12 April 2015

WHY NOT ME LORD?


1 Thess 3:1-10

Have you ever pondered the question! Why me? Have you ever asked yourself! Why me LORD? Why do You allow so much pain and suffering to happen to your children around the world? Why do You allow me to go through fruitlessness from time to time? Why do You put me through such pain and anguish with the people whom I’m supposed to love and share the truth with? Why do You harden the hearts of so many people, especially those whom are the closet to me? Isaiah penned this “….And He said, "Go, and say to this people: "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." Isa 6:8-10. Why Lord! Why? To be honest, there is no easy answer to that question! Except answering it this way! Why not me?

Paul knew that trials and tribulations where part in parcel to the Christian life. Why? (v3)  “we are appointed”  or  “we have been destined to it” We are appointed by God’s divine providence, in that we will face all kinds of affliction in this life. See, Paul knew that there was no escaping this! Why? (v4)…… In the NKJV it says “in fact” which means you and I will suffer for His name sake.” What does that look like today in our community?
  • For some, it might be not getting a promotion at work.
  • A certain group of friends at school.
  • A relationship that is unevenly yoked whether it’s personal or physical.
  • The unexpected death of a child or a spouse.
But remember as Jesus said ".... I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matt 10:16. Jesus said this “Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you......” John 15:20. Yet again we see the under-shepherds heart this morning for his children. It’s the old saying “before a child can walk, he must learn to stand.” It’s the privilege as a parent to teach your child so many things, especially when they walk for the very first time. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. Paul was like a father to these people!  We can say he was a “Spiritual parent” who was forced or hindered from being with his children once again. See Paul’s heart and passion was to be with them! As we have seen in the previous chapter. He wanted to help them to learn how to walk or stand when trials of life came crashing down. Look what it says in (v1) “we could no longer endure it” . Literally means “I could no longer tolerate, I’m unable to continue in ignorance of how my precious converts are surviving “

What couldn't you endure (tolerate any more) Paul? Answer: Paul was very concerned for their faith and their spiritual walk! They were under heavy persecution and animosity towards Biblical Christianity (the Gospel). They were going through things we could never understand as a local church here in Canada. They were being ostracized from family, friends, and communities. This was a great concern for Paul. He couldn’t be with them for purposes of his own…….. going back to (1 Thess 2:18). Not only did Satan hinder Paul from coming to them. But he also knew Satan was the Tempter He is always trying and testing, for the purpose of causing failure! (v5). Paul wasn’t ignorant to Satan and his crafty methods! See for Paul to be away from his spiritual children was “very unsettling”  Which means it caused him to worry, be disturbed or it was very troubling for him? It’s like the idea…….When you toss and turn all night long in bed because it’s too hot to sleep. When someone is angry with you and you want to resolve the situation and their not willing. When you worrying about that important job interview in the morning to provide for your family. When you have to take that all important 3 hour exam for school to get your grade average up. When a loved one is suffering and there is nothing you can do about it! Because you are too far away to be with them.

Paul feared the worst about their faith....He feared that they would swap their loyalty to Christ for personal comfort to avoid persecution. So what does Paul do about this unsettling in his heart? He sends Timothy Why do you think Paul sent Timothy? Look what Paul says in (v2)
  • Timothy was a brother: a strong spiritual brother who is saved by God’s grace
  • Timothy was a minister of God: a true called minister of the truth
  • Timothy was a fellow labour of the Gospel: a man dedicated to God and the Gospel.
You never send a baby, to do a grown-ups job!

Timothy was a godly example and soldier of Christ. Paul had a great faith in him to go comfort and encourage his spiritual children. Timothy was like a son to Paul. When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, he starts off by saying “To Timothy, a son in the faith”Interesting to note! Timothy and Titus, where the only ones to received this special expression from Paul. “True son” is better translated “genuine faithful child” which emphasizes Paul’s role as spiritual father to Timothy, which is why he sent him.
Paul trusted Timothy, and he also knew he could handle himself, if he fell into the hands of the adversary the Temper. Timothy you must go and establish and encourage my loved ones! Paul was not concerned for their: health, wealth, self esteem or your best life know! Paul was concerned for their spiritual well-being, during such hard and troubling times….just as it should be for every pastor or spiritual leader of the church. See, it’s so much easier to run and hide and blend in with the crowd, then to stand and face whatever comes your way! Like the disciples did in the garden , as Peter did in the court yard….just as Adam and Eve did when they listened to the lies from Satan, himself. I’m the first one to say “No one likes to be persecuted or to face trials every day” It’s not like we go out each and every day looking for persecution or troubles. But we have to realize that is going to happen!  But be of good cheer as Jesus said “fear not” Matt 10:28-33 we read “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Let me ask the question again! Why does a holy and loving God, allow us to go through such trials and tribulations? Why does He allow things to go wrong in our lives?

