Jesus Enters Jerusalem the People Are Ready for a King

A few years ago 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:

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God…

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:

28 After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. 37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting:

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

  1. In verses 28-35 we see the Preparation.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
  2. In verses 36-38 we have the adoration, this is the parade actually.
    1. As Jesus went along people were spreading their cloaks on the ground. Look again at verses 37-38:

As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting:

“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.
  • In verses 39-44 we have the condemnation by Jesus.
    1. 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.
    2. Now, Jesus approaches Jerusalem and weeps over the city. Then He pronounces judgment.

42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

  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.

Close:

Hebrews 10:11-12:

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God…

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:

 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

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

As we go through this week, take a few moments and pray about surrender. If Jesus came back right now, what is something that He would ask about, some thought or action? Repent and surrender. Or, what is something you haven’t done that you know He wants you to do? This week take some time and reflect on your spiritual life. Grab your Bible, a pen and paper and take some time and ask God to show you some things to work on. Read Psalm 42 and pray that you desire God like the Psalmist.

“During World War I, a British commander was preparing to lead his soldiers back to battle. They’d been on furlough, and it was a cold, rainy, muddy day. Their shoulders sagged because they knew what lay ahead of them: mud, blood, possible death. Nobody talked, nobody sang. It was a heavy time. “As they marched along, the commander looked into a bombed-out church. Back in the church he saw the figure of Christ on the cross. At that moment, something happened to the commander. He remembered the One who suffered, died, and rose again. There was victory, and there was triumph. “As the troops marched along, he shouted out, ‘Eyes right, march!’ Every eye turned to the right, and as the soldiers marched by, they saw Christ on the cross. Something happened to that company of men. Suddenly they saw triumph after suffering, and they took courage. With shoulders straightened, they began to smile as they went. You see, anything worthwhile in life will be a risk that demands courage.” [–Gordon Johnson, “Finding Significance in Obscurity,” Preaching Today, Tape 82.]

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

 

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

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

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Have the Simpson’s ruined a generation

This is a really good article:

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/did-the-simpsons-ruin-a-generation?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61557988&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9JbpzGVsVvZbr7FDjPp2iQTiywzcT8CDoyhOoVwVRWnpkSoipv62Um1SfSjcHVwZ43AdILh5Qup_22QqLCnz6oQRePBg&_hsmi=61557988

Where Is History Going (Rev. 1:1-3)

Introduction:

We need the whole Bible, watch this:

https://www.russellmoore.com/2015/11/18/you-need-the-whole-bible-even-if-you-dont-know-why/

Back in the eighties there was a show called Quantum Leap. In this show the main character would leap between different time periods. A thought to think about is that God is outside of time and so He can leap between any time period He wants to. God is the keeper of the timeline. He is in charge.

As I do this, take the rope down the center aisle.

I have a rope up here, I have many feet of rope and I am going to pull it out and just watch as it falls to the floor. Now, suppose that this first end of the rope is Genesis 1:1. This is creation. Now, as I move, look at this rope and imagine all of this rope is time. So, we would have Abraham somewhere close to the same end and then Moses and then David and then Ezekiel and then Isaiah and then we would get to Ezra and that would be, oh, about 3500 years of history and then we go another 400 years and we have Jesus’ birth and then we have 2000 years until now and then we keep going until Jesus comes again and makes thing right. Now, as we look at this rope type of time line we are on the rope around, I don’t know, maybe here [point towards the opposite end of the beginning]. We are bound by our little time. We are stuck in the rope. Oh, but God, He created the rope. God created the time and He is powerful and in control. Take this thought a little bit further and understand that God put you in your spot for a reason, wow!

Be encouraged, seriously be encouraged. We can easily look at this rope and be discouraged about all of time and all of existence, but, no, be encouraged because God, who is not bound by time, chose to put you on this earth at this time. God can go anywhere He wants on our rope timeline. God can, “quantum leap.” But let’s go a step further: God is to time as we are to this rope. He looks down on the time all at once. He is not limited by it, for He created it.

Today, I wish to talk about where history is going. In a nutshell, history is going to a point and time and place where everyone will be judged. God will make things right again. In order to talk about this, I thought I would introduce the book of Revelation and then talk about Judgment. I will then end with Heaven. Revelation is the book of the end times judgment so we might as well talk about it. However, please know there are other places throughout the Bible when God talks about the judgment as well.

