Today’s sermon

Intro:

Begin sermon with clip from the Bible movie that I once used

There is current pastor, writer and speaker, who in 1998 was a student at Virginia Tech. he writes:

On Halloween night, 1998, I threw a party in my apartment at Virginia Tech. I was 20 years old and was in the wildest season of my life. I had three girl roommates, a live in girlfriend, and I spent most of my spare time smoking weed, doing lines of cocaine and drinking.

On that Halloween night, I was geared up for what I expected to be a good time.

Because the party was going be so “unforgettable,” I invited an old friend from high school down for the weekend. Dave and I had played hoops and partied together over the years, so I was excited to see him.

When Dave arrived, I greeted him and escorted him back to my room where I proudly unveiled the welcome gifts I’d prepared for him. On my desk was a fat bag of weed, a 6’er of his favorite beer and I told him I had a girl he could get to know for the weekend.

But Dave didn’t respond like I expected he would.

Instead, he gently closed the door and sat on the bed. He looked me in the eyes and told me he didn’t do those things anymore. He said he’d become a Christian and that he loved Jesus now and the reason he came to the party was to tell me that Jesus loved me too.

Within a few months this now pastor, Garrett Kell, call his friend and accepted Christ. I’ll come back to him later. My point is that Jesus changes us. Changes transforms us. In the passage we are looking at we see how Jesus transforms Paul the apostle. I saw Garrett Kell speak last fall at a conference and look forward to see him again. The Gospel always changes us.

Let’s read Acts 9:10-19:

applications:

  1.        Be a person of prayer
  2.        Be submissive to the Lord
  3.        The Lord is Sovereign
  4.                     As we look at this passage notice prayer.
  5.        In verse 10, the text says the Lord visits Ananias in a vision. Now, I have to tell you that the Lord is about to do something dramatic. He is about to change someone who had been breathing murderous threats against the church. About 7 weeks ago we looked at the passage where Paul encountered Christ and now this is the second half of his transformation.
  6.       The Lord changes us by prayer. The Lord encounters Ananias in a vision. The Lord talks to him and the Lord says that Saul is praying. That is what he says in verse 11. Notice that. Notice that Saul is praying. Saul has seen the risen Lord (1 Cor. 9:1), now he is praying.
  7.        It is important that we are praying. I am going to come back to Garrett’s story later, but it has been said that no one comes to know the Savior without prayer. Saul is praying and he saw a vision of Ananias and at the same time Ananias sees a vision about Saul. When the Lord transforms people it includes prayer. Garrett’s friend, who had become a Christian, who had witnessed to him, he was praying for him. 
  8.                   As we look at this passage notice obedience.
  9.        Just notice that the Lord said to Ananias and he immediately said, “Here I am!” There was no stutter, or hesitancy.
  10.       Then later on, Ananias immediately followed through and went to Saul. Later on, Ananias called Saul, “’brother’ Saul.” He followed through with what the Lord called him to do. Certainly, Ananias made a few remarks and excuses and I could understand that for sure. Paul had been killing Christians!
  11.        I can understand this. When I was in school, there was a kid named Denny Smith, and he was the bully and if God told me to lay hands on him I would have been fearful. I dreaded going to school because of him.
  12.       But Ananias was obedient.  
  13.                 As we look at this passage notice God’s sovereignty.
  14.        Just notice verse 15: The Lord says that Saul (remember that Saul is Paul) is a “chosen” instrument of mine. God has a will. God is in charge.
  15.       know that there is no way that God cannot be in control and so He had a will and He has a will.
  16.                 As we look at this passage notice the importance of the Gospel.
  17.        God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to gentiles.
  18.       God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to kings.
  19.        God’s plan was that Saul would take the Gospel to the Jews.
  20.       This all happens by the end of Acts. 

God made us to worship him. Remember the testimony that I began with? Garrett Kell. He writes:

A few weeks later [after the party], I was at home on Christmas break and I was doing a drug called Ecstasy. Sometime after midnight, I became strangely sober and felt an overwhelming burden to call Dave.

So at 2:00 a.m., Dave came up to my house, carrying his Bible, with tears rolling down his cheek.

We sat down and I told him I needed to know more about God. He asked me if I knew what he was doing when I called him.

He went on to tell me that when I called him, he was doing the same thing he’d been doing every night since he left Virginia Tech—he was on his knees praying for me.

Over the next few days and weeks, I continued to read the Bible and have conversations with Dave.