For example:
  • Why did You allow for me to lose my job of 25 year?
  • Why did You allow me to get hurt in that accident?
  • Why did You allow for my house to burned down?
  • Why do You allow children to be murdered?
  • Why do You allow for churches to be burned and people killed for their faith?
  • Why didn’t You stop the killing at the University in Kenya?
  • Why didn’t You stop 9/11 from happening Lord?
  • Why do You allow my classmates to reticule me in school for being a Christian?
  • Why do You allow people in my community to make fun of me all the time for being a Christian?
  • Why do You allow people to hurt us?
  • Why is my marriage in such a mess?
  • Why has my child stepped away from the faith that I hold so dearly to my heart?
  • Why is my mom or dad dying of cancer?
  • Why don’t people like me?
  • Why is so hard to be a Christian, Lord? Why?
The answer that keeps coming back to me over and over again!  Why not me; why not you? Think about: What right do I have to ask an all merciful, all gracious, all sovereign and just God, that kind of question? Again the answer that keeps coming back to me is….why not me? We always need to remember before we question the sovereign God of the Universe.
  • He is the One who saved us from the death we all deserve.
  • He is the One who saved us from wrath that is yet to come.
  • He is the One who saved us in spite of our fleshly desires.
  • He is the One who saved us by His grace by putting His only Begotten Son on the cross in our place.
  • He is the One who saved us from an eternity of torment and pain, which is where I belong.
See, God allows these things to happen in our life for one reason, and one reason only! So that He gets the glory in your suffering! Do you realize it’s a gift to suffer for Christ? Phil 1:29 “For to you it has been granted (approved, arranged, decided) on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”. Peter said this “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:16-17
If this means we have to endure suffering here on earth! I’m willing to live with it and not complain about 24/7. Why? Because He saved me from what I deserve, the same judgement to “those who do not obey the gospel of God” Look at what Timothy said for Paul, or reminded these believers to encourage their young faithful hearts. (v3-5) “no one should be shaken by these afflictions Literally means: “do not lose heart, stay strong”. Why? Because of what Paul said next “we are appointed to this” This is all part of God’s plan for His children. God wills that we face afflictions, trials, tribulations for His sake.....Why Me Lord? James said it the best My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  James 1:2-3. Jesus, even said this to His disciples, when He explained the parable of the 4 seeds that fell on the ground! “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” Matt 13:20-21

When we are faced with trials and tribulation! It’s for the purpose of seeing your faith!
  • A true believer will count the cost and follow by faith to whatever end.
  • A true believer will continue even if it hurts physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • A true believer will persevere through whatever is put before him or her for our growing and ultimately for His glory.
That’s why Jesus says the one that falls on good ground will grow……Some hundred fold, Some sixty, Some thirty. The evidence of a true believer is that you will continue to grow! Are you growing this morning? Are you growing more today, than when He first grabbed a hold of your heart and changed you for your good and His glory? Can you say “the Lord has always been transforming me into the image of the Son?
  • Even in times of trials!
  • Even in times of success!
  • Even in times of silence!
  • Even in times of draught!
As Paul said in (v3) “that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.” God is always working and directing us closer to Him each and every day! This was Paul’s unsettling concern for these new believers that he loved and missed dearly. But what do we see next! (Look at v6) Timothy delivered the news that would give Paul a sense of peace and joy in his heart. News that brings composure....news that would remove all that unsettledness..That test is over! I can get some rest now! Knowing my children are ok! Paul found this highest sense of ministry joy, (1 Thess 2:20) this is where see “for you are our glory and joy” come alive for us. His spiritual children were walking and growing in the truth of God’s word even in times of trials and suffering. (v9). It like the same expression of gratitude the Psalmist had when he said “How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me” 116:12

I can attest to what Paul is saying here and the concern he has for God’s people! This should be every pastor’s heart around the world this morning! This should be your heart as well as we walk this Christian life together as a church. When I see people in the church loving the Lord more than life! I can say with Paul: My heart is filled with joy seeing you glorify Christ in your suffering. My soul feels blessed with your passion for one-another and  the true Gospel you serve. My desires become your desires as we grow deeper in your relationship with Christ. My prayer life is stronger day and night because of your faithfulness to Christ and His church. I can pray the same prayer that Paul does here in (v11-13) as we will look at next week, Lord willing! Nothing on this earth should encourage us more than to see brothers and sisters grow in His grace, even in the midst of their suffering. As the 2 Moravian missionaries boarded a ship…..these were the last words that they cried out to their fellow believers who were staying at home “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”

My Sunday question: Is your faith enduring today, even if causes you to suffer for His name sake? Are you saying in your heart! Why Me Lord? Or Why not me Lord? We must stand fast (full of faith) in a world that hates and is going against everything we hold dear in the Christian life:
  • Biblical Morality
  • Raising and having Children
  • Biblical Education for our Children
  • The Family
  • The Freedom to pray and share the Gospel with others
  • The God of the Bible
The only way we will ever increase is by staying close to Him and the help of one another in our trials and tribulations by the Power of His grace. As Matt Chandler said “your house may be built on the rock, but that doesn’t (exempt) that doesn’t mean the rains won’t come” But as we stand together and encourage one another, we can say “Bring on the rain for the glory of His name.”                     

