Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Prophecy # 32 Scorn, Sobs, Secret

With this message we conclude our study of Luke chapter 13. It has not been a series of messages under one theme; but individual messages on various topics, all teachings of Jesus.  You will find earlier messages from this chapter  under several links:  “Capital Punishment” under that link, “Repentance” under SALVATION, “Spiritual Barrenness” under SERVICE, “Bound and Bowed Down” under HEALTH,  “The Kingdom and the Church” under those two links,  “Deluded Souls” under DECEPTION.  “This message, “Scorn, Sobs, and Secret” is taken from Luke 13:31-35 and is primarily prophetical.

SCORN   Luke 13:32-34 

The Pharisees, as a whole, hated Jesus.  That is obvious throughout the four Gospels. It was the Pharisees who stirred up the mobs to eventually crucify Christ. It was at this time that they attempted to frighten Jesus to leave their country by warning Him that Herod was out to get Him.  Of course Jesus feared no one, including the Pharisees and Herod. He scorned Herod as a weak-charactered, effeminate, sensual playboy fox or vixen.  So Jesus told the Pharisees to take the message back to Herod that no one, including Herod, was going to determine His agenda or time or manner of death.  He had told the same thing to the Pharisees in John 10:17-18. 

 Although we are out of place calling anyone names; Jesus, who is God in human flesh, could rightfully call people names that fit them perfectly.  Not only did He call Herod a fox, but on several occasions, He referred to the Pharisees as serpents.  Certainly He showed His utter contempt for Herod; not only here, but when He was brought before him just before His crucifixion. Read the story in Luke 23:6-12.  There Herod mocked Him, asking Jesus to show him some of His miracles.  Jesus stood in total silence before Him until Herod, finally in disgust sent Him back to Pilate. 

SOBS   Luke 13:34-35 

Here in this Luke passage and again in Matthew 23:29-33 Jesus charged Israel with rejecting and persecuting her prophets throughout their history.  As a mother hen tries to protect her chicks from danger by hiding them under her wings,  so Jesus, as a mother hen, had reached out to Israel to protect them; but they would not come under His protection. 

As a nation, they rejected Him. Read John 1:11-12 concerning this. This generation of Israelites were the most blessed generation in all of history.  They had God in person living among them as a man, and still they rejected Him. Now Jesus is about to return to Heaven and leave them desolate, trodden down by the gentile nations, without His presence and blessing. 

I can almost hear the sob in Jesus’ voice as He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent to thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen  doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see Me until the time when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”  

In AD 70  Rome would destroy  Jerusalem and the  temple, as Jesus had prophesied in Matthew 24:1-2. The nation Israel would be switched to a siding and the Church would begin it’s 2000 year journey down the main track of prophecy until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled, as we read in Luke 21:24.  

That time of the gentiles was covered earlier in this prophetic series. This is the Church Age.  The Church,  composed of regenerated Jews and gentiles, is neither Jew nor gentile as Galatians 6:15 teaches.  It is made up of people unlike anyone on earth.  It is composed only of sinners from every tribe and nation around the world  who have come by faith to Christ and placed their trust in His cleansing blood alone for salvation.  We await the return of Christ when we, His spiritual Bride, are united with our Heavenly Bridegroom. 

As for the Jews who have not yet recognized and received Jesus as their Messiah, they continue to experience the pressures and persecution of “the times of the gentiles”.  At the end of The Tribulation Christ will return to reign over this earth. With His coming will come the end of the dominion or “times of the gentiles” and Christ will usher in His Millennial rule of peace and righteousness over all the earth.  With His coming will unfold His wonderful secret for Israel. 

SECRET  Luke 13:35

According to Luke 13:35 Israel, who has long rejected Jesus as their Messiah, will one day receive Him and say “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!”  According to Romans 11:25-26 all Israel will be saved.  For more on this wonderful secret of Israel‘s conversion to Christ, review this series on PROPHECY, especially starting with the Dispersion and Restoration of Israel.  Exciting, wonderful days await the Jews.  But even greater blessing awaits those who in this Church Age, trust the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah 53 who suffered and died for our sins.  

