Next sermon series will be on the Study of God

I wanted to intro my next sermon series which will begin on Sunday, January 7, 2018. I recorded a 5 minute preview. You can find it on the Bethelfriends podcast or on the website at:



God provides the sacrifice

Jesus’ birth fulfills the Old Testament Prophesies, God Provides the Sacrifice (Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22; Isa. 7:14; Isa 53:7; 60:19-20; Matt. 1:23)

I do not believe in coincidences. Many of you may remember the former NFL player Tim Tebow. He was an outspoken Christian and came away with many surprising wins. One of them was versus the Steelers in the 2012 playoffs. This is what I read about it:

Tim Tebow appeared on Harry Connick Jr’s show “Harry” this week to discuss his new book, baseball career, and more. One part of the conversation that stood out was when Connick Jr. asked Tebow to explain the incredible thing that happened immediately after he led the Broncos to an upset playoff victory over the Steelers back in 2012.

For the game, Tebow decided to paint the Bible verse John 3:16 under his eyes, exactly the same way he did three years prior for the National Championship game. On that day, January 8th, 2009, an insane amount of people – 94 million to be precise –  Googled the verse and Tebow’s Gators won the game.

Fast forward to the upset win over the Steelers in 2012, which ended on this Tebow touchdown pass:

An ecstatic Tebow was celebrating with teammates in the locker room and preparing to speak with the press, when the Broncos PR guy approached him almost too giddy to speak.

“Timmy, do you realize what happened?”

“Yeah, we just beat the Steelers and we’re going to play the Patriots!”

“No, I don’t think you realize what just happened. It’s exactly three years later from when you wore John 3:16 under your eyes. During the game you threw for 316 yards, your yards per rush were 3.16, your yards per catch were 31.6, the ratings for the game was 31.6 and the time of possession was 31.6.”

During the game 90 million people googled John 3:16 and once again it was the #1 trending item on Facebook and Twitter.

Tebow summed up the incredible imagery with the numbers like this: “A lot of people said it was a coincidence. I say big God.”

No coincidence.

In the birth of Christ we also see a Big God, no coincidences.

The date is now December 10, so I wonder how things are coming along with your Christmas plans. Do you have all your shopping done yet? Do you have your house decorated?

Show of hands: How many of you have your Christmas tree up?

How many have two Christmas trees up?

How many have lights up outside of the house?

Have you gone out looking at Christmas lights whether driving around or a specific display?

Do you ever look up at the stars at night? Do you notice that you cannot see as many stars in the city as you can in the country? I once saw a program that said we have to go to the middle of the Atlantic in order to truly get away from the light pollution, wow! Yet, electric lighting revolutionized the world. We were already in the industrial revolution, but when electric lighting came, wow! But we know that Thomas Edison did not invent light, just the electric light bulb. Now, we have lights everywhere. Think about night baseball games, night football games, night soccer games, indoor night basketball games at night, we have services here after dark, headlights on our cars, lights outside our houses, parking lot lights and lighthouses. Is that all because of the light bulb? I don’t think so, I think it is all because we need light. Think about it, if we did not need light, the light bulb would have been another unimportant invention. We need light.

We need light and God provided light from the beginning. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was. Later God created the sun, moon and stars. But that is not the only light which we need and needed. We needed salvation. We needed a sacrifice. God sent us the Light of the World. God sent His own sacrifice. He was prophesied about in the Old Testament.

Singer Michael Card wrote a song called The Promise, and he wrote a little Christmas devotional on this theme:
He noted:
Christianity is founded on a promise. Faith involves waiting on a promise. Our hope is based on a promise.
Promises are made with words. … .that part of myself that goes with every promise is given to you through my words….
Our God is the great maker of promises… His word, our Bible, is a collection of the promises… most of these concern Jesus, who came to be known as “the Promised One”
Through all these promises, God was trying to give something of Himself to Adam, and to Israel, and finally to us. The Bible tells us that when the Promised One came, the Lord poured all of Himself into Him.
What a costly thing it can be to make a promise – it cost Jesus His life.

Today, we look at a very familiar Old Testament story. Yet, as familiar as this is, this is prophetic in looking towards the Christ Child. God provides the sacrifice needed for Abraham and for us.

