May 28            Kids Need the Lord    Luke 18:15 – 17

Luke 18:15-17 “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.   Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”   ESV

 Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem passing between Samaria and Galilee.  There are many cities in this area…one of which is Nazareth, His boyhood home.

Many sought Him out for help, healing and hope.

They even brought their children to Him; a MAJOR break from the traditions and laws of the Temple Elite.  Kids make noise in the temple and make a mess and break stuff and ask a LOT of questions (questions the Temple Elite did not want to be bothered with and/or have to answer)

The disciple rebuked the parents, grandparents, others for bringing the little kids to their Rabbi.

“Get those snot nosed brats out of here and back to the playgrounds where they belong!”

Jesus had a different plan and did a little rebuking of His own!

Jesus knew the heart of the little children AND He knew their needs.

KIDS NEED THE LORD

  • Jesus WANTS the little children to come to Him
    •             Freely
    •             Unhindered

Parents/Grandparents/teachers/church family,     we need to examine how we treat the youngest, weakest, powerless among us!

  • Do we help, hinder or hurt their journey to Christ?
    •                         We hold SUPREME power over them
    •                         What we say they do
    •                         What we do they mimic
    •                         Where we go – they go
    •                         What we prioritize they see as important

We need to examine our families, our parenting, our choices, our church, our EVERYTHING and see if there is anything we are doing to HINDER our children from coming to JESUS!

  • Maybe it is our WORDS.
    • Whether in bad language or just telling them they are too
    • young
  • Maybe it is our PRIORITIES
    • We can easily fall into the trap of making everything else a priority OVER God: sports, sleep, movies, vacation, hobbies, etc
      Maybe it is our ACTIONS
    • Whether in bad behavior or by providing no guidance and
    • accountability or simply by not LIVING God in our homes
  • Maybe it is our ATTITUDES
    • If our attitudes are negative so will be our children’s
    • If our attitude about God and church are negative so will be our children’s

We should do EVERYTHING within our power to ENCOURAGE our kids towards God!

KIDS NEED THE LORD

AS we do this, we will see a change in us, we will become like the little children loving and trusting God in a simple heartfelt faith.

It is the “grown Ups” who forget how to love and receive.  We have developed hard hearts and QUESTION EVERYTHING that is offered us.  “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!”

We have been hurt, beaten, abused, trampled, cast aside, overlooked, underappreciated, taken advantage of and used by just about every HUMAN we have ever met.  WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE DISAPPOINTMENTS!

We are afraid to open up and be vulnerable yet again because we fear being hurt or harmed.

It is out of our life experiences – good and bad/ joyful and painful that we lead our children

Children usually do not carry this fear.

  • They are willing to believe that God is exactly who He says He is!
  • They understand that God will never lie to them or let them down
  • They know that God will never leave them or forsake them
  • They understand that God LOVES them and wants the very best for their lives.
    • Kids UNDERSTAND God.
    • KIDS NEED THE LORD
    • YOU need the LORD!

Today we will celebrate the achievement of our children, young and old.  We will encourage them in their motivation and hard work to achieve the goals we celebrate.

Have we encouraged them towards Jesus and Celebrated their journey into His Grace?

The Kingdom of God belongs to those who receive God’s Grace as a little child.

10 years old or 100 years old, the same Grace of Holy God is available for you.

Cast away the hardness and negativity of the world and receive God’s Love as a little child receives Him and LIVE!

Maybe this text is about how we treat the smallest and weakest among us…those with no power and no real say……do we push them back….do we push them down?   Do we push them FORWARD?  Do we somehow reserve “The Best part” for the grown ups?

Do we push them to God?

May 14            “ A Woman’s Grit”    Luke 18:1 – 8

Most of us remember the movie “True Grit” in either its first or second release.  What we may not realize is that the movie “True Grit” is not about Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne or Jeff Bridges) but is about a 14 year old girl named Mattie Ross (Kim Darby or  Hailee Stanfield)!

Mattie is the one who picked Rooster to help her track down her father’s murderer.  There was absolutely NOTHING going to stop this stubborn and feisty young woman from her task!