He told me that God made me to love and worship Him.

He explained that the guilt I was feeling was God showing me that I was in rebellion against Him and was on my way to hell.

He explained that Jesus died for sinners like me and then rose from the dead to extend mercy to me if I would turn from my sins and believe in Jesus.

He told me that Jesus would forgive all of my sins, change my life and make me His forever.

I’m not sure if it was that night or in the weeks that followed, but God saved my soul.

I began reading the Bible and it was no longer a book of old stories, but now it was like a spotlight that searched my soul and showed me the depths of my sin and the even greater depths of God’s love for me in Jesus.

Dave made a stand for Christ that night at Virginia Tech. God used him to get a message to me that eternally altered my life. Now, every Halloween night, I call Dave and thank him for the stand. God used Dave’s stand to save my soul and my life from utter destruction.

God changed Garrett, God changed Saul, and hopefully God changed us.

Review:

  1.        Be an evangelist
  2.        Be a person of prayer
  3.        Be submissive to the Lord
  4.        The Lord is Sovereign

 

Let’s pray:

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yesterday’s sermon

below is yesterday’s sermon:

Intro:

Video from the Bible miniseries or the Passion of the Christ

Jesus’ resurrection is one of a few things that separates Christianity from other faiths.

POSSUMS AND THE GRAVE

I have heard that possums are smart animals. You wouldn’t think so because you hardly ever see one except when it’s dead on the road. There’s a joke that goes, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum that it could be done!” 

But possums, it turns out, are smart. They won’t enter a hole if there’s just one set of tracks going into it. They know there’s something in there. But if there are two sets of tracks. The possum will enter and not be afraid. 

The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave – we don’t have to fear death because there are tracks leading out of the tomb. Paul preached the proclamation of Easter: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

This is the message that we need to hear this Easter. Jesus is risen!

BAD NEWS, THEN GOOD NEWS

Nearly 20 years ago at the height of Operation Desert Storm, Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. The message stated that her son, Clayton had stepped on a landmine in Kuwait and was killed. Ruth later wrote these words, “I can’t begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I just wept. I expressed anger and loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me but nothing worked … the loss was simply too great.”

But 3 days after she received that message the phone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me. It’s Clayton. I’m alive.”  Ruth said, “I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice and realized he really was alive.”  The message was all a mistake. She said, “I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels because my son who I thought was dead was actually alive.”

This morning we come to a story that is very similar. The disciples, family members, those who were at the cross have all received the news that Jesus has died. (From a sermon by David Henderson, “Overcoming Death,” 5/25/2011)

So, now, let’s read the passage that gives us the resurrection account, read with me Matthew 28:1-10:

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

  1.                     Notice first that women went to the tomb.
  2.        Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to the tomb.
  3.       All 4 of the Gospel record this and is a proof of the gospels. Jesus even uses the women later in verse 10 to tell the rest of the resurrection.
  4.        Now, these women are very upset. They are mourning. Jesus, whom they were following, had been crucified and now they are going to put spices on His body. The Jewish people did not do anything to prevent the decay of a body. Within three days the body would be decaying. Yet, not in this case.
  5.                   Verse 2 records a great earthquake and an angel had descended and rolled away the stone.
  6.        Interesting that Matthew records this earthquake and an earthquake previously in chapter 27:51.
  7.       I believe this earthquake was caused by the angels.
  8.        Why did the angel roll away the stone?
  9.       Jesus did not need the stone rolled away. The stone was rolled away to let the world in, not to let Jesus out!
  10.       Verse 3 describes the angel and notice in verse 2 the angel is sitting. Sitting means that his work is complete.
  11.         In verse 4 the guards, these Roman trained guards were shaking. The word used to describe them is the same root to describe the earthquake, seisma.
  12.                 In verses 5-7 the angel tells the women what to do.
  13.        The angel acknowledges that they are looking for Jesus.
  14.       The angel tells them that He has risen.
  15.        The angel tells them to look in the tomb.

In the villages of Northern India a missionary was preaching in a bazaar. As he closed, a Muslim gentleman came up and said, “You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have.”
The missionary smiled and said, “I should be pleased to hear what it is.”
The Muslim said, “You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.”
But the missionary just smiled and said, “That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead; Mohammed is in the coffin. And false systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindreds and tribes, is not here; He is risen. And all power in heaven and on earth is given unto Him. That is our hope.”

