March 2016


Psalms 119:129-136                Pe (pay) 17th

“Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.  Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.  Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.  Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.  My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” ESV

  1. Why would we obey God’s Laws?
    1. Because they are wonderful
      1. Marvelous
      2. Miracle
  • Good for us
  1. Because they bring light into our lives
    1. Light – luminous
      1. Make us shine
    2. Light metaphorically
      1. Brighten us up on the inside
  • “Turn on or UP the light of understanding”
    1. Ever had a thought or figure something out and say “The light popped on?”
    2. God’s Word does that
  1. Brings wisdom and maturity to the simple
    1. The silly, The foolish
    2. The simple
  2. We need God and His Word to walk steadily in this world
    1. On the right path
    2. Not stumbling or falling
    3. Keep us from wandering into inequity
      1. Trouble, evil, mischief, sorrow, unrighteousness
    4. Righteous guide
  3. God turns His face towards us
    1. Blessing
    2. We sing “to seek Your face”
    3. Look upon me
    4. Acceptance, Approval, SMILE
    5. Numbers 6:22-26 “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”   ESV
  4. How long has it been since you…WE…shed a tear of the lost world?
    1. Violence, oppression
    2. Sin, self
    3. Arrogance
    4. LOST REALITY OF DEATH
    5. Lost World acting like a lost world
    6. Our family, friends, co-workers dying and heading directly into the cold grasp of hades.
    7. Do we EVEN CARE?
    8. Love and obedience means sharing the Gospel and caring about those around us.
      1. GO

Jesus knew the Temple Elite were out to get Him, but he went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the politicians were out to get Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the military and Temple guards would follow their orders to capture and harm Him with great enthusiasm, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the same people who were shouting praises to Him on Sunday would be crying out for His Crucifixion in just a few days, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even many of the ones who traveled with Him would run away from Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even some of His closest disciples would abandon Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be lied about, tried and convicted in direct contradiction to all the evidence, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be condemned and sent to die even though He was declared innocent; but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would gasp his last physical breath hanging from a roman cross as His blood flowed onto the ground below, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Why would He do such things with full knowledge?

Love.

John 3:16 – 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ESV

Jesus did all of this because He loves you and want the very best for you; now and forever.

Knowing all Jesus knowingly suffered for you, how could we do anything else but love Him back and share His love with others?

Acts 1:8  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Would go to Jerusalem?

 

Took a little time today to read and ponder the arrest, trials, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Two things really hit me as I read.

  1. John 19:14-16 “Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”  They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.”   ESV
    1. I physically shuddered as I read this.
      1. The CHIEF PRIESTS denied Jesus Christ
      2. The Temple Elite were lost in their own world of flesh and religiosity.
        1. In Ezekiel 10 we read of the Glory of God leaving the Temple because of their rebellion, cruelty and disobedient
        2. All traits we are seeing here
        3. Traits we see in our world today
  • A church position does not make anyone a Christian
    1. Like sleeping in a garage will not make you a F-250 or make you a mechanic.
    2. There are “wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” in churches of all denominations across the globe
      1. Twisting the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the desires of the flesh.
      2. Preaching to tickle ears, draw crowds and become powerful
        1. All the while rejecting the very message of the Word of God
      3. There are a HERD of people out there wearing the “label” of Christianity who are no more Christian than a broken superman toy is bulletproof.
        1. They are either fakers or deceived.
      4. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”   ESV
        1. I worry about people who are following the teachings of a man and not the Word of God
          1. How many will stand before Christ and hear “Depart from Me, I don’t know you” because they were tricked by a false teacher who made them feel good.
          2. Will you be one of these many?
        2. I found it particularly disturbing today that people in pulpits are leading people AWAY from Jesus.
      5. The reality that both soldiers and an officer of the High Priest struck Jesus with their hand.
        1. Look at your hand.
          1. Your hand is special and unique.
          2. Your hand was formed by God specifically and individually for you.
        2. They used the very hands God had given them to strike the One who made them
          1. Violent
          2. Disrespectful
        3. I am not sure how to properly explain how repugnant I believe it is to lay our hands on our Savior in such a manner.
      6. Oh how we have failed our Creator and Savior.
        1. We must come to Him with repentant hearts and seek His love and restoration.
        2. We must understand how much we truly need Jesus Christ and receive the Grace of God through Him, and Him alone.
      7. Please take some time this week and read the Gospel accounts of this week, Passion Week, and see just how much Jesus loves YOU and how far He was willing to go for YOUR salvation and eternal life.

