30 August 2015

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


Prov 15:1

When you think of the word “hot tempered” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? See the major problem with hot tempered people is that they like a good fight and they will never back down! They will always insist upon having the last word. And that could be dangerous for themselves and others. There is a poem that my dear wife brought to my attention…..It’s about a dog and a cat that don’t see eye to eye, and neither one of them is willing to back down! And the story is narrated by a Chinese plate after he was told by the Old Dutch clock on the wall. It’s called “The Duel”  by Eugene Field. The story begins and ends with a dog and a cat battling for hours. They bite and claw at each other and at the end of the poem we see the outcome of this long drawn-out battle.

“Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.”

See, sadly the natural bent in society is to feed the flame, than to quench the angry fire with water. You always need to ask the question! Does any good come from anger? Bible talks about this quite a bit! “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Gal 5:15
Conflicts only destroy the spirituality and happiness of each other…and sadly this is destroying the home and the church family. Anger can be used as a sinful tool to destroy or change an event. As Charles Bridges said “pride and passion on both sides strike together like two flints; and behold how great a matter a little fire kindles.” “Anger”  by definition is “a violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a tendency to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and may be attended only with a desire to reprove or blame the offender.” Understand this though! There can be a righteous anger………..so anger can be moral neutral. For example! a garden tool, let’s take “a rake” this can be used to clean up and pile leaves in the fall, which is a good thing, but it also can be used in a wrong way when you mad at your neighbor for raking his leaves over onto your lawn and you turn that rake into a weapon of destruction as you smash it over his brand new car. See anger is choice an act of the will. It can be used in a proper manner or it can be used in a destructive manner. Sadly anger in my life and maybe yours is used destructively on most occasions. “Anger”  is destructive, it gives birth to sin, it’s arrogant, selfish and it comes from an unwilling heart.

THE BIBLE HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT AN ANGRY MAN OR WOMAN!

ANGER MAKES A PERSON CARELESS.

Prov 14:16 says “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” They don’t stop to think how their angry outbursts affect those around them. They "blow up" all over everyone, leaving them upset and perhaps fearful by their spouse, children or your friends. It’s like you’re a raging tsunami and there is no stopping you. Then they go along their merry way not paying any attention to the havoc they caused.

ANGER LEADS YOU TO MAKE WRONG CHOICES.

In Dan 3:19-22 “Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” He even lost some of his top military men because he was so angry with three Hebrew teenagers who would not bow down and worship his idol......Anger is the exhaustion of hate.

ANGER HAS NEGATIVE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES

Prov 22:24-25 says  “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” The bible says to make no friendship with such people. Why? He is infectious! Nobody enjoys being around an angry, bitter, hateful person all the time. They are depressing to be around and draining and mostly you begin to act and behave in the same manner. They drag you down. Anger warps the personality and squeezes the joy out of the angry person’s life, replacing it with a "sour grapes" attitude.

ANGER HAS AND CAN HAVE NEGATIVE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES.

In 1 Kings 21:4-6 “And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?" And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" Do you know that studies on anger suggest that 60% to 80% of illness results from hostility? Behaviours such as anger, envy, resentment, worry etc. can cause ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, strokes, heart trouble, headaches, hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, arthritis and more according to medical studies. Anger solves nothing…all it does is fuel the fire in your heart and cause nothing but headaches for both parties involved. 

This morning we learn a great “truism” a practical fact from the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs! This is a truth that we all should apply day by day when we face a variety of conflicts with others. As one writer wrote this verse “Angry words answered with a loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.” Always remember, when we lash out in anger we are giving an “opportunity “or a “foot hold” to the devil. Like Prov 25:28 says it tears down a city and leaves it in rubble. As we all know, it is natural to react to most situations with anger.  However, it is supernatural to react in love to the same situation. The Apostle Paul wrote; Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Let me ask you! What has anger done for you lately? Further warning comes from James “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. James 3:10. The Proverb says Stir up” this means “make to ascend” and pictures anger, like a fire, being fanned into an even greater fire. Soft words, is like oil on a wound, having a soothing effect. This Proverb isn’t saying that we can’t disagree, but it must be done with humility and grace without confrontation. Basically, discussing things like adults and not like children fighting over the swing at recess. Why? You will get nowhere with a person who has a temper tantrum and is unreasonable! An angry man throws fire while a gentle man throws water. We are simply to use words that do not uselessly antagonize him or her, for if we do this, we lose all opportunity to declare truth to them, for they will close their mind to all we say! And that speaks volumes when we share the gospel with lost sinners. Jesus set the standard in how we address people who seem hostile towards us. “Revile not” which mean to “abuse; attack with evil words.” He took the hostility, the beating, and the punishment without attacking back.