  1.       The angel tells them to go and tell the others.
  2.       Notice again the commonality of the Gospel. Jesus uses women to tell of His resurrection.
  3.                 Now, in verses 8-10, they see Jesus.
  4.        Notice that they see Jesus and they fell at His feet.
  5.       This means humility but it also means that they realize He is not an apparition. They realize He is real. They then worship Jesus.
  6.        We must worship Jesus. This is why we worship on Sunday because Jesus rose on Sunday.
  7.                   This brings me to something else I want to talk about: why does the resurrection matter? What is the importance of the resurrection?
  8.        In 1 Cor 15:3-8, the Scriptures tell about Jesus appearing to the disciples and later over 500 people all at the same time. Again, Jesus showed many that He has been resurrected.
  9.       Later on in 1 Cor. 15:13-15, the Scriptures tell us that if Christ was not raised from the dead our faith is in vain! This means that our faith is useless. Later on in that same chapter the Scriptures write about our hope in the resurrection. You see, because Christ rose from the dead we have hope. We have hope that when we die it is not the end. We have hope that when our family members and friends who are Christians die they are not gone, but with Christ in eternal paradise. We can see them again because they will have resurrected bodies as Jesus did. Paul wrote, “Where O death is your sting.” (1 Cor. 15:55) There is no sting because we have eternal life in perfect bodies.
  10.        Also, Christ’s resurrection shows that this is not simply His normal body coming back to life. No, this is a renewed body. In John 20:11-18, Jesus enters a room when the doors are locked. It seems as though our resurrected bodies may not be as limited as our current bodies. Jesus’ resurrected body will not die.

                                                   i.      Neither will yours. If you are a believer in Christ, you will have an eternal, perfect body. 

Close:

Our bodies are weak and frail. That is why we die, but the resurrection gives us hope as death no longer has a sting. This happened because Jesus went to the cross. The cross is something that has caused many to stumble. To think that a King should die on a cross!

Cicero, the Roman author and orator, said, “Let the very name of the cross be far away from Roman citizens, not from their bodies only, but from their thoughts, their eyes and their ears.”

 

But the cross was the way that Jesus died. In His death He paid the penalty for the wrong things we do and then He rose from the dead, the first fruits of the resurrection. Our bodies are frail, but because Jesus went to the cross we have this hope that someday we will have perfect, eternal bodies in an eternal home where there is no death.

One once wrote:

He is risen!

Christ is risen! Sing it out with joyful voice!

He has burst the three days’ prison, let the whole wide earth rejoice! Death is conquered, we are free, Christ has won the victory.[1]

Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross paying the price for your sins? Sins are the wrong things we do.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The Bible says that Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Him. (John 14:6). The Bible teaches that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible says that God will not let the guilty go unpunished (2Thess 1:8-9). Yet, the Bible teaches that God loves the people of the world (John 3:16). That is a dilemma. God can’t tell a lie or He wouldn’t be God (Numbers 23:19). God doesn’t change His mind (1Sam 15:29). That is why God sent Jesus. The guilty must go punished. Jesus took our punishment on the cross. The penalty of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

A simple way of saying that is the following:

 

You can accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation right now.

Pray with me and if you would like to believe in Christ today, pray this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I have sinned. I know that you died to forgive me for my sins. I know that you rose again. Please come into my life, I believe in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our closing hymn is:

*Closing Hymn: He Lives (Hymn 220)

As always our closing hymn is an opportunity for you to come forward to signify that you would like to go deeper in your faith journey through baptism or church membership.

Closing Blessing

 

 

 

Notes

  1.                      Notice first that women went to the tomb.
  2.                   Verse 2 records a great earthquake and an angel had descended and rolled away the stone.
  3.                 In verses 5-7 the angel tells the women what to do.
  4.                 Now, they see Jesus in verses 8-10
  5.                   This brings me to something else I want to talk about: why does the resurrection matter? What is the importance of the resurrection? 1 Cor. 15:55-57

 

[1] “Resurrection Victory”

Easter Sermon

Hi All, 

Yesterday’s sermon is now posted below:

Video from the Bible miniseries or the Passion of the Christ

Jesus’ resurrection is one of a few things that separates Christianity from other faiths.

POSSUMS AND THE GRAVE

I have heard that possums are smart animals. You wouldn’t think so because you hardly ever see one except when it’s dead on the road. There’s a joke that goes, “why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum that it could be done!” 

But possums, it turns out, are smart. They won’t enter a hole if there’s just one set of tracks going into it. They know there’s something in there. But if there are two sets of tracks. The possum will enter and not be afraid. 

