20 July 2014

SIGHT REQUIRES CHRIST


John 14:7-11

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s absolutely amazing sometimes that we can be so familiar with something or someone and yet somehow be ignorant or insensitive to things and people around us. It seems so contradictory to know, and yet not to know, at the same time. How often have we heard the statement, “I thought I knew everything there was to know about that person? But I've discovered I really didn't know them at all.” That statement simply reveals that it is possible to know a person, and yet not really notice all of the complex qualities of their personality; just as so many people do when you think of Jesus Christ. Maybe you struggle with who Jesus is? Maybe, you've said this statement “I thought I knew everything there was to know about that person? But I’ve discovered I really didn’t know them at all.” Maybe you felt that way? I thought I knew him, but I really didn’t. Maybe we’re not so different to Phillip and the gang when he spoke out to Jesus. I want you think about this statement and see if this is you at times. The statement is found in Phillip’s comment to what Jesus has already said in (v8) Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Maybe you’re the type of person that needs to see more in order to believe? Maybe you’re the type of person who waits for signs and wonders to make you believe? I think Odd Thomas said it best when it comes to this type of thinking in Humble Beast's song 
"Signs & Symbols" 
http://www.humblebeast.com

Odd Thomas said.......Sometimes what we believe to be true
from our supernatural pursuits
Is actually a fluke,
a series of events used to distract you from truth
But I'll give you a sign thats obvious
One of the most supernatural acts
is that God through his word
Has actually revealed everything pertaining to life and godliness
There's this idea that an individual
is somehow more spiritual
If he see these so signs and symbols
And takes what's normally invisible and make it simple.
But I say the mark of a mature man
Is the one who reads Gods word and understands
And allows that, to govern his decisions and perspective plans.

These men have been with Christ for 3 years, and to their defence they were men who’s knowledge was small and limited at best! They knew very little before the crucifixion and resurrection compared to what they knew after the day of Pentecost. Look at how Jesus responds to this group of men, who J.C Ryle described as “children in understanding” Children, as described when Paul penned these words “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Cor 13:11-12. So Jesus responds as always with a loving, comforting tone to His child like disciples. Look what Jesus says (v9-v11) Have I been with you this long and you still need more proof to who I claim to be Phillip? (v9). Have you forgotten already the supernatural work that I have done since I’ve been with you? For instance:
  • I turned water into wine at the wedding you attended with me Phillip.
  • Have you forgotten that I knew where you friend Nathanael’s secret alone place was when I called him?
  • I calmed the storm with a command while we were in the boat together.
  • I feed you and thousands of others with only a small portion fit for one boy.
  • I casted out demons that knew who I was.
  • I walked on water to you and the rest of the disciples.
  • I gave sight to the blind, even from birth, and made the lame to walk again.
  • I healed people by my touch, without my touch and from a distance, remember the nobleman’s son?

See, this must have grieved the heart of Godto know that His disciples hearts were still unsettled about what was going to happen and to who Jesus claimed to be GOD incarnate. Jesus poured His life into these men, day in and day out. These men had the privilege to walk, witness, fellowship with the God who created them for His glory! These men walk with the “image of the invisible God”. The same God who walked with Adam and Eve in the coolness of the day before sin came. The same God who provided a sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac. The same God who wrestled with Jacob the night his name was changed to Israel. The same God who was born of a virgin to save us from our destruction. Jesus in His incarnate form displayed for us the truth that Paul penned to the church. Col 1:12-16 “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

The same truth the Hebrew writer was trying to proclaim in the early part of his letter. Heb 1:1-3 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” the disciples didn’t fully understand or could possibly comprehend this truth until later when the Holy Spirit came into their lives.

See Phillip didn’t ask this question as if this is the first time meeting Jesus. This is the final hours the disciples will be with Jesus, before His arrest and death on a cross. But we need to understand! The question or statement that Phillip asked or demanded is no different than many of us today in our society ask….even people in the church! we just ask or demand in a different way……….
  • Where is your God, reveal Him to us?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • God wouldn’t let this happen in my life?
  • How could a God like that allow so much death and destruction?
  • How could you follow a God you haven’t seen?

See the logical answer to Phillip’s question is…….. To see God physically is to look upon person of Christ. But like Phillip and the rest of the disciples they didn’t get it! They were very much like their ancient generations of old. They too didn’t get it, or the big picture. St. Augustine put this beautifully when he pointed out that the eyes of faith were still being formed in the disciples and they were at this point unable really to see at all.  He said “Why wasn’t he seen? Because the eye he could be seen with was not yet whole. As for the Lord’s body, which could be seen with these eyes, it was not only the one who revered him who saw him but also the Jews who crucified him. So if he wanted to be seen in another way, it means he was requiring other eyes.” In other words, the physical eyes of man could look upon Jesus and either love and worship Him or hate and crucify Him.

We see this today. Some people look at Jesus and love Him. Some people look at Jesus and hate Him. Do you realize it’s possible to look at Jesus, but not really see who He is? But to eyes of faith, however, Jesus reveals more than what the physical eyes see. To eyes of faith, Jesus reveals nothing less than God the Father. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Again Jesus is giving His disciples another gentle answer to encourage the troubled heart of Phillip and the rest of the disciples. See we need to understand when Jesus answers with “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” What Jesus is saying is that He makes things known, He uncovers, and He unveils. Jesus is revelation. Jesus shows us God.
  • To see Jesus is to see the Father.
  • To see Jesus heal is to know that God is a healing God.
  • To see Jesus forgive is to know that God is a forgiving God.
  • To see Jesus reach out to the outcast is to know that God is the God who loves outcasts.
  • To see Jesus tell His disciples to forgive and forgive again, is to know that God’s mercies are ever new.
  • To see Jesus weep is to know that God cares.
  • To see Jesus die…is to know that God will do whatever it takes to save lost humanity.
  • To see Jesus rise again is to know that God wins! 
What is Jesus telling His disciples and us church family? The simple answer is! Do you want to know what God is like? Then look at Jesus and know! But Mike, we, weren’t there to see Jesus………OK, then read His word, this is how God has revealed Himself to us today through the Holy Spirit! Jesus even mentions us, not by name, but how we will receive Him and His precious truth. How we will genuinely know Him and trust Him like the disciples. Do you recall or remember what Jesus Said to Thomas when he sinned; because he told himself, there was no way Christ rose from the grave unless he saw with his own eyes. In John’s gospel we read “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31

