peter was and what he was doing.
  1. Jesus was being mocked and beaten – following the path of salvation for ALL OF US!
    1. Jesus was being ridiculed and insulted
    2. Peter cried because he had denied Him 3 times
      1. Just like he had been told.
    3. You are but a sinner
      1. Jesus knows WHERE you are, WHAT you ARE doing AND WHAT you are GOING to be doing
      2. Watch out, less you become too comfortable in the world, in your flesh, that you depart from the presence of Jesus!
    4. REPENT! And turn to Jesus! 

April 8th, 2018

Luke 22:39-46 “Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.  There he told them, “Pray that you will not be overcome by temptation.”  He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”  Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.  He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.   At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief.  “Why are you sleeping?” he asked. “Get up and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you.”

  1. We need regular and consistent communication with God
    1. Jesus went to pray – AS USUAL
    2. Talking to His Father was His CUSTOM
    3. It is what He did
      1. What are you known for doing?
    4. Every relationship is built on communication
      1. WE talk to God to remember how much He loves us
      2. We talk to God to tell Him and remind ourselves how much we need and love Him
      3. We talk to God to share the burdens of our Heart with Him
        1. Knowing He LOVES us and WANTS to help
      4. We need this fellowship because Temptation lurks at every corner, in every nook and cranny and everywhere
        1. We are not the best at seeing them
        2. In the Air Force we were taught how be observant and spot different types of mines, trip wires and dangers.
          1. In Europe there are still many unexploded shells and mines around.
        3. We need to develop this kind of awareness….self awareness….SIN awareness…..for our lives today
          1. This awareness starts with PRAYER
        4. It is said that our TOP 5 Temptations are: Anxiety or Worry, procrastination, food (eat to much), overuse of electronics or social media and laziness. (faithgateway.com)
          1. I believe that among these is also the temptation to “beat yourself up”, feel sorry for yourself, submit to the opinions of others, hold grudges, LIE and compromise your SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY in some manner (look at what you should not, go where you should not, and associate with people you should not (bad company).
        5. BUT, the reality is that we don’t defend ourselves against TEMPTATION as we should.
          1. We don’t know HOW POWERFUL temptation is until it is too late
            1. We are trapped
            2. We are guilty
            3. We are under temptations THUMB
  1. Our hardest prayer is usually a prayer of submission to the will of God
    1. Yielding what we want
    2. Yielding what the world tries to put on us, in us or around us.
    3. Yielding everything we have to the Will of God
    4. Literal translation is “but not the will of Me but of You be done”
  2. This was a tough time of prayer –  even for Jesus
    1. His prayer was so fervent He began to sweat
      1. Not glisten
      2. SWEAT in HUGE drops
    2. Because of His love for you
  3. WE need to WAKE UP
    1. The time for allowing our FAITH to sleep is OVER
    2. Stop hitting the snooze button of Righteousness.
      1. WAKE UP
    3. The greatest tool God has given us against temptation is a growing relationship with HIM!
      1. The more we focus on Gog the LESS we focus on the temptations around us.
    4. WE need to PRAY
      1. He is God, talk to Him
      2. He is God, listen to Him
      3. He is God, yield to Him
      4. He is God, trust Him
      5. He is God, follow Him
      6. He is God, obey Him
    5. WE need to YIELD our SELF, our FLESH, our EVERYTHING to GOD
    6. Not OUR will but HIS WILL
FOUR      LIFE      QUESTIONS

 It does not take a rocket scientist to look across our landscape and see many emotionally unhealthy people today.  Whether it is the endless parade of angry, bitter people highlighted on the latest afternoon talk show, the increasing rate of aberrant sexual behavior, or the systematic disintegration of the family, it is obvious that we are a nation with many unhealthy, insecure people.  

 Can this be changed?  Absolutely. However, it will not be through government programs, through scholastic education, or even economic revitalization. 

 It will come one individual at a time.  Each person must discover the answer to these four questions. 

 These are simple questions but will influence every relationship a person has.