Paul reminds us of this biblical truth in how we’re to live with those around us! Rom 12:18 says “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” We must be peacemakers even if others refuse to be. Obedience is our job; the rest we leave to God. SO HOW CAN WE DO ALL THIS, WHEN YOUR FACE TO FACE IN CONVERSATION THAT LEAVES BOTH OF US FEELING HOT TEMPERED? 

HOW CAN I APPLY OR DEMONSTRATE THIS PROVERB IN MY LIFE TODAY, TOMORROW AND THE NEXT? I think the answer can be found in life of a woman named Abigail.

Abigail was a woman who was caught between two angry men, one of them being her foolish rich husband Nabal and the other being a prideful soon to be King named DavidWe see something amazing as the situation was about to spiral out of control. Turn to 1 Samuel chapter 25! A situation that was going to leave Abigail a widow. For what reason? David was displeased with the compensation and response by Nabal….especially after guarding over Nabal sheep (v4-v14). So Nabal this pompous and arrogant man is about to see the wrath of David very shortly, but word gets to Abigail’s ears and this is where Prov 15:1 comes into play. First the bible says Abigail “made haste” (v18) which means to hurry, rush, to stop this terrible scene from taking place. What does she do? (v18-v19) she delivers a peace offering of food for David and his men, and when she sees David………. this is where we see the truth of that Proverb. She humbly speaks the truth in love for her future King and stubborn husband. She ceased the opportunity to reason, and brings understanding to the table. She could have come and said “how dare you speak to my husband this way” or “who do you think you are.” Which in reality would have only fueled David’s rage……but she didn’t! No! She knew her husband all to well, but she also knew this David. A man who was anointed by God, a man of honor and strength, a man after God’s own heart! She knew he was a reasonable man who was having a moment of prideful rage, and the only way to communicate to a hot tempered person is through humility. (v32-v34)

We’re all susceptible to heated moments, or moments of rage! I’ve found through my many failed experiences that I wish I spoke more from my heart instead of my head. I wish I approached a situation seasoned with grace rather than an angry giant trying to scare people with my loud voice. Abigail displays for us what Solomon would write many years later! A gentle answer will turn away wrath. Approaching every situation looking through the eyes of Christ, by asking myself this question “What would Jesus do at this moment?” He would choose the right thing over the wrong, which at times feel so right in our own minds.

In order to proper communicate to someone else in a way Abigail did, we first need to listen, and then respond! As James said “quick to hear….and slow to speak, slow to anger” James 1:19. The power of words to build up or to destroy relationships! Which one, will you chose? Remember a sound heart is a quiet heart that seeks peace….not a clanging cymbal that wants to be heard. Let me introduce you to a man I was introduced to by Pastor Paul Martin of Grace Community Church this past Sunday. His name is Mr. Shunslow Stopsoft He will help you, when we are tempted to be angry!

Shun angry acquaintances…… Prov 22:24-25
Slow your angry outbursts……. Prov 15:18
Stop the start of anger……..  Prov 17:14
Soft is better than anger……Prov 15:1

This is Mr. Shunslow Stopsoft!

Remember: You can defuse arguments when you are humble and walking in the Spirit. You can handle unfair treatment peacefully when you put into practice God’s word. You can respond to unfair treatment without being overcome by bitterness and rage. You can defuse a problem by doing what is wise and peaceable by choosing not to get angry. You can ask for forgiveness when you’ve hurt someone with your angry outburst. You can make the right choice with Mr. Shunslow Stopsoft help. When we can humbly do that, we will be able to apply this Proverb correctly to our lives. This is a battle church family….a battle I wish I say “I’ve conquered”, but that would be a lie. Don’t be enslaved to anger! Cry out to God and plead with Him “rescue me Lord from my anger” But by God’s grace and His ever present Spirit, I’m learning and growing when dealing with how I use my anger. The Sunday Question! Are you an angry person and what are you doing about it to change?