Jesus wants a clean church

This morning I was reading a small bit of scripture in Matthew 21:12 – 13 where Jesus went into the Temple just after His “triumphant Entry” into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Two scriptures. 50 – 60 words or so, depending on the Bible translation you are reading.  But some very powerful words and scriptures they are.

We know the story, Jesus goes into the Temple and started overturning tables and running people out of the premises.

This text really spoke to me in two distinct areas.

  1. Jesus went against most of the popular “seeker sensitive” and church growth models we see in today’s world.
    1. Churches with book stores and national brand coffee houses.
    2. Churches more focused on making the “Crowd” comfortable than making a place where the Gospel is welcome
      1. So many times we are willing to compromise or change so we can “capture” a new demographic audience.
    3. Along the way we forget a few things:
      1. People need the Lord; not entertained
      2. We need conviction, to understand our need for God; not confections.
  • The Word of God must be primary
  1. Jesus went through the church and cleaned house
    1. Driving out the greedy money changers
    2. Driving out the cheating dove (sacrifice) sellers
  • Overturning chairs and tables
    1. Not what we today would call an “effective church growth strategy”
    2. Today we would have called the police and had this crazy man hauled away.
      1. Wow, in Texas He might of gotten shot!
    3. The church was not focused on what is PRIMARY
      1. It was focused on greed, pride and flesh
      2. Jesus was on a mission to cleanse the church
    4. Jesus went to great lengths to cleanse His Temple.
      1. Here this in our context today
        1. First: Are His churches (Christian churches) clean and properly focused on God and His Word today?
          1. Even today it is more important for a church to be Biblically focused and doctrinally correct that have a big budget or a massive auditorium.
        2. Second: (and this cannot be emphasized enough in our world today) THE CHURCH IS NOT THE BRICK AND MORTAR EDIFICE PEOPLE GATHER IN! THE PEOPLE ARE THE CHURCH!!!
          1. The church gathers together in a place to worship God
          2. Technically a Christian CANNOT “go to church” because they are one of the many parts of the church
          3. Denominations define and divide us into groups by a worldly standard, but every Christian, regardless of denomination, are part of the Lord’s Church.
          4. How God centered is your church?
            1. Look in the mirror.
            2. Better yet, open the Word of God and see if the reflection you see there is a reflection of self or a reflection of God.
          5. Jesus went in and brought great conviction and cleansing to the temple
            1. Have you allowed Him to do the same for you?
            2. Jesus paid a very high price for the redemption of His Church; for YOUR redemption
            3. Jesus is able to cleanse everything not of God out of His temple; to cleanse you!
              1. New life
              2. New hope
  • New faith
  1. A New you!
  1. To “borrow” a phrase from most parents on a long car trip:
    1. “Don’t make Him come down here”
    2. Choose for yourself TODAY that Jesus is Lord and accept every good thing He has for you.
  2. Jesus cleansed His Temple and gave it a central purpose.
    1. A purpose from which every other plan and purpose of His Church grows out into this world.
    2. A PRIMARY focus that remains unchanged today.
    3. This primary focus gives us direction, wisdom, strength, conviction, correction and a deepening relationship with God.
    4. “My House will be called a house of prayer!” – Jesus
      1. Today, prayer meetings are the least attended meeting of the church
      2. Today, the daily prayer habits of the average Christian is almost zero.
  • Today, prayer has taken a back seat to programs, promotions and platitudes.
    1. You Christian, ARE THE CHURCH! You are God’s House.
      1. Are YOU a house of prayer?

Love and Hypocrisy               Palm Sunday

The people involved here were full of hypocrisy

The crowds were all stirred up!  Cheering and shouting and throwing down clothes and Palm Branches.

Why?  

They thought they were in the presence of a great man – a prophet.

They just didn’t get it!

Most were cheering because everyone else was cheering.