Isn’t that amazing and humbling all at the same time as New Testament Christians? Doesn’t that just change your perspective and outlook on who Jesus, truly is. God who came in the form of man to save man from himself. How do we know that’s true? The proof is found in your transformed life who loves and believes Jesus even though you never saw Him physically. The question is………Do you believe this to be true? Is it possible that Jesus is asking you the same question he spoke to Phillip, this morning? 

“have I been with you for so many years[add your name] and you still struggle to know Me?”
Have you forgotten that…….
  • I was there when you were conceived.
  • I was there when you gave your first breath.
  • I was there when you feel off your bike and scrapped your knee.
  • I was there when you cried out to Me in genuine repentance and faith.
  • I was there when nobody else was.
  • I was there when you fell in love with the one I chose for you.
  • I was there when you lost someone close to you.
  • I was there when you fell into sin.
  • I was there to pick you up and restore you.
  • I was there and will always be God.

Do you believe this even though you never saw Him or touched Him? Do you believe even though you never saw the burning bush? Do you believe even though you never saw the glow of Moses face when he ascended Mount Sinai? Do you believe even though you never saw the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night? Do you believe even though you never saw Him hang on the cross? Do you believe even though you didn’t see the empty tomb for yourself? Do you believe even though you can’t see Heaven from where you are? Do you believe? See we don't need to see something supernatural in order for us to put our faith in trust in Jesus Christ! See, every one of us live a Ruth story! What do I mean by that? Our lives are very much like Ruth, plain, boring that has no special or supernatural event to make people follow by faith. Just like the story of Ruth we see our lives as......A typical life with no excitement or seeing any supernatural moments. A life of tragedy and sorrow. A life of hard work and not knowing what lies ahead. A life of daily struggles and fighting the flesh. A life that each and every one of face….day in and day out. The one thing we all have in common with Ruth and everyone else in the bible is that Jesus is Lord and He will always be with us, just as He was with Moses, Elijah, David, Hosea, the disciples and the church! And if that’s not enough! As Jesus said in (v11) “believe …..for the sake of the works themselves.” What is that work? What I’ve [meaning Jesus] has accomplished in His earthly ministry and most of all! Your transformed life……..you are not who you used to be. That's a MIRACLE! We are God's representatives to a lost and broken world who desperately need Jesus Christ; which is the amazing and unbelievable supernatural work found in Christ and the gospel.




16 July 2014

THE STORY OF GOD





THE GREATEST STORY THAT WAS EVER TOLD! THE ONLY STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD...........THE GOSPEL SAVES! SDG

13 July 2014

THE SOLUTION TO A TROUBLED HEART


John 14:1-6

Everywhere you look we see people with troubled hearts! A troubled heart occurs when it comes to….
  • Loss of job
  • Health issues
  • Death
  • Lack of money
  • Bills
  • Divorce
  • With rising crime rate, rising costs of living
  • The major problems happening in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas.
  • The intolerant Homosexual movement.
  • The major rise of porn exposure at such young ages.
  • Stealing and Pirating music and movies
  • Political corruption.
  • The killing of innocent life in the womb.
  • The massive breakdown of the family unit.
  • Fighting amongst genuine Christians.
  • Complacency and apathy in the church today
  • And the list is endless to a troubled heart in any generation.

In the book of Job we read "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1. See, being born in sin; sin and trouble go together, where there is sin there is trouble; sin entered into the world and there is only one cure for the troubled heart! J C Ryle said “that disease is trouble of heart, That remedy is faith.” Heart trouble is common everywhere around the globe in our generation. Kent Hughes calls it the “The Cardiac age”. The heart is a wonderful creation. It beat an average of 75 beats a minute, 40 millions times a year, 21/2 billions time for a person of 70. It pumps enough blood (650,000 gallon a year) to fill more than 82 tank cars with 8,000 gallons each. Many of us in this sanctuary have troubled hearts today! The question is what are you doing about it? Better yet, who are you turning to? It’s no wonder we have so many health problems in our culture today. Studies show according to Harvard Health Publication wrote “Anxiety has now been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.” A troubled heart can at times play a factor in our heath! When we constantly worry about everything we sometimes cause ourselves to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. We sometimes make up worry in our thoughts and even have the tendency to borrow worry. But Jesus said “"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matt 6:25-34. 

Look what Jesus says to His disciples here in John’s gospel. (v1) He says “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” “Troubled” means: “uncertain affinity; to stir or agitate” The effects of all that Jesus had told them must have shocked them, and by John 14 they were undoubtedly confused, baffled and filled with anxiety. They have been told there is one who is a betrayer among them. He has already said He is going to be handed over to the Romans and die a sinner’s death. He has confronted Peter with the truth that he is going to deny Him. And to top it off! Jesus says He’s leaving them in a while and they can’t follow Him until later on. This was a troubled room filled with men of anxiety who left everything to follow Jesus. As our Lord looked at these men, He knew what was going on in their minds and hearts, He knew how disturbed and upset they were, and knew what was causing it. He also knew the remedy for it, as well. (v1-v6)

First thing Jesus says is "Let not." This means that the disciples could nothing to solve their problem. There is truly only one remedy for a troubled and sinful heart! The Lord Jesus and the promise He brings. This passage is one the most comforting passages in all of scripture! It has said that F.B. Myers of England had a Bible that had been passed through many generations. He said, many of the pages were clean just like the day it came from the printing press. But the pages of John 14 worn, spotted with tears of the people who had read it and found the comfort of God. That is so true! We can find great comfort throughout the scriptures, but we find great comfort here in this passage of John’s letter!