04 April 2015

A GUILTY MAN SET FREE IS THAT JUSTICE?


Matthew 27:15-25

Let’s take a journey back to a Roman prison cell in Jerusalem, some 2ooo years ago. It’s dark, very cold and damp, it's dirty, and you feel so lonely even though your shackled to other ruthless criminals. It’s filled with all types of critters (snakes, bugs, spiders, rats). It’s filled with other men who are about to face the same destiny as you are! TO SUM UP THIS EXPERIENCE! It’s not a very comfortable place to be to say the least! But there is a reason why we are there in this dark lonely cell. THE COURTS THE LEGAL SYSTEM OF THE DAY FINDS THIS MAN GUILTY OFMurder, a Theft, for being an Anti- Roman revolutionary, a rebellious person who is against the government. The sentence or final judgement for this man is DEATH! The form  of punishment is an old rugged cross. See! A person is nailed to this piece of wood through his hands on each side.....then they nail your feet together so that your posture is hunched over position! Which makes it hard to breath in and out as you hang their to die a slow and painfully. You stand in the position for many hours in the hot sun... until you give up your last breathe! (Modern Doctors would call this effectuation). NOT A VERY PLEASANT WAY TO DIE! IS IT?

According to Roman culture this was only reserved for the worst of criminals. The Jewish people forbid this form of punishment; they thought this was cruel and barbaric. The Jewish people believed this to be a curse from God. In Deut 21:23 it says “He who hangs is accursed of God” NOW THAT’S GO BACK TO THE DARK LONELY CELL OF THIS MAN
  • He is guilty without a shadow of doubt in a court of law.
  • He deserves and will be put to death for his wicked act according to Romans rules.
  • He has his spot reserved between to thieves! Why? He is a worst kind of criminal.
  • He is the very type of person the cross is reserved for.

SO IMAGINE WITH ME FOR A MOMENT YOU’RE HIM! You’re sitting in this cell waiting with great fear and anguish for the sound of keys to take you to your death.....the final resting spot called Calvary (translates: The Place of a Skull). You’re sitting in your cell hopelessly as you wait for them to call out your name next. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS RACING THROUGH HIS MIND AT THIS MOMENT? Nothing but complete fear! I don’t care how wicked a person can be; you are going to be extremely petrified for what is about to take place. But something happens that is completely changes the course of history for this man and for all humanity for that matters!
  • Your sitting in this cell chained to other criminals
  • You’re hearing the sound of people chanting louder and louder “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”
  • Your heart beat is getting quicker and quicker
  • Your blood pressure begins to rise
  • Your stress level goes through the roof
  • Your fate is closer than it was 5 minutes ago
  • Your about to take the long walk up the hill
  •  

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HEAR THE SOUNDS OF KEYS GETTING LOUDER AND LOUDER! You know in your heart, you know in your conscience it’s time! The guard opens the door and yells out your name “Barabbas, Barabbas, come forward! You are free to go!”
You stand their stunned, speechless, and amazed! You ask yourself the question: How can this be? Is this a some kind of sick Roman joke? You’re thinking to yourself, they released me for someone else! But, this wasn't uncommon to take place during this time of year (The Feast of Unleavened Bread). This was a Roman tradition for the Jewish people during Passover. IN JOHNS GOSPEL IT SAYS "But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!".........” John 18:39-40. But a man the likes of Barabbas, a notorious murderous rat, versus this Jesus fellow…no way! A guilty man is set free, is that justice? A murderer is about to be let go for the acts he has committed...is that Justice? A criminal is about to walk away a free man......is that Justice? A menace to society is free to walk wherever he wants to. Is that Justice? THE BEST ANSWER I'VE HEARD TO THIS QUESTION IS BY CALEB AND SOL. Which is where I got the title for my message and the quote that hangs on the wall in my office. “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that justice? No! That’s grace!”


SEE! GRACE IS DEFINED THIS WAY ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE: Appropriately, this is the free unmerited love and favour of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10. A state of reconciliation to God Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1-2. It’s a source of our calling? But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,” Gal 1:15. See it was by grace that Jesus took this man’s place that day! See it was by grace that Jesus allowed all these events to happen, which lead Barabbas to be released by Pilate. WHY? BECAUSE THIS SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED, RIGHT!
  • That’s not fair! That’s not justice!
  • What is wrong with this situation!
  • What is wrong with our society or our justice system!