As we look at Revelation 1:1 we are going to “Quantum Leap” back in time to, around, 96 A.D. But not only us, notice that Jesus is also entering John’s realm of existence through an angel and even Himself later on.

My theme today is:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, God Tells Us The Rest of the Story, An Intro to Revelation and Judgment.

 

Let’s read Revelation 1:1-3 to get us started.

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

  1. This letter is revelation from Jesus Christ. This is all in verse 1.
    1. It is from the Father to the Son.
    2. It is from the Son, Jesus, to the angel.
    3. It is from the angel to John.
    4. It is from John to us.
    5. Look the verse says that God gave this to His servants to show His servants what soon must take place.
    6. Be encouraged that God is not limited. There is nothing limiting God. God wanted to show us and all Christians through the ages things that must take place.
    7. I must pause here because you are likely looking at this and thinking, “But it says must ‘soon take place.’” Let’s handle some of the background to this letter.
    8. First notice that it is titled the “’Revelation’ to John.” It is not “Revelation’s.’” This work, which is a letter, in the New Testament format, is one gynormous Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John.
    9. Remember that to God, He is outside of time. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:8, when talking about the end times: But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. So, when this passage says, “soon” we can know that it could be soon in our thinking or God’s thinking and God is outside of time.
    10. There are four primary ways of interpreting Revelation.
      1. One of these is the Historicism method:This method interprets chapters 1-3 taking place in the first century, chapters 4-20:6 taking place between the second century and the end times and then chapters 20:7-22 being when Jesus makes things right.
      2. Second, is Futurism: This method most of Revelation is in the future, chapter 4 and throughout chapter 22.
      3. Then there is the Preterist. The preterist which is a past fulfillment or contemporary to John’s readers. Those would believe that it had to do with the Roman Empire and the fall of the Roman Empire. Fulfillment is entirely in the past by the fall of Constantine and Rome in 476 AD. Some see it as the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD but this is a very narrow view. This seemed to start in the late 1500’s or early 1600’s. This would be the earliest understanding of Revelation in the period following its dissemination
      4. Then there is the idealist: Sees Revelation operating at two levels.
        1. General spiritual principles operating at all ages.
        2. There was an immediate meaning for John and his readers but there is a profound spiritual reality for all ages.
        3. Idea that there is a clash between good and evil
      5. There are variations on each of those interpretations especially when we get to the Millennial reign and the tribulation period and we are not getting into that today.
      6. I would fall in the futurist camp.
        1. I believe the Millennial reign is literal and it will still happen.
        2. I believe that Jesus will come again in the rapture.
  • Following the rapture, I believe we will have the tribulation period.
  1. Following the tribulation period, I believe will be the Millennial Reign.
  2. Following the Millennial Reign, I believe we will have the final judgment.
  3. I do know that there are respectable pastors and theologians who are Amillennial and I have heard their view points.
  • I mean no disrespect to them.
  1. Next, let’s look at dating. It appears that John is exiled to the island Patmos and this was under persecution. He might have been there forced to work the mines. This could have been the great persecution under Caesar Nero in the 60’s AD or in the 90’s AD under Domitian which many believe. I believe the latter.
  1. John witnessed for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ with all that he saw. This is verse 2.
    1. We may wonder what he saw. This gets into the type of literature Revelation is. It is a letter with apocalyptic literature and prophesy. Think of the idea of pulling back a curtain and revealing something. That is the idea of apocalyptic literature. It means that God is showing us the spiritual realm. God is pulling back the curtain and showing us the end.
    2. John uses a pool of images that are very familiar to him and to his readers, but not familiar to us.
    3. John uses a Jewish pool of images.
    4. He uses a few from Hellenistic culture.
    5. Most of the imagery is from the Old Testament and intertestamental period. They are plain to his audience.
    6. We must understand this. If we divorce Revelation from its original context and meaning we can have multiple understandings and make it say whatever we want it to.
    7. There was an early 80’s Reader’s Digest article titled the Motel of the Mysteries. It was written as if it was an archaeological report. It was about the late twentieth century America that is now buried under dirt. An Archaeologist comes across a motel, but with the description they say that this was a late twentieth century burial site. The toilet seat was something you wore around your head. The bath tab was a sacred tower and the shower was a musical instrument. The article goes on and on, but we know better.
    8. There was a Time Magazine article in 1992 when the Republicans took over congress which shows a Donkey under the Republican Elephant. We understand the image because it is part of our time, but in hundreds of years they may not know that.
    9. John’s audience understands the image.
    10. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah are primary examples of John’s Old Testament imagery.
    11. Also, imagery from Baruch, Song of Songs and some other intertestamental imagery.
    12. John was a witness of what God was showing him.
  • Verse 3 tells us we are blessed when we read this letter.
    1. This is the only Bible book which says this.
    2. But we may not feel blessed. We may feel cursed as we try to get through.
    3. One wrote (Dr. Constable): “The symbolism is drawn from many previous Bible books. Revelation is similar to an airport, or a railway terminal, where materials from many other sources come together.” I like that description.
    4. We must read the letter. We must study the letter.
    5. Revelation 22:10: And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
  1. I want to share a little bit about the return of Jesus Christ
    1. His return will be Sudden (Matthew 24:44; 2 Peter 3:10); Physical (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
    2. Jesus will come again in power as King of Kings to reign eternally (Philippians 2:9-11).
    3. Jesus will judge (Matthew 25:31–33; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 20:11–15)
    4. Believers will be judged as well (2 Corinthians 5:10).
    5. We, Christians, will be judged based off of the way we lived (1 Corinthians 3:15)
    6. Believers can have confidence in the day of judgment (Romans 8:1; 1 John 4:17)
    7. Again, Revelation is the only book of the Bible that says we are blessed when we read it.
    8. I like the ESV Study Bible summary:
    9. While there has been much debate over the nature and timing of the millennial events, what is certainly clear in Scripture is that Christ will return and establish his kingdom and that all mankind will finally acknowledge his lordship over all creation. Once and for all, creation will undeniably submit to Christ the King, and he will reign on earth as already he does in heaven (Matt. 6:10; Phil. 2:10).

