21 September 2014

HE CALLS ME FRIEND



John 15:12-16

Let me begin by saying "that there is not one person in this sanctuary that doesn’t need, care or desire for a companion or friend to turn to." Every person, every loving Christian would give anything for one good friendship. I can remember growing up and my best friend who I considered being more like a brother than a friend, but he was a friend none the less. We were inseparable and sometimes that wasn't so good…maybe we should have been apart, so that we wouldn't get into trouble like we use to. But the one thing I knew about our friendship is that I knew he would always be there for me no matter what or where I ended up. That’s a true friend! See a friend is someone you can……Always count on and call upon at any time to help you through whatever is going on in your life.
Trust with your deepest thoughts or secrets. Won’t stab you in the back or hurt you intentionally. Respect, because they care about you and your well-being. Again that’s a friend! Not only did I have that kind of friend growing up but the Lord has blessed me again with my very best friend in my wife Julie. God is good and he knows we can’t and shouldn’t be alone in this evil world system. We need one another…in the family…in the church ….in our Christian lives. “Friend” by definition “is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard” according to Dictionary.com. That’s nice and simple, right? But according to the bible when it comes to “friendship” We’re told that friends love at all times. Prov 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity." A prime example of this is found in David and Jonathan. They were well-known for their close friendship. 1 Samuel 18:1-5 talks about the knitting of the two men's souls. Jonathan gave his robe and armor to David, essentially honoring David above himself and stripping himself of his kingly position. A position which was rightfully his, since his father was King Saul. But his love for David and the friendship they had was more important than power or fame.

A FRIEND ACCORDING TO PROVERBS IS MORE LOYAL THAN FAMILY AT TIMES. Prov 18: 24 says “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

A FRIEND CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH GOOD WISDOM. Prov 13:20 speaks about this “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

A FRIEND WILL WILLINGLY SACRIFICE THEMSELVES FOR THEIR FRIENDS. John 15:13 we read Jesus saying “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.”

That’s what a true friend by definition is! This is what Jesus is telling us this morning. That sacrificial love that cares and has wisdom to bring to the table and selflessly seeks the interest of their friend over themselves continually day in and day out. We see this kind of friendship displayed in the life of Christ in His incarnate form. Not only did He display this type of love but He calls us out of darkness to do the same towards one another. If we went back to the Old Testament we see this same love demonstrated towards Abraham by God Himself. The bible says Abraham was “a friend of God” In 2 Chron 20:7 we read “Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?” The Letter by James we are reminded of that truth! James 2:23 it says “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS." And he was called the friend of God.” The extraordinary friendship Abraham had with God was special and it was a friendship that would last forever just as it does for us under the gospel of Christ. Again this was no ordinary friendship and the same rule applies to us today. This kind of friendship that Abraham had to be called “a friend  of God” is the same thing as or carries the same meaning as “we are His adopted children” This was only possible through the shedding of blood on a cross through Christ, who laid down his life to preserve and keep us for all eternity by pleasing the Father’s wrath. That’s off the charts love……that’s off the charts friendship. This is the same kind of love Christ wants us to exemplify towards one another not only to the world but to the family of God. Everyone who is attached to the Vine is a branch through the saving working and power of God through the gospel. See not only are we to love Christ [which is a no brainer] but we are to love the branches that He prunes and prepares to produce more fruit. It’s a sacrificial love for the true church….the fellow branches saved by His sovereign grace.Genuine friendship that Jesus describes to His disciples is to exist among the family of God. Everything we read in this chapter alone tells…screams to us how we’re to live with one another. The very beginning of this chapter we see how our relationship begins and ends with Christ. For without Him we can do NOTHING! Then we see how we are to love one another in the branches in this portion that we are going to look at this morning. Then we see the end of the chapter how we’re to love and live in this world that not only hates Christ but you and me the true church. How are we to love one another according to what Jesus is saying before He leaves He’s disciples and this earth to go to His Father? We can demonstrate this through sacrificial love…willing to lay your life down for your friend.

SACRIFICE IS ESSENTIAL FOR GENUINE FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE (V12-V13)

Jesus demonstrated that to the world on the cross of Calvary. Always understand! That Jesus did not die for Himself, but so that others might live. Do you remember what Paul wrote……“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:6-8. The greatest sacrifice given to mankind is the plumb line where we’re to sacrifice for the sake of His glory and His precious gospel.See! Sacrificing for one another goes along way and builds many things. For example! Longer-lasting and happier relationship. It builds trust and brings honor to the friendship. It says “I care so much about you. That I’m willing to take your place.” Relationships like that are more likely to last when people are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the relationship. See! Sacrifice has been grafted into the Christian’s DNA. Paul wrote “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom 12:1. We must sacrifice ourselves for one another. Sacrifice is the essence of godly love. "Service" is the last word in the verse, and sacrifice is our reasonable, logical, rational, spiritual service. This is the way we minister to one another and exhibit godly love.