CONCLUSION 

God has not one word of salvation or comfort or encouragement  for self-righteous Pharisees or sin-loving Herods who reject Christ and His wonderful salvation;  but to those who humbly receive Him, Christ offers salvation  John 6:37,   rest  Matthew 11:28-30,  Protection Psalm 91, Provision  Psalm 23,  prosperity and blessing,  Psalm 1. By God’s grace, Israel will share in that blessing when they return to Christ as their Saviour and Messiah and King and bless His name.  That’s actually going to happen one glorious day, perhaps not too far in the future!

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Prophecy Series | Comments Off on Prophecy # 32 Scorn, Sobs, Secret

Worship series #1: What is worship?

 

Many people think they are worshipping God, but are not worshipping Him at all.

They express their worship in everything from formalism to wild emotionalism. It is one thing to follow a formal order of service; it’s another thing to worship formalism.  It’s one thing to worship with deep emotion; it’s another thing to give ourselves to emotionalism. Formalism and emotionalism are not honoring to God.  They had false worship in  Jesus’ day and He was not pleased. Matthew 15:7-9  They had it in Old Testament times and God was not pleased.  Amos 5:21-27   

Worship has little to do with externals.

Church buildings, worship centers, altars, crosses, so-called worship music and sacraments have little to do with worship. Preachers and worship leaders cannot work up genuine worship by setting the atmosphere for emotional experiences. I have observed preachers orchestrate phony “worship experiences.”   I’ve seen them turn it on or turn it off on command. 

Worship can take place anywhere.  

You may truly worship God in a church service as you listen to God’s Word preached or as you participate or listen to the singing of Christ-honoring hymns  and spiritual songs.  You may worship God as you lie on your bed at night, unable to sleep, or as you are hiking in the woods or driving through rush-hour traffic.  

Worship can be expressed privately and quietly,

It may be expressed with great exuberance as when David danced before the Lord with all his might.  II Samuel 6:14 One thing is certain. Any outward expression of worship or service offered to God in pride or to show-off to others our “spirituality” offends God and it offends those who love the Lord. 

Worship is a response to the knowledge of God.

God seeks true worshippers to worship Him in spirit and in truth. One of the best explanations of worship is found in John 4. Here we read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  While Jesus was dealing with her about her sins and her need of salvation, she tried to divert the conversation to questions concerning where to worship. Jesus gently focused her attention on to the substance of genuine worship. He teaches her that worship is a spiritual matter; not a fleshly, emotional experience. 

True worship is based on the truth of the knowledge of God.  It is a response to hearing God’s truth.    Those who simply want to experience excitement and a pious feeling will be misled. Those who hunger to know God by listening to the preaching of His Word, will always respond in true worship and adoration of Christ. Such worship will always result in a changed life, a life in which Christ is the center.  

True worship is the most intimate experience a Christian has with God.

It ought to continue day and night without ceasing, even as we are commanded to “pray without ceasing.” 

True worship takes place wherever Christ is honored.

When hearts are humbled and overwhelmed with the grace of God,  only then does true worship takes place. We honor Christ as we eagerly listen to His Word and sing hymns and songs that glorify Him. 

Sin is the only thing that hinders worship.

It is my desire as a preacher; not to lead my congregation in “worship experiences”, but to faithfully preach God’s Word so that people can recognize sins that hinder their relationship with God, confess them and be cleansed and restored to a right relationship with God and begin living a life of worship. 

Steps to worship and service

As we hear God’s Word and are made aware of our sins; we confess them to Him and He forgives and cleanses us by the shed blood of Christ. 

When we are forgiven and cleansed; our hearts are filled with gratitude and praise to God. 

When our hearts are filled with gratitude and praise to God;  only then can we  worship Him. 

True worshippers of Christ alone are able to effectively serve Him. All other worship and service offered to God is insulting and an affront to Him. 

If you live in or are traveling through the greater Albuquerque area, we invite you to visit us at Alameda Bible Church and open your heart to God’s Word and allow Him to teach you and draw you into a life of ceaseless worship and faithful service to Him.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Worship Series | Comments Off on Worship series #1: What is worship?

Deception series: Introduction

Repeatedly  the Bible warns us of dangers and deceptions. We are to beware of false prophets who come to us as wolves in sheep’s clothing.  We are to be on guard to self-deception and to the wiles of Satan. 