16 August 2015

THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HE WAS GOOD


Matt 19:16-26

What keeps a person so distracted or tied down?....That they never embrace the cross of forgiveness?
  • Is it pride?
  • Is it lack of understanding?
  • Is it ignorance?
  • Is it selfishness?
  • Is it unconcerned to future things?
  • Is it hatred towards the things of God?
You could say yes to all those things mentioned above! But there is something that God has spoken against since the foundation of this world! Its covetousness.........What does that look like? I came across a story that might help answer that question! "There was a man who had a problem with stinging ants....so he laid a small circle of poison around a hill of their home. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony. He returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants were carrying the poison down into their hill. Then he noticed a hole in the circle of poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way—away from the hill. Some smaller, non-stinging ants had found this “food” and were stealing it from their ant neighbours. Thinking they were getting the other ants’ treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves.” See the warning of this story is that when we see someone with more than what we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs, may poison us spiritually.

The bible says that covetousness: ORIGINATES IN THE HEART OF MAN “So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain [covetousness].” Eze 33:31

IT NEVER SATISFIES “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.” Eccl 5:10

IT’S A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE WICKED [UNCONVERTED] “For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.” Ps 10:3. Prov 21:26 says “he covets greedily all day long...”

IT’S INCONSISTENT FOR BELIEVERS “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have....” Heb 13:5

FORBIDDEN BY GOD "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." Exo 20:17

IT IS HAS NO PLACE IN HEAVEN “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Eph 5:5

I say all this because we come to a very important passage of Scripture that tells us a story about a rich young man who had everything....but one thing he lacked [salvation] which is the most important ingredient to a person’s eternal state. It’s an encounter that speaks to my heart, more so today! Why? Because I see who I used to be in this passage of scripture. Jesus gives a clear presentation of the Gospel as He engages in a conversation with a sinner who needs salvation! It’s an encounter of a young man who came to him with one question that has massive eternal implications. It’s an encounter of a young man who was going to be faced with the biggest decision of his life. It’s an encounter of a young man who mistakenly thought he was good enough to attain eternal life. It’s an encounter of a young man whose decision would change his life forever. It’s an encounter that comes with a promise but ends in tragedy for this young individual. This passage of scripture is picture or a mirror into the hearts of many people around the world today....possibility some of you....here in this sanctuary.

So I want you to picture yourself in the shoes of this young man asking the same question! And after hearing the answer........What would be your responseSo let’s enter this passage with extreme caution and ask the Lord to search our hearts as He speaks to this young man and us this morning. Look at the opening verse of this encounter! (v16) This young man calls Jesus “Good Teacher” which wasn’t referring to His deity......but that he was recognizing Jesus as a good teacher or a possible a prophet or a very righteous man! This young man acknowledged that Jesus spoke and had something that he wanted for himself. So he opens with a question! “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Naturally we would think this is a works base way of salvation question......but the main point of the question is about attaining eternal life!

Remember! This was a well educated young man who would have probably been trained to think this way...so this is a legitimate question. See, the truth of the Gospel does require us to do something! Though it’s freely given by His unmerited grace and favour! John 6:28-29 it says “Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." By asking this loaded to the point question.... Jesus was able to reveal the truth of this young man’s heart! How by speaking the Gospel.

So Jesus gives him His answer! (v17) It’s interesting to point here that the Jesus correct him when he say “No one is good but One, that is God.” Jesus isn’t disclaiming His own deity, but rather teaching the young man that all but God are sinners. Apart from God.....Everyone else that has breath is a fallen sinner! “all have fallen short of the glory of God” But it’s interesting that naturally man or woman think they are good! I did before salvation! If you don’t believe me! Go out and ask someone the question.....”Do you consider yourself to be a good person?” The answer that you receive will more than likely be....Yes I’m a good personSee this young man thought he was a good person.....as do many people today! So what does Jesus do? He hits him with the only that convicts the sinner! The Law (v18-v19). You might ask yourself the question! Why did Jesus bring him the law?
  • Was Jesus teaching a gospel that is different or contrary to us?
  • Was Jesus teaching that it’s through works that man must inherit eternal life?
  • No! Jesus was speaking directly to the conscience of the natural man! 
Paul wrote these words! “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20. Jesus wasn’t bringing the Law to show him how to be saved....but to show him that he needed to be saved. We always need to remember! The Law is a mirror that reveals what we were or what we still are...if you’re under the bondage of sin. Sadly the blindness of this young man reveals his true heart as do many people today! (v20). This young man displays ignorance over his fallen state.....Look what he says to the King of kings.......”  I’ve keep them all! What do I lack....what am I missing Jesus?” [Paraphrasing of course] I’m a good person right!...............so I’m good for Heaven right? Wrong answer! It’s interesting to note that Jesus didn’t say the one commandment that held a tight grip on this young man’s heart and life. “thou shall not .....What? Covet...” Jesus knows this young man’s heart and especially knows that he loves his possessions and material wealth.