IT’S ONLY THE GOSPEL THAT MAKES THIS ALL POSSIBLE FOR YOU AND ME (V14-V16)

Jesus says “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” See we always need to understand! Jesus would never command us to do what is impossible for us to do. The secret, of course, is that we are to love, he says, "as I have loved you." And it’s through this kind of love relationship that Jesus had with the Father that makes it possible for Jesus to love us. In this same manner, and from the same foundation, we are to love one another with the same quality of love towards those who are attached to the Vine. The bible calls those who know and love Christ by many names……..
  • Beloved of God ……Rom 1:7
  • Beloved brethren…….1 Cor15:58
  • The called…… Rom 1:6
  • Children of God……John 1:12
  • Children of promise…….Gal 4:28
  • Sons of the Resurrection…….Luke 20:36
  • Heirs of God……Gal 3:29
  • Vessels of Honor……2 Tim 2:21
  • Vessels of Mercy…..Rom 9:23
  • Slaves of Christ…… 1 Cor 7:22

And the list is endless…..

But “friend” captures a very unique relationship that we have with the Lord Jesus Christ. See God has “appointed” you friend, which means “set apart, ordained for special service to do His will. He doesn’t call us servants! Servants didn’t have a close relationship with their earthly masters. Servants didn’t usually know what their master was doing because they were on a need to know basis. Servants were to be instructed and had no right to the Masters purposes and plans. But we are not called “servants” we’re called “friend” which is a more exalting title then being called “a disciple”. God has called us friends to live in a way that exemplifies the Lord in and through our lives. Demonstrating what a true friend looks like as we love one another sacrificially under the grace that was given in Christ. He chose us out of darkness to be a people that are different in how we live, speak and act with one another. He chose us to live sacrificially every day for the sake of this name and His precious gospel.

How?

By being a friend of honor, mercy and love to the branches that are attached to the Vine. Not trying to be the Vinedresser by cutting and tearing people done. Not by being self-centered and unloving or trying to get people to more like you. Jesus died for your wickedness and we deserve His wrath and through His grace He became for us the greatest friend a person could ever know. And Jesus graciously grants this access to His friends through the gospel truth. As He has “made known to you” (v15) God’s divine truth revealed to the heart so that you’re able to fulfill this command given in (v12-v13). When the disciples asked Jesus why do you speak in parables? Jesus responded with this answer! “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matt 13:11. The word “mystery,” in the Bible, properly means a thing that is “concealed,” or that “has been concealed.” We’re a blessed people for Him to call us His friend. A friend to whom the truth has been revealed to. And we need to bless the family of God with that same love and grace that was given to us. We are to graciously do likewise with one another! Why? That’s what friends are for and Christ means everything to me and you. Right? This is how we know love, all because of what Christ did on our behalf. A friend of Jesus knows divine truth and wants to share that truth with others. A friend of Jesus has been chosen by Christ Himself and wants to open up and love others as Christ loved us. Again this has been put into the Christians DNA for a reason! The exemplify Christ in and through our lives.

What does that look like for you and me? There was a man named Deng Jinjie saw people struggling in the water of the Sunshui River in the Hunan province of China, he didn’t just walk by. In an act of bravery, he jumped into the water and helped save four members of a family. Unfortunately, the family left the area while he was still in the water. Sadly, Jinjie, exhausted from his rescue efforts, was overwhelmed and swept away by the river current and drowned. When we were drowning in our sin, Jesus Christ gave His life to come to our aid. We were the ones He came to rescue. He came down from heaven above and pulled us to safety. Jesus’ sacrificial love for us now inspires us to show genuine love for one another. Genuine love for a friend has a cost! The cost is sacrificial love and seeking the interest of others above you. This is a command to you and me "fellow branches".

31 August 2014

I CAN DO NOTHING


John 15: 1-8

I was thinking about the latest caption on our MBC sign, especially on the side that faces north which says “you may have religion, but do you have Jesus” That is an amazing question to ask those who pass by and read! Why? It’s one of those statements that really make you think or at least it should when it comes to your eternal soul. See when I see a statement like this it makes me think if Jesus was walking with His disciples in 2014 and they came across our church sign, would He expound a truth to that caption with His disciples? Would this call for yet another one of Jesus’ spiritual moments? The reason I say that is throughout the ministry of Jesus, He always had a way of using what was before Him to illustrate a truth to His disciples. When the Priests performed their rituals during the Feast of Tabernacle by pouring out water and then Jesus cried out “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink” When they lite the torches to symbolize the Pillar of fire in the wilderness Jesus said “I Am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” Now we come to John 15 and we see yet again Jesus using His surroundings to make a spiritual truth come alive to His disciples. In this context, Jesus draws an allegory of the vine and the branches. He also is setting forth the plumb line for genuine Christian living. This example or illustration wouldn't be foreign or unusual for the disciples to grasp or understand. Why? In Isaiah 5:7 it says “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting….” 

It’s interesting to note that the “grapevine” was a symbol of national life. The grapevine was an emblem that appeared on the coins minted during the Maccabean period. This was regarded by the Jews through reverence and honor, just as Americans do when it comes to their Stars and Stripes. This was so precious to them they crafted a huge, gold grapevine to decorate the gates of the temple. So to hear Jesus say this wasn’t foreign or out of the ordinary. Jesus took this moment to teach His disciples a truth about …..Himself [the Vine] the Father [the Vine Dresser] and the branches [the disciples and us]. See the overall emphasis of this passage is fruit-bearing and self-examination. Christ Jesus is telling Us (the Believer) that in order to be Born Again and to have that relationship. You “MUST” key word being (MUST) "abide in His Love". You must “abide in the Vine.” Andrew Murray says abiding is "Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives."