The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave – we don’t have to fear death because there are tracks leading out of the tomb. Paul preached the proclamation of Easter: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

This is the message that we need to hear this Easter. Jesus is risen!

BAD NEWS, THEN GOOD NEWS

Nearly 20 years ago at the height of Operation Desert Storm, Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. The message stated that her son, Clayton had stepped on a landmine in Kuwait and was killed. Ruth later wrote these words, “I can’t begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I just wept. I expressed anger and loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me but nothing worked … the loss was simply too great. 

But 3 days after she received that message the phone rang. The voice on the other end said ,”Mom, it’s me.” It’s Clayton. I’m alive. Ruth said, I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice and realized he really was alive. The message was all a mistake. She said, “I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels because my son who I thought was dead was actually alive.”

This morning we come to a story that is very similar. The disciples, family members, those who were at the cross have all received the news that Jesus has died. (From a sermon by David Henderson, “Overcoming Death,” 5/25/2011)

So, now, let’s read the passage that gives us the resurrection account, read with me Matthew 28:1-10

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

  1.                     Notice first that women went to the tomb.
  2.        Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to the tomb.
  3.       All 4 of the Gospel record this and this a proof of the gospels. Jesus even uses the women later in verse 10 to tell the rest of the resurrection.
  4.        Now, these women are very upset. They are mourning. Jesus, whom they were following, had been crucified and now they are going to put spices on His body. The Jewish people did not do anything to prevent the decay of a body. Within three days the body would be decaying. Yet, not in this case.
  5.                   Verse 2 records a great earthquake and an angel had descended and rolled away the stone.
  6.        Interesting that Matthew records this earthquake and an earthquake previously in chapter 27:51.
  7.       Why did the angel roll away the stone?
  8.        Jesus did not need the stone rolled away. The stone was rolled away to let the world in, not to let Jesus out!
  9.       Verse 3 describes the angel and notice in verse 2 the angel is sitting. Sitting means that his work is complete.
  10.                 In verses 5-7 the angel tells the women what to do.
  11.        The angel acknowledges that they are looking for Jesus.
  12.       The angel tells them that He has risen.
  13.        The angel tells them to look in the tomb.
  14.       The angel tells them to go and tell the others.
  15.       Notice again the commonality of the Gospel. Jesus uses women to tell of His resurrection.
  16.                 Now, they see Jesus in verses 8-10
  17.        Notice that they see Jesus and they fell at His feet.
  18.       This means humility but it also means they realize that they realize He is not an apparition. They realize He is real. They then worship Jesus.
  19.        We must worship Jesus. This is why we worship on Sunday because Jesus rose on Sunday.
  20.                   Next, Why does the resurrection matter? What is the importance of the resurrection?

In the villages of Northern India a missionary was preaching in a bazaar. As he closed, a Muslim gentleman came up and said, “You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have.”
The missionary smiled and said, “I should be pleased to hear what it is.”
The Muslim said, “You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.”
But the missionary just smiled and said, “That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead; Mohammed is in the coffin. And false systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindreds and tribes, is not here; He is risen. And all power in heaven and on earth is given unto Him. That is our hope.”

  1.        In 1 Cor 15:3-8 the Scriptures write about Jesus appearing to the disciples and later over 500 people all at the same time. Again, Jesus showed many that He has been resurrected.
  2.       Later on in 1 Cor. 15:13-15 the Scriptures tell us that if Christ was not raised from the dead our faith is in vain! This means that our faith is useless. Later on in that same chapter the Scriptures write about our hope in the resurrection. You see, because Christ rose from the dead we have hope. We have hope that when we die it is not the end. We have hope that when our family members and friends who are Christians die they are not gone, but with Christ in eternal paradise. We can see them again because they will have resurrected bodies as Jesus did. Paul wrote, “Where O death is your sting.” (1 Cor. 15:55) There is no sting because we have eternal life in perfect bodies.
  3.        Also, Christ’s resurrection shows that this is not simply His normal body coming back to life. No, this is a renewed body. In John 20:11-18 Jesus enters a room when the doors are locked. It seems as though our resurrected bodies may not be as limited as our current bodies. Jesus’ resurrected body will not die.

                                                   i.      Neither will yours. If you are a believer in Christ, you will have an eternal, perfect body. 

Close:

Our bodies are weak and frail. That is why we die, but the resurrection gives us hope as death no longer has a sting. This happened because Jesus went to the cross. The cross is something that has caused many to stumble. To think that a King should die on a cross!