Why do I say that! (v21) Jesus responds with this answer which is the pivotal moment in this whole encounter! Jesus wasn’t setting terms or a system that this young man needed to find eternal life....but on the contrary He was exposing this young man’s true heart! For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10. Jesus was pointing out that this man was guilty because he loved his wealth and possessions more than Christ. He was blinded by the American dream of wealth, health and prosperity! Now Jesus isn’t saying that wealth is wrong...or having money is wrong! “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:10. It’s not wealth that keep people out of Heaven. Abraham was a wealthy man but yet a man of great faith! But when things come first whether its money or possessions in a person’s life...... their wrong and you have failed the test to what it means to truly follow Him. The bible is very specific! "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? “Luke 9:23-25

This is the part that breaks my heart and it’s happening more and more today because we have so much stuff to keep us occupied! Look at (v22). This young man doesn’t even speak or question Jesus’ response to his question. The reason.....he didn’t believe because he loved himself more than Jesus....This was a call to faith and he rejected the free gift of grace that Christ offered. All because he simply didn’t want o give up what was his! “.....For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” God requires something from each and every one of us! A denial of self and embrace of the Gospel truth found in the riches of Christ! Yes riches! “a treasure in Heaven” which is to called a child of the Living God through His great salvation. Can you picture the expression on Jesus’ face as this young man turned and walk away......it must have been heartbreaking! It’s so sad that people think what they have is more important than what they could have in Christ! J.I. Packer described the tendency to worship self or other things [gods] "What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as ’The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life’ (1 John 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run their life becomes their god......."

I call this spiritual bankrupt-see. Look at (v23-26) What is Jesus trying to tell us here? Is your stuff [your possessions, job, personal me time, house, friendships, hobbies, sports, more important to then Christ? If so, then it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then it is for you to enter Heaven. Reason! You love yourself more and your pleasures..... over Christ. This way of speaking was used, to signify difficulties or impossibilities. Just as its impossible for a camel to go through the eye of the needle. It’s also impossible for man to attain salvation by his works or on their own terms. Whatever earthly treasures you have or think you have they are powerless before God. But with God...He is able to change the sinful heart....”God can do what men cannot do” .........Save! We desperately need Him...not the other way around where He needs us! It’s not what I want and still live the by adding Jesus to the mix. Jesus Christ isn’t some accessory that you add to their wardrobe or a air fresher you hang from your rear view mirror! He is the first and last...the beginning and the end....and we are to worship Him as extremely valuable and worthy of praise for saving a sinner like you and me.

We are the ones who stand before Him as broken vessels that need the Potter’s hand to repair the broken pieces. We are the ones who need have ourselves emptied, so that He can fill us with His grace and goodness. We are to come to Him as Jesus spoke about before the young man asked Him the question about eternal life. (v13-v14). We need someone who cares...protects...provides...nurtures...and directs our lives not just for now but for all eternity. This is what the Gospel that Jesus brings to you and me! This is what Jesus was trying to convey this young man who thought he had everything or thought he had it all together! John MacArthur said this......”Our Lord gave this young man a test. He had to make a choice between Christ and his possessions and sin, and he failed the test. No matter what he may have believed, because he was unwilling to forsake all, he could not be a disciple of Christ. Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” But the only way that will ever be possible is by His mercy and grace! So the Sunday question is............Do you pass the test? Because this will determine what you love the most!

09 August 2015

DO YOU LOVE ME?


John 21: 15-23

WHAT DOES IT TRULY MEAN TO LOVE GOD? Better yet! What does it mean to committed to God? I want to talk about a man who had to be brought to a point of brokenness before he could understand what it truly means to love God. I want to talk about a man who I would love to hang out with! Because we have a lot much in common. I want to talk about a man who has put his foot in his mouth more than once! I want to talk about a man who was given a nickname by His Lord specifically
  • A man who was a hard worker.
  • A man who was a big brother.
  • A man who was classified by culture as an uneducated fisherman.
  • A man who had a passion to lead and get it done.
  • A man who was admired by many of his friends and peers.
  • A man who had a temper.
  • A man who was imperfect.
  • A man who God called to be a “fisher of men”.
  • A man who sinned in the face of Jesus Christ not once but 3 times!