Some were cheering to “fit in” somewhere

Others were cheering because they saw opportunity for themselves.

They just didn’t get it!

It is possible to get all stirred up for Jesus and still not know who Jesus really is

What would your king be riding on/in?

  • Majestic stead?
  • A Limo or Private plane?

The people missed it!

Jesus rode a young donkey.  Humble

Servant Leader

They were cheering Jesus now…..but we all know that will soon change – quickly and violently

The cheers of praise and peace will soon become “Crucify Him!

The closer Jesus got to the cross the fewer people followed Him

Along the path to His resurrection people peeled away, even those disciples who traveled with Him the longest.

How quickly a politician or powerful leader can turn the people against Christ…..yes, even religious leaders.

Jesus was challenged on the purity of His house, His authority as God, His leadership, His money, His purpose, His Message, and just about everything.

Challenged, plotted against, lied about, ridiculed, violently abused and Murdered by the people of His creation!

Why?

Because He loved them!

HE loved them as they worshiped Him

HE loved them as they laid down their cloaks and palms for Him

HE loved them as they attacked everything about them Him

HE loved them as they killed Him

Jesus is LOVE

Let’s be honest, we today, especially in our country where we act most often like SPOILED BRAT CHILDREN !

We demanding everything goes our way; refusing to serve without complaining, doing only what we perceive as the very BARE MINIMUM to get by and wanting everything provided for us!

If EVERYTHING doesn’t go our way we throw a FIT and leave

God’s disobedient, spoiled brat children AND He loves us through it all.

  • He wants better for us.
  • He expects better from us.
  • He has given us everything we need for successful, peaceful lives and lays out the pathway to that blessed life.

We just want Him and all of the “Goodies” without all of that pesky faith, obedience, humility, service and devotion.

We want to BE LOVED, we just are not very good at LOVING HIM!

We Are Hypocrites.

He is LOVE.

He deserves better.

Be better.

March 6th                    Rejecting Idols

Luke 9:28-36  “Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.  And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.  And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.  Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.  And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—l not knowing what he said.  As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.”    ESV

  1. Getting away to pray was a common thing for Jesus
  2. I would imagine that changing His form to closer resemble the Holy Son of God was pretty common as well
    1. Just rarely seen by man
    2. We need to remember that Jesus was WAY MORE than a man
  3. Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah – Two major OT faithful men
  4. The three humans there KNEW they were witness to something Great
  5. They did what men do
    1. Set up 3 tents/tabernacles
    2. They wanted to set up 3 churches – places of worship
      1. They wanted a physical place
      2. They wanted an alter
    3. People are still looking for:
      1. Noah’s Ark
      2. Ark of the Covenant
      3. Moses Staff
      4. The Spear that pierced Jesus
  1. We take any artifact or place and make the OBJECTS or PLACES OF WORSHIP!
  2. ANYTHING hewn or created by man can, and probably is, being used as a false god.
    1. Carved wood or stone
    2. Digital creations: interned, facebook, etc
  • Even the WORLD that GOD created is worshipped as a god
  1. But, the construction of these tabernacles to create sites of worship that could/would become worshipped was not the end of their idolatry!
  2. Notice verse 33 again:
    1. They wanted to make THREE tabernacles
      1. One for Jesus
      2. One for Moses
      3. One for Elijah
    2. They were lifting the two OT prophets up to the SAME LEVEL as JESUS CHRIST
      1. You are witnessing the potential creation of false gods and false religion right here
      2. Blaspheme
      3. Idolatry
    3. God put ALL THIS NONSENSE to an end QUICKLY
      1. THIS IS MY SON
      2. HE IS MY CHOSEN ONE
      3. LISTEN TO HIM
      1. Could you imagine what would have happened if these 3 trusted disciples of Jesus Christ were allowed to take this false message back to the group? To the Nations?
        1. God moved quickly to STOP this WRONG DOCTRINE before people began think Moses and Elijah were gods as well

It is not about a place, a thing or a human being:

  1. IT IS ABOUT JESUS!
    1. Listen to Him!
    2. Follow Him!
  2. Today we need to search our hearts and lives for false gods and ask God to correct our hearts, attitudes, words and actions.