Read with me Genesis 22:1-14:

The great idea in this passage is that the Lord provides. So, I want to talk about how the Lord provides the sacrifice. The Lord sends the Light. Three times in verses 1-14 we see the idea that the Lord provides.

  1. Let’s overview this narrative.
    1. In verse 1 God talks to Abraham and notice that Abraham has no hesitation. Abraham immediately said, “Here I am.”
    2. Verse 2 has God giving Abraham instructions as to what to do. Notice how specific this is:
      1. Take your son…
      2. Your only son…
  • whom you love…
  1. sacrifice him as a burnt offering.
  1. Realize that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, whom he sent away. He was not the son of the promise. He was not the son by Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was.
  2. This was Abraham’s only son and he loves him.
  3. Yet, God tells him to sacrifice him. What was this like for Abraham? What were his emotions?
  4. Whatever it was like for Abraham, God did this with His Son.
  5. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
  6. Notice that Jesus, God’s only begotten Son is the Son of promise. Isaac was the son of promise to Abraham. By Isaac all the world will be blessed. The lineage goes on to Jesus and in Him, through His death and resurrection all the world will be blessed.
  7. Verse 3, the next verse says that Abraham got up early in the morning and he began his trip to obey God.
    1. I heard someone say, “I wonder if he told Sarah.” That is a thought. I wonder if he just said they were going out for a bit. Do you think he could have actually told Sarah that he was going to kill her only son? No way!
    2. I bet if he told her that she would have stopped it. That is not saying that she had less faith, but this was her only son.
  8. Verse 5 shows that this is about worship. There were two servants with them. Abraham has the servants wait. Abraham says that they will worship and then they will return.
  9. Isn’t that interesting? Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, yet he tells the servants they will return. Maybe Abraham did not wish for the servants to come with him and try to restrain him from following the Lord’s command? Or, maybe Abraham thought that Isaac was the child of promise and so God would raise him up again. Maybe he thought his son, Isaac, was the Messiah. They were waiting on someone to make things right.
  10. They have the wood, the fire and the knife and they are going up to make the sacrifice. Isaac is carrying the wood for his own sacrifice. Hmm. You know that in John 19:17 it says that Jesus carried His own cross?
  11. By the way, Isaac is not a young child. He is an adult. The Jewish historian Josephus says that he is probably twenty-five years old. We never think of him that old.
  12. In verse 8: Abraham says that God will provide the lamb. Isaac knew what he would need for a sacrifice. Abraham had strong faith. God will provide.
  13. We look at this today and we are looking back and we see that God provided Jesus, our eternal lamb.
  14. Abraham places his son on the alter and pulls the knife. He is about to kill him when an angel interrupts him. The angel may have been a normal angel or he might have been Jesus in the Old Testament. Sometimes when the Bible says the Angel of the Lord it is referring to Jesus.
  15. Abraham is stopped and then they see a ram caught in the bushes by its horns.
  16. God provided the sacrifice.
  17. God provided a sacrifice for Abraham.
  1. God provided a sacrifice for us and the sacrifice was His own Son.
    1. John 1:36 John the baptizer says look at the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 1 John 4:9; John 3:16 both talk about God sending His only begotten Son.
    2. Isa 53:7: Jesus is like a lamb to the slaughter.
    3. Verse 14: Abraham calls that place the Lord provides.
    4. Abraham needed a sacrifice. God gave him the sacrifice.
    5. But the sacrifice for Abraham was foreshadowing the sacrifice for the rest of the world. Truly through Abraham all the world would be blessed.
    6. Close to two thousand years later a descendant of Abraham would be born and raised. He would be just over twenty-five years old at the age of thirty-three. He would be God’s Son and He would carry His own cross and this time the angel would not stop the death. This time He would die. He would die as our sacrifice. God provided the Light. But praise God He did not stay in the grave. He became the first fruits of the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15)
    7. Our Lord provides! Amen! Jehovah Jireh is how that name is translated.


Jesus came:

That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.(Hebrews 2:14–15)

But not just to die. Jesus was born to be raised from the dead (Revelation 1:18). He is the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in him “though he die yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem it was the dawn of death’s destruction. It made possible the fast-approaching time when,

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)

Do you know Jesus? 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)



We Still Prepare the Way (Mark 1)

Title: We Still Prepare the Way for Jesus’ Coming.