As shepherds  lead their flocks to  green pastures, and protect them from many dangers,  so pastors are to lovingly feed, warn and protect their flocks. The following posts give some pertinent warnings for you.  Please, do not take these warnings lightly and end up destroying your life.

 

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Deception Series | Comments Off on Deception series: Introduction

Separation series #1: Good and Evil

The Bible speaks of two kinds of separation. There is a godly separation and an ungodly separation.

 

The godly separation begins with God.  Through our faith in Christ,  He separates us to Himself.  This union with Christ is clearly taught in Romans 6 and Colossians 3. See my series on VICTORY for more on this union with Christ. 

 

Ephesians 2:11-12 tells us that before salvation we were aliens without God and were totally immersed in the world system which II Corinthians 4:4 teaches is under the control of Satan. The world’s philosophy and values were our life.  Our minds and our hearts were influenced and  controlled by Satan and his world system.

 

As Christians in union with Christ, we still live in this sinful world system surrounded by unsaved people. The common problem is that when people come to Christ and are saved, they tend to become so enthralled with their fellow Christians that they begin to lose contact with unbelievers and in so doing, forfeit opportunities to be a witness to them.   

 

Though we as Christians enjoy our fellowship with God’s people, we are not to disassociate ourselves from the lost.  As we go to school with them, work with them and enjoy sports and other activities with them, we have opportunities to show them Christ.  We are the only Christ they know.  We are the only Bible they will read.  As Jesus taught in Matthew 5:13-16  we are to reflect Christ and cause people to desire Him by the way we live our lives.

 

Paul encouraged the Philippians Christians and us in Philippians 2:14-16  to “Do all things without  murmurings and disputings that we may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of Life.”

 

The godly separation that the Bible teaches is the outcome of our union with Christ. Because we live and walk in fellowship with Christ and the unsaved live and walk in this Satan-dominated world system, we are not to pretend that no difference exists. We are commanded to not  yoke together with unbelievers in  attempting to do God’s work. That’s the godly separation.  At the same time,  obedient Christians are not to separate themselves from fellowship with other Christians over petty differences. That’s ungodly separation.

 

In this series, you will read of Liberals and Fundamentalists, so let’s start this series with definitions of these two terms.

 

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Separation Series | Comments Off on Separation series #1: Good and Evil

Jesus, Who Is He?

I submit to you that there are only  two answers.   Either He is who the Bible  declares Him  to be; Jehovah God, the eternal Son, Creator of the universe, Messiah  and Saviour who is the theme of the Bible and who was prophesied repeatedly throughout the Old Testament or else He is a charlatan and blasphemer, not worthy of our attention.   

JESUS IS GOD! 

In John 1:1-18 we have some of the clearest statements in all of the Bible of who Jesus is. 

1. He is called The Word.  As our words express us, so The Word expressed God.

2. The Word was with God from the beginning.  1:1-23.

3. In fact, The Word is declared to be God.  1:1 4.

4. The Word is Creator of all things.  1:3, 10 5.

5. In The Word is life, God’s eternal life. 1: 46.

6. The Word is the Light who  illumines those who come to Him.  1: 4-9.

7. The Word  is the Saviour to those who receive Him as God and Saviour. 1:11-128.

8.Though God is a spirit and no man has ever seen Him,  when people saw Jesus,The Word, they saw Almighty God in human flesh. 1:18  If you will read through the Gospel of John with an honest, hungry heart to know the truth about Jesus, you will be convinced, beyond anything I could ever say, that Jesus is the eternal Son of God. 

9. He is co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Though three separate persons, they are together one God.  

Note especially in John 8  the heart-touching story of a blind man healed by Jesus. Note in Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees the amazing statement He makes about Himself as being the I AM who existed before Abraham and note the fury of those who heard Him. This is the same fury that unbelievers express towards Jesus today.  They hate Him with a vengeance.   

In Philippians 2:5-11 Paul confirms these truths about Jesus and gives us further information about Him.1. He is equal with God in majesty and  in every attribute.  Philippians 2:62. Jesus willingly submitted Himself as a Son  to His Father when He left the glories of Heaven to come down to this earth to die for our sins.   2:6-83. God the Father, raised His Son from the dead and has made Him Lord of all His creation. One day every knee will bow to Him. 