Close:

I don’t know about you but I can get discouraged when I hear the news. But isn’t it encouraging to know that God is in control. Look at this rope. [have someone in the back row pick up the other end] God is in control of time. God placed each of us here for a reason. God entered John’s time and told Him of the things to come.

Revelation is part of the Bible, the Word of God.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

Where did it all come from?

Where did it all come from? (Creation) (Gen. 1:1-2)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, March 11, 2018 

I will never forget the birth of Mercedes and Abigail. How amazing we are. It was such a miracle, such a miracle that I could hardly contain my emotions. Every day, so many babies are born; so many miracles are being born. Every day, so many humans are coming to life. How can we observe and not realize there is a creator? Let’s talk about this, let’s talk about creation.

My theme is to share with you that God created everything and humans were a special creation. Furthermore, God created with purpose.

Application: Creation has value because we are created by God.

Please read Genesis 1:1-2:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

  1. From the first two verses of this text we see that God is creator.
    1. The Bible says, “In the beginning…”
    2. This means that God created time. This is the beginning. There was no time before this. Psalm 90:1-2: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
      Before the mountains were born
      Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
      Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God
      .
    3. I remember when I was a child I used to think, “Who created God?” How did God come to exist? This says, “In the beginning.” This means that this is the beginning of time.
    4. What was faulty in my thinking is that I thought God was in our realm of time. God is not limited by time. You see, I thought that God was limited by our limitations. I, as a child, was already stuck in chronological thinking. Chronological means that it has to do with time.
    5. The thing is that God is not limited by time. So, my thought of “Who created God?” goes back to the fundamental thinking that God had to have a beginning. But “beginning” goes back to this chronological thinking.
    6. The Bible says, “In the beginning…” This is our beginning, not His. There are philosophical articles written about how God relates to time. No one ultimately knows. If you ever deal with insomnia, call me and I’ll loan you some books that deal with this subject. We do know that God was able to transcend time. We know this from the prophesies in the Bible. If God was limited by time, as we are, then Isaiah, writing around 700 BC, wouldn’t have been able to write about Jesus. But Isaiah, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote prophesies that were fulfilled in Jesus. Read Isaiah chapter 53.

So, God created time and this is written about our beginning.