See we can do many things without abiding in Christ…..
  • We can earn a living
  • We can raise a family
  • We can practice generosity
  • We can even have religion as our signs states
  • It is even possible to pastor a church without abiding.
  • It is possible to pray, sing in a choir, serve in the church and serve others without truly abiding.

When I think of doing things without Christ I'm reminded of what Paul Tripp illustrated fruit without Christ. You can take an old apple tree that has no health apples by going to the store and buy the biggest and juiciest apples they have come home and grab your stable gun and pin these beautiful apples to the tree that can’t produce those kinds of apples you purchased and pinned to the tree. From a distance it looks like a healthy tree full of apples, but as you get closer you begin to see that it’s a dead tree with fruit stapled to it. See apart from Christ we can do many things but in the end, it’s still a dead tree. This is why Jesus says what he says in chapter 15 to disciples as He prepares to leave them in the coming hours.

IN ORDER TO TRULY LIVE YOU MUST ABIDE IN CHRIST (V4) (V5) (V7)

First off! What does abide mean? “Abide” to be, or exist, to continue, to dwell, rest, stand firm, or be stationary for anytime indefinitely. In general, abide by signifies to obey, to maintain, defend, or stand to, as to abide by a promise, or by a friend; or to suffer the consequences, as to abide by the event, that is, to be fixed or permanent in a particular condition. What Jesus is saying that abiding in Him involves the belief that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Do you believe that as it pertains to your life? What is the spiritual outcome of me abiding in Christ?
  • It produces real fruit in your life.
  • It produces a genuine love for others and a lost world.
  • It produces a heart to sing and praise the sovereign Lord of the Universe.
  • It produces obedience and joy that supersedes our daily struggles of life.
  • It produces evidence that salvation has already taken place. An outward change to inward transformation of the heart.

As Jesus said in John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” See abiding brings an all-around genuine difference because you are connected to the True Vine…….Jesus Christ. See, all our plans of life should be controlled by the will of Christ, and formed and executed under His control. That means all the emotions and feelings of the heart should be controlled by Him. Our love and desire to please a holy God in everything we do. We’re to be obedient to the will of God and abide in His Holiness. That’s why the Psalmist says “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4. He plants His desires in your heart and they will become your desires because you love Him with every fibre of your being. And the amount of fruit you bare will be shown by your walk. Because those who learn to abide stay put for the pruning the Lord must do as we make this journey home. This means we must abide and get into His word, this means to associate with others who remain and grow in Christ. Those who are the branches…the church. But there is a warning we also see Jesus give His disciples….again I’m reminded of our MBC sign “you may have religion, but do you have Jesus” This brings me to my next point in this passage.

THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO DON’T ABIDE IN ME  (V6)

What does this mean? Do you think Jesus was thinking of Judas when expressed His warning to His disciples? Judas now being removed from the group, it may also apply to anyone who has made a profession of Christ, and denies the truths of the Gospel. To neglect to walk worthy of his profession is put that person in the danger zone. Which include..... False teachers, false converts, apostate believers….those who heard the truth and do nothing with it. Because in all reality they never belonged to Christ in the first place. In 1 John 2:18-22 we read “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” These are the ones who have forsaken the church and speak evil things about her by trying to tarnish the bride to their neighbor or their community….whether it’s at the pulpit or the ones who seat in the pews. Jesus said we are to be aware of such people!

In Matt 7:15 Jesus said "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” We need understand Satan's children are in the church today that's why we need to discerning to all things under the authority of the Vine. That’s why you will know them by their fruit. Trying to staple good apples to a rotten tree. Because these types of people are here….in our TV sets, on the internet and so on and we the church at times can be easily swayed or persuaded to believe their lies or join their cause or jump on their band-wagon. As Jude said “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 4. This is the warning Jesus is conveying to us! A self-examination and understanding are we really living under His life line or ours. 

See the question isn't do you have Jesus? The question we need to ask is this! Does Jesus have a hold of me? This reminds me of "Alan Redpath who had two daughters who loved to swarm him when he came home at night.  “As he came in the door one evening, his little girls ran to meet him. One grabbed his leg and hugged him with all her might. He snatched the other daughter up in his arms. The one squeezing his leg said, "Now, I've got all of Daddy." The daughter in his arms replied, "Yes, but Daddy has got all of me!" Perhaps the question we need to continually ask is, "Does God have all of me?" Because if Christ doesn’t have a hold of us, then we’re in the danger zone waiting to be burned up in the fire! See “Consuming Fire” represents Judgement from a Perfect and Sovereign God. Just as Paul reminded the church in 2Thes 1:8 “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Understand, if God does see Christ in you…then you’re not His

If your…..
  • Walk
  • Talk                                                                                                                                     
  • Action and Behavior.
  • Life……doesn’t demonstrate the transforming work of Christ; according to this portion of scripture that person is cast into the fire. For living in their pagan and self-serving lifestyle and ignoring the truth of the gospel.