In Colossians 1 & 2  Paul gives us further information about Jesus. 1.  Paul says in  1:15 that if you want to know exactly what the invisible God is like, look at Jesus.  When you see Jesus,  you have seen the Father.  Jesus said the same thing in John 14:92. When Paul declares in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is the  first born of every creature, he is not teaching us that Jesus had a beginning and was born in Bethlehem.  Yes, His human body was born in Bethlehem, but The Son of God,  the Second Person of the Trinity, was never born.  He has existed eternally with the Father and will continue to exist forever.   

In Old Testament times,  He existed as Jehovah.  The name Jehovah is used to speak of God as He deals with His own. Wherever you read about Jehovah in the Old Testament, you are reading about the pre-incarnate Son of God.   In the Greek, the word translated firstborn in verse 15 is the word prototokos.  The word does not mean that Jesus was the first to be born, for the eternal Son of God never was born.  Rather, it means that He is the beginning, the cause of all creation.   Verse 16 explains verse 15.  “For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him and by Him all things consist or hold together.  We, as well as everything in this world, are composed of atoms held together supernaturally by the Word of God. 

Colossians 2:9-10  boldly states that in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in a body.  In that passage we have the comforting statement that we are complete in Him.   If you have Jesus,  you have everything you need for life and for eternity. John says the same thing in I John 5:11-13.    

In Hebrews 1  the writer of Hebrews teaches some of the same truths of the eternal Son of God. In the first three verses Jesus is described as the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person who holds the universe together by the Word of His power.   Verse 3 also reminds us that this same eternal Son of God, as the man Jesus, cleansed us from our sins through His death on the cross and His resurrection and return back to Heaven where He sits today at the right hand of the Majesty on high where according to Hebrews 7:25, He intercedes for us.  

Hebrews 1 continues  to teach us in verse 5  that all the angels are commanded to worship the Son, the baby Jesus whose tiny body was born in a stable.  In that sense He was begotten of the Father and born of the virgin Mary.   But Hebrews 1:8 goes on to teach us that this baby who had a beginning in Bethlehem, is the eternal Son of God.  In verse 10 of that chapter,  He confirms that this same Jesus is the creator of the world. 

In Revelation 1 we are given John’s vision of Jesus as the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is our salvation and He is our life from A-Z.  Verses 7-8 tell us that this Jesus who was pierced and crucified on a cross for our sins, has always existed, He came to this earth, and He is returning again one day to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Continue reading through this first chapter of Revelation and see the majesty of Jesus Christ. In verse 18  Jesus states that He LIVES, WAS DEAD, and IS ALIVE FOR EVERMORE.  He has the keys to life and death, Heaven and Hell.  To trust Him is to be saved and Heaven-bound.  To reject Him is to be lost and Hell-bound.  

WHY DO SINNERS HAVE TO GO TO HELL?

God is preparing a Lake of Fire and Brimstone into which one day Satan and his demons will be cast to burn forever. Revelation 20:10 Those who reject Christ’s salvation will also spend eternity in that awful place. Revelation 20:11-15  People go to hell; not only for their sins; but for rejecting God’s salvation offered in Jesus.  Jesus died that horrible death on the cross because He was taking the death that we should have endured in Hell forever because of our sins.  Hebrews 10 shows why Jesus had to come and die for our sins. In that chapter, the writer reminds us that  the Old Testament sacrifice of animals did not change hearts; they only covered sins temporarily from year to year.  It took the death of One, no less than God Himself in a human body, to cleanse us from sin and make us fit for Heaven. 

JESUS’  EXECUTION vs EXECUTIONS TODAY

Today in America when a murderer is executed for his crime,  his death occurs in a quiet, peaceful death chamber.  He is given a sedative and  experiences death quite painlessly and peacefully.  When Jesus died, He who had never sinned but only loved others, experienced  the worst that evil men  could give Him. Not only did they crucify Him, but they relished every minute of it, mocking Him, bashing Him in the face with their fists and spitting at Him,  mercilessly  flogging Him to the point of death and then nailing Him to a cross and watching Him slowly die of asphyxiation as He strained on His nailed feet to lift His body  for another gulp of air. 

Not only did He suffer physical torment, but He suffered the loss of  fellowship with His Heavenly Father as God turned His back on Him and forsook Him  as He took the banishment that we should have endured in Hell.  He cried out,  “My God, My God,  Why has Thou forsaken Me.?”  He took that punishment that we who trust Him might never know that awful experience of being forsaken by God. 