We are now in the Advent season. Advent means the coming or arrival. All throughout Old Testament history they were waiting on the Messiah and every year during this season we celebrate His coming.

When I was in college I worked as a McDonald’s manager. I worked full time and I went to school full time. I did 5 years of tribulation period there and Jesus has not come back yet so He is coming back post tribulation. The McDonalds that I was a manager at was a franchise. With the McDonalds system, as a franchise, a couple times a year we would have a corporate audit. There was a specific person who worked for corporate who would come in and spend 2 days auditing our store. They would check the paper work, but mostly they would check us for cleanliness and service times. They would time us in the drive thru, they would time us in the grill, they would time us on the front counter, and they would time us everywhere else. Looking bad on this audit would mean more audits and other consequences for the franchise. These audits had scheduled dates. Because these audits were so important we worked extra hard getting ready. The days and weeks prior to the audit were filled with extra hours and extra staff to clean the store and be ready. Many times I came in extra early the day of the audit and the closing crew from the previous night was still at the store cleaning. We cleaned under the counter, under the grill, and under everywhere else. We had to prepare the store for the coming of the corporate people. We had to be ready.

You know, there are Biblical parallels to this story. In the passage we are going to look at we see the text talk about John preparing the way for Jesus. I would like to take a few moments and talk about how John prepared the way for Jesus and also show how even though Jesus has already come, We Still Prepare the Way for Jesus’ Coming. How do we prepare the way for Jesus’ coming? Listen and you will hear.

Let’s start by reading Mark 1:1-8:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way;
The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.’”

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

  • Mark opens his gospel with three Old Testament quotations. The first of these quotations is from Mal 3:1 and the second is from Isaiah 40:3. The third is Exodus 23:20. Isaiah is the strongest quotation.
    • I know as you read this you may notice that Mark says, “Isaiah the prophet” and then quotes Malachi. Well, this was common. The N.T. writers knew the O.T. so well that many times they would mention several O.T. quotations at once.
    • I find the quotation in Isa 40:3 particularly interesting. In the context it says: “make straight in the desert a Highway for our God.” It makes it sound like this messenger will symbolically be clearing a highway. This messenger will be getting rid of the trees and stumps and making a type of King’s Highway.
    • I think that is what John the Baptist did in a symbolic way. He prepared the way of the Lord in people’s hearts. He did this by what follows.
      • Before the U.S. president comes to a town there are traffic detours, etc
      • If the U.S. President were to come to our area there would be road closures and detours to prepare the way for the President. Actually, they would work with the local authorities ahead of time to prepare the way. I am an expert on this because I watch the show Blue Bloods. The show is about the Police Department in New York City and Tom Selleck stars at the Police Commissioner. Anytime a dignitary is coming they make plans. A few years ago Meagan and I were driving back from Cincinnati and there were many road closures. The whole highway on Interstate 71 was shut down. We got off and navigated home. Later we found out the President was coming to town.
      • We prepared the way for corporate to come to McDonalds.
        • John the Baptist did this symbolically in the people’s hearts.
      • In verse 4, following these quotations, Mark starts talking about John the Baptist.
        • We, the reader, don’t yet know anything about John the Baptist. But now Mark introduces him. I think it is very interesting that Mark introduces him in this way.
        • John follows the Old Testament quotations about this messenger who will prepare the way of the Lord. I think that Mark is trying to tell the reader that John was that messenger. John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord.
        • Mark gave those three O.T. quotations to give a little more credit to who John was. Isaiah was known as the greatest O.T. prophet. Inserting his name probably helped build the case that John the Baptist was this messenger.
      • Verse 4 gives some more ideas of how John prepared the way of the Lord. John prepared the way of the Lord by baptizing. But John was not baptizing in a special temple or other religious place. Mark tells us he was baptizing in the wilderness.
        • But John did not only baptize. John was proclaiming repentance for forgiveness. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.
      • Verse 5 talks more about this baptism. Verse 5 adds that all the country of Judea and Jerusalem were being baptized. I think this is a little hyperbole. I really don’t believe that all the country was being baptized. But I do think that a lot of the people were. Even those not getting baptized were probable coming out to see what was going on. Matt 3:7 tells us the Pharisees were coming out. John was making quite an impact and rightfully so, because John was preparing the way for the Lord.
        • Verse 5 continues to clue us in to how John prepared the way of the Lord. He prepared the way by baptizing them in the Jordan River. They were also confessing their sins.
          • We also must do this. We cannot take sin out of the message of the Gospel. In Acts 2:38 Peter had just gotten finished with his Pentecost sermon and they asked how they could be saved and he said “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.”
        • Then we come to verse 6. I think it might be easy to come to verse 6 and think, “Why does it matter?” well it does matter. It matters because I think that Mark was trying to establish John as a prophet. Jesus calls him among the greatest of the prophets (Luke 7:28) For Mark’s Jewish readers they may recognize this type of dress comparable to Elijah in 2Kings 1:8.
        • But verse 7continues to tell us how John prepared the way of the Lord. John was preaching and what he said pointed to Jesus.
          • He said that someone is coming after him
          • John said that the one who comes after Him is Mightier than him.
            • Isn’t that humble? Here John has all these people coming out to him yet he acknowledges that Jesus will be mightier than him.
          • John is not worthy to unstrap this person’s sandals.
            • Only slaves washed feet and untied sandals. John is saying that he is not worthy to be Jesus’ slave. Very humble.
          • As John prepared the way of the Lord, John pointed to Jesus and did this in humility.
            • This reminds me of John 3:30 where he said that Christ must increase and he must decrease.
            • John is the person preparing the way. He is not the important person and while preparing the way John recognized his place in God’s plan.
          • Finally, in verse 8 John gives the contrast between the way he is baptizing and the way Jesus will baptize. Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
            • This is significant because in the Old Testament only God could give the Holy Spirit.
            • John calls the one to come equal with God.
            • Also, Mark strategically places this as the 8th verse in His Gospel. In the very beginning of Mark’s Gospel He is saying that Jesus is Lord!