And according to Matt 13:40-42 “This is Jesus speaking in the parable of the Tares. "Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The tares according to this parable are the false believers the false prophets that will be separated from the wheat, the genuine believers in Christ Jesus. But there is still hope, because Christ say's if you abide in Him (v11) "My joy may remain in you.." that means believer, you and me in the Lord Jesus Christ). True love for God wants to obey the LORD and His Commandments. We are to follow the greatest example and Do as He did. Christ chose you out of darkness! We should be walking according to His commands with joy and a deep desire to please Him.

How will I know I'm His? By abiding and bearing fruit (v5) (v8) All genuine believers will bear fruit…. Some more evident than others, if you are a born again believer, but you will bear fruit of Christ righteousness. What is the outcome to someone who doesn't have a changed heart like Judas? (v6) Don't play church because God knows and sees the heart. He knew who would betray Him then, and He knows who is betraying Him today. What is the promise to those who truly abide and are His? The answer is found in (v11) Jesus says "your Joy may be full” but the only way to experience that joy is to abide in the Father, through the Son, kept by the Holy Spirit as we continually abide in His Love. Why? Because He loves you and me. As John MacArthur says "You abide by recognizing you're a branch and by keeping your position in the vine. If you want to get as close to Christ as you can, that will involve stripping out the things of the world; putting aside all sin, which distracts and saps your energy; and putting aside the kind of self-effort that operates independently of the Spirit. All those things will rob you of a deep, personal, loving relationship with Jesus. Get into the Word of God and you'll be an abiding branch. Here is the challenge for everyone of us! Are you abiding in Him? Are you sealed in His everlasting Love? Are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit? Are you being obedient and bring Him praises and glory? Do you genuinely love Him and treasure Him above everything? Only you can answer these questions and only God truly knows your heart. But as Kent Hughes said “with each trimming, may there be more of Christ in us, for God’s glory and the blessing of others!”

29 August 2014

THE PERSONHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST


THE PERSONHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST

12 BIBLICAL TRUTHS ABOUT JESUS IN HIS INCARNATE STATE (HUMAN FORM)


      1. HIS BIRTH (Luke 2:11) “for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”

      2. HE WAS FLESH AND BLOOD (John 1:14) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”

      3. HE WEPT (Luke 19:41) “now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it”. (John 11:35) “Jesus wept”

      4. HE NEEDED REST (Matt 8:24) “and suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep”

      5. HE ENDURED SHAMEFUL THINGS (Matt 26:67) “then they spat in His face and beat Him; and struck Him with the palms of their hands

      6. HE FELT ANXIETY (Luke 22:44) “being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”

      7. HE HUNGERED (Matt 4:2) “and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry”

      8. HE WAS SCOURGED (Matt 27:26) “then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified”....................P.J. Forsyth says “The blood of Christ stands not simply for the sting of sin on God but the scourge of God on sin, not simply for God's sorrow over sin, but for God's wrath on sin."(John 6:38)  “For I have come down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”

      9. HE FACED A REAL DEATH (John 19:34) “so when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “it is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit”

      10. HE HAD A REAL BURIAL (Matt 27:59-60) “And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away”.

11. HE ROSE LITERALLY FROM THE GRAVE (Luke 24:5-7)And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." 

12HE IS THE ONLY WAY A PERSON WILL EVER BE SAVED (Act 4:17) “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." ...................Augustine said "The Jews looked upon a serpent to be freed from serpents; and we look upon the death of Christ to be delivered from death." Jesus suffered not only external abuse, but also internal grief over the lack of response from those who He came to save! Jesus suffered not for His own sin, since He was sinless. Jesus bore the eternal wrath that each and every one of us deserves. Jesus provided complete satisfaction meaning once and for all for the sin issue, which means the Father is completely satisfied by pouring His wrath out on to the Son (Jesus the God man).

As David Platt said..."We desperately need Him!"


PREPARE HIM ROOM

26 August 2014

Pastor Mike's ICE BUCK CHALLENGE





I accept the challenge Tammy Solberg......NOW I challenge Trevor Peck, Conrad Anderson and my American buddy Scott Dickens. LETS GO BOYS! Nice and cold though ;) My donations are going to: www.nationalmssociety.org we have a couple of good friends that suffer with MS and so we want to help! God bless and to God be the glory.


24 August 2014

OUTSIDE THE CAMP


Heb 13:10-16

With all the current events these past few weeks it’s not hard to become discouraged, scared and even a little angry with the present world system of things. Especially with the latest news in Iraq and the devastation that is still going on over there. With the militant group ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] slaughtering moderate Muslims and Christians, especially in these past few weeks, has caused my heart to be stirred through prayer for these poor people. Jay Sekulow of ACLJ [American Center For law And Justice] Chief Counsel said this week “As ISIS still controls vast areas, and they are stepping up their killings – murdering Christians every single day. Our allies are still outgunned.” ACLJ says “It is believed that over 400,000 Christians have been displaced from their homes.  ISIS militants gave them an ultimatum: leave or face “death by the sword.” The international Christian ministry “Open Doors” has called it the “worst genocide since Rwanda.” I’ve had preacher friends send me information and videos of some of those tragic events and some of them I couldn’t bear to watch the slaughter and the evil that has overcome man to do such a terrible act. I can’t and I won’t even describe to you what I saw these past weeks, but it has caused a stir in my heart for our brothers and sisters and lost souls on a way to a Christ-less eternity.