 IT WAS FOR YOU!

Thank God, because He loved us and was willing to experience death in our place,  we who trust Jesus as Saviour can immediately and eternally be delivered from God’s wrath and judgement for sin.  II Corinthians 5:21 make is so simple.  “He  (Jesus) who knew no sin was made sin for us ( on the cross ) (that through trusting Him)  we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  What wonderful, good news!  This is the Gospel!   Christ died and rose again for my sins and your sins. I Corinthians 15:1-4   I have received that Gift.  Have you?  I challenge you to receive Him now and confess Him openly to others.  He died publicly, bearing the shame of your sins.  Will you right now publicly confess Him as your Saviour before others?  Romans 10:9-13 If you live in the Albuquerque area, I invite you to come and let us know you are trusting Christ.  If you live elsewhere, seek out a church where the Bible is clearly preached and  take a public stand for Christ this week. 

YOU CAN’T BE NEUTRAL

You had better get serious about Jesus.  You cannot be neutral about Him.  You either receive Him as your Saviour and Lord,  or you reject Him and face the eternal consequences.   One day Jesus, who experienced the worst travesty of human justice  will sit on His throne to judge those who have rejected Him.   Read again about that coming Judgment day in Revelation 6:12-17 and 20:11-15. Why does Jesus death matter to you?  Because you must either receive Him now in this Day of Grace  as Paul warned in II Corinthians 6:2   or you must face His wrath and judgment at a later date that has already been set. Acts 17:31  That date is already circled on God’s calendar. It is inescapable. Romans 2:1-16  It matters eternally what you do with Jesus now. 

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Jesus | Comments Off on Jesus, Who Is He?

Resting in Christ

To the sinner, sick of his sins and tired of trying to run from God; to the Christian weary, worn out and burned out, trying hard to live for Jesus and serve Him- and failing; Jesus invites, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30.

The key to salvation is resting in Jesus.

The key to living the Christian life is resting in Jesus.

The key to serving the Lord is resting in Jesus.

 

BAD NEWS!

Sin is pleasurable. Sin is attractive. Sin is exciting.  Sin is fun.  No one, but God,  is going to convince us otherwise.  But we must understand that the Bible teaches that our sins infuriate God.  He must punish us with eternal damnation in Hell.   “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!” Ezekiel 18:4   “The wages of sin is death.”  Romans 6:23   “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable,(perverts) and  murderers and whoremongers, (those guilty of illicit sex), and sorcerers,(fortune tellers) and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  Revelation 21:8

 

The fact is that YOU are a sinner.   I am a sinner.  Everyone born into the human race is a sinner and we all deserve to die and go to hell.   This is the teaching of God’s Word, the Bible. What can you and I do to make ourselves  presentable to God?  NOTHING!  We are helpless and hopeless to save ourselves.   That’s the teaching of Ephesians 2:11-12

 

GOOD NEWS!!!

But thank God,  there is good news for sinners and only for sinners.  God can do nothing to help the self-righteous. But if God is speaking to you through His Word and has convinced you that you are a helpless, hopeless sinner headed for eternal damnation,  then God can intervene and save you. The Good News is that God Himself came down to earth in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and  paid the penalty for your sins on the cross 2000 years ago.  Three days later He rose from the dead.  His death and resurrection provide His gracious Gift of Eternal Life for anyone who will receive Jesus and REST in His complete, final sacrifice for our sins.   Yes, salvation is as simple as RESTING in Jesus.  Will you quit struggling and  trying to impress God with your self righteousness?  He describes it as filthy, smelly rags..  Isaiah 64:6

 

Perhaps you had taken the step of salvation earlier and you have been struggling to try to live the Christian life­ and all your efforts have failed. Though Christ has saved you,  you still struggle with sin and are constantly defeated.  I have a word for you also.  Give up the struggle and REST in Jesus. His invitation to come to Him and rest is addressed to defeated Christians as well as to the lost. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me;  for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

 

Throughout the Bible we are taught to rest in God.  Read and meditate and rest  in some of God’s promises to you.