THIS MAN IS PETER!! Originally known as Simon the Jonah! John 1:41-42 “He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone, rock).” Peter is about to see what it truly means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength as Moses taught the Israelites and as Jesus taught us in the Gospels by His great commandment! “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your strength”But before we can answer that question let’s look at what lead Peter to this pinnacle moment in his life to truly realize what it means to Love God

LET’S GO BACK AS FAR AS THE UPPER ROOM DISCOURSE!! Jesus explains where He is going and what is about to happen in the coming hours. Peter said to Jesus........ "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake."  John 13:37. In Matthew 26:33 Peter said “.......Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." But 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 13:38. LET’S FAST FORWARD TO LATER THAT NIGHT! Jesus is arrested and is taken to the religious leaders, He has been beaten by the religious leaders and the guards. The disciples have all scattered because of fear, except one?Peter! We read in Matt 26:69-75 “Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee." But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying." And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth. But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!" And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.

In Luke’s account it says And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62

How do you think Peter felt after he denied the Lord 3 times? Especially after his big promise in the upper room!! Looking into the eyes of Jesus the God man! The One who loved him and called him to Himself!

Peter’s heart must have felt.......... 
  • Torn to pieces
  • Ashamed
  • A traitor like Judas
  • A complete failure
  • A liar and coward

LET ME ASK YOU! What would you do if you were in Peter’s shoes? Can you see a Peter in your life right now? Do you truly love the Lord. GOD SEES AND KNOWS OUR HEART! Jesus knew what Peter would do.... but the story doesn’t end their!! The Lord Jesus is standing on the shore...Jesus asks the 7 out of the 11 a question!!!  (v5). Jesus probably keeps the fish away until He arrived!! Why by what we read in (v6). The disciples don’t realize its Jesus until John said ‘it’s the Lord  (v7). Peter jumps into the water to get their first as the men struggle to get the fish to shore (v8-v9). Jesus starts a fire and makes the men breakfast (v9). This brings us to the pinnacle moment in Peter’s life, when the Lord confronts him to what it truly means to love God

DO YOU LOVE ME MORE THEN THINGS OR YOUR WAY OF LIFE? 

Jesus goes right to source of our soul.......OUR HEART! IT’S INTERESTING TO SEE HERE A CHANGE IN JESUS’ TONE IN HOW HE DEALS WITH PETER! Jesus confronts Peter with something that would make anyone pay attention! Look what Jesus says in (v15) Simon son of Jonah....Not! Peter. It’s the same when a parent is upset or concerned with their children.......Rachel Emily or Victoria Grace........ Come here!! Jesus was speaking to Peter with a gentle rebuke as a parent! By calling him by his original name “Simon” WHY DO I SAY THAT? The Bible says in Mark 14:37-38 “Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Luke 22:31-32 “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."

John MacArthur said “it was as if our Lord called Him by his former name when he was acting like his former self” ......................I’m going fishing. JESUS LOVED PETER DEEPLY......... BUT HE WANTED HIM TO REALIZE THAT THE LORD WAS: More important than fishing? This breakfast I prepared for you and the disciples? Your friends and the disciples close to you? Jesus wanted Peter to be solely focused to Him and to serve Him with heart of commitment in all aspects of his life. “Simon, son of Jonah! Do you love me?” and Peter response with “you know I love you”

We see two different uses of the Greek word for love” Jesus uses the Greek word “agape” in His sentence, while Peter uses “phileo” in his sentence....Agape means to love God because He is love...its unconditional love, a love that never ends. Phileo means to a have a friendship with someone, an affection, an emotional attachment for a person...................in this situation Jesus. Jesus wanted his unconditional commitment to Him  and Peter responded with you know I love you as a friend or a brother. Jesus wants all of Peter and He wants the same with you and me. In Matt 16:24 we read this strong statement by Jesus “Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” THE QUESTION IS! Do we take that verse and many others like that seriously........Because Jesus does...... Simon do you love Me? Jesus had to ask this question 3 times to make Peter finally understand!!