For the past few weeks I’ve been following this tragedy in Iraq and its really hit home and got me thinking about the persecuted church and the Christian life. I know I’ve mentioned persecution quite a bit in the past, but I think this is something that we can’t and shouldn't ignore, for the sake of our North American comfort. These are trying times and call for all Christians, young and old, to stand together with our brother and sisters around the globe who face things that we can only imagine this side of the globe. We need to start examining our friendship with this world [meaning the world system]. Again this is not our home and we need to realize that and embrace that now; more than ever in our present anti-God ….anti-prayer and anti-Christian society. And these past few weeks have reminded me what the Hebrew writer said to the believers from the early church. Jesus has commanded us and He has commissioned us as well, to go into this fallen world and proclaim the good news of the gospel. Sometimes we ignore that command with our self-righteous desires and so-called religion. But as David Platt said “are we going to die in our religion or are we going to die in our devotion?” This is an important question to ask ourselves this morning! Especially in light of what happening around the globe and even in our own country. I ask myself this question this past week! Have we [I] retreated or have we [I] pressed forward for the gospel and the glory of God? Better yet! Are we standing on the front line as David did when he faced Goliath or have we retreated into the mountains as the nation did when the Palestinian giants came for battle? Please turn with me to the book of Hebrews. The last chapter where we read these challenging words in Heb 13:10-16 “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” What a powerful portion of scripture that really speaks and clarifies the truth that the church of North America really needs to hear this morning. There are two commands that I want us to look at this morning…commands that I think get overlooked as we continue a pilgrimage home.

FIRST COMMAND IS FOUND IN……….

(v13) “…let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach..” Why by what we read in (v12) Jesus demonstrated to us the single greatest thing for all of humanity by dying on the cross, not on the altar of sacrifice but by going outside the camp to show His merciful love to sinners. See, the Old Covenant understanding of the sacrifice for the Day of Atonement was contrasted to the better one found in the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the Levites were never allowed to eat the sin offering. The bodies of the animals used for this sacrifice were to be taken outside the camp and burned. The truth for us is that we as the Lord was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem, so we are to be spiritually outside the walls of sinning people.
  • Refraining from doing the things of this world.
  • Walking a different walk to the culture.
  • Behaving and showing hospitality and kindness to all people.
  • Sharing [speaking the good news] and demonstrating the gospel in our lives to those around us.   

Now! This doesn’t mean……... we go looking for trouble…by hopping on a plane to the Gaza Strip or walk into a Hindu temple in India and scream out heresy. This also doesn’t mean we be monastic and keep our religion to ourselves in closed buildings and private homes or that were “Holier than Thou people”. We are in this world, but we must not be of this world. Think about it! What happened after the nation built a “golden calf”? What did Moses do? According to Exodus 33:7 it says “Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.” Why? Because Israel at the time was mostly siding with the world and began to truly reject God. Remember what Paul wrote to Timothy “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Tim 2:4. The practical truth to this command is that we as New Testament believers must be willing to go out from the world system and face, bear the rejection from men as Christ did. The mandate is that we as a body of believers are to do as Jesus did, because this present world system doesn’t recognize or joyfully embrace the truth that has been granted to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul said “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim 3:12. As John MacArthur said “the reason why more Christians are not persecuted is simply because so few are truly. Godly, truly living outside the camp……and it’s easy to be distinguished in the eyes of the world if we compromise godly living.” See to go outside the camp might mean you become…..Ostracized by friends, family and co-workers. An alien to own country, who might turn on you, by labeling you a trader. To associate with Christ is to reject this world system, and to love this world is to reject Christ and the finished work found in the gospel. To go outside is to go to the dirty places. The despised places where blasphemous, haters of God, go to die outside the camp. In Leviticus 13:45-46 says “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, 'Unclean! Unclean!' He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Jesus went to the dirty places for you and me! To die on a cursed tree, a death only reserved for the vilest of criminals. The sinless spotless Lamb of God died for you and me outside the walls of  Jerusalem because the religious despised Him and hated Him. See, Jesus is calling all of us to go to those hard places with the precious gospel. Do you realize there are over a billion people who still haven’t heard the good news of the gospel? And what’s amazing, even though that statistic is large! Jesus is and always has been at work in the dirty places. I remember when I did jail ministry [which I miss by the way] ministering to men and women who were drunkards, thieves, drug addicts and the occasional murderer…..telling them of the  grace that is given for sinners if they repent and put their trust in Him alone. The blessings that came to those who went outside the camp to minister to so-called lepers of our day. Society would classify them as “outcasts” or “the scum of the earth” But remember Christ came to save sinners…..even sinners who kill and behead Christians….even you who was once an outcast, outside His grace. This was made possible only because He went outside the camp to demonstrate His love to the world. By that demonstration of love, the disciples and the early church turned the world upside down.

See in the early church to trust in Christ cost them everything……all because they went outside the camp. They were willing to die in their devotion over their religion. Why? Their hearts are fixed on Christ and His returning in all His glory. We are to go outside the camp and seek the city that is to come and stop loving the one that is going to self-destruct. (v14). A City that is not built by men, but by God and His promise of a new Heaven and a New Earth. As 2 Peter 3:10-14 says “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;” As we look forward to this city! But there is something else outside the camp God has commanded us to do? TO PRAISE HIS SOVEREIGN NAME.