 

“Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.”  Exodus 16:23  The seventh day of the week was given to God’s people, Israel.  For further teaching on the Sabbath, go to my article on the SABBATH on this web site.

 

“My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest.”  Exodus 33:14

 

In Deuteronomy 3:18-20  God challenges Israel to conquer the Land of Canaan which He has given them and possess it until He has given them rest.

 

Numbers 13-14  tells the story of how the older generation failed to trust God to conquer Canaan.

All the old generation  wandered for forty years and died in the wilderness except for two men, Caleb and Joshua.  These two men had the opportunity to conquer Canaan with the younger generation.

 

Joshua 21:43-45 tells of how God gave them victory and rest in Canaan.

 

In Hebrews 3-4  the Christian is instructed to learn from Israel the importance of resting in Christ.  I encourage you to read these two chapters carefully and prayerfully and ask God to help you to learn of this rest in your own life. Note that our rest as Christians is the theme of these two chapters.

 

Going back to our text in Matthew 11:28-30,  note that rest comes as we accept the yoke of Jesus.  Think of  the yoke on two oxen or two horses.  Jesus is the strong one.  You and I are the weak ones. But when we accept His yoke on our necks and bow to His will in our lives and allow Him to direct us, the load that was once heavy, becomes light.  The neck that is yielded to Christ is not rubbed sore trying to fight the yoke. His yoke becomes easy.

 

In John 15  Jesus likens us to branches in His grape vine.  He is the vine.  We are the branches. How do we bear fruit?  How do we live for Christ and serve Him effectively?  It’s easy.  Just abide in the vine and allow His life-giving sap to flow through us.  Only then can we bear His fruit and He alone gets the glory.  That’s how we serve Him without growing weary and experiencing “burn-out”. 

 

Read, meditate and rejoice in this wonderful truth from Isaiah 40:28-31 “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall.  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

 

I encourage you to read and mediate on Psalm 37.  Like the cow lying down in the pasture and ruminating on its cud,  read and ponder this comforting Psalm. 

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Salvation | Comments Off on Resting in Christ

Christmas series #1: The Gift

I love to look at our manger scene and contemplate it. My focus is continually drawn to it.  To think, that God would choose a stable surrounded by sheep and cattle in which to bring His beloved Son into the world!  To think, that God would choose Mary, a young virgin, to be the mother of Jesus!

 

Listen to the words of the angel Gabriel as he explains Mary’s pregnancy and as  he comforts  Joseph, the man whose heart has been broken because it appears that Mary  the young lady he has been looking forward to marrying,  has been unfaithful to him. “Fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:18-25

 

Listen again to the words of Gabriel as he explains the meaning and purpose of Christmas. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

 

Christmas is not about decorations, Christmas carols, Christmas trees,  Santa Claus, gifts and feasting.  There is nothing wrong in any of these trappings of Christmas.  I’m not Scrooge trying to make you feel guilty and miserable about Christmas.  I only want to turn your attention to the true meaning of Christmas. What good are the Christmas table decorations without the dinner?  What good are the decorations and wrappings without THE GIFT?

 

Because we are all sinners before our Holy God and because we cannot save ourselves by our works of righteousness  or by religious observances;  God  at the right time and place in human history sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, into the world to go to the cross and die, shedding His blood as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins.

 

In Old Testament times  God directed the Levitical priesthood to offer animal sacrifices for Israel‘s sins, in anticipation of the Lamb of God whom He would send in the fullness of time.  Now that Christ’s blood has been sacrificed,  there is no long any need of any sacrifice for sin.  Read Hebrews 10 and ask God to help you understand this marvelous truth.

 

Note that it is ONE sacrifice forever!  It is NEVER TO BE REPEATED!  To attempt to do so would be blasphemous!  We simply trust Christ and rest in His finished work on Calvary‘s cross as the full and final penalty for our sins..  That’s the difference between Christianity and  dead, false religion.  The true Christian rests and rejoices in Christ’s finished work of salvation and he rejoices in the assurance of his eternal Home in Heaven.   False religion, which has its source in Satan himself,  keeps worshippers living in fear and bondage all their lives, hoping and praying that all their good works, prayers and religious efforts will merit them  eternal life.  Hebrews 2:14-15

 