John prepared the way for Jesus’ first coming. We must prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming. Look at 2 Peter 3:8-10: But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 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.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

  • Now there are different view on when and how Jesus will come again. But none can dispute that Jesus will come again. But we must prepare the way.
    • We must preach the Gospel as John did.
      • We must do this in humility.
        • There is no other way to introduce Jesus. Only in humility. He is the King of Kings.
        • That means that we preach the Gospel of Jesus not the Gospel of Steve. We must recognize that Jesus is greater than us as John did.
          • We must lead people to Jesus. That means that we recognize our place in God’s plan.
        • Remember how the secret service prepares the way for the President. The person(s) preparing the way are not the important person but they do have a purpose
        • We prepared the way for the corporate representative at McDonald’s but none of us were that important person.
          • I once heard Chuck Swindoll talk about serving as an associate pastor. While he was an associate pastor the job was to take care of the desires of the senior pastor. Our job is to serve at the pleasure of King Jesus.
        • As John did we must preach that people confess their sins and be baptized into Jesus.
      • L. Moody shared: The monument I want after I am dead is a monument with two legs going around the world—a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.
        • We must also do this with boldness and sometimes that may lead to death as it later did for John that Baptist.


I told you about those corporate audits. In 5 years as a manager I worked many of those audits. But after a few years corporate changed the rules of the audits. Corporate made it that they would come for a 2 day announced visit. The first 2 days they came we knew that they were coming. Then after that corporate visit they would come within a month and do an audit that would be unannounced. We had very little idea when they were coming. This was more difficult we had to be ready all the time.

John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ first coming. We now celebrate Jesus’ first coming, but in doing so we must prepare the way for His second coming. Like the unannounced visit of corporate to McDonalds, Jesus will be unannounced. He will come like a thief in the night. So, we must prepare the way. We do this by preaching the Gospel. We preach the Gospel as John the Baptist did: preaching confession of sin with repentance and doing this in humility. We still prepare the way for Jesus’ coming!


Let’s pray.