  1. God created the Heavens and the earth.
    1. What does this mean?
    2. This means that God created matter and space. God created time, space and matter. He had to have a place to put the matter so He created space.
    3. God created the Heavens. The Bible refers to at least three heavens.
      1. The Bible will refer to the atmosphere as “Heaven.”
      2. The Bible will refer to the outer space area as “Heaven.”
      3. The Bible also refers to the area where God resides as “Heaven.”
    4. God created the “Heavens,” plural. This means that God created all of these regions.
    5. We see pictures of outer space and must know that this verse is saying, God created those solar systems, those stars, that galaxy.
    6. God created the earth. Now, the first two verses are an overview of the creation of time, space and matter. Starting in verse 3 God gives order to this matter. God arranges His creation so it is not such a mess.
    7. So, the rest of this chapter deals with the details of the earth and its surroundings. God chose to create everything in 6 days.
      1. On day 1, God creates light, this light may not be the sun. Most have believed the light is light emanating from God. On day 1 God also created the idea of the day and night.
      2. On Day 2, God creates the atmosphere. Notice the waters are already there.
      3. On day 3, God creates land and vegetation.
      4. On day 4, God creates the moon and the stars.
        1. Notice that the Bible doesn’t use the noun “sun,” or “moon.”
        2. If you study the ancient religions of the Middle East you can see that they worshipped the sun and the moon. So, Moses was careful not to use those terms. In fact, if you really study this text, you can compare it with the other religions of the Middle East. In comparing you can see that Moses is writing this correcting those religions and showing that there is one God and He is supreme.
      5. On Day 5 God creates the creatures of the sea and the air.
      6. On day 6 God creates the land animals and humans. Humans are the only creation specified. Humans are also created in God’s image.
      7. Notice also that it takes male and female to reflect the image of God.
    8. If we read on to Genesis chapter 2 we see more specific detail about the creation of Adam and Eve.
  • God created everything, seen and unseen.
    1. Nehemiah 9:6: “You alone are the Lord.
      You have made the heavens,
      The heaven of heavens with all their host,
      The earth and all that is on it,
      The seas and all that is in them.
      You give life to all of them
      And the heavenly host bows down before You
      .
    2. 1:16: For by Him all things were created, bothin the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 
  1. The Direct Creation of Adam and Eve
    1. Scripture affirms the direct creation of Adam and Eve.
    2. Theologian Wayne Grudem writes:
    3. The Bible also teaches that God created Adam and Eve in a special, personal way. “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). After that, God created Eve from Adam’s body: “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:21–22). God apparently let Adam know something of what had happened, for Adam said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen. 2:23)[1]
    4. In Genesis chapter 2 the Bible gives great detail about God creating Adam and Eve.
    5. It is not my intent to teach or preach against certain scientific theories today. However, it is my intent to share that humans are created specifically by God and that all of creation has a purpose.
    6. All throughout the Bible we see that God is in control and that God controls creation.
    7. I do have to say a few words regarding evolution or the big bang theory.
    8. First, it was a Christian who invented the big bang theory. I don’t have a problem with that theory because we know that space is expanding into nothingness. Please note, that doesn’t mean that I believe it has been expanding for billions of years. I don’t believe that. God began creation and it could happen as fast as He wanted it to.
    9. God created adult humans and it seems to me that He created an adult universe.
    10. Now, with respect to evolution.
    11. There is micro evolution and macro evolution. Micro evolution would be the belief that species adapt in small ways. Macro evolution would be the belief that we evolved all the way from one cell organisms.
    12. I am not a Scientist, I am a pastor and one could say a Biblicist and Theologian. I study Theology and the Bible for a living and that is the bulk of my education. Having said that, evolution in its fullest form, as in macro evolution, contradicts the Bible. Evolution is based on death. It took death after death after death to get to humans. Whereas the Bible clearly specifies the creation of humans in Genesis 1 and 2. Furthermore, macro-evolution has some major gaps. There is a book called “Darwin’s Black Box” that gets into that.
    13. Theologian Wayne Grudem writes: Some may object that Genesis 1–2 does not intend to portray Adam and Eve as literal individuals, but (a) the historical narrative in Genesis continues without a break into the obviously historical material about Abraham (Gen. 12), showing that the author intended the entire section to be historical,21 and (b) in Romans 5:12–21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22, 45–49, Paul affirms the existence of the “one man” Adam through whom sin came into the world, and bases his discussion of Christ’s representative work of earning salvation on the previous historical pattern of Adam being a representative for mankind as well. Moreover, the New Testament elsewhere clearly understands Adam and Eve to be historical figures (cf. Luke 3:38; Acts 17:26; 1 Cor. 11:8–9; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13–14). The New Testament also assumes the historicity of the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain (Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11) and Abel (Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51; Heb. 11:4; 12:24).
    14. Grudem continues: In modern Darwinian evolutionary theory, the history of the development of life began when a mix of chemicals present on the earth spontaneously produced a very simple, probably one-celled life form. This living cell reproduced itself, and eventually there were some mutations or differences in the new cells produced. These mutations led to the development of more complex life forms. A hostile environment meant that many of them would perish, but those that were better suited to their environment would survive and multiply. Thus, nature exercised a process of “natural selection” in which the differing organisms most fitted to the environment survived. More and more mutations eventually developed into more and more varieties of living things, so that from the very simplest organism all the complex life forms on earth eventually developed through this process of mutation and natural selection.