This is why Jesus says what He says. Don’t let this world and the coming days worry or trouble you! You trust in God, trust in Me, as well and the promises I bring.
See the problem is our sin nature of disbelief! We tend to think of the worst; we tend to get ourselves worked up when we’re faced with challenges, disappointments and confrontations. We tend to shut down and curl up in the fetal position waiting for things to pass. We tend to explode in the midst of trouble like a child does when they don’t get what they want. In reality its sin! John MacArthur said “The Worrier Strikes Out at God, The Worrier Disbelieves Scripture, The Worrier Is Mastered by Circumstances, The Worrier Distrusts God, Worry Is Unwise Because of Our Future”……He went on to say “Worrying paralyzes you, making you too upset to accomplish anything productive. It will seek to do that to you by taking you mentally into tomorrow until you find something to worry about. Refuse to go along for the ride. The Lord says you have enough to deal with today. Apply today's resources to today's needs or you will lose today's joy.”

The Psalmist wrote “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:6-8 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” In other words, our worry leads us astray and allows Satan a foothold into our lives. Since “sin” is, at its core, “missing the mark” that God has set for us, and so worrying is not living up to God’s standard. Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise in (v2-v3) There are many dwelling places; there are many beds for you in my house, what Jesus is saying. Jesus says “I go to prepare” a bed for you and me, His called out ones a place that John describes in Revelation 21-22 as absolutely AWESOME! A place that………
  • Is filled with the glory of God.
  • A place that has no more tears.
  • Has no more death.
  • Has no more sorrow, trouble.
  • Has no more pain.
  • We will never thirst again physically or spiritually.
  • God illuminates His glorious light for all eternity.
  • That has Christ sitting on the throne in His entire supreme splendor.
  • That has your name in a book, if you are truly His child.

This is a place called Heaven, a place that we cannot fathom in our finite minds to how beautiful it is and glorious it will be for you and me when we spend eternity with Christ. Heaven is so overwhelming of a place, that it caused the Apostle Paul to pen these words “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed [it’s like a tug of war at my heart strings] between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Phil 1:21-23. Jesus knew the importance of this place! Otherwise He wouldn’t’ have told us as we face obstacles or troubled hearts! In this life you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I’ve overcome them! In John 16:33, Jesus said “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."

See, this is a promise that cannot be taken away for those who are truly His and what’s more amazing Jesus uses four words of comfort for the troubled Christian. (v3) “I will come again” doesn’t that give you comfort when you’re troubled at heart? Seriously, the King of Kings, Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End, made this promise that He is coming back, but not only to come back to judge but to “receive” us back to Himself. To receive us and He will take you up with me to Heaven; I will receive you into glory where he is and always be. But obviously this didn’t settle the disciple’s hearts because Thomas asks Jesus a question! (v5). But again Jesus gives yet another confirmation, another word of comfort, so that it would close any doubt they might have. Look what Jesus said in (v6) This is what we would call a dogmatic statement! There is no compromising on a statement like this. Jesus is the only one who can grant such a promise as we’ve seen in the opening verses of this chapter. Let’s examine for a moment what Jesus is saying by breaking down this bold dogmatic statement.

Jesus says He “is the Way”

There is no other way to find rest in the midst of trouble then Him alone. The Father’s house in Heaven is only reached through Jesus Christ and His perfecting atoning work on the cross. Eph 2:18-19 we read “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”

Jesus says He “is the Truth”

The root of all knowledge is to know and savor this truth in Christ. All truth in the Old Testament and into the New Testament all point to Christ. The only truth the soul needs is Him, what Jesus is saying is that he isn’t some form of truth or a truth to equal with whatever you call truth. He is truth itself, there is no other! John 1:14-17 we read “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said He “is the Life”

He is the root, the source and the foundation of all life. He is not a life, but life itself, just as He is truth. He is the giver and taker of life; He is the giver of eternal life to whomever He chooses. In John 11:25-26 we read “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

There is no other way of escape to find rest for a weary and troubled heart other than Jesus Christ. There is no other way a person will ever stand in heaven apart from Christ and His redeeming love found in the gospel.
  • Not by your strength
  • Not by another human being
  • Not by works
  • Not by your church attendance and involvement
  • Not by your supposed goodness.
As John wrote in John 1:10-12 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. And he even went on to say in the next verse “who [meaning you and me] were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13. He is the only way we can find true healing in this life! This is what he promised the disciples and this is what He promises to us for those you put their trust in Christ alone. “Sola Christos” As Luke penned “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. 

The troubled heart needs to remember that Jesus is everything! Trials are part of life, but Christ always says to us in the darkness “do not let your heart be troubled” As Hudson Taylor said “There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” I am the way…..the truth…and Life for those whom are mine! The problem for us is our sin, the solution is Jesus Christ, and the promises found in the gospel that not only saves you from the wrath of God…..it saves you a dwelling place for all eternity with Him. The one and only Jesus Christ!