Cicero, the Roman author and orator, said, “Let the very name of the cross be far away from Roman citizens, not from their bodies only, but from their thoughts, their eyes and their ears.”

 

But the cross was the way that Jesus died. In His death He paid the penalty for the wrong things we do and then He rose from the dead, the first fruits of the resurrection. Our bodies are frail, but because Jesus went to the cross we have this hope that someday we will have perfect, eternal bodies in an eternal home where there is no death.

One once wrote:

He is risen!

Christ is risen! Sing it out with joyful voice!

He has burst the three days’ prison, let the whole wide earth rejoice! Death is conquered, we are free, Christ has won the victory.[1]

Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross paying the price for your sins? Sins are the wrong things we do.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The Bible says that Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Him. (John 14:6). The Bible teaches that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible says that God will not let the guilty go unpunished (2Thess 1:8-9). Yet, the Bible teaches that God loves the people of the world (John 3:16). That is a dilemma. God can’t tell a lie or He wouldn’t be God (Numbers 23:19). God doesn’t change His mind (1Sam 15:29). That is why God sent Jesus. The guilty must go punished. Jesus took our punishment on the cross. The penalty of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

A simple way of saying that is the following:

 

You can accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation right now.

Pray with me and if you would like to believe in Christ today, pray this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I have sinned. I know that you died to forgive me for my sins. I know that you rose again. Please come into my life, I believe in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our closing hymn is:

*Closing Hymn: He Lives (Hymn 220)

As always our closing hymn is an opportunity for you to come forward to signify that you would like to go deeper in your faith journey through baptism or church membership.

Closing Blessing

 

 

[1] “Resurrection Victory”

“Heaven is For Real” and a few other articles

Some of you may have been thinking of the “Heaven is for Real” movie, below is a blog article:

http://www.epm.org/blog/2014/Apr/18/heaven-real-movie

Below is a great article having to do with the marks of a great worship leader:

9 Essentials of a Great Worship Leader

Finally, I read this really moving illustration:

MISSIONARY Gregory Fisher writes: “What will he say when he shouts?” The question took me by surprise. I had already found that West African Bible College students can ask some of the most penetrating questions about minute details of Scripture. “Reverend, I Thess. 4:16 says that Christ will descend from heaven with a loud command. I would like to know what that command will be.” I wanted to leave the question unanswered, to tell him that we must not go past what Scripture has revealed, but my mind wandered to an encounter I had earlier in the day with a refugee from the Liberian civil war. The man, a high school principal, told me how he was apprehended by a two-man death squad. After several hours of terror, as the men described how they would torture and kill him, he narrowly escaped. After hiding in the bush for two days, he was able to find his family and escape to a neighboring country. The escape cost him dearly: two of his children lost their lives. The stark cruelty unleashed on an unsuspecting, undeserving population had touched me deeply. I also saw flashbacks of the beggars that I pass each morning on my way to the office. Every day I see how poverty destroys dignity, robs men of the best of what it means to be human, and sometimes substitutes the worst of what it means to be an animal. I am haunted by the vacant eyes of people who have lost all hope. “Reverend, you have not given me an answer. What will he say?” The question hadn’t gone away. “Enough’” I said. “He will shout, ’Enough’ when he returns.” A look of surprise opened the face of the student. “What do you mean, ’Enough’?” “Enough suffering. Enough starvation. Enough terror. Enough death. Enough indignity. Enough lives trapped in hopelessness. Enough sickness and disease. Enough time. Enough”

 

Did Jesus have a wife? Recent controversy and yesterday’s sermon

Below is a link to an article regarding the controversy about Jesus having a wife. Below that I have posted yesterday’s sermon:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/14/its-back-the-gospel-of-jesuss-wife-and-the-state-of-modern-scholarship/?utm_source=Albert+Mohler&utm_campaign=b0ba448ddb-Albert_Mohler_Email_June_7_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b041ba0d12-b0ba448ddb-307773537

Last year I ran my first Marathon. Marathon is named after the Battle of Marathon which took place in 490 B.C. The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought), which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming νενικήκαμεν (nenikekamen, “we have wοn”), before collapsing and dying.

Do you ever think about victory? Victory is exciting, isn’t it?