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)


The Benediction of Ephesians


We have been in Ephesians for sometime now. I began this series on July 2 and now we are wrapping it up. When I began this series it was hot outside and now it is almost winter. We have preached this series through the seasons. I hope it was not too long for you. John MacArthur preached some 62 or 63 messages on Ephesians. This is expository preaching, which used to be very common.

We come to the last few verses.

Do you pray for Christian leaders? Do you pray for others? Do you pray specific prayers?

Do you love Jesus? How would you describe your love for Jesus? Is it “incorruptible”?

Do you have grace? Do you extend grace? Do you have love with faith from God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

We see all these ideas listed in the passage today.

In his best-selling book The Reason for God, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, shares the story of a woman in his congregation who was learning how the grace extended to us through Christ’s work on the cross can actually be more challenging than religion. He writes:

Some years ago I met with a woman who began coming to church at Redeemer and had never before heard a distinction drawn between the gospel and religion [i.e. the distinction between grace and what is often a works-based righteousness]. She had always heard that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message was scary. I asked why it was scary and she replied: If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with “rights”—I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by grace—then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.”

She understood the dynamic of grace and gratitude. If when you have lost all fear of punishment you also lose all incentive to live a good, unselfish life, then the only incentive you ever had to live a decent life was fear. This woman could see immediately that the wonderful-beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had an edge to it. She knew that if she was a sinner saved by grace, she was (if anything) more subject to the sovereign Lordship of God. She knew that if Jesus really had done all this for her, she would not be her own. She would joyfully, gratefully belong to Jesus, who provided all this for her at infinite cost to himself.[1]

My theme and application:

Paul’s closing words: peace, love, faith, grace, love God with an incorruptible love.

Let’s read the passage:

Ephesians 5:21-23:

But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

  1. Let’s start by talking about verse 21 and Tychicus
    1. Who is this man? MacArthur notes: A convert from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who was with the apostle during his first imprisonment in Rome, from where this epistle was written (see 3:1). He accompanied Paul in taking an offering to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4–6) and was sent by him on several missions (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12).
    2. Bible Knowledge Commentary: Apparently Tychicus was the bearer of this epistle. Paul considered him a dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord. In Colossians 4:7 Paul called him by these same titles and added that he was a “fellow servant” (syndoulos, “fellow slave”). Tychicus is also mentioned in Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; and Titus 3:12. Tychicus was to inform the Ephesians of Paul’s welfare—how he was and what he was doing—in order to encourage them (cf. Eph. 3:13).
    3. I want to point out a different application on this verse.
    4. This verse follows Paul’s words on prayer. In the previous few verses, verses 19-20 Paul says: and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
    5. So, Paul talked about praying and now he talks about Tychicus communicating what is going on with him.
    6. Tychicus is communicating how they should pray.
    7. Tychicus is going to share with them what is going on in Paul’s ministry so that they can pray accordingly.
    8. You know we should pray as detailed as we can.
    9. Do you receive the church prayer chain? Let me know if you would like those?
    10. Every week we print out a weekly prayer list, do you pick up a copy? Let me know if you would like one.
    11. Do you pray for spiritual needs?
    12. Pray Spiritual prayers. Look at that verse 19 again: and prayon my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.
    13. Paul was in prison, but he did not ask them to pray for his release he asked them to pray for the proclamation of the Gospel. Paul could have asked them to pray for his rest, his sores from the poor sleeping condition, his health, but he wanted prayers in proclaiming the Gospel.
  2. Now let’s get into the benediction:
    1. One source gives a NOTE ON 6:23–24 This beautiful benediction sums up the major themes of this very personal letter, reminding readers of the peace (v. 15; 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:3), love (1:15; 4:2, 15–16; 5:25, 28, 33), and faith (6:16; 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13) from God and Jesus Christ.”
    2. Look at all those verses that reference these nouns.
    3. Peace: (v. 15; 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:3): Do you have the peace of Christ. Do you offer others peace? Col. 3:15: Letthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
    4. Love with faith:
      1. Love is listed many times in Ephesians: 1:15; 4:2, 15–16; 5:25, 28, 33
      2. Faith is also listed many times in Ephesians: 6:16; 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13
    5. This love and faith is From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus.
    6. Grace (verse 24): Grace is listed in Ephesians quite a bit too, no less than 12 times in this letter (Eph. 1:2, 6, 7; 2:5, 7, 8; 3:2, 7, 8; 4:7, 29; 6:24).
    7. The Ephesian letter begins with the grace and peace of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and ends in the immortality of love.
    8. Paul ends the epistle as he opened it.