SECOND COMMAND IS FOUND IN ………

(v15) “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” While we walk with Christ outside the camp, we seek the city that is not yet come. We are in the meantime to offer up our praise to Him and goodness as we walk this narrow, bumpy road. See sacrifice was very important to the Jews….because it was God’s provision for cleansing of sin under the Old Covenant. But by Christ offering Himself, we have an everlasting sacrifice that covers all our sin. And through that we should praise His name continually for the greatest sacrifice ever offered to God on behalf of sinful man. This sacrifice should cause us daily to sing praises to His name. As the Psalmist sang “Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150:1-6. By praising Him we are to offer this continually with is our reasonable service to Him. This is not to be some fair-weathered offering, but an offering of thanksgiving for every circumstance that He allows into our lives. Not only are we to praise from our lips and heart we are to do good to one another, sharing the blessing that has been given to us. See worship involves action that honors God for His goodness by demonstrating that towards those outside the camp. Isaiah said it best “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isa 58:6-7. Praising God with our lips and demonstrating that to a world that hasn’t tasted His grace are inseparable. They go hand in hand. See the only acceptable sacrifice we can offer with our hands is to God to one another, share with one another, minister to one another, to love one another with the truth that has been revealed tom our hearts. As John penned “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

I came across an old story that happened in the 80’s about the Beirut Bombing! It is said to be one of the most “tragic events during the Reagan Presidency.” It happened on a Sunday morning when terrorist bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded as they slept. The article when on to say “Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble. A few days after the tragedy, I recall coming across an extraordinary story. Marine Corps Commandant Paul Kelly, visited some of the wounded survivors then in a Frankfurt, Germany, hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived. As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On the slip of paper were but two words—“Semper Fi” the Latin motto of the Marines meaning “forever faithful.” With those two simple words Nashton spoke for the millions of soldiers American and Canadians who have sacrificed body and limb and their lives for their country……….those who have remained faithful. Can that be said of each and everyone us here this morning? Listen to the words of the late great J.C. Ryle who wrote "If we desire to do good, let us never be ashamed of walking in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Press others to consider their ways. Compel them with holy violence to come in, to lay down their arms and to yield themselves to God……..Entreat men to repent and come to Christ — but bid them at the same time to count the cost!" Have we counted the cost? Have we gone outside the camp to be where Christ was and is? We know how to praise God really good on Sunday, but is that all He asks of us? No…..Not just that! He has called us to go and praise His name among the world because the home we’re waiting for is not here yet. As the Hebrew writer said “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” The one that He is preparing and sanctifying by the finished work He did outside the camp for sinners like us. Some of you may be wondering what the symbol means behind me this morning? This is the Arabic letter "N" this is the first letter of the word "Nasrani," or "Nazarene," which is used to describe Christians because they follow Jesus of Nazareth. But, this is also what ISIS is putting on the houses of Christians to mark for their death. Have we retreated? Or are we willing to stand on the front lines with our brothers and sisters around the globe? Because as one missionary said “the motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be “Devoted for life.” Jesus is calling us to go outside the camp to the dirty places and claim our true identity…..which is found in the merciful and gracious Savior. So! Let’s go outside the camp with Jesus for the glory of God to prepare the way for the His Kingdom of God.

13 August 2014

GENUINE CHRISTIAN JOY


6 INGREDIENTS TO HAVING SPIRITUAL JOY...............


1. JOY IS A GIFT THAT COMES WITH A BLESSING FROM GOD.

Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."


2. GOD GRANTS OR PROMISES JOY TO THOSE WHO GENUINELY BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."


3. JOY IS PRODUCED THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."


4. JOY IS EXPERIENCED MOST FULLY AS BELIEVERS WHEN WE RECEIVE AND OBEY GOD'S WORD.

Jeremiah 15:16 "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts."


5. JOY IS DEEPENED THROUGH TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS.

1 Thess 1:6 "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit," Because as Paul reminded the church, suffering was a gift from God for our good and His glory "  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake," Phil 1:29


6. BELIEVER'S JOY IS MADE COMPLETE WHEN THEY SET THEIR HOPE ON THE GLORY OF HEAVEN.

Romans 12:12 'Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

This is good news for the strong or the the struggling Christian! See biblical joy drives a believer to recognize or embrace joy with a…..Thankful heart......Prayerful heart....Desiring heart......Joyful heart! Andrew Murray says "Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays." And when your heart is joyful, your confidence grows in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and your fellowship with one another. That's a blessing and a gift from God.

SO ASK YOURSELF?

1. Is your heart full of the Lord?
2. Are you completely satisfied in Him alone?
3. Does He bring you reason to rejoice today?

Never forget as Jesus reminded His children in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 

By Mike Andrews

09 August 2014

HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE LOVE CHRIST?



How do we know if we love Christ? This is a really good question to ask ourselves. So let's exam our heart in light of scripture and the gospel that saves to the uttermost parts.

How Do We Know If We Love Christ? 
By J C Ryle

1.If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

2.If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

3.If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

4.If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

5.If we love a person, we like his friends. We are favorably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

6.If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor. We do not like to hear him spoken against, without speaking up for him and defending him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

7.If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!