Look at this passage with me:

Hebrews 10:11-12:

Today, we are going to look at a passage where Jesus humbly enters the city of Jerusalem. He is hailed as King. He accomplishes His ultimate victory by doing something counter intuitive; He dies for the people He came to save.  He brings victory through death. He offers the one sacrifice for all time.

Luke 19:28-44:

  1.                     In verses 28-35 we see the Preparation.
  2.        Notice that the Bible says, after He said these things, or after He said this. Jesus had just given the parable of the money usage. Recall that Jesus had been in Samaria for a long time. While there Jesus told many parables and we have talked about some of these.
  3.       Another source tells me this: “The elevation at this point is about 2,600 feet, and from it you have a breathtaking view of the Holy City. The Lord was about to do something He had never done before, something He had repeatedly cautioned others not to do for Him: He was going to permit His followers to give a public demonstration in His honor.”[1] You know what it is like to travel and then you come to this gorgeous view. That’s where they are at, they are about to enter into Jerusalem.
  4.        Now, Jesus sends two of His disciples on a mission. They are to go into this other village and find a colt and just take it. When asked they are to say that their Lord or Master has need of it.
  5.       They do this, it happens just like Jesus says. They go to the village and someone does ask and they take the colt, like it’s no big deal.
  6.                   In verses 36-38 we have the adoration, this is the parade actually.
  7.        As Jesus went along people were spreading their cloaks on the ground. Look again at verses 37-38:

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

  1.       Notice that Jesus receives worship.
  2.        I once had a Jewish Rabbi ask if Jesus ever said He was God. Well Jesus did say that He was the Messiah (see John 4 :26), but Jesus also received worship. Angels told the people not to worship them. (Rev. 22:9) Jesus received worship.
  3.       By the way, still notice the commonality of the Gospel. The people worshipping Jesus were the common people. This was a grassroots event. After all Jesus had been going to the common people and He had healed many of them. Jesus is now worshipped.
  4.       There is a parade going on. Jerusalem’s population would swell for Passover and it is now during this time that these people are all worshipping Jesus.
  5.         One thing I liked about the marathon is it was like a big parade. As I ran along there would be people on the side of the road cheering you on. In this case everyone is cheering Jesus because He is the King, the True King, the eternal King. In fact, throwing their coats on the road was something that meant, “I surrender to you.” It was symbolic of letting the person on the donkey walk over you, but instead of yourself, they walked over your coat. This was submission.
  6.        Jesus is now worshipped. This was the adoration of Jesus.
  7.       Video of the atheist comedian, even the rocks cry out.   
  8.                 In verses 39-44 we have the condemnation by Jesus.
  9.        The Pharisees missed Jesus once again. They asked Jesus to make the disciples stay quiet and Jesus said if they were quiet the rocks would cry out.
  10.       Now, Jesus approaches Jerusalem and weeps over the city. Then He pronounces judgment.

and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

  1.        This was Jesus’ condemnation.
  2.       Following this Jesus will go and cleanse the temple.
  3.       Then Holy Week will continue until as our King He dies in our place and then He rises again. He was our sacrifice and that is why we meet today. He is Our Mighty Savior, worshipped by common, ordinary men and dying for us.

Hebrews 10:11-12:

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…

Close:

The question is do you know Him? I talked about Marathons and the battle of Marathon. The messenger died. Jesus died for us and in a metaphorical way, Jesus calls us to die to Him as well. Luke 9:23-24:

 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Jesus is the King, surrender to the Mighty Savior today.

 

Pray

 

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Mk 11:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

Luke 16:19-31 the Rich Man and Lazarus

Opening:

There was a popular book a few years ago titled, Love Wins… by Rob Bell. The book made certain claims that in the end everyone goes to Heaven. Yet, we cannot get that from the Scriptures, or from the Parable we will look at today.

Who can tell me my theme for Lent? Someone, anyone shout it out—

The Gospel is for everyone… So, I do not have to have a lot of money, do I? No, not at all. I do not have to be highly educated, do I? No, not at all. The Gospel is for everyone. My other theme is that we serve a Mighty Savior.

There is a professor at the seminary which I attended who gave an illustration of the wrath of God. Dr. Mulholland, said that if I walk out of a window, what makes me fall? The consequence of jumping out of a window is gravity makes you fall. Gravity does it. God’s wrath on sin is like gravity. God’s wrath on sin is a natural repercussion of sin. When I break God’s law His wrath is a natural response to that violation.  The subject today is on one hand a tough one. We are looking at the eternal destiny of those without Christ. On the other hand we have an encouraging subject as we look at the eternal destiny of those with Christ. We also will see how Jesus sympathizes with the poor man. Jesus, once again, looks after the poor and the marginalized.