06 July 2014

WE ARE ALL LIKE PETER


John 13:36-38

Pride is a terrible thing and the bible says pride always goes before a fall. Solomon wrote these words of wisdom…… “Pride goes before destruction [a fracture, or a crash], And a haughty [proud, arrogant] spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18. What does that mean? As it did in the angels that sinned against God in the beginning. As Adam and Eve who, were not content with their present state and circumstances, fell to the desire to be gods, knowing good and evil. It also means that our ignorance can sometimes cloud our judgement and our limitations. Because we think we can handle anything life throws at us. But as the Proverbs says, there will be a fall if were not careful to recognize our inabilities apart from Christ and Holy Spirits work in our lives. Paul warned the Christian church about this…… “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor 10:22. Don’t take the liberties and the grace of the gospel as a means to standing fast to overcome sin and the temptation of sin. Sometimes as Christian’s we can become arrogant in our Christian walk to think that will never happen to me and say “I would never do that in my Christian life, or against my God.”

Sadly though, at some point or stage in your Christian life we have all  or at least many of us have denied Christ somewhere along our journey home. Whether it’s sharing the simple gospel with a friend, a family member or a stranger walking down the street. Whether it’s a hostile crowd who hate and deny spiritual truth or absolutes according to what the bible says. Whether it be taking part in a conversation about God or Jesus and not saying anything or walking away to avoid conflict with co-workers or friends.
Jesus knows this would happen in our walk, that’s why He came to save sinners who are prone to sin. Not to say its ok to sin, but that God in His infinite understanding, knows that we are a fallen people who desperately need His guidance and wisdom when it comes to the Christian life minute by minute. Jesus knows we can be very prideful and passionate about things and forget our limitations of commitment and self-control. But as the Apostle Paul said  we are to be careful about our pride and arrogance. He continues to say “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:23-24. See, God allows testing and trails into our life as a means for us to recognize our inabilities and weakness and to rely solely and completely upon God and His sustain grace and power in our lives.

As we continue in the upper room with Jesus and His disciples……We see the arrogance of a man who means well, who had passion and loyalty for Jesus, but didn't understand his own limitation. This man is Peter!…..a man who is an example of who you and I are at times throughout our Christian life, from the point of our conversion to now and into the future as we seek our eternal inheritance. But first! Who was Simon Peter? Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade, who was called, chosen by Christ himself, to a group that would follow Him. He was noted several times for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. He told the Lord He could not go to Jerusalem . . . Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan".
He asked Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration if he could set up tents for them. He was the one who asked . . . 'how many times do I have to forgive somebody' Matt. 18:21. He is the only one who got out of the boat to walk on the water and quickly began to sink because of his limitation in trusting Christ would uphold him. We need to be extremely careful to recognize our limitations before we say something or do something we can’t possibly do in our own strength.

See the gospel accounts mention this conversation with Jesus and His disciples for a reason! To help us understand that each and every one of us is prone to do exactly what Peter did in his situation. To say one thing, but when reality sets in we are truly unable to fulfill that promise apart from Christ. See in Matthew’s gospel we read “Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Matt 26:33-34. In Mark’s gospel we read “Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I WILL STRIKE THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP WILL BE SCATTERED.' "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." Peter said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be."  Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." But he spoke more vehemently, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all said likewise.” Mark 14:27-31. In Luke’s gospel we read “And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." Luke 22:31-34. Here is John’s gospel we read "Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake." Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.” John 13:37-38

See it’s easy to be the brave strong Christian when you’re in a secure room having eaten your fill of food and standing beside the Son of God. It’s easy to say I will go with you to the end or I’ll die with you when you haven’t been threatened with your life yet for your faith. This is where we need to be careful and recognize our limitations and allegiance to our LORD. There are some important lessons to be gleaned from this encounter between Jesus and Peter specifically. This passage tells us that anyone of us can fall……..it doesn’t matter how strong you think you are in your Christian life. Again I don’t want to pick on Peter and run him under the bus because of his incompetence and his passion not to see the dangers of his own decisions; because we're all familiar with the story of Peter and his downfalls we sometimes overlook and forget what an example of faith he sometimes was! He was one of the "inner three" with James and John. He was the one who said, "Depart from me for I am a sinful man" after the unbelievable catch of fish. It was Peter that answered the Lord's question: "Who do you say I am?" with "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." It was of Peter's confession that the Lord said, "On this rock I will build my church". It was Peter who did have enough faith to step out of the boat to walk to Jesus on water. It was Peter who stood up to defend Jesus in the Garden when no else did. It was Peter who followed Jesus (with John) into the court yard after His arrest. It was Peter who jumped in the water after the resurrection to swim to shore to see Jesus.

See, Peter was not a bad man.......In fact, Peter was a man we would all admire. We would point to Peter and say, "I'd like to be like Him." You would, because a little bit of Peter in everyone if you follow after the Lord Jesus Christ. We should have zeal and passion for the glory of God, but we need to be careful this passion doesn’t blind us to our own inability and strength in ourselves. We desperately need Him for everything and every minute. So what happened to Peter after this night in the upperoom? The bible tells us…… He fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane after Jesus had specifically asked him to pray. He cut off the ear off the high priest's servant in the Garden (and Jesus put it back on). He did deny the Lord in less than 12 hours after Jesus was arrested. He was the second person to reach the empty tomb…probably jogging wasn't his thing! One commentator said Peter was “an unbridled hulk who was broad shouldered, loud, a sweaty assertive man who was a strong extrovert. I can relate to Peter so much in my Christian life.

There is a question that haunts many people though! Did Peter lose his salvation and eternal inheritance for what he did? Was he a man who became faithless and turned away from God? As so many do in our society. The answer is NO! Again we need to remind ourselves…… that salvation is of the Lord and He keeps those whom are his…….even in our sin. I think John MacArthur says it best when it comes to us keeping our salvation. He said “if you could lose your salvation you would.” That’s why salvation is SOLELY the power of God who gives the right to be called sons of God. That’s why John wrote earlier “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.” John 10:28-29.