8.Finally, if we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking and hearing and reading and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

04 August 2014

AVOIDING A HARDENED CONSCIENCE




Avoiding a Hardened Conscience By R C Sproul

We are warned not to allow ourselves to become hardened, because if we look at the whole concept of hardening in its biblical perspective, we see that something happens to us through repeated sins. Our consciences become seared. The more we commit a particular sin, the less remorse we feel from it. Our hearts are recalcitrant through repeated disobedience.
When God hardens the heart, all He does is step away and stop striving with us. For example, the first time I commit a particular sin, my conscience bothers me. In His grace, God is convicting me of that evil. God is intruding into my life, trying to persuade me to stop this wickedness. If He wants to harden me, all He has to do is to stop rebuking me, stop nudging me, and just give me enough rope to hang myself.
We see in Scripture that when God hardens hearts, He does not force people to sin; rather, He gives them their freedom to exercise the evil of their own desires (James 1:13-15).

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God
Pray this prayer with the psalmist David: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23-24).

For Further Study

James 1:13-15: "Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."

27 July 2014

HELP IS ON THE WAY


John 14:12-31

Nothing makes the heart feel better knowing that help is on the way! I can recall numerous times of needing help and the peace it brings to knowing help was on the way. The time when my alternator died on the way home from the drive in. The time when I got stuck in the mud at Brighton Speedway. The time when I saw the Roadrunners Tow truck pulling in behind a broken down van when we started out on our vacation. There is a sense of peace and joy that overtakes your heart when help comes. The sound of sirens as they approach your burning house, a distressing call, health reasons. There is a certain peace that takes over when you’re troubled at heart. Go back a few years when 33 miners were trapped in a Chilean mine deep under the earth’s surface. Can you imagine what they went through? I wonder if they felt totally lost and doomed to a slow and painful death. Now fast forward when help finally received the word that help was on the way. Imagine how they must have been filled with joy when they got a message from above that the rescue team knew exactly where they were and that the process of getting them out had already begun! There are times in all of our lives when we feel like we’re stuck in a really bad place. Anxious and alone, we despair that we are out of options and that no one understands where we really are in life. But in such moments we need to remember God’s promises and His comforting words, just like the disciples here in the upper room with Jesus! These men are so troubled and felt alone like the miners did before help came…..even though the Lord Jesus was with them. The Lord comforts them we yet another truth…….a truth that should seal the deal on all doubt and fear. What were His words of comfort? HELP WAS ON THE WAY! Our greatest hope here below is help from God above. This is so true in our lives and in the lives of these 11 men.

I think one of the most encouraging things Jesus said to the disciples is that “I will not leave you orphans” (v18) “orphans”, “comfortless” or better yet “fatherless” WOW! This powerful stuff here! Jesus promises when he says “I will never leave you fatherless and abandoned like so many people today”. Especially today with the breakdown of the husband and wife and the family unit. He says that he would show them the kindness of a parent, and, though he was going away, he would provide for their future safety. How? He does this by promising of sending us a helper, a guide, a teacher to show us the way home where there is a room for you and me. That place called Heaven that Jesus spoke of in the opening remarks of chapter fourteen for those who truly follow Him. And He says “I will come again” (v18b) Here is the stamp, the icing on the cake to that promise that He will never leave us orphaned. Never to leave us crying and feeling alone when they walk out of our lives, to never to return. Why? He’s Jesus, and He is the example every father should live and govern their lives by. Jesus promises that will never happen no matter what! HE PROMISES. That’s why we find comfort when the Hebrew writer penned these words “….For He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU." So we may boldly say: "THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT FEAR. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?" Heb 13:5-6

So who is this Helper? John’s gospel is the only one who identifies the Spirit this way! This word is better translated “Comforter”, “advocate,” or as we see here in the text “Helper”What is Jesus trying to say to His weary disciples? John Gill said “the Spirit, who performs this his work and office, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to his people; by shedding abroad the love of the Father, and of the Son, into their hearts; by opening and applying the precious promises of the Gospel to them; by being a spirit of adoption in them; and by abiding with them as the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; and with this view Christ promises to pray for him," The Spirit is promised as one who would supply Christ’s own place in His absence. That’s why Jesus continues to comfort the disciples in John 16:6-14 “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Spirit of truth will teach them and us all the necessary truth pertaining to life and godliness. And how will this Helper comfort my troubled heart?