 Grit is defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

  • God wants us to pray
    • Talking builds relationships
    • God wants us to TALK with Him
    • Even if we don’t say much – listen
  • God wants us to remain hopeful
    • We so quickly turn to the dark side – what is the WORST
    • We get all bound up in the “What Ifs”
    • We rarely think the best thing is happening
  • Hope is built in our heart
    • not our eyes, hands, minds, TV shows, etc.
  • To show us the right path God used a PERSISTENT women
    • She had been a wife and was probably a mom
    • God knows the love and strength of a woman’s heart
    • Especially for her family
  • A strong woman never gives up, gives in or gives out
    • She fights for her family
    • She pushes for what is right
  • Reality:
    • MOMMA KNOWS HOW TO GET THINGS DONE!
      • Dads is still sitting in his chair wondering what’s going on WHILE Momma already got it done!
      • IF Momma’s first attempt at getting it done meets RESISTANCE…..MOMMA IS GOING TO KEEP ON TRYING!
        • Ain’t no GIVE UP in Momma
    • Jerry Clower is famous for saying “WHATEVER MOMMA WANTS…..MOMMA GETS!”
    • It is not original with him though…it comes from this text in Holy Scriptures!
  • She nagged him
    • she never let up or relented or LOST HOPE
    • even though the temptation to quit must have been there after so many attempts and so many failures
      • but she persisted
  • Because of her persistence the Judge relented
    • He figured out that if he didn’t do something she would keep coming
    • He knew she needed justice,
      • but he evidently didn’t want to be bothered.
      • Maybe heartless or maybe lazy or perhaps he didn’t see the value of wasting time on her.
      • But because she persisted he relented and helped
  • God is different than this Judge
    • God Loves You
    • God is THE Righteous Judge
    • He wants to help
    • God is on your side
    • God is OK with your continual prayers
    • NAG God all you want – BE PERSISTENT
  • Here is the question for us this text poses:
    • When the Son of Man returns WILL HE FIND ANY FAITH ON EARTH?
      • Will He find a people like the widow who perceived in faith
        • True faith continues to pray
        • With a FERVENT HOPE
        • True faith keeps its heart toward God
        • Trusting
      • Will He find people who simply gave up
        • Turned to the comforts of the world
        • Turned to the evil lies of our enemy
        • Lost hearts
  • NEVER give up on God!
  • He certainly NEVER gives up on you

May 7, 2017     Luke 17:20–37

“When the CLOCK and CALENDAR Don’t Matter!”

The Kingdom of God is Not Coming – It is already here

  • God is King of kings and Lord of lords TODAY
  • He never stopped or took a vacation
  • This earth never stopped being God’s
  • What were they really asking?  When will the Messiah come?
  • They were literally asking the Messiah when He would be coming.
  • Today, we look forward to His return

Jesus Christ is coming back…..

  • This is settled and absolute
  • There will be a rapture, a tribulation, a millennial reign and a finality to this earth.
  • Theologians have battled for centuries about HOW this will happen and WHEN this reality will occur
    • But NONE doubt or argue that it WILL HAPPEN
  • I can tell you today EXACTLY how the “END TIMES” will play out in our reality
    • Exactly
    • Even with a timetable….
      • Ready?….
    • The Kingdom of God will come for you and me and for all creation….
      • Exactly WHEN, WHERE and HOW God says it will! Not sooner or later

The WORLD wants to get so concerned about the timing of armegeddon, the rapture, and more

  • Look here…Look there…
    • Post a billboard
    • Set a date
      • DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THEM
      • They have been proven WRONG each and every time!
    • Movies, books, cults, even religions and churches can make the timing of Christ’s return their major focus….and fundraiser
      • Don’t be consumed by this question
        • It will play out God’s way
          • Pre-trib, mid – trib, post -trib or amillennial
          • We argue, debate and fuss about something we DO NOT KNOW
        • Trust GOD with that time
          • Your time may come WAY BEFORE this event anyway

The TIMING is not for us to know right now

  • The CLOCK and CALENDAR DO NOT MATTER!
  • Maybe soon for some and longer for others
  • Maybe those of us gathered here will survive until the rapture of the church…
    • Maybe not..
  • Not YOUR business
    • Above your pay grade so to speak

The REALITY of the return of Jesus Christ is VERY MUCH our business!