The most recent, and perhaps most devastating, critique of current Darwinian theory comes from Phillp E. Johnson, a law professor who specializes in analyzing the logic of arguments. In his book Darwin on Trial26 he quotes extensively from current evolutionary theorists to demonstrate that:

  1. After more than one hundred years of experimental breeding of various kinds of animals and plants, the amount of variation that can be produced (even with intentional, not random, breeding) is extremely limited, due to the limited range of genetic variation in each type of living thing: dogs who are selectively bred for generations are still dogs, fruit flies are still fruit flies, etc. And when allowed to return to the wild state, “the most highly specialized breeds quickly perish and the survivors revert to the original wild type.” He concludes that “natural selection,” claimed by Darwinists to account for the survival of new organisms, is really a conservative force that works to preserve the genetic fitness of a population, not to change its characteristics.27[2]
  2. The fossil record was Darwin’s greatest problem in 1859, and it has simply become a greater problem since then. In Darwin’s time, hundreds of fossils were available showing the existence of many distinct kinds of animals and plants in the distant past. But Darwin was unable to find any fossils from “intermediate types” to fill in the gaps between distinct kinds of animals—fossils showing some characteristics of one animal and a few characteristics of the next developmental type, for example. In fact, many ancient fossils exactly resembled present-day animals—showing that (according to the chronological assumptions of his view) numerous animals have persisted for millions of years essentially unchanged. Darwin realized that the absence of “transitional types” in the fossil record weakened his theory, but he thought it was due to the fact that not enough fossils had been discovered, and was confident that further discoveries would unearth many transitional types of animals. However, the subsequent 130 years of intensive archaeological activity has still failed to produce one convincing example of a needed transitional type.[3]
  3. I could share more about that, but that is enough. If you want more sources let me know. Now, that is mainly talking about macro-evolution.
  4. I came out of college being a strong believer in a 6, 24 hour day creation and I still am. But when I came out of college I probably thought you were not saved if you doubted the creation account.
    1. Then God had me serve 6 years with a pastor who called himself a Theistic Evolutionist. This gave me grace. One day he said he could not understand how people could invest their life work in something and be wrong. My main response is that if the foundation is wrong then everything collapses.
    2. On another, yet similar note. I did meet professors in seminary who did not believe in a 6, 24 hours day creation, but also did not believe in evolution. They looked at the type of literature and thought it was not to be interpreted literally. They made some good arguments.
  5. My final comment is that we do not change our interpretation of the Bible based off of anything beyond good Bible interpretation. We do not change our view of the Bible because of a scientific theory.
  1. Some final application:
    1. We are created with a purpose.
    2. God created. All of creation, seen and unseen comes from God.
    3. Do NOT worship creation. Worship God.
    4. Praise and worship God.
    5. God created, do not be afraid, He is the creator and He is in charge.
    6. When you see beauty, worship God who created it.

In Crazy Love, Francis Chan writes:

Why would God create more than 350,000,000,000 galaxies (and this is a conservative estimate) that generations of people never saw or even knew existed? Do you think maybe it was to make us say, “Wow, God is unfathomably big”? Or perhaps God wanted us to see these pictures so that our response would be, “Who do I think I am?”

C. Sproul writes, “Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. 

Did you know that a caterpillar has 228 separate and distinct muscles in its head? That’s quite a few, for a bug. The average elm tree has approximately 6 million leaves on it. And your own heart generates enough pressure as it pumps blood throughout your body that it could squirt blood up to 30 feet. (I’ve never tried this, and I don’t recommend it.)

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn’t have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn’t have to put 3,000 different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn’t have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends’ laughs—wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious.