Jesus knew Peter was going to drop the ball again that’s why He asked Peter this question in (v38). Jesus knew Peter was a passionate man after God, but a foolish man at times, just like you and me at times. Jesus knew Peter was genuine even when he got himself into trouble or sticky situations. Jesus knew exactly where Peter would be in the coming days when He would restore him into full time ministry. The same could be said about your life and your downfalls. God can still use a Peter…. God can still use your life for His glory and His Kingdom. Don’t ever forget that or be too discouraged to think God could never use you after what you’ve done maybe this past week. Remember pride goes before the fall….but mercy and grace is there for the genuine repentant heart who truly loves Jesus. Remember when Jesus restored Peter? If you do then you will remember how Peter responded? In John 21:17 it says “He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.”

Peter did just that! See, Peter went on to preach the greatest message ever told…..THE GOSPEL! Peter went on to great things for the Lord…..even greater things than Jesus did…meaning seeing people embraces the gospel message with joy and peace. As Jesus said to the disciples “"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.” John 14:12. Which means, not greater in nature and kind, but more in number. For the apostles over the course of years, would go about preaching the Gospel, not only in Judea, but in the entire world. 

Don't get me wrong Peter was still a work in progress! Were there times of confusion and foot in mouth disease for Peter? Yes. Paul had to rebuke him when he tried to get the gentiles to be like Jews. If you’re born again [Jew, Gentile and so on] then we’re all one in Christ….But, to Peter’s shame, his passion and zeal got in the way again when he tries so hard to do what is right for God and His glory. Doesn't that exemplify your life at times or the early years of your Christian walk? Especially when you read about the life of Peter? Can you possibly relate to Peter maybe even now as God refines you for His glory? I know I can, because there has been many times throughout my Christian life I wish I handled situations and said things differently. I truly believe the more I observe Peter and his life ….I really begin to see and appreciate his two epistle letters he wrote. You begin to see the personal side of the letters as if Peter was writing to his former younger self. For example he says “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS." 1 Peter 4:8. Do you think Peter was thinking of this as he penned these words about what he did in the court yard, the night Jesus was betrayed by him? There is forgiveness in the cross of Jesus Christ and it’s available to even the worst kind of sinner. That His love covers a multitude of Peter’s inabilities and bad choses…it covered Peter’s sin forever. It covers your inabilities….it covers your sin.

Or how about when Peter penned these words……. “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:20-24. That reality of Jesus’ death would come as his reality many years after Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. Jesus predicted his death would be for His glory in the end of John’s letter.

In John 21:18-19 Jesus said “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me." The bible doesn’t record Peter’s death except tell us that he will die for the gospel. Historically we are told that Peter was forced to watch his wife be crucified before he faced his death. Clement said “Peter called out to his wife and said “Remember the Lord”. And when it was Peter’s turn to die, he pleaded to be crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy to die as his Lord had died. And thus he was nailed to a cross head downward.” This truth also fulfills what the Lord said to the disciples…..you can’t follow me now, but you will (v36)

Peter did and Jesus keep that promise….even when Peter messed up royally. The same can be said for everyone here in this sanctuary! His grace and unconditional love supersedes your failures and inabilities to keep the Christian life. We need to learn from Peter’s mistakes and recognize our weaknesses and rely upon Christ and not ourselves to see us through every circumstance, temptation and life choices. As J C Ryle said “let it be a settled principle in our religion, that there is an amount of weakness in all our hearts, of which we have no adequate conception, and that we never know how far we might fall if we were tempted. We fancy sometimes, like Peter, that there are some things we could not possibly do. We look pitifully upon others who fall into certain sins, and please ourselves in the thought that at any rate we should not have done so! We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness, or the withdrawal of God’s grace for a season, to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we may think we can do wonders for Christ, and, like Peter, we may learn by bitter experience that we have no power and might at all.” See the child of God would too good to remember “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor 10:13. Jesus loves us, knows us and wants us to be careful with this new found passion and zeal for the glory of God and the gospel. 

Church family if you forget everything I said, remember this! There is mercy and grace in our failures and incompetence; we saw that love demonstrated toward Peter. There is always hope, rest and assurance for the true believer in Christ. There is no sin that Christ will not cover with His blood! Pride goes before the fall as it did for Judas………..mercy and grace comes to those who are fallen but recognize their inabilities like Peter later on in his Christian walk. True strength, humility, passion and honor lies in the finished work of Jesus Christ. A humble sense of our own inherent weakness, a constant dependence on Christ is the only way we can truly find the secrets of safety. As the Apostle Paul penned “When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:10

22 June 2014

SHOWING GOD'S LOVE TO OTHERS


John 13:31-35

The greatest outward expression we can do as Christian’s is to display the inward change of the heart. The heart will always be the visible mark for others to see, who we truly belong too. See, what comes from the heart will always express the true intent of a person's motives, whether by their words or their actions! It has been said by many “At no other time in the history of Christianity did love so characterize the entire church as it did in the first three centuries. And Roman society took note. Tertullian reported that the Romans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!” Justin Martyr sketched Christian love this way: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.” Clement, describing the person who has come to know God, wrote, “He impoverishes himself out of love, so that he is certain he may never overlook a brother in need, especially if he knows he can bear poverty better than his brother. He likewise considers the pain of another as his own pain. And if he suffers any hardship because of having given out of his own poverty, he does not complain.”

How are we doing as a body for the Lord Jesus Christ when it comes to loving one another? I think sometimes as Christians we spend more time studying, memorizing, talking at round tables among one another about what we are to be like in a fallen world …but we never end up doing what the word says.