  • Reguardless of God’s TIMING
    • We are called to BE READY!
      • Be SAVED
      • Be SERVING
    • You may be called to martyrdom
      • He who loses his life will keep it
      • Give Your life to God
        • It is His anyway
        • He gave it to you

But a fearful and weak faithed people want a sign

  • We have no need to fear
    • The examples in our text prove that God will protect His people
      • Noah and family safe on the Ark
      • Lot and MOST of his family safely removed from destruction
        • People of Israel’s Children saved by the Blood back at the very first Passover.
      • We do not need a SIGN!
    • Here’s Your Sign
      • Your daily life
        • Nothing else needs to happen prophetically for Christ to Return
        • No prophecy remains unfilled before the rapture occurs
        • The Kingdom of God could return for you…for us
          • Today!
          • NOW!
          • Or in 100 years or more

BE ready

  • We DO NOT need a sign…WE NEED JESUS!
    • John 3:16
    • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ESV
  • This scripture tells us it will be like in the days of Noah before the flood and the days of Lot before the fire and brimstone
    • Normal days
    • Eating, drinking, sleeping
    • Working and playing
    • Building families and communities
    • A day just like every other day
      • UNTIL something UNUSUAL happens and changes everything.
    • Suddenly, quicker than the Flash or Superman
      • BOOM
      • People will be at home and BOOM some are gone and some are left
      • People will be working and BOOM some are gone and some are left
      • People will be doing what they do every day, living in their self imposed rut and routine and BOOM some will be gone and some will be left

When The Clock and the Calendar Don’t Matter

    • What DOES MATTER is a relationship
    • YOUR relationship with God through Jesus Christ
    • God is more important than time
    • DO NOT be left behind
      • Death is left behind everywhere
    • Choose life!
    • Be ready!

Ephesians 2:4-10 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”    ESV

4 30                 Turning Back              Luke 17:11-19

God doing what God does

  • Traveling about (while in human form anyway)
  • Making and building relationships with people
  • Healing the hurting

The lepers doing what lepers do

  • Pushed out to the margins
  • Separated from the decent, healthy folks
    • They were seeking help
    • They were crying out for mercy
    • They needed healing
    • They needed to know someone cared
    • They craved human contact
  • Many, MANY others have ignored their cries, made standard responses (bless your hearts, praying for you, will give to the telethon,…etc)

Jesus did what Jesus usually does

  • Something very different from what us self-absorbed and weak faithed people do
  • He healed them
    • Not with a flourish
    • Not with many words
    • Not with mud and spit
      • Jesus sent them to the priests and healed them
        • “AS THEY WENT”
        • We should NOT overlook this phrase!

The lepers showed an extraordinary faith that most do not possess

  • They were still sick and afflicted
  • Nothing had changed
    • They Started towards the temple
    • They believed
    • They were healed AFTER they started their journey

9 lepers, well FORMER lepers, did EXACTLY what most people would do:

  • Took the GRACE God had given them and went on their way
    • No looking back
    • No thanks
    • No sustaining relationship developed
    • Just “I got mine…for now”
    • What makes the Dead Sea dead?
      • Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything.
      • The Dead Sea is 1,412 FEET BELOW sea level.
      • Mineral laden water flows into it, but evaporates or is absorbed leaving behind a liquid nothing can live in for long.
      • The Dead Sea is dying, shrinking at what is termed an “alarming rate”
    • Why is it that many Christians are cold?
    • Why is it that many Christians do not serve the Lord?
    • Why is it that many Christians do not GIVE to God through His church?
    • Because they are all the time receiving
      • Never thankFULL as the one leper
      • Grace flows in and either evaporates (goes unnoticed) or is absorbed
      • never giving out anything
        • only wanting to receive
      • Leaving life evaporating at an alarming rate

1 leper, well FORMER leper, did something different

  • He TURNED BACK
  • He changed his path
  • He went to Jesus and GAVE HIM THANKS
  • He was THANKFULL for the GRACE he had been given and desired to praise Jesus
    • Praising God with a LOUD voice
    • FELL at JESUS’ FEET

One fact makes this SUBMISSION, HUMILITY and GRATITUDE even more amazing:

  • He was a SAMARITAN
    • They were haters of the Jews
    • They didn’t get along
    • By the Old Testament the Samaritans were contaminated by bad blood and false worship.
    • We all remember the story of the Good Samaritan in the New Testament.
    • Based on their Samarian homeland today we might call them Muslims or Palestinians….(south of the Sea of Galilee and North of the Dead Sea…between Jerusalem and Nazareth
      • Still enemies of the Jewish Nation today
    • But here, healed by Jesus Christ, THANKFULL
    • Never give up on a person or a people!
      • God can do greater things than you

Jesus healed and encouraged this Samaritan and sent him along his path full of praise, worship and FAITH in Jesus Christ.