From this passage I could preach on hell. I will just a little bit. But, this passage is also saying that the Jewish lineage does not take care of your eternity. Jesus is also saying that your wealth does not take care of your eternity. Jesus is also saying that if people do not believe the Scriptures they will not believe a resurrection.

I am going to teach this passage and I wish to show you:

  1.        The Gospel is for everyone, regardless of wealth.
  2.        The reality of eternity.
  3.        The supremacy of Scripture.

Read with me Luke 16:19-31:

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  1.                    In verses 19-22, The rich man and Lazarus introduced:
  2.        This is a parable, it is story with a purpose. I wonder what it would look like on the big screen. Think with me. There is a certain rich man. He has lots of wealth. In fact, the literal wording says that he was eating sumptuously every day. He had it his way, every day. He was wearing purple linen. It was rare to be able to afford this type of clothing, yet he could.
  3.       Now, at his gate… stop right there. He had a gate. This was rare as well. He had enough wealth to have a gate around his home. I remember being in the Dominican Republic and I saw people with gates around their homes. I saw businesses with gates. We built a gate around a church. But that gate we built to protect the place. We saw others with gates and they were elaborate, it was displaying their great wealth. In this case the indication is that this man had the wealth and he was displaying it.
  4.        Now, at the gate sat Lazarus, who was poor. This is the only parable where Jesus gives a character a name. By the way, Jesus may not have made up this parable. It could have been a common Jewish story at the time.
  5.       Also, this is not the Lazarus whom he would raise from the dead later on.
  6.        The Bible says that this poor beggar was laying at his gate, but the language really says that he was thrown at the gate. That is some strong verbiage.
  7.        Now, imagine with me: Every day the rich man walks right by the poor man. Every day, maybe he tries not to look, because if he looks, he may feel guilty. Maybe, just maybe, he looks on purpose. He does not care. He wants to flaunt his great, great wealth. He walks right on by the poor man and he does not care. He will look at him and think, “Oh well, you should work harder.” Or, “Serves you right, you were born to the wrong family.”
  8.       Maybe the poor man Lazarus, made the rich man sick because of his sores. The Bible says that he had sores on him. The Bible says the dogs licked the sores. These sores would not be leprosy. They would be sores from malnutrition or something else. The dogs would not be Ol’ Shep, or some “Man’s best Friend” dog. These dogs were wild pests. I remember being in the Dominican Republic and Belize, Central America and I saw dogs which were wild. The people did not like them around. They were scavengers. Jesus, including these dogs in the parable shows how bad Lazarus’ condition was. When the dogs lick his wounds it would make them hurt worse. Yet, you know what? Imagine, the rich man, he still walks right by this poor man Lazarus. 
  9.       Jesus came for this poor man in addition to the rich man. Certain people always think they have a free ticket everywhere because of something they have accomplished, or the family they come from, or their great wealth. In this parable Jesus is showing that the Gospel is for everyone. That He cares about the poor and the destitute.
  10.         I recently heard a speaker on a video. She talked about being a pastor’s wife in Austin Texas. Her family and a few others moved onto a nice street with a nice house. Everything was good except for that house next door. That house was overgrown and unkempt. They would not cut the grass, or take care of the upkeep. She said something like: “Bye, bye resale value.” But then she realized something, whether through getting to know the person or God’s conviction or both. This house belonged to an elderly widow (I believe), and her children were draining her of her finances. She was not able to keep up the house and her children were not treating her right, then she has a pastor next door and all they think about is how bad the house makes the street look.
  11.         I do not know what the pastor and her family did in order to help their neighbor but that was a good example of what we as Christians ought to be doing and what we ought not to be thinking. Instead of thinking “How can I serve my neighbor,” many times we think, “Why don’t they clean up their house?”
  12.       Back to the parable.
  13.         They both die. It has been said that death always evens the score. We all die. No matter how good you are or even you are, you will die. I will die. In this case, death switches their roles. The rich man did not care about poor Lazarus in life, but God cares about Lazarus’ eternity.
  14.     Avoiding Hell

Not everyone is as fortunate as Alfred Nobel who in 1888 read his own obituary in a French newspaper. One of his brothers had died, but a careless reporter had used a statement prepared for the wrong man. Alfred, principal inventor of dynamite, was disappointed with the published account. He was described as a “merchant of death” who had made a fortune from explosives and human exploitation. This haunting image caused him to reevaluate his life and revamp his will. Consequently, his money has made possible the famous Nobel Peace Prizes.[1]