Ray Ortlund Jr writes:

We were married to Mr. Law. He was a good man, in his way, but he did not understand our weakness. He came home every evening and asked, “So, how was your day? Did you do what I told you to? Did you make the kids behave? Did you waste any time? Did you complete everything I put on your To Do list?” So many demands and expectations. And hard as we tried, we couldn’t be perfect. We could never satisfy him. We forgot things that were important to him. We let the children misbehave. We failed in other ways. It was a miserable marriage, because Mr. Law always pointed out our failings. And the worst of it was, he was always right! But his remedy was always the same: Do better tomorrow. We didn’t, because we couldn’t.

Then Mr. Law died. And we remarried, this time to Mr. Grace. Our new husband, Jesus, comes home every evening and the house is a mess, the children are being naughty, dinner is burning on the stove, and we have even had other men in the house during the day. Still, he sweeps us into his arms and says, “I love you, I chose you, I died for you, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And our hearts melt. We don’t understand such love. We expect him to despise us and reject us and humiliate us, but he treats us so well. We are so glad to belong to him now and forever, and we long to be “fully pleasing to him” (Col. 1:10)!

Being married to Mr. Law never changed us. But being married to Mr. Grace is changing us deep within, and it shows.[2]

Christianity is all about Jesus.


  • Final application: Love Jesus with an “incorruptible love.”
    1. Love our Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love Verse 24. This could also be translated “Undying love.” What does that mean: NET Bible note: The term “undying” which modifies it captures the sense of the kind of love the author is referring to here. He is saying that God’s grace will be with those whose love for Jesus never ceases.
    2. Another source points out some more applications with this: “Incorruptible” or “undying” love has the idea that believers’ love for the Lord Jesus Christ is to be pure, not corrupted with wrong motives or secret disloyalties.
    3. Does your love for Jesus cease?
    4. Do we really love Jesus?
    5. 2 Cor. 13:5 tells us to examine ourselves and make sure we are in the faith. How often do we do this?
    6. Is our faith in Jesus pure?
    7. 2 Tim. 3:7 talks about people who are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.
    8. Do we love Jesus or just things that we think Jesus represents?
    9. Do we love the Word of God, or do we just like to study?
    10. I say the following with great respect and caution.
      1. To some Jesus represents morality. The values are good, but do we love Jesus with “incorruptible love.” We don’t love Jesus we just love His values.
      2. To some Jesus represents the Judea-Christian values: we don’t love Jesus we just love the values.
  • To some Jesus represents our family history. We have always been going to church and so we go. We don’t love Jesus, we just wish to stay true to our family history.
  1. To many in the United States Jesus represents our American founding and history and so there are many in this fine country who really do not love Jesus from day-to-day and week-to-week, but they do when we talk about American values.
  2. There are some that love Jesus around Christmas time or Resurrection Sunday. There are some that love Jesus on Mother’s Day. In which case, He really is not loved. Either He is Lord of all, or not lord at all. In this case Jesus is not loved with an “undying” and “incorruptible” love.
  3. To many Jesus is loved until He messes with their life. For example, you love Jesus until you have a boyfriend and you want to move in together and be sexually active, but not get married. In which case, you compromise the Bible and say it is okay. In that case you love your boyfriend and hate Jesus.
  • Do we love Jesus?
  • Do we organize our affairs around Him?
  1. One source sheds light on the Ephesian church: what happened with the Ephesian Christians? Unfortunately, some Ephesian believers later did lose the fervency of their love for Christ (Rev. 2:4). Paul’s benediction, though unusual (cf. the chart “Paul’s Concluding Benedictions in His Epistles,” at Rom. 16:17–20), was certainly fitting.

The Real Jesus Christ

The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …

There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.

There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.

There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.

There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).

There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

There’s Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.

There’s Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).

There’s Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that “all you need is love.”

There’s Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There’s Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding “the god within” while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.

There’s Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.