  • Today maybe Jesus is asking “Were not more cleansed? Where are the rest?  I gave my life for all but how many return thanks?”
    • Have you been cleansed?
    • Have you lived thankFULL lives?

April 23, 2017:       Love is….minimum? OR  How DEEP is your love?

Luke 17:7-10 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’?   Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” ESV

When we are in love with someone we are willing to “go that extra mile” to make them happy.  We will spend the extra money and time to travel across the state just to visit them.  We will buy them something just because we know they will enjoy the gift.  We may…MAY…even take out the trash or do laundry without even being asked; just because we love them.

How much more should we be willing to give to GOD and serve God out of our love for Him?

Why do we make excuses?

Why do we figure out what our minimum financial gift will be?

Why do we struggle with spending time with Him in SS, Church, Prayer meetings, ministry events, revivals, Bible readings, prayer and more?

  • We like to be served
    • We like to take advantage of those who serve us
      • We don’t know them
      • We certainly don’t love them
      • We demand and demand
        • My drink has been empty for 48 seconds
        • I cannot believe this line is so long and the checker is so slow
  • We always want more
    • We want to feel more important
    • We want to feel more special
    • We want to feel more submission from those below us
      • We are an arrogant people
    • So much of our culture seems to be focused on doing the BARE MINIMUM – just enough to get by
      • How many widgets or sprockets am I expected to make
      • How long do I have to complete this task
      • How little can I do and keep the boss happy

We FAIL when we serve God with this attitude

    • How MUCH MORE can I do for my Savior?
    • Can I reach just ONE MORE today?
    • We should always serve Jesus with our BEST – not our MINUMUM!
    • When we only DO THE MINIMUM for God we should feel ashamed.
    • When we bring that attitude to the Cross – To Jesus – to His Church….. we become much surprised
      • We find that we have responsibilities to serve
      • We learn that we have the EXPECTATION to serve
      • We find out that God has a plan for our lives that includes service
      • WE SHOULD FIND that our LOVE FOR GOD leads us to EXCEED EXPECTATIONS in serving Him!
        • How would God rate your love for Him/others?
  • This is where our REAL ATTITUDE kicks in
    • This is where we find out HOW DEEP OUR LOVE FOR GOD REALLY IS!
    • This is when our FAITH kicks in
    • This is when our HUMILITY kicks in
    • This is when our LOVE FOR GOD AND OTHERS kicks in
      • Do we really LOVE God
      • Do we LOVE OUR IDEA of God
        • What HE CAN DO FOR US
          • How can God SERVE ME?

A man was invited to a wedding of a young lady he really didn’t know, although he had great respect and admiration for her father who was his friend. When considering the gift to give to the young bride, he considered that his gift was not so much about the bride, but about honoring the father of the bride. He concluded that you cannot honor the father by throwing pennies at the bride.

  • What is our life to be AFTER we are SAVED?
    • We are not SAVED to SIT
    • We are SAVED to SERVE
    • We are SAVED to SUBMIT
    • We are SAVED TO GIVE
    • We are SAVED to GO
    • We are SAVED to LOVE – Completely & Unconditionally
  • Do your Best
  • Do your most
  • Not out of DUTY
  • Not out of LEGALISM
  • Do all you can do OUT OF YOUR LOVE!
    • EXCEED the requirements of the LAW and the WORD
    • EXCEED the expectations of your religion and your pastor
    • EXCEED the expectations of even GOD
      • God sure did EXCEED our expectations

Last week we looked very closely at how GREAT God’s Love

is for you.  The question this week is how GREAT is your love for God?