Don’t get me wrong! Studying, talking and learning more about the bible and how we are to grow in the Christian life.
But if these life changing principles are not put into daily practice, then all were doing is filling our selfish hearts with biblical truth to make ourselves feel better about our Christian life. God’s word and truth is to be exemplified in our lives. By doing this it brings glory to God for His beauty and grace found in Christ. As Jesus continues his teaching in the upper room…something is much different now! Judas is gone and now Jesus begins to fill his disciples with more practical biblical truth that they will be able to pass on to others.

But first Jesus says something that would seem strange to the common man, but it helps us to understand this love. The Father and the Son will be glorified…….but you said you are going to die on a cross though Jesus? How can that bring glory to you Jesus? His death purchased salvation by satisfying the demands of God’s justice for those who put their faith and trust in Him. His death demonstrates His compassion, His patience and His power. His death destroyed the power of sin and death. How can God the Father get glory in your death Jesus? Christ’s death displayed God’s power by raising Jesus from the dead. Christ’s death declared God’s justice because sin is a violation against His holy Law. Christ’s death revealed God’s holiness and His hatred for sin. Christ’s death expressed God’s faithfulness to provide a redeemer since the garden. Christ’s death demonstrates God’s love towards sinners. The cross demonstrates the glory of God is the highest expression of self-sacrifice and by doing this Jesus and the Father are glorified through the cross.

What does God want of us to do? Jesus, answers this question by telling His disciples a truth that we should all exemplify in….DAILY! He says this simple truth!............... “Love one another”. But there is a problem in the Christian church! There seems to be a NEW THEOLOGY or a NEW VERSION of the bible that is saying it’s ok to love Jesus but hate His church. That’s what we call an “oxymoron” think about it for a minute! If you profess to love Jesus and hate the church, then you truly don’t understand what it means to love Christ and the gospel. See, Christ died for His church and to hate His church is to say “Jesus you are crazy for dying for those losers.” It’s an insult to His divine plan and providence by preserving His bride for future glory with Him. It insults His redemptive plan to save lost sinners….losers like you me! This is why we such a problem in the church! It is a sad fact that one does not have to look at the Christian church very long before discovering that believers often do not love each other as they ought.

Where do we see this in the Christian community? R C Sproul said “the proliferation of denominations is one example of this. While it is true that many were formed out of a legitimate need to maintain the purity of the Gospel, it is also true that others started because individuals could not lovingly tolerate disagreement on matters not essential to the faith. Even now, what should be minor issues become major ones and insults are hurled across denominational lines at those who share the true faith. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that even believers within the same church have trouble loving one another. How many of us dislike others in our own church simply because they have certain quirks or have not progressed as far in their sanctification as we might like?” Jesus is telling us that there is no room for this kind of behaviour in the church!

You will find nowhere in the scripture that we have the right to hate, dislike or not able or equipped to get along with others. The bible says for us to "Love your brother and sister in Christ, love your enemy, love those who hate you."Jesus said in Matt 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,. This is a vital truth that will sustain the church and hold it together for many generations to come. I know this is hard, but it’s a command that our Lord gives. Jesus, exemplified this for us to live by and He ultimately demonstrated that through His death on the cross for sinners. In fact his sacrificial death both provides the example of love as well as creates the community in which we are to love one another. That’s of the charts love church family! And by demonstrating that love Jesus leaves us with a New Command!

Command by definition is……to give (someone) an order;  to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way; to have authority and control over (a group of people, such as soldiers). Was this a really a New Command? No, it was a deeper expression or a higher standard than the old commandment that God gave to His people “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” Lev 19:18. This command didn’t wipe the old command away, all it did was help the listener or the reader understand the vital importance of this command. This command Jesus gave them as he was about to leave them, was to be a badge of discipleship, by which they might be known as his friends and followers, and by which they might be distinguished from all others. See this command extends beyond the church to embrace all people. We read for example in 1 Thess 3:12 Paul wrote “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,”So that we might increase not decreases the love that was displayed for us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This command is very important not just to memorize, put on a T-shirt, but to put into action daily as God’s children saved by grace and mercy!

My question for us is….can we do this? WHY?...........
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are born of God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we know God's love.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we obey God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are indwelt by God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we have confidence before God.
  • Loving one another demonstrates we are truthful.

Again we must ponder the cross…the spotlight of God’s kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love towards sinners like us. This is the only way we are going to be able to truly love others, the unlovable, the ones who annoy you because your [were] selfish and want people to be more like you or me! Looking to the cross and His finished work through the continual daily work of the Spirit in our lives. Augustine said "You brag of your faith in Christ, but show me your faith by your love to Christ; for faith and love cannot be separated."

The Bible says “Love is patient [a person is slow to anger when abused, not quick of resentment, nor hasty to revenge when affronted; but exercises forbearance, suffers long, and bears much, and is ready to forgive] and kind [does good to all men, even to enemies]. Love is not jealous [does not envy the temporal happiness of others]not boastful, [is not flashy of what he has, a proud boaster to promote his own honour and interest, without considering what will be the consequence of things] not proud [to inflate with pride] and not rude [will be careful that no filthy and corrupt communication proceed out of his mouth, which may offend]. It does not demand its own way. [This person will make most for his honour and glory; and the things of Christ, and what relate to the spread of his Gospel and the enlargement of his kingdom, seeking the interest of others well-being before their own] It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. [It means that love, or that a person under the influence of love, is not malicious, critical, inclined to find fault, or to attribute improper motives to others]. It does not rejoice about injustice [Does not rejoice over the “depravities” of other people; does not take delight when they are guilty of crime, or when, in any manner, they fall into sin. It does not find pleasure in hearing others accused of sin, and in having it proved that they committed it.] but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. [This person loves to rejoice that good is done, and the truth is defended and advanced whether by them or others.] This should be the theme song of our Christian lives……………Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Can you do that? Can you do what Paul says to the church here?