THE LAST TIME JESUS ASKED PETER THIS QUESTION. Jesus is forced to use the same language Peter used “do you phileo me” This hurt and struck Peter in the heart because he finally realized what Jesus was trying to get at. Peter understood that Jesus wanted him to be fully and completely dedicated and in love with Him above everything. Peter finally understood what Jesus wanted him to do!! Love the Lord and feed and tend the children of God with all his life to the very end of his earthly journey. We are to be committed to the Lord Jesus Christ is our:
  • Joy
  • Happiness
  • Victory
  • Satisfaction
  • Everlasting peace
  • Treasure above all!

Are you willing to do that for the One who made it possible for you to life again? Are you going to follow whether it’s by life or death? As the Psalmist said in (Ps 63:8)My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” To cling to the Lord, to hold onto Him,to follow Him in all His ways! Whether it’s: Worship; His truths; His Gospel and His children. We need to remember Christ is always committed to us. It’s us who fall short of commitment. As Peter felt here in this conversation with his Lord and as he felt in the garden by the fire that night. The Lord says “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Heb 13:5
  • Are you committed to the Cross?
  • Are you willing to give up everything if He asked you too?
  • Do you really love Him?
  • Does your heart love Him above all things?
  • Would Jesus have to ask you three times “Do you love Me Christian?” 

WHAT DOES CHRIST MEAN, WHEN JESUS SAYS “follow me”? (v19) Literally means: “Peter keep on following Me” To be led by His example (Christ our Lord), to preach or profess the Gospel, submit to the rules of it, and cheerfully suffer for the sake of it, when called to it. This is what the Lord was doing all along. Preparing Peter for the ministry. Since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is says to Peter it’s going to cost you everything! for following the Gospel, we see this in verse (18-19). Whenever any Christian follows Christ. He or She must be prepared to suffer even unto death. As Jesus said again in Matt 16: 24-26 “Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

Our life on this earth is nothing in our own strength, we must deny our selfish ambitions and wants. We must seek to do what is right in the eyes of a Holy and sovereign Savior. Our heart must desire to follow Christ, because it cannot serve to Masters or our former passions
  • Satan chose the World
  • Judas chose the World
  • Lot’s wife chose the World
  • Esau chose the World
  • Cain chose the World
  • Peter chose the cross of Jesus Christ

After this conversation that Jesus had with Peter.......We see by what Jesus foretold came true! Peter went on to be used mightily for the sake of the Cross and to die by it. “Literally” (by what  Jesus said in v18-v19) TURN TO 2 Peter 1:12-15. Peter literally took the sayings of Jesus seriously because he truly loved Him! It says in Luke 9:23-24 "And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save itPeter spent the last 3 decades of his life serving the Lord and anticipating his martyrdom. Peter faced that prospect with confidence, comforted by the knowledge that he would not deny the Lord ever again! But instead glorify Him by his death. History tells us the last hours of his life, it is said that Peter, when seeing his own wife led out to die, rejoiced because of her summons and her return home.  He called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, "O thou, remember the Lord." 

The church historian Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius state that Peter’s was stretched out by his hands, he was dressed in prison garb, he was taken where no one wanted to go (a crucifixion), and was crucified.  He was said to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the way that the Lord Jesus Christ had been.

C.T.Stubb said "No sacrifice can be too great to make for Him who gave His life for me.”

“Imagine yourself standing alone on the shore with Christ, with the sea of eternity stretching on as a shimmering backdrop. Christ looks at you with knowing eyes and says, “Do you love me? Without comparing yourself with anyone else, do you really love me? Do you have an affection for me? We must love Him above and beyond anything or anyone else.” Kent Hughes. 

If Jesus spoke to your heart today. Would it say? “You know all things; you know that I love (agape) You” (v17). If that’s what your heart says today, never let go of your greatest love and Keep follow Him and serve your King and his people.....AND IF THAT’S NOT YOUR HEART THIS MORNING! MY PRAYER IS "You seek His face for forgiveness and restoration or seek His grace by faith for salvation! Because it all comes down to this one question! DO YOU TRULY LOVE HIM?