How about the way plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins? Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk? When they build their webs, they create sixty feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web. (Most of us hate spiders, but sixty feet an hour deserves some respect!) Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees.[4]

We serve an amazing God!

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

[1] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 262–314.

21 Note the phrase “These are the generations of “introducing successive sections in the Genesis narrative at Gen. 2:4 (heavens and the earth); 5:1 (Adam); 6:9 (Noah); 10:1 (the sons of Noah); 11:10 (Shem); 11:27 (Terah, the father of Abraham); 25:12 (Ishmael); 25:19 (Isaac); 36:1 (Esau); and 37:2 (Jacob). The translation of the phrase may differ in various English versions, but the Hebrew expression is the same and literally says, “These are the generations of …” By this literary device the author has introduced various sections of his historical narrative, tying it all together in a unified whole, and indicating that it is to be understood as history-writing of the same sort throughout. If the author intends us to understand Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as historical figures, then he also intends us to understand Adam and Eve as historical figures.

  1. compare

26 Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1991.

27 Johnson, pp. 15–20 (quotation from p. 18). Johnson notes that in a few cases new “species” have been produced, in the sense of a part of a population that is incapable of interbreeding with another part: this has happened with fruit flies and with some plant hybrids (p. 19). But even though incapable of interbreeding with some other fruit flies, the new fruit flies still are fruit flies, not some other kind of creature: the amount of variation the fruit fly is capable of is inherently limited by the range of variability in its gene pool.

[2] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 280.

[3] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 282.

[4] Excerpt From: Francis Chan. “Crazy Love.” iBooks.

Hell is real and so is Heaven and Heaven is FREE

Introduction:

We prepare for everything, don’t we? Well, successful people prepare. I know a little about preparation. I have the spiritual gift of administration. I am very scheduled and very type A.

We could talk about preparing for school, preparing for a job, or a trade, or a trade school. We could talk about planning as well. For example, suppose that you want to run a 5k, or a 10k, or a marathon, wouldn’t you prepare? I know this personally as I have ran multiple 10k’s and three marathons. It takes hard work. In fact, two years ago I signed up for the Hall of Fame Marathon and I canceled because I started training again and thought I did not want to do the work. I was running 20 miles straight once a week and 40-50 miles a week. It was cold and snowy. I got done with my late night run one February night and it was about midnight. I sat down on the couch and I was trying to drink juice and replenish to keep my legs from cramping. I was shivering because I was exhausted. I thought, “Why am I doing this?” Then I pulled out. It takes preparation and I did not want to do it.

We will all die at some point. This is serious and it is an event which we must be ready for. We must prepare. Some people prepare by planning their funerals. Some prepare by making sure their affairs are in order, but FEW, too FEW, prepare by repenting and turning their life over to Jesus.

For the Christian, death is not to be feared:

Philip Yancey, Where is God When it Hurts:

Reflect a few moments on this poignant analogy between birth and death:

Each of your individual deaths can be seen as a birth. Imagine what it would be like if you had had full consciousness as a fetus and could now remember those sensations.

Your world is dark, safe, secure. You are bathed in warm liquid, cushioned from shock. You do nothing for yourself; you are fed automatically, and a murmuring heartbeat assures you that someone larger than you fills all your needs. Your life consists of simple waiting— you’re not sure what to wait for, but any change seems far away and scary. You meet no sharp objects, no pain, no threatening adventures. A fine existence.

One day you feel a tug. The walls are falling in on you. Those soft cushions are now pulsing and beating against you, crushing you downwards. Your body is bent double, your limbs twisted and wrenched. You’re falling upside down. For the first time in your life, you feel pain. You’re in a sea of roiling matter. There is more pressure, almost too intense to bear. You’re head is squeezed flat, and you’re pushed harder, harder into a dark tunnel. Oh, the pain. Noise. More pressure.

          You hurt all over. You hear a groaning sound and an awful sudden fear rushes in on you. It is happening— your world is collapsing. You’re sure it’s the end. You see a piercing, blinding light. Cold, rough hands pull at you. A painful slap. Waaaahhhh!

         Congratulations, you have just been born.

         Death is like that. On this end of the birth canal, it seems fiercesome, portentous, and full of pain. Death is a scary tunnel and we are being sucked toward it by a powerful force.[1]

We must be ready.

Today, I want to talk about hell and heaven.

My theme:

Hell is real and so is Heaven and Heaven is free.

My purpose is to explain the reality of Heaven and hell and challenge you to share the Gospel.