Four Questions Every Person On Earth Wants Answered

DO I MATTER? –  Derivatives of this question are asked cosmically with questions like, “Am I an accident?”  “Was I Created?”  What does the World have to say about the origin of man? That we came from a pool of cosmic sludge, that we jumped out, jumped back in, jumped back out, grew legs, became a monkey and that we were on our way to becoming a man.  We have been told we were some cosmic accident.  There is no design or purpose for us here.  What does God’s Word Say?  That man is an intentional creation of God.  You individually and specifically important to God.  You Matter!

Psalm 139:13-16 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  NLT

AM I LOVED? – One of the greatest desire mankind want to know is a simple question of, “Am I loved?”  This question can be asked in ways such as, “Am I of Value?” or “Am I Appreciated?”

The Bible tells us that God loves and values each of us.  You individually and specifically loved by God.

Romans 5:6-11 “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.  For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.”  NLT

 WHY AM I HERE? – “What is my Purpose in Life?”  “Can I Make A Difference?” Have you discover why God made you the way He did?  He designed you with a specific purpose in mind.

Have you determined God’s Purpose for your life?    God has individual and specific plans for a great life for you!

 Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.”  NLT

IS THERE HOPE FOR ME? – Once a person has determined that they matter to their Creator, that they are loved by that Creator, and that their Creator has a wonderful plan for their life, they want to know if they can change to fit that Plan.

What was cannot be changed . . . What will be is determined by the choices we make today.  There is hope!  Never forget that there is hope!

The past is not an anchor to bind you!

God has prepared a new life for you individually and specifically.  A life full of Faith, Hope and Love.

 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 “So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now!  What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”  NLT

 Parents, do your children know that they matter, are loved, and have purpose?    Does your spouse?

Teachers, do your students know that there is a plan and a hope for their future?  That they matter?

Employers, do your employees know they matter, are of value, and have purpose to you and your company? 

 When a person cannot answer these questions . . . they will not be able to maintain a balanced, healthy life.

 

***NOTE:   adapted from an anonymous outline I found years ago

March 25th, 2018 The Triumphal Entry / What draws you to Jesus?     John 12:9 – 19

John 12:12-19  “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hail to the King of Israel!”   Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Israel. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”   His disciples didn’t realize at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered that these Scriptures had come true before their eyes.  Those in the crowd who had seen Jesus call Lazarus back to life were telling others all about it.  That was the main reason so many went out to meet him — because they had heard about this mighty miracle.  Then the Pharisees said to each other, “We’ve lost. Look, the whole world has gone after him!”   NLT

  1. I spent a fair amount of time this week pondering the term “attraction”
    1. What draws us to other people or things
      1. Culture or Background or history
      2. Smells, visuals, etc.
      3. Chocolate Milk
      4. Proximity – They’ll do. “its what I got”
      5. Other personal issues – Personal choices/ideals
  1. What draws you to Jesus?
    1. The excitement of the crowd? People or Preachers
    2. The thought that He will take over as your political king?
      1. Many misunderstood Christs purpose
    3. The miracles you heard about?
      1. Valid. Jesus tended to meet physical needs first
        1. Heal the blind, the lame, the broken
      2. Hoping to get something for yourself?
        1. The woman fighting the crowd to touch His Robe
      3. Looking to see if your power\value were going to be hurt?
      4. Because the Holy Spirit of God called you to Him?
        1. How does this work? Through the Gospel
        2. Romans 10:13-15 “For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”    NLT
          1. Who are you attracting to Christ?
          2. Who are you telling the Gospel?
        3. Why is this important to know what attracts you to Jesus?
          1. Because in our scripture today MANY were drawn for the WRONG REASONS with the WRONG HEART
            1. In few days they will be crying out for His DEATH!
            2. “Fair Weather” followers (when the following gets tough, the weak stop following)
  • What raises up a spirit of rebellion in us?
    1. Cold, Rain, Athletics, Games, late nights
  1. Because what drew you to Jesus is what keeps you with Jesus
    1. Excitement wains and politics change
    2. Miracles become old or EXPECTED
    3. You may not feel you got what YOU wanted
    4. You find you need/want something else
    5. You begin to fear what has power over you
  1. The Holy Spirit dwells within you always and cares for all the other issues of life (John 16)
    1. Calls You AND Reminds you
    2. Comforts you AND Guides you
    3. What about because God WANTS you to be saved?
  2. How about “attraction” – can we LEARN from the magnet?
    1. Magnet to plastic – NO attraction – doesn’t look magnetic
    2. Magnet to aluminum – looks and sounds metal but NO attraction
      1. Looks the part but FAKE
    3. Magnet to steel hammer – STRONG attraction
      1. Put growing number of papers between magnet and hammer
        1. The more that gets between these two the weaker the attraction
      2. The more of the world that we allow to get between us and God the weaker our attraction to Him is
        1. God doesn’t change
        2. We allow the world to change us

Bullies and Believers

Defeating bullying in our midst

Shedding the old Person and becoming a new Creation!