  1.       The poor man died and is carried to Abraham’s side. They would have all known that this was paradise. This was Heaven.
  2.       The rich man dies and was buried. Notice that Lazarus was not even buried. This means that he was very low in his station in life. Everyone was to be buried.
  3.                 In verses 23- 24 we see in Hades their roles are reversed.
  4.        The rich man is in torment. He is in Hades. Hades is not hell. Hades would be called Sheol in the Old Testament. It was known as a realm of the dead. But Jesus, in this parable indicates that there was suffering. The text says, multiple times, that he was in suffering. (verses 23, 24, 25, 28)
  5.       Again, I think I could pull out things about hades and hell from this passage, but my purpose is to show that The Gospel is for everyone. This poor man was not in hades. He was in paradise. The rich man who ignored the beggar was missing something in life. He calls Abraham “Father Abraham” meaning that he was Jewish, but he did not take care of the poor.

The Reality of Hell

The rich man of Luke 16 became painfully aware of hell and its stark reality, as will every person who rejects the love of the Savior. As one old preacher expressed it, “After you’ve been in hell five seconds, you’ll believe in it!”[2]

  1.        Now, the roles are reversed. Lazarus is being comforted. Actually, the Bible says that God is comforting Him. The rich man is in torture.
  2.       Notice, and this goes along with my next point, the rich man wants help, but it is too late. He sees Lazarus and he just wants to dip the tip of his finger in water. But it is too late. Again, the roles are reversed. Before, Lazarus needed the rich man’s help, but now, the rich man needs Lazarus’ help. 
  3.              In verses 27-31, we see that the Scriptures are sufficient as a witness.
  4.        The rich man wants someone to warn his five brothers, but no. Abraham says that the Scriptures are sufficient.
  5.       Notice that the text says in verse twenty-seven that he wanted Lazarus to warn his brothers. The literal word is to “testify”. He wants someone to witness to them. All throughout Acts that same word is used of the Apostles being a witness.
  6.        The rich man thinks that if someone rises from the dead, they will believe. Abraham says, no, if they do not listen to the Scriptures, they will not listen, even if someone rises from the dead.

Close:

This passage says that the Law of Moses is a witness.

I have Naked juice right here. This is perfectly healthy stuff. But, you know if it is healthy, it may not taste very good. So, why don’t I add some whip cream, everyone likes whip cream. You know that probably is not enough to make it taste good, so let me add something else. How about I add some chocolate chips. Hmmm, everyone likes chocolate chips. Okay, now it may taste good enough. But, what else could I add? Any other ideas, please share???

What did I do? I just ruined the value of this drink. Okay, God has given us His Word in order to be a witness. His Word is sufficient to be a witness, yet sometimes we do not trust His Word as a witness so we want to add to it or take from it. Sometimes we wish for a special sign, but Jesus is telling the Pharisees that His Word is enough.

This passage says that His Word is enough and the Gospel is for everyone. It is not about money. It is not about possessions. It is not about having a nice gate around your place. It is not about having plenty of nice food. No, it is about our faith in the Savior and our works matching that faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Do you have this faith??? Jesus came for everyone.

 

In Matthew 25:40 Jesus says that when we take care of those need, we take care of Him. In James 2:14-26 the Bible teaches that our works must match our faith.

So, I hope you noticed.

  1.                    The Gospel is for everyone, regardless of wealth.
  2.                    The reality of eternity.
  3.                    The supremacy of Scripture over the desire for miracles.   

Apply this to your life this week. Look to take care of those in need. Look to make sure your faith is verified by your works. Trust in the Scriptures and remember there is a real eternity. Be a witness.

Pray. 

 

 

[1] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 155). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

A few really good articles on church growth as well as worship

Below is a really amazing article on why most churches do not pass the 200 mark. The article goes along with everything else I’ve read.

8 Reasons Why Most Churches Don’t Break the 200 Attendance Mark

Below is an article titled “Slice of Infinity” I read these through Ravi Zacharias Ministries. This is really good about worship songs and a random group singing the Hallelujah Chorus at a Macy’s

http://www.rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/random-hallelujahs-2/ 

Below is today’s Swindoll “Insight For Living” Devotion for today:

http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/peace-amidst-unpleasant-circumstances.html

God bless, 

Pastor Steve