Serious can you do this? 

If you struggle in this area of your Christian life then my suggestion is seek His face until you can. God has and is calling sinners to Himself….possibly someone who has harmed you in the past or someone you’ve always had a hard time getting along with. Remember were all sinners who desire love and acceptance and that has been fulfilled in the finishing work of the cross. The very act of love which glorifies the So, which ultimately glorifies the Godhead, three in one. It begins in the house of God, the church is to be a loving church in a dying culture. And when it’s being done in the house of God, it will be much easier to love our neighbor, our enemies, our fellow man who walk in darkness. Are you doing what you can to love earnestly and overlook a number of minor offenses from other people? Or do you tend to hold grudges? Are you expressing your love for others in your church through hospitality, or do you routinely avoid fellowship with others? Ask the Lord In prayer to help you love other Christians. Then demonstrate that to someone whom you have trouble loving, perhaps by inviting them over for a meal or coffee. We will never be able to impact this generation with the gospel, if we are not visibly demonstrating this command to love one another. This is important and should never be overlooked in the church! Why? Jesus gives the answer….by this they the world will know you are my true disciples. The love they practiced drew the attention of the world, just as Jesus said it would. Let’s follow the example of Jesus and the disciples as we love one another.


15 June 2014

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DADDY MAKES


Eph 6:4

I came across yet another sad story of many this past week, that say about the same thing when it came to the question…….What do you remember about your father? Here’s one answer that really grieved my heart as I was preparing for this Sunday…a time when we reflect on the dads. "A young man was to be sentenced to the prison. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father--a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, "The Law of Trusts." "Do you remember your father?" asked the judge. "I remember him well, your honor," came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender's conscience, the judge said, "As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?" There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. "I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, 'Run along, boy; I'm busy!' When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying "Run along, son; this book must be finished!' Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend." The judge than muttered to himself, "Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!"

This is a sad case, but there are so many like this story around the globe. Did you know! The greatest tragedy of our society to the failure of fathers to take their responsibility as parents. Our society celebrates Father's Day, but in 40 % of the families in America, there is no father. The single parent family is the most numerous with a mother and her children. One out of three children born today are born in fatherless homes. In many homes in our country the father is not a visible part of the family. Secular and Christian writers all agree that “Children who grow up without a father grow up in an unstable home. With the mother working to provide for herself and here children, and she has little time to teach or raise the children. The Day Care center or baby sitter becomes the greater influence in their child's life." As one writer said “God's plan for the training of children is in the two parent, husband and wife, family, both present, both taking the role of an example to the child. Now we live in the new enlightened age where the role of the family is being redefined. Today it is a single parent family, or same sex parents, or children raised by their grandparents while mom and dad go their separate selfish ways.”

Why has this happened? Society at large has made the father’s role a joke, not important in our society or to the family…….Turn on the TV and watch the commercials about parenting and dad’s. The movies and sitcoms that makes the dads out to be the idiot and uneducated. The culture as turned the Homer Simpson, the Peter Griffin or the Al Bundy as the role model for today’s dads. Were considered incompetent and unsure of our duties, even when it comes to changing a diaper, or the immediate care for the needs of our children. How important is a father to the family? God has called us men to raise our children according to Paul “In the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” And if we listen to the counsel by Solomon [the wisest fallible man to walk the earth] and hold to God’s standard of nurture and discipline than according to the scriptures our children will “give us peace” and “bring delight to our souls.” Prov 29:17 says “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” See God has given us a huge responsibility MEN…….to……
  • Fostering a positive relationship with our children.
  • Spending time with our children and to laugh with them.
  • Nurturing our children under the wisdom of God’s word.
  • Disciplining our children appropriately according to God’s word.
  • Serving as a guide to the outside world for our children.
  • Protecting and providing a safe environment for our children.
  • Serving as a positive role model for our children.

And most of all dads……. we have been given the joy and ability, to reflect the love that the Father has for us……. found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now! Fathers may not excel in all of these dimensions, but fathers who do well in most of them will serve their children and families well, not just for today but for the future to come. As one secular writer said the “Nurturing by a father serves several important purposes: Helps fathers build close relationships with their children. Provides children with a healthy model of masculinity. Helps protect girls from prematurely seeking the romantic and sexual attention of men.”Our roles as fathers are just as vital as a mother’s role is for the family. This is the way God ordained and intended it for the family right from the beginning of Adam and Eve. The direct relationship a father has with his child is of supreme worth. Fathers also exercise a strong influence on their children through the type of life they live in and outside the home. Now I know that isn’t always the case in every home!
  • We have dead beat dads
  • We have divorce
  • We have unwanted children
  • We have sin that has shattered the family unit.
  • May this never be said of us “Christian men”
  • God has given us the greatest responsibility when it comes to the family.

Throughout the scriptures we see multiple warnings and an example of the importance of a father is to the family. What do I mean by that? In Deut 6:5-7 we read this command by a holy God to fathers! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut 6:5-7. We read in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. The training is designed to make clear to children the manner of life they are intended for….for the glory of God and the gospel. 

And then we read what Paul wrote in our text this morning “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children…..by severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority. 

For example: Do you give your children more positive comments than negative ones? Are there many times in a week you praise them for their actions or attitude without mentioning anything negative? Is your tone with your children usually kind or enraging? Do you us sarcasm to correct and discipline your children? Do you us the grace and love that Christ has shown you, when you correct or discipline your children?