Becoming a BETTER person

The threat and effect of bullying is very real

  1. Bullying is a very real and present danger
    1. It is not harmless
    2. It is not a minor problem
      1. One life lost is too many
      2. One person destroyed is too many
    3. com reported that over 60,000 kids miss school because of bullying
    4. The American Psychological Association reported that 90 percent of 4th – 8th graders report being victims of bullying in some form
    5. Several school violence events have been sparked by bullying
      1. Columbine being the most infamous
    6. Bullying is really individual terrorism
      1. Wrecks lives
      2. Brings a life of fear to people
      3. Breeds rebellion
      4. Leads to fights
      5. Leads to suicides
      6. Leads to low self esteem
      7. Destroys character
    7. Bullying can take the form of:
      1. Spreading rumors
      2. Teasing
      3. Exclusion
      4. Threats
      5. Gossip
      6. Mean words
      7. Name calling
      8. Causing trouble at school, work
      9. Twisting truth
      10. Marginalizing
      11. Pushing people to the edges of social circles/society
      12. Oppression
      13. Slavery
      14. Taking advantage
      15. Hitting
      16. Kicking
      17. Pushing
      18. Other physical violence
      19. Stealing
      20. Damaging property
        1. Graffiti
        2. Destruction
      21. other
    8. Social Media has erupted as a major platform for bullies
      1. Same methods used but removed from the opportunity for reprisals/accountability
      2. Fake profiles used to hide
      3. Provides a “safe” and easy platform to use
        1. Post in the dark of night
        2. Apply settings that do not allow replies or comments
  • Apply the bullies context to photos or statements
    1. Usually that are different from reality
  1. Ability to use the person being bullied own pictures and information to set up a fake profile in their name
    1. Post lies
    2. Post destructive comments and statements
  2. Seemingly no accountability
  1. So many just give into the bully
    1. Surrender their power and life over to them
      1. In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.
        Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
    2. There is hope and help for those experiencing bullying and for the bullier
      1. One of my all time favorite TV shows, for having good moral lessons as plot lines, was the “Andy Griffith Show.” There was an episode where young Opie was having his “Milk nickel” bullied away from him and could not afford any milk for lunch. “You wouldn’t want me to get weak bones?” Well, Andy found out about the trouble and looked to find a way to help Opie without making Opie ashamed or dependent of his father’s help all of the time. In itself this is a good lesson to parents, children must learn, and earn, some things on their own in order for them to fully appreciate it later in life, but that is not our point in this illustration. Andy began to tell Opie about the time that Odie Snitch stole Andy’s fishing hole away from him when he was Opie’s age. Young Andy had to eventually face Odie Snitch to rid himself of his awful feeling of being “Lilly livered” and found that a punch in the nose didn’t really hurt when taken for a good cause and that bullies often can’t back up their words with deeds. Opie took the words to heart and faced down his extortionist the next day. Opie came away with a “Bute” of a shiner, but he didn’t even feel the black eye because the sweet feeling of the losing his trouble and regaining what was rightfully his.
        1. The point, you may ask? No trouble is as bad as it once seemed when completed than it did when we first dreaded and feared it.
        2. I would never advocate responding to a bully with violence, but it has proven worthy of our consideration. Not because of the violent act, but because of the empowering act of standing up for yourself, your person and your rights.
  • Taylor Swift said “If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”
  • “Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.”
  1. Seek Help
    1. Counselors and Teachers
    2. Staff
    3. Law enforcement
    4. Pastors, Priests, Rabbi, etc.
    5. Friends
    6. Parents and family
  2. Get involved in team sports or activities
    1. Bands, athletic teams and other group activities promote acceptance, team work and family
    2. Being part of something positive is good for us
  3. Know who you are
    1. You are a masterpiece of God’s Creation
    2. You may not be perfect, but no one else is either
  4. Be patient, honorable and respectful
    1. Do not allow the bully pull you down to a low level
      1. You seek to improve yourself, to raise your character and reputation.
    2. Get to Know Jesus Christ
      1. He loves you
      2. He has a plan for you
      3. He took on the ultimate bully and was entirely victorious
        1. He did this for you!
        2. His stripes can heal your wounds
      4. Treat others the way you would like to be treated
        1. Many bullies are bullied
        2. Many bullies have a horrid home life
        3. Many bullies are poor
        4. Many bullies are jealous
        5. Many bullies have no power or control so they try to gain them over others
        6. Many bullies are raised or taught to be racist or sexist
        7. Many bullies are alone
        8. Many bullies are afraid
        9. Many bullies separate themselves from a mainstream they believe will not accept them and become involved in sub cultures
          1. Gangs