Temptations Twist

Luke 17:1-4 “And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” ESV

  • Temptation is not sin…..temptation will occur
  • Temptations to sin: Scandal, snare/trap, occasion to fall
    • Maybe illustrate with large mouse trap and cheese
      • What could the cheese illustrate/stand for?
        • Anything that tempts us
          • Pride
          • Alcohol and/or drugs
          • Lust – adultery
          • Sexual immorality
          • Gossip
          • Jealousy
          • Anger
          • Rivalries
          • Dissensions
          • Other FLESH FUELED issues

 These temptations WILL COME

    • Do not think you are somehow above them
    • There is a price to be paid for giving into them
    • The trap will snap
    • Temptation is not sin
      • Giving INTO temptations trap is our problem
      • What baits your trap?
      • What are you likely to give into quickly?
    • Jesus was tempted BUIT NEVER SINNED
    • Adam and Eve were similarly tempted but fell into the trap

Matthew 4:4 – 11 “4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”  11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”  ESV

Hebrews 4:`4 – 16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • ESPECIALLY if you cause another one to stumble
    • Little Ones: least, little, less, small in size, quantity, number or dignity
      • Not just talking about kids
  • Pay attention to YOURSELVES!
    • Watch what you are doing
    • Keep an eye on your hands
    • PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD
    • DO NOT BE A TEMPTER!
  • Pay attention to others
    • Hold them accountable to God’s Word as well
      • The caution is to GOD’S WORD
      • Not yours
      • Not your interpretation that fits your needs
    • Forgive the truly repentant
      • Forgiveness is not acceptance of the bad behavior
    • Temptations Twist
      • The Grace of God
        • Even though we did not deserve His Love…
          • We were rebellious
          • We were mean
          • We were caught by evil
          • Sinners, each and every one
        • ….at Calvary Jesus stepped into our trap and took our destruction away
          • Jesus suffered, was ridiculed and debased
          • Jesus shed His Blood for our sins
          • Jesus died in our place
        • We can be set free….redeemed by the shed blood of the Lamb of God

Feb 19, 2017

Luke 16:14-17 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.  “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.  But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”  ESV

What did the Pharisees here that made them so angry, jealous and petty?

They heard Jesus teach about humility, service, devotion, commitment, giving, caring, loving, yielding, stewardship, faithfulness and obedience to the Kingdom of God.

Shame on Him for teaching them to Love God and Love others

 The tried to justify their selfish, arrogant behavior by ridiculing the Son of God.

I don’t think that will go over very well.

Bullying to get your way is NO WAY to make a point

If Jesus identifies our bad behavior and we feel ashamed REMEMBER that He has don’t this to CORRECT behavior and NOT TO HARM us.

The purpose of the Law is to show us our need for Jesus, not to condemn us.  The Law shows us our transgressions against God and against our fellow man.  The Law should lead us to repentance.

We can never JUSTIFY ourselves before anyone, much less the Only One who can redeem us and justify us.

He knows the REAL US; not the FAKE US we allow the world to see and know.

Forces: force, to crowd oneself, to be seized, press suffer violence.  NLT – Eager              KJV – Presseth into

AMP – “and everyone strives violently to go in [would force his own way rather than God’s way into it]

We want the Good News without the Faith and Obedience

We want to go into God’s Kingdom on OUR TERMS

OUR WAY     OUR TIME     “JUST AS WE ARE”

We want the benefits without the costs

We don’t even want to count the cost

We are REBELS

We rebel against god’s Word

We rebel against God’s Will

We rebel against God

We have proved our rebellion all the way back to the garden.

This is a rebellion we will NEVER win

We are PARASITES

We want to pull all we want from the well

We want to LATCH ON and get all we can get

Just like the Temple Elite of Christ’s Day

We never want to serve, obey or trust

We want God to be a vending machine that responds at our demand and we are more than willing to kick, rattle and complain if we do not get our way.

The Law matters.  The Law shows us our need for God.

The 10 Commandments matter.  In our lives, in the life of our country.

We do not dispose of them, we embrace them and see how they point us to love God and others better.

If we love God we will obey His Commands.

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

  • We forget that our obedience is a way to say “Thank You” to the One who saved us.
  • We forget that we are ill equipped to ridicule or argue with God
  • We forget that our trust is a way to say “We Believe” to the One who provides and protects us
  • We forget that our love expressed is one way we say we are connected to the One who is Love.