I really want you to think about this verse in Eph 6…….MEN! Because! Harsh and unreasonable conduct towards a child will only serve to nurture resentment, an evil heart and bitterness towards you and the God you’re teaching them to love. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or enflame.” This is done by a wrong spirit and wrong methods, unreasonableness, harshness, cruel demands, needless restrictions, and selfish persistence upon domineering authority. Such aggravation will produce opposing reactions, deadening children’s affection, reducing their desire for holiness, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. A wise parent, a wise dad will seek to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness….again this found in the gospel of Christ. As we read also in this instruction by Paul!

“admonition” carries the idea of reminding the child of faults (constructively) and duties (responsibilities). This is to be done is godly manner for the glory of God and for the child to grow in His grace. This is where I think we are failing as dads…….as men! Not taking our responsibility seriously.Why? Sadly, men, part of me thinks we have handed in our man card and our responsibility……… and replaced it with compliancy! And what happens when we do that?The ripple effect it has on future generations according the scriptures is devastating. Scripture says…… “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exo 20:5 Feeling the wrath and punishment because of the father’s lack of love for God and the lack of importance to train their children in the admonition of the Lord.

Take Eli and his sons, as a father who handed in his man card to turn a blind eye to sin……..the blasphemous sins of his sons. Did Eli do everything possible to reason with his adult sons? They’re old enough to make their own decisions right? The sons sin were their own doing and not of their father. But, is there a place where Eli is responsible for his sons, despite their ages. We read that He said to his sons “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD's people transgress.” 1 Sam 2:22-24

Now, the sons may not have listened to their father Eli, but did Eli do his very best as a father who knew the God of glory……to plead, correct, and discipline his sons in what they were doing. According to the scriptures….NO HE DIDN’T…… because scripture says He faced judgement as well for the contempt and blasphemous acts his sons were doing in the temple. God spoke to Eli with these words “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?' Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.” 1 Sam 2:29-31

Judgement not only came to Eli’s sons, but to him as well as Samuel prophesied “Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel answered, "Speak, for Your servant hears." Then the LORD said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” 1 Sam 3:10-13

So let me ask you men! Are you spending time, interacting, and getting involved in your children’s lives dads? Or are you ignoring the warning signs as Eli and biblical foundation we have been called to teach and live out in our homes……in our lives according to the scriptures. I want to ask you some hard questions this morning men! And I’m asking myself these questions as well…..

Are we [are YOU, dad] properly training and admonishing your children……..
  • To be sure of his or her salvation.
  • To love and understand God’s word as precious, and not as duty or some form of legalism.
  • To obey their God given roles as children with joy and willingness as it is fitting to the Lord.
  • To be a proper and effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ to their generation.
  • To desire those times of alone with the Lord daily.
  • To exercise self-control when it comes disappointments and frustrations.
  • To have fellowship, to respect and honor the church family and its leaders, because they are those whom God has appointed over you in the local church.
  • To understand the power of prayer and the reason why we pray to a holy God.


DADS……….Are you exemplifying in any of these areas in your life as a guide, example for your children to follow after? Men it’s time we claim our man cards and do what God called us to do…if not, we could face judgement like Eli did some 4 thousand years ago. If you feel you’ve failed at many of these questions, then my suggestion for you is this! Go to your children and humbly apologize and repent of your complacency as a dad and be restored to your God given role….it doesn’t matter how old they are. The Lord can use those situations to bring you closer together or closer to Him and His saving grace. Men reclaim what God has ordained for you and your family! As we read in 1 Cor 11:3 “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” God has given us men a responsibility to lead and guide our families to Him and blessed gospel. It wasn't Eve sin that brought destruction…though she sinned and God dealt with her accordingly. Why? Paul wrote “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Rom 5:12. The issue fell upon the man…..and the same principle and responsibility still lies with the head of the home! 

I’m not saying he is responsible for every sin each family member commits on their own wilfully. What I am saying is that he is ultimately responsible and will be judged for his leadership role in the home that God has ordained for the family! Though each and every one of us male and female will stand and give an account, to God for our timer and lives……….but the husband is still responsible for his family. That’s why its vital men we hold and guards our responsibility as dads…as husbands, and stop listening to the culture around us that tells us that we’re incompetent and irresponsible to lead our wives and children. Christ left us men to an example for the marriage and for our children. Don’t throw in your man-card for complacency and disinterest because your ill-equipped. God knows your weaknesses and your inabilities to lead…..that’s why Christ came to be an example for us to follow. That’s why Paul wrote these truths for us! “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Eph 5:25-27. And we read his role for his children…….. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. And to top it off He sealed us with the Holy Spirit so that we can do and teach, direct these truths to our families into His beautiful sovereign arms.

Remember men of God your role is vital and just as important…..it is so important you will leave a legacy for many years to come in your children. And as this writer wrote to dads in his blog “From God’s perspective, you are His blessing to your children. God wants your children to know about Him and He picked you out of all the dads on earth to make it happen. Read Deuteronomy 6. So, the next time your tempted to think you’re not that important – that you’re not getting anywhere, the next time you see an advertisement with a mocking reference to the buffoon dad, the next time you wonder if what you’re doing matters over the long haul, remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose you, Dad. He chose you for His purposes and His plan. That’s one of the great comforts we Dads can take in knowing God. He always has a plan. It may not be apparent in those everyday moments that often seem unimportant but faithful fatherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.” So dads hang in there and fight the good fight for the glory of God and the family. Love your wife as Christ loved the church. Love and teach your children about the glory of God and the gospel. Take the unpopular road as Joshua was willing to take an unpopular stand "choose you this day whom you will serve?

What was his response?

"Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15

We fathers will serve the Lord..... because that’s what will make a difference for the family.