As we start this sermon think about our broader series. We have been talking about the Study of God.

Let’s read a passage about Heaven:

Isaiah 65:17-18:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.

  1. Hell is consistent with our Theology of salvation and Theology Proper, which is Theology of the character of God.
    1. You cannot take apart the Biblical view of hell without taking apart theology. Period. YOU CANNOT DO THIS.
    2. Taking apart our view of hell changes:
      1. The Truth of a Holy and righteous God.
      2. The Truth of a loving God who hates sin. There is sin because He is Holy and righteous. There is sin because He loves us and sin hurts God and people.
  • The Truth about God’s wrath.
  1. The Truth about humanity needed blood to atone for sin.
  1. Taking apart our view of hell changes the Biblical view of:
    1. Atonement: Jesus’ blood repaired our sin problem, Jesus’ blood satisfied God’s wrath. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice.
    2. Propitiation: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross appeased God’s wrath and reconciled us to God.
  • Redemption: we need a redemption. We needed redeemed, which carries the idea of being bought out of our sin problem.
  1. Justification: This is a legal term which carries the idea of being declared righteous. God sees Jesus’ righteousness in us. 2 Corinthians 5:21: He made Him who knew no sin to besin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  2. Sanctification, that is, when we are saved we are being set apart for God’s glory and we are set apart for God’s glory.
  3. Sin: The Bible teaches that we sin against God. Psalm 51:4: Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
  • This means that we need atonement, propitiation, redemption, justification, sanctification.
  • This means that if we alter the Biblical view of hell we alter the Biblical idea of the Holiness of God.
    1. Either God is not holy or we are not sinful.
    2. We are sinful and God is holy; therefore, we need a sacrifice for our sins, or there is hell to be paid.
  1. So, compromising the Biblical view of hell is illogical. It lacks logic. It lacks reasoning.
  2. All of these Theological teachings fit logically together.
    1. Creation: we were created good.
    2. Fall: we fell from God’s grace through sin.
    3. Redemption: Jesus is our redeemer.
    4. Consummation: someday God will make things right.
  3. Hell exists because we sin against a Holy God. This is consistent with the Bible.
  1. Hell, let’s talk about this place for another minute.
    1. The Old Testament doesn’t talk much about hell, at least to the point to develop a pattern of thinking on this topic. Sometimes in the Old Testament you will see the term sheol. This word simply means “the realm of the dead.” Dr. Ben Witherington writes:
    2. For example, in 1 Samuel 28 we hear about Samuel’s shade or spirit being called up from Sheol to be consulted by the medium of Endor. Samuel is none too pleased about the summons, but he is not depicted as having been in either heaven or hell.  He is simply in the land of the dead. This concept of Sheol continued on well into the New Testament era, and may well represent what Paul believes about where people have gone who have died, but who are not in Christ.  For Christians, of course, Paul says ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’  (2 Corinthians 5).” The New Testament idea of hades is comparable to sheol and is the temporary place of the dead.
    3. The actual idea of hell is not until after the final judgment. (2 Corinthians 5 Bema seat)
    4. There is a hell written about in the New Testament and Jesus is perhaps the one most clear about this.  Jesus calls it Gehenna, and he compares it to a stinky garbage dump in the Hinnom Valley south of the City of David, and like a garbage dump it’s where the worm does not die and the fire never goes out.  And there are people expected by Jesus to go there, as the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus shows in Luke 16.  Granted, this is a parable, which is an extended metaphor, but it is surely referential, and it indicates the rich man is in an unpleasant place and there is no remedy.  There is an unalterable divide between the bosom of Abraham and the place where the rich man currently resides in the afterlife.  The parable teaches that how we live in this life has consequences for where we end up in the afterlife, and this must be taken seriously. I encourage you to read that parable from Luke 16 at a later time.
      1. Gehenna was a place in the Old Testament where people would sacrifice to false gods, even sacrifice children.
      2. Listen to what one source tells me:
  • The worship of Molech in which infants were sacrificed in fire to the god Molech also occurred in the Valley of Hinnom (2 Kings 16:3; 17:7; 21:6). Jeremiah announced the Valley of Hinnom would be the place of God’s judgment (Jer. 7:32; 19:6). The valley also became the place where refuse and dead bodies of animals and criminals were burned. As a result, gehenna became synonymous with eternal punishment, the fire of hell. It describes the punishment connected with the final judgment, a punishment that has eternal duration, not annihilation (Matt. 23:15, 33; 25:41, 46).[2]