02 August 2015

JESUS NOT ONLY SAVES, HE KEEPS


1 Thess 5:23-28

The Christian life is a hard life with many ups and downs. There are times of great blessings and times of great disappointments, whether it’s towards us or by us. There are so many things we want to do better for the glory of His name, but fall short doing them at times. There are so many things in the bible to remember or understand that many of us have a hard time knowing where to start. We sometimes wish that the Christian life had an auto pilot button and all we had to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. But that’s not so! Following Christ is not simple saying your prayers and reading a few scriptures only to sit back and watch your faith fly itself. As on writer said “you don’t soar past problems, cruise through relationships and then glide effortlessly into spiritual maturity. Christianity requires hard work. In fact, Jesus made no secret of the level of commitment required to take this journey.” Listen to what Jesus said “"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:2-33

This young church in Thessalonica has demonstrated for us what it means to be committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we’re His, our lives will reflect our commitment to Him. Our lives are hidden in Christ and He will fulfill His purposes through His sanctifying work. Paul’s final exhortation in his letter is summed up in his closing prayer. The only way we will ever have a healthy church. The only way we will ever have a healthy Christina life. The only way we can put these truths into practice fully and successfully is in the completing work of Christ in our lives. Remember Paul said …… (v12-v22) This is only possible through the sanctifying work of God in our lives through the gospel. Not only did Jesus save us and restore our broken relationships with God the Father. He is endless in His perfecting work in our lives. Though we are sinners saved by grace….we are righteous in the eyes of Father.....Because, Jesus is still saving and transforming each and everyone one of God’s elect children by His mercy and grace. See, the gospel doesn’t just save you were you’re at and leave you helpless and aimlessly wandering alone in this fallen world. He saves you, and He keeps you, as He directs you home into His glory. Paul's emphasizes that it is God Who sanctifies us ("Himself sanctifies you"), accomplishing His work in us.

The source of our sanctification is God HimselfLook what Paul writes in the closing of prayer! (V23) “May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely” First we need to understand this word “sanctify”

“Sanctify” means “to set apart” or “separate” from sin to holiness. See, sanctification is the ongoing, the continual process by which God increasingly sets His children apart from sin and He directs us in the path of holy living. Sin always displeases the heart of God, but walking in holiness and seeking God’s will for our lives, pleases Him. Sanctification is not a new word to God’s children, but an old own! “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Gen 2:3. In the Book of Job we read “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” Job 1:5. Prior to God giving Moses the Ten Commandments, He set Israel as a holy nation. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation….." Exo 19:5-6. The Puritan Thomas Watson stated it this way, '[Sanctification] is a principle of grace savingly wrought, whereby the heart becomes holy, and is made after God’s own heart. A sanctified person bears not only God’s name, but His image”

Our sanctification has 3 parts to it!

Positional sanctification- this came when God took your wretched disposition and saved and secured you in the Son through the gospel. In Heb 10:10 we read “….we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Ultimate sanctification- this is when God makes believers sinless in body and spirit forever in Heaven. Paul said in Phil 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Progressive sanctification- this is the process the Christian lives between our position and our ultimate sanctification. This is the here and now! The mundane of life, as we await His return or He calls us home. The time where God transforms and molds you into the image of His Son. Removing the things you once loved and replacing it with His purpose that bring Him glory in your life. Progressive sanctification is our pursuit of holiness through the Spirit. As Paul said so eloquently “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Cor 3:18. See sanctification is not vaccination shot, a swallowing of miracle pill or a free ride into the glorious presence of God. It’s an ongoing work that God does in the life of you and me and we desperately need this work to be done in our lives. It’s so ongoing …..Paul says God will bring it to “completion!”

“Completion” this means “entirely” In other words, He will complete your sanctification to the very end…..He will finish it! As Paul “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6. Do you see the confidence that Paul has in the God of the Universe? This means all (every) aspects of your Christian life now and forever will be changed and completed for your good and His glory. Nothing will be left unaffected by God’s mighty power in your life. Even the things that hold or cause you stumble daily; the things you pray wouldn’t plague your life anymore. Even in our defeat….. we find comfort and victory, because God is the One who sanctifies us. Now, that doesn’t give us license to sin habitually and do whatever we want…..….I’m talking about the things that cause us to stumble, the things we hate in our lives.
  • The angry outburst moment when things don’t go your way.
  • The moment of pride and self-righteousness when we’re confronted by someone.
  • The hate of correction when you’re in the wrong and bitterness you have towards someone when that happens.
  • The disobedient or rebellious action you have towards your parents because you don’t want to do something they’ve requested.
  • The unloving comment or the sarcastic comment you make towards your spouse.
  • The laziness in not wanting to go to church today or open His word to find rest for your weary and frightened soul.