THIS HELPER COMES ALONG SIDE US TO COMFORT US AND STRENGTHEN OUR SOULS FOR HEAVEN. (V15-V18)

Having the Helper is the same as having Jesus physically, accessible but only better. Again remember Jesus said he is going and we can’t follow right now, but you will in time. So access to Jesus personally is impossible though our earthly life, but the Helper the Holy Spirit resides with us to comfort us until that glorious day when we stand before Christ physically. The Holy Spirit is not some force or essence that comes over us. It is the Third PERSON of the Trinity. Who comes along side us as father does his child when he’s teaching to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. Walking or running alongside your son or daughter, with one hand on the seat giving instructions “relax, keep your wheel straight and steady.” And when they fall or crash [and they will] you’re there to pick them up and to encourage them to try again and never give up [to persevere]Isn’t this the Christian life? Every one of us started out with training wheels, some still need them to grow; because some need more comfort and encouragement to continue. But the wonderful blessing in all of this is that the Spirit doesn’t sit back and wait for an opportunity. He is always there through the good and bad times of your journey home. He was there in the beginning and He will help you through to the end of your Christian life. As Paul wrote when he was discouraged and had been disheartened “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,” 2 Cor 7:5-6

THIS HELPER DWELLS WITHIN OUR HEARTS AND BRINGS THINGS TO REMEMBERANCE. (V19-V26)

In (v23) we read "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Doesn’t this sound familiar to the opening statement Jesus made? “I go to prepare a place for you” (v2) See “place” in (v2) and “home” in (v23) is the same Greek word “mon-ay” which means: dwelling place, abode, room. Jesus is preparing a dwelling place for us, but He is also dwells within us. One of the most encouraging aspects to the Christian life is to know that the Holy Spirit not only comes along side us, but that He dwells within us. Sadly though! One of the most troubling thoughts many feel today is that they’re all alone; there is nobody to help them in their time of struggle, temptation and so on. And that’s true for many people around the globe today who are defence and hostile to the things of God. Usually when a person feels they are all alone “self-pity” comes to visit and they usually end up saying “nobody cares about me”. Again these are common feelings but unnecessary for the genuine child of God. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Rom 8:10-11. The Holy Spirit teaches us and prepares us for ministry and our eternal inheritance. He brings to our lives that need to be changed for our good and God’s glory. He brings that inward feelings of conviction, repentance, faith , hope, fear, and love, which will always produce an outward display of an inward changed life. Without the Spirit we are hopeless, restless and lost without a home in Heaven.

THE HELPER GIVES US THE ABILITY TO DO GREAT THINGS FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (V12-V13)

There is a true story of a submarine mate in World War II who had an acute appendicitis and the nearest surgeon was thousands of miles away. The Pharmacist mate watched the solders temperature rise to 106 degrees. The man’s only hope was an operation! So the Pharmacist said “I've watched doctors do this, I think I can it”. The man who was in pain consented and so they prepared for surgery. The cook boiled water in pots to sterilize the instruments. A tea strainer served as an antiseptic cone. A broken handled scalpel was the operating instrument. Alcohol was drained from the torpedo was the antiseptic. Bent table spoons served to keep the muscles open. After cutting through layers of muscle, it took him 20 minutes to find the appendix. Two and half hours later, the last stitch was sewed just as the last drop of ether gave out. Thirteen days later the man whose life hanged in the balance was saved and he returned to duty fully recovered. That’s amazing! An untrained man under the most extreme conditions performed a miracle that saved this man’s life. Jesus said “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (v12)

There is much we can learn from this experience because the Spirit dwells in us and He gives us the wisdom and abilities to perform great things for the Kingdom. Through the Spirit we are able to do the same as Jesus. Jesus brought life and through His life giving message in the gospel. We are able to see God’s mighty power as it transforms millions of lives though our transformed lives and the proclamation of the gospel message. See, our ministry that we’ve been given is greater than Jesus Christ, even though His is the conductor and orchestrator and source of all things. He was here for a short period to display the love of the Godhead but He is gone and will not return until an appointed time. We have been given the responsibility and joy to tell others and see people come to Christ for His glory and His name sake. God through the Spirit uses simple, untrained people to impossible things for His glory and His Kingdom. Look at the life of a fisherman…..Peter, when the religious leaders were dumbfounded by Peter’s wisdom. Act 4:8-13 we read “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED BY YOU BUILDERS, WHICH HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

THE HELPER IS THERE TO SETTLE A TROUBLED HEART. (V27-V31)

A peace that world desperately needs, but unable to attain apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit indwelling. A person will never find genuine peace in this life or the next apart from the saving work found in the gospel. See this peace that Jesus gives us is not purchased at the store, or in today’s best-selling books, not even your neighbor or closet friend. It comes through Jesus Christ and the always present Helper in our lives. That’s why Jesus says “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (v17) As John Gill said “the men of the world, who are as they came into the world, carnal and natural men, can neither receive the Spirit nor the things of the Spirit, the truths and doctrines of the Gospel; they can neither receive them into their understandings, nor into their affections; and indeed, because they cannot understand them, therefore they do not love them, but despise and hate them.” That’s why Paul wrote “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14. Remember we need Him and His help to see genuine peace! As Francis Chan said “Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?”

These are the promises that Jesus told His disciples and these are the same promises that have been made available through the finish work on the cross. The Holy Spirit is given to the church of all God’s called out ones [the Elect] to abide with us until Christ calls us home. And what’s beautiful about this is He will never let go of your heart! That’s a peace that supersedes everything else in this troubled life. Eph 1:13-14 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Again let not your heart be troubled my weary untrained disciples! HELP IS ON THE WAY!
Church family! HELP IS HERE and He’s going nowhere, He is here to come alongside, dwell within us, help us to great things for the Kingdom and give us a peace in the midst of our troubles and circumstances of life. Let not your heart be troubled! I’m with you always…..so comfort one another with these truths and live your life for the glory of His name. Remember “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” And that’s only possible, that’s only made available through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.