Anatomy of a Bully

  1. Afraid
  2. Socially awkward
  3. Jealous
  4. Weak
  5. Selfish
  6. Arrogant
  7. Angry
  8. Liar
  9. Deceitful
  10. Trouble maker
  11. Hurting
  12. Lustful
    1. Lust for power
    2. Lust for control
    3. Lust for people
      1. A boy usually teases the girl
    4. Killer
      1. Character
      2. Reputation
      3. Person
    5. Eager to do wrong
    6. Sow discord
      1. Cause division
      2. Break couples up
      3. Get someone fired

Scriptures

Proverbs 6:12-21 “What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. There are six things the Lord  hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.”  NLT

Living above Bullying  /  Believers Beating Bullying

Leviticus 19:17-19 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.  “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord . “You must obey all my decrees.”   NLT

  1. Don’t carry hate
  2. Talk to people you disagree with – DIRECTLY
    1. Not behind their backs
    2. Not gossip
  3. LET IT GO! Don’t seek revenge
    1. There is no prize for the amount of wrong you hold on to
  4. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
  5. Obey God

Christians should be working hard to teach and encourage:

  • Better friendships
  • More confidence
  • Individual courage
  • Servanthood – helping others
  • Being ok with who you are – being the person God made you to be
  • Better grades
  • Better health
  • Doing the right thing
  • Character
  • Citizenship
  • Morality
  • Unity

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  NLT

  1. Love your neighbor
  2. Love your enemies
  3. Pray for those who attack you
  4. Do not take the easy road (love those easy to love)
  5. Rise above the culture and their influence
  6. Dare to be different

Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  NLT

  1. Watch your mouth
    1. If you cannot say something good about someone then don’t say anything at all
  2. Do not use foul language. Profanity
  3. Do not use abusive language. Gossip, hate, lies, crude
  4. Use your words to encourage, not discourage or destroy

Micah 6:8 “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  NLT

  1. Do what is Right – by God’s standards – not mans
  2. Love mercy – love treating people right, whether they deserve it or not.
    1. You do not know their life
    2. You do not know their stress
    3. You do not know just how close to exploding they are
  3. Walk humbly with God
    1. Realize that you are far from perfect yourself
    2. You are flawed, faulty and failing
    3. Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. “