How about you?  Do you have absolute assurance that your sins are totally forgiven and that you have been given the very righteousness of Christ?   Have you been given a new heart that loves Jesus and hates sin?  Can you boldly testify, “Thank God,  I have received Jesus as my Saviour from sin!   I am bound for Heaven!  I am resting and rejoicing in His blood sacrifice for my sins. I am rejoicing in Jesus’  bodily resurrection from the tomb. Because He lives, I shall live with Him forever.  I Corinthians 15

 

We do not go to Heaven because we are living perfect lives.  None of us are, and if we think we are, we are deceiving ourselves.  I John 1:5-10   But we whose trust is in Jesus alone are counted as perfect as Jesus Himself through God’s work of justification. Read about it in Romans 3, 4 and 5. and ask God to help you understand it. Read II Corinthians 5:21 and keep reading it until God’s Spirit opens your heart to rejoice in this life-changing  truth.

 

My prayer for you is that if you have never done so, you may right now receive God’s Gift of salvation in His Son and that this may be the most wonderful Christmas of your life!  Then find a church where Bible preaching is central and where salvation through trusting in the shed blood of Christ is preached. I encourage you to feed on God’s Word.  A good place to start is by reading and  studying with your Bible  the articles on this web site.

 

I hate to close this article on a negative note, but I have to be honest with you. There is a good chance that some of you reading this today are choosing to go on in your self-righteousness.   You reject your need of a saviour. You turn your back on God’s Gift of Salvation and continue on in your sins.  For you the future is very bleak and it is only going to continue to grow darker for you.  When life is over for you on this earth, you will be in Hell for eternity. Read your future in Revelation 6:12-17  and   20:10-15   I urge you right now to reject the attraction of sin and Satan and open wide your heart to God and invite Christ to be your Saviour.

 

How do you get that faith to believe?  Romans 10:17  says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Lay aside everything else and get this matter settled TODAY! 

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Christmas series #1: The Gift

Covenant series: Introduction

The Bible is composed of the Old and the New Testament. A testament is a covenant or a will. A will is bequeathed to heirs only after the testator or maker of the will has died. In the following studies of this mini-series we are going to examine both the Old and the New Covenant. May God bless you as you understand and rejoice in the New Covenant God has made with you through the shed blood of Christ.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Covenant Series | Comments Off on Covenant series: Introduction

Family series #1: Battlements for the Home

We are all aware of the fact that when we put a swimming pool on our property we have the responsibility of fencing it to protect children.  Failing to do so could result in the injury  or even death of children. In Bible times God gave the responsibility to parents to build walls or battlements around the flat rooftops which were used as porches or family rooms. Deuteronomy 22:8

 

Fathers and mothers cannot shrug off the responsibility  of taking measures to protect their children from harm. We make sure our children are fastened safely in their car seats or seat belts.  We use child proof fasteners or locks on cupboards and cabinets containing items that could physically harm our children.

 

Our children’s friends

 

So it is with the spiritual protection of our children. We cannot ignore  our responsibilities or blame others for our failures.  So often parents blame their failures with their children on their children’s friends.  It’s our responsibility to protect our young impressionable children from the wrong friends and the wrong influences of  degrading music and television. The education and raising of children is the parent’s responsibility; not the State’s.  Certainly, the State steps in when parents neglect that responsibility.

 

Television

 

As young parents back in the 50’s,  60’s and 70’s,  we controlled the television programs and music our children watched and listened to  in our home.  We were very much aware of the friends with whom our children played. We took the responsibility for the education of our children.  My wife and I ruled our home with a gentle, loving, but firm hand.

 

Preacher’s Kids

 

I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 give clear instruction to pastors, elders and deacons as to how they are to raise their children.  They are to be examples to all the church family. Those who cannot manage their families are not to attempt to lead churches. God holds a husband and  father responsible for his family. A godly wife and mother works in harmony with her husband.  Proverbs 14:1 teaches that a  foolish woman who refuses to accept her responsibility  under God  destroys  her family just as surely as a woman on the roof tears apart her house with a crow bar and axe.

 

We were not the perfect parents. As we grow older most of us  become aware of our failures and in retrospect see how we could have been better parents. We thank God that in spite of our failures, our three children grew up  without major problems and today each of them are raising  their children to know the Lord and live for Him.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Family Series | Comments Off on Family series #1: Battlements for the Home