There’s Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on “the system.”

There’s Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

There’s Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God’s reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.[3]

As you leave have an incorruptible love for Jesus!

It is my hope and prayer that you now, know this book more in depth or in a different wy than you did before. The value of preaching through books of the Bible is that we can really learn a book of the Bible. This is called Expository preaching. This means that we teach the Bible text, by text, during the sermons. John MacArthur is a wonderful Bible teacher and he has taught all through the New Testament at his church. He did this over a long period of time, some forty or more years. Now, we are at a point in the church calendar where we begin to think about Christmas and celebrate Jesus’ birth. Ephesians fits with Jesus’ birth as we think about how much Ephesians speaks about us being “in Christ.” We are “in Christ,” we are held in God’s love.

Go, love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Eph. 5:23: Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Do you know Jesus? 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] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (Riverhead Books, 2008), pp. 189-19

[2] Ray Ortlund, “Who are you married to?”The Gospel Coalition blog—Ray Ortlund (2-15-15)

[3] Kevin DeYoung, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)

Phenomenal article from Francis Chan

This is written by Francis Chan and I read it through Desiring God. Phenomenal article! Blessings, Steve

Eph. 6:5-9 Christians must be the best employees and employers

Christians Must Be the Best Employers and Employees, Paul Addresses Servants and Masters. (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

 Have you ALWAYS had good bosses? Have you served as a boss? Have people always enjoyed working for you? What are some qualities we like in a boss? What are some qualities we like in an employee?

Sometimes Christians are known as the worst employees, and for that we need to repent. We should be the best. We should have the utmost integrity. We should have the best ethics. I once heard Chuck Swindoll talking about work and he referenced an employer who told him, “I will never hire another Christian again.”

 Chuck Swindoll shares about his own life:

I remember stealing six softballs when I was working as a stock boy in a five-and-dime store in my early years in high school. And I remember trying to find a place to hide them when I got home. I don’t know what in the world I planned to do with six softballs. To this day it just baffles me, the logic of it. But I stuck them in the back of my drawer and my mother found them. My father presented himself to me and told me that we were going to make a trip back to the store where I was going to talk to the owner and I was going to confess.

            I will never forget his instruction on the way. I mean, I was sitting there just dying thinking about it. It was just like passing razor blades to think about standing before my employer. Well, I stood there and told him what I had done. My dad was waiting in the car. He didn’t go with me. And I heard my boss say, “You’re fired.”

            I stumbled back out to the car and sat down. I was as slow as I could remember ever being. On the way, I remember my dad beginning to rebuild my emotions. I had done wrong, and I had learned an incredible lesson. He didn’t overdo it, but he drilled into me that when you steal, you get fired. And if you don’t get fired at the moment, you lose something that can’t be bought with any price, and that’s your self-respect. I remember, too, we got on the subject of what in the world I was gonna do with those six softballs.

            But there was something about the ornament of grace that came around my neck from my father who before we went in the house took the time to put his arms around me and to understand. This teenage kid was most concerned about my father’s not telling my friends. And as far as I know, he took that story to his grave and never told on me. [1]

My theme today:

Christians must be the best employers and employees, Paul addresses servants and masters.