Romans 12:9-18 “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” NLT

  1. Really love others
    1. Don’t be fake
    2. Really care
    3. Be really committed to others
    4. Love is COMMITMENT – SACRIFICE – PASSION
  2. Hate what is wrong
    1. Hate bullying, not the bully
    2. Ephesian 6:10-12 “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
      1. Our bigger problem is not the people who are our problem
        1. They are but tool/weapons
          1. You do not blame the gun: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people
          2. You don’t blame the pencil: pencils don’t misspell words, people misspell words
          3. Behind every drug smuggler caught is a drug gang and leadership that enticed him, tempted him, threatened him and used him.
          4. Behind every murderer, liar, misspeller, and drug trafficker there is:
            1. A demand for drugs
            2. A darkness willing to provide them
  • A greed willing to exploit people and destroy lives to get rich.
  1. Our bigger problems are
    1. Satan and his minions
      1. Satan is the ultimate bully
        1. The “Anti Jesus”
        2. He is hate and destruction
        3. He is NOT on your side
        4. He wants to destroy you
      2. The “behind the scenes” dark rulers
        1. The ones who are pulling the strings
        2. The influences and addictions that spread darkness
      3.  Sin/flesh
        1. “The heart wants what the heart wants”
        2. Temptation to satisfy our flesh
          1. Food
          2. Sex
          3. Power
          4. Control
          5. Drugs/alcohol
          6. Arrogance
          7. Self
          8. Pride
    2. Honor each other
      1. Recognize other accomplishments publically
        1. Applaud others
        2. Build them up
        3. Look for the good
        4. Deal with their problems privately (Lev 19)
          1. Management says to reward publicly but discipline privately
  1. Be patient in Trouble
    1. Don’t “Fly off the handle”
    2. Don’t “lose your temper”
    3. You DO HAVE CONTROL
      1. You just may not want it
        1. So you let it roar.
      2. Keep praying
      3. Really help those who are in need
        1. Help the Bullied
        2. Help the bully
      4. Be hospitable
        1. Friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests
      5. Bless those who persecute you
        1. Be nice and helpful to the one bullying you
      6. Do not curse people
      7. Empathize with people
        1. Luke 10:30-37 “Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.  The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
          1. Bullying will happen
            1. Violence and meanness are reality
          2. If you see someone being bullied or hurting from a bully’s attack – HELP THEM
            1. Don’t go out of your way to ignore them
            2. Don’t look and ignore
              1. “Looky Loos”
            3. Get involved
            4. Help them
            5. Love your Neighbor
              1. The one you have come beside of
  • Stand up to bullies – on line and in person
    1. Be nice
    2. Be proper
    3. Challenge the lies
    4. Challenge the purpose
    5. Challenge the heart
    6. Accountability
      1. Own your words and posts
      2. Challenge them to own their
      3. Ask them the hard questions
      4. Ask why theirs is the only correct interpretation
      5. Ask why
    7. Live in harmony with people
      1. To be in agreement
      2. All the parts working together
      3. Romans 12:17-18 “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” NLT

Jesus took the Bullying so we would not have to!

Jesus was bullied by the government, the temple elite, the community business people, everyone

  • Matthew 26:47-56 “And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”  Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. 52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”  55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.”
    • One of His own inner circle turned on Him
    • The temple enforcers came to be instruments of bullying
    • Another of Jesus’ inner circle lashed out in anger against those attempting to take Jesus
      • Jesus told him to stop
    • Jesus challenged the bullies who were after Him
      • Why here?
      • Why now?
      • Why out of town and out of the public view?
        • They were afraid to go after Him in public
      • In the face of this attack on Jesus, His closest friends FLED
        • Good friends don’t run
        • Good friends got your back
      • The “Sin Business” people were attacking Him (Paul and Silas…whatever you do to the least of these you do to Me) because they lost money
        • Acts 16:16-24 “One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”  This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”  A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.” 
      • Temple Elite were attacking Him because they lost power and influence
      • The government leaders were attacking Him because they felt they were losing power and control
      • The kings were attacking Him because they did not want their people worshipping anyone except them
      • The people were attacking Him because He was upsetting the “Status Quo”

Their bullying did not work out so well for them then, and it doesn’t work out so well today.

Romans 3:23-26 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”  

John 3:16-17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”   NLT

Jesus is the Anti-Bully

Philippians 2:5-11 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead,  he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself  in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  1. Have the mind/attitude/love of Christ
  2. Follow Christ’s example
    1. He was EQUAL with God
    2. Yet, He CHOSE to lower Himself to our level
      1. He gave up the perfection of Heaven
      2. He came humbly to us, to the hog pen we had turned His earth into
  • Became human
    1. Think about that
  1. Humble
  2. Obedient
  3. Faithful
  1. Allowed the very ones He had created destroy His Human flesh
  1. You may think you are better than someone else but you are not

The Good News of Heaven

  1. There are no bullies in Heaven
    1. Every one there will bow before Jesus Christ
    2. He will be primary
    3. You will say He is the Ultimate and you are His humble sheep.