The lists is endless and discouraging at times, but know this, we have a God in Heaven who will change those things one by one when we hand it over or submit to His perfect will for our lives. See the God is the one who saves, and transforms and according to Paul, He will finish it. Not just parts of you but all of you…….Look at (vb23) “spirit and soul and body” What is Paul saying? God not only sanctifies the immaterial part of the believer, but also the material part as well. Nothing in your life is left out of God’s mercy and grace! God takes the whole person and sanctifies him or her completely. God is not an angry distant deity who is looking to find ways to trip you up and laughs when you fall into sin. He is very concerned and cares about every part of your being. See, the Thessalonians had come to know God as a loving and compassionate Father who is in love with His adopted children. Chuck Swindoll said this about this portion of scripture “Our God has compassion filling His eyes because His wrath has been appeased at the cross. We don’t have to drag our good deeds before Him like sacrificial offerings, hoping He’s in a good mood that day. He demands nothing more of us for salvation than that we receive His love and forgiveness as a gift. Christ’s blood has done the work of atonement, and God is satisfied.” That’s why Paul said God is the “God of peace” who is the source of our peace. He is a God who set you apart unto holy living and He does this by taking all of you, as He does His perfect work in your life.

Look what Paul says next! By saving and sanctifying your material and immaterial being, He will do something amazing! He will keep you “blameless” at His coming. “Keep” means to preserve….God will keep you on the path of holiness. It conveys the sense of protecting, watching over and guarding something which is in one’s possession. As Jude wrote “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” Jude 24

“blameless”  means irreproachably, faultlessly. The noun describes that which is without defect or blemish and thus describes not being able to find fault in someone or something. This is amazing isn’t it? It’s one thing to be saved from the wrath of God, but it’s completely remarkable for Him to call or present me blameless. THIS IS A HUMBLING THOUGHT. Especially when we battle with sin each and every day! This is very comforting and that’s why Paul is telling this young in the faith church to continue as you are doing! The mark of a healthy church is a saved church that God is working and restoring for His glory on earth and in Heaven and He will present His bride blameless at His coming. As Paul said in the beginning of his letter “for we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.” 1:4. He has set you apart and He has left us with these comforting words! “…He will surely do it.” God has the power to save you from His wrath. God has the power to keep you daily…minute by minute. God has the power to guarantee our ultimate sanctification. As Paul wrote “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Rom 8:28-30

This is the God whom Paul is telling us about! This is the God who we celebrate and praise with our lips and our lives. So, why is this promise important for Paul to remind this young, vibrant church that God is the one who starts and keeps His children? Because it reminds us that no matter how much we fail at times trying to live our lives for the glory of His name. He will continue to break, mold and shape us into His glorious presence. Even when we feel once again…… I’ve failed Him. As the story of a man who thought God would never love him again after what he did……….and it took a young lady to remind him of God’s sanctifying merciful grace in the lives of God’s elect children. “Robert Robinson had been saved out of a uncontrolled life of sin through George Whitefield's ministry in England. Shortly after that, at the age of twenty-three, Robinson wrote the hymn "Come, Thou Fount." Sadly, Robinson wandered far and, like the Prodigal Son, journeyed into the distant country of carnality. Until one day he was traveling by stagecoach and sitting beside a young woman engrossed in her book. She ran across a verse she thought was beautiful and asked him what he thought of it. "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love." Bursting into tears, Robinson said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then. The woman suddenly understood. “You also wrote, ‘Here’s my heart, O take and seal it.’ Mr Robinson. It’s not too late.” In that moment he turned his heart back to God and walked with him the rest of his days."

We need to understand! God is the one who saves, the one who sanctifies, the one who keeps and the one who glorifies these fallen broken bodies. He is the one who restores my soul every single day and He does this without hesitation or dropping an ounce of sweat. He does this because Jesus saves to the uttermost parts and He will keep those who are his. As Paul said (read v23-v28). Remind each other of this truth and all of God’s children and live your lives by submitting with adoration and praise to the only one who has the power to change and keep your soul forever. Love the church and the family of God. The mark, the evidence of a healthy church is God sanctifying power as He uses us for His glory and the gospel.