  1. First, let’s talk about servants.
    1. In Ephesians 6:5-8 Paul address servants: Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
    2. You may find it interesting that Paul does not tell them to release all of their slaves.
    3. There are reasons for this. I will just name a few.
    4. The Christian group was very small at this time and they could not have the impact of bringing down all of slavery.
    5. Second, it was fairly easy to make the transition from slavery to freedom, and there was a growing tendency for Romans to free their slaves, and even establish them in a trade or profession.
    6. Third, by this time, the legal status of slaves was beginning to be eased, and it showed signs of further improvement.[2]
    7. Also, don’t apply all that you know of the African slave trade that we dealt with to this slave trade.
    8. The first century Greco-Roman slave trade was terrible, but not the same. These slaves were very educated. In fact, many times slaves were more educated than their masters. People would hire slaves in order to read to them. People would hire slaves to teach their children.
    9. The owner of slaves did have a lot of authority over them and their were abuses, but people would sell themselves into slavery in order to be provided for. There is debate but some have compared it to indentured servitude.
    10. One source shares: Some students of Roman history have estimated that about one-third of the population in the Roman Empire at the time were slaves, approximately 60 million individuals. Many of these people were Christians. Most ancient Greeks and Romans regarded slaves as little more than living tools. “Aristotle lays it down that there can never be friendship between master and slave, for master and slave have nothing in common; ‘for a slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave.’ A slave was nothing better, and had no more rights, than a tool. Varro, writing on agriculture, divided agricultural instruments into three classes—the articulate, the inarticulate and the mute. The articulate comprises the slaves; the inarticulate the cattle; and the mute the vehicles. The slave is no better than a beast who happens to be able to talk. Cato gives advice to a man taking over a farm. He must go over it and throw out everything that is past its work; and old slaves too must be thrown out on the scrap heap to starve. When a slave is ill it is sheer extravagance to issue him with normal rations. The old and sick slave is only a broken and inefficient tool.”
    11. Yet for various reasons, Paul addresses slaves and not the system.
    12. Slaves are to be respectful. They are to obey with “fear and trembling” or great respect and reverence.
    13. Slaves are to obey, not only when they are being watched but all the time.
    14. Slaves are serving the Lord ultimately.
    15. Paul addressed this in other places:

Col 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

1 Ti 6:1 All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.

Tt 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 

1 I.e. earthly masters, with fear 

  1. Paul addresses masters in verse 9
    1. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
    2. Paul uses very strong words here. Some translations say, “Stop threatening.”
    3. Just as slaves are to be respectful, so are masters.
    4. There are a few major principles here:
      1. God is all of our masters.
      2. There is no partiality with God.
    5. There is more cross reference: 4:1: Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
    6. Le 25:43 ‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
    7. Dt 10:17 “For the Lord your God is •the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
    8. Ac 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
    9. Col 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
    1. I have been an employer, both as a pastor and as a McDonald’s manager. I have also been an employee.
    2. I served as a McDonald’s Manager for 5 years. I say that I did my 5 years of tribulation period at McDonalds and Jesus has not returned yet so He is coming back post-trib.
    3. I want to talk now about Christians as employers and employees. Christians must be the best employers and employees and I have been both.
    4. But can we apply this passage to employers and employees?
    5. I say, yes. We can apply the principles of the passage to employers and employees.
    6. One scholar said no we cannot apply it, but I like what Theologian Wayne Grudem said. He rejected the other view because he believed it nullifies in principle the moral authority of the entire New Testament. I like what Grudem shared.
    7. As a McDonald’s manager I had some very good employees. We had some very good ones. Then we had some which were not reliable.
    8. We wanted people to be on time and work while they were with us. We wanted people that respected others and did not steal. We caught people stealing a number of times.
    9. I also know that I am not perfect and I am sure that I had days when I did not work as I should. We all mess up and we must repent. What are the patterns of our life? Are the patterns reflected as being a good employer and employee?
    10. I have some applications:
      1. We must respect and obey all those in authority over us as if we are respecting and obeying Christ (Eph. 6:5-6).
      2. We must respect and obey those in authority over us whether they are watching us or not (Eph. 6:5).
      3. We must obey those who are in authority over us with “fear and trembling” (verse 5). This means that we must have utter respect for them. We must obey with reverence. We will respect their authority.
      4. We must understand that obedience, integrity and respect are the will of God (verse 6).
      5. We must serve as we are ultimately serving the Lord (verse 7).
      6. We should rejoice that we are rewarded for good things which we do (verse 8 and Heb. 6:10).
      7. We must treat those under our authority with respect. (verse 9)
      8. We must understand that we are all accountable to God (verse 9).
      9. We must understand that there is no partiality with God and there should be no partiality with us (verse 9; Gal. 3:28).
  • We must understand that we can only live the way God calls us to live as a servant or as a master by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  • We must understand that we are all called to submit to each other in the fear of Christ (Eph. 5:21).


We are Christian everywhere we go. We are called to be filled with the Spirit everywhere we go (Eph. 5:18). We wear the Christian jersey at the work place too. Live out Phil. 2:3-4 everywhere you go:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Do you know Jesus? 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] Page 205pf Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes


[2] read these from John Stott, referenced on