  1. In the New Testament it was a garbage dump and that is the image Jesus gave for hell.
  1. Within the Bible there are several references about hell which are metaphors. It is really hard to talk about as an actual place. We do know that it is a place of terrible torment and a place of absence from God.
    1. Absence from God in and of itself will cause hell. Now, God is not literally absent. The Bible teaches that God is everywhere. But with hell, God chooses to keep His presence absent. We have never seen a place without God’s presence. The world is anti-God, but there is still some amount of God’s common grace. God has given even the worst of people some amount of consciousness and goodness. However, in hell, God is absent.
  2. Hell is a terrible place to think about. It is probably good for us all to think about it occasionally in order to motivate us towards evangelism.
  3. There are natural consequences for things. If I walk out a fifth story window, what will happen? I will fall and hit the ground. Why is that? This is because of the law of gravity. The Bible talks about God in a way that we give God human attributes. This doesn’t mean that God’s wrath is just like human wrath, not at all. But there are certain natural repercussions for sin. The repercussion is the wrath of God. This repercussion happens just like gravity works.
  4. Now, let’s talk about Heaven. We can all go to Heaven by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Jesus took the wrath of God.
  • What is Heaven like?
    1. Heaven is a real place. Too often people think it is only spiritual and so they really do not look forward to it.
    2. If things in Heaven are only spiritual then why does God use so many material objects to illustrate what we’ll have in Heaven, like “house, dwelling, clothed, rooms (John 14), white robes (Revelation 6:10-11), rivers, gardens, and the tree of life in Heaven. (Revelation 2:7; 22:2) refers to the SAME Tree of Life that was physical in the Garden of Eden in (Genesis 2:9).[3]
    3. Randy Alcorn writes: Christoplatonism: Plato was “the first Western philosopher to claim that reality is fundamentally something ideal or abstract.” “For Plato . .  . the body is a hindrance, as it opposes and even imprisons the soul (Phaedo 65– 68; 91– 94).”
    4. But according to Scripture, our bodies aren’t just shells for our spirits to inhabit; they’re a good and essential aspect of our being. Likewise, the earth is not a second-rate location from which we must be delivered. Rather, it was handmade by God for us. Earth, not some incorporeal state, is God’s choice as mankind’s original and ultimate dwelling place.
    5. To distinguish the version of Platonism seen among Christians from secular forms of Platonism, I’ve [Randy Alcorn] coined the term Christoplatonism. This philosophy has blended elements of Platonism with Christianity, and in so doing has poisoned Christianity and blunted its distinct differences from Eastern religions. Because appeals to Christoplatonism appear to take the spiritual high ground, attempts to refute this false philosophy often appear to be materialistic, hedonistic, or worldly.[4]
    6. But Heaven is a real place. Jesus reminded His disciples to pray, “Our Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).
  1. Applications:
    1. Desire Heaven: in 2 Corinthians 12 we see that Paul had been to Heaven and he wanted to go back.
    2. 2 Corinthians 5:8: we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
    3. Colossians 3:1-2: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 

Close:

As a final application, believe the Gospel and share the Gospel.

Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 15:20:

And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation…

1 Corinthians 9:16b:

…for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

This world is all the hell that a true Christian is to ever endure, and it is all the Heaven that unbelievers shall ever enjoy! Jonathan Edwards

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once told his students, If I had my choice, I wouldn’t send you to school, I’d send you to Hell for five minutes, and you’d come back real soul winners.[5]

Last week we had prayer cards in the bulletin. They are in there today as well. These cards were for you to write names down of unsaved family or friends. We now want you to come to the alters and place those cards in this box. We will collectively pray for all the names in the box. The first step in reaching people with Jesus is to pray for them. We will keep praying for the names in this box. No one will open the box and see the names, but God knows the names. Now, when one of those you listed comes to know Jesus as Lord and Savior we will then open the box and take that card out and we will rejoice.

Luke 15:10:

In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

[1] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Pages 144-145. Philip Yancey, Where Is God When Life Hurts

[2] Enns, P. P. (1997). The Moody handbook of theology (375). Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.

[3] Rick Sams’ sermon on Heaven

[4] Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 8723-8724). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[5] From a sermon by Gerald Flury, What Made John the Baptist Great? 12/12/2009)