Barabbas is a murderer and rebellious man to society according to (Luke 23:19). Mike Andrews is a wretched sinner who’s heart is deceitful and wicked (Jer 17:9). You are a lost sinner who needs Christ according to His written Word (Rom 3). Jesus didn't do anything wrong, which makes this grace for fallen man seem so much more personal and absolutely amazing! Why? Because...In Mark’s Gospel.........PILATE SAID “Why, what evil has He done? Mark 15:14. In Luke’s Gospel...........PILATE SAID "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.  Luke 23:14-15. The Apostle Peter, would write years later "WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH"; 1 Peter 2:22. The Apostle Paul Wrote “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21. Jesus showed such overflowing grace and love for fallen mankind...........Jesus took our place by humbling Himself for or sin by dying for you, me and Barabbas

JESUS’ DEATH WAS VOLUNTARY

Phil 2:6-8 it sayswho, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
  
JESUS’ DEATH WAS UNDESERVED

Isaiah 53:9 penned these wordsAnd they made His grave with the wicked (the guilty, condemned, ungodly) But with the rich (the nobleman's tomb Joseph of Arimathea) at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit (false, guile) in His mouth.” There was no reason for Jesus to face this kind of persecution. An innocent man died for the sins of the whole world

JESUS’ DEATH WAS APPOINTED BY GOD

Isaiah 53:10 we read this painful reminder “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” This was the only way to fulfill the Father’s requirement for sin. The pleasure - God's gracious decree for the salvation of mankind shall be effectually carried out through the offering of His Son. As John Piper said “Jesus was not swept away by the wrath of uncontrolled men. He was bruised by his Father. Why? To resolve the tension between the Father's love for his glory and his love for sinners.”

JESUS’ DEATH WAS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE FOR SIN

“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU DID NOT DESIRE, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME.  IN BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN YOU HAD NO PLEASURE.  THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME— IN THE VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME— TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.' “Previously saying, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING, BURNT OFFERINGS, AND OFFERINGS FOR SIN YOU DID NOT DESIRE, NOR HAD PLEASURE IN THEM" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Heb 10:5-10The old sacrificial system was removed to bring the second “ONCE FOR ALL” All things are satisfied, complete through the Son Jesus Christ.

This was the only possible way for us to be reconciled to God. Jesus had to be forsaken, abandoned, and deserted by His Father so that we could have life! According to John’s Gospel. For three hours Jesus was feeling the weight of all mankind's sin, the weight of Hell poured onto Him. The cup of wrath was being poured out onto His body, soul, and spirit. As He was separated from the presence of the LORD. WHY? BECAUSE OF THIS STATEMENT “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that Justice? No that’s grace”. WHAT AN AMAZING GOD WE SERVEHe humbled, He freely, He fulfilled, and He Satisfied the Father’s anger to take the place of a guilty person, so that we can be reconciled back to God though His death on a cross! To make this more personal! In the book “Jesus On Trial”  By James Boice & Philip Ryken

Philip Ryken told his personal story of a Good Friday service he attended! He said this “when I attended a play based on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the most dramatic scenes came at the end of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, when the religious leaders began to call for Jesus to be crucified. Suddenly, some people sitting in the audience joined the mob, shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” While our attention had been drawn to the action on stage, some of the actors had slipped in from the back of the auditorium and had taken their seats among us. The effect of their shouting was to implicate the audience in the death of Christ. It was as if we ourselves were calling for his crucifixion. My first impulse was to quiet them down. “No!” I wanted to shout “Stop! You can’t kill him! He’s innocent!” But then I remembered that I was a guilty sinner, and that Jesus came to die for my sins too. In that moment I realized that even if I didn’t want Jesus to be crucified, I needed him to be crucified, because my salvation depends upon his cross. And so I laid down my resistance. I took my place in the guilty mob and said in my heart, “Crucify Him! Yes, Crucify Him, if he will be crucified, for I am a sinner who needs a Saviour.”

CAN I ASK YOU THE FRIDAY QUESTION! Are you guilty for what you have done? Are you free by the Blood of the lamb? Are you saying in your heart if you were there “Crucify Him, Crucify Him?” “A guilty man set free on the account of another. Is that Justice?
No, that’s grace” 


(Revision) I quoted saying Joseph went with Abraham in my audio sermon. I meant to say Issac. Sorry and God bless! SDG


30 March 2015

WE CANNOT BE SILENT FOR A KING LIKE HIM



Luke 19:24-44

Many years ago, during the Cold War, Stuart Briscoe traveled to Poland for several weeks of itinerant ministry. One winter day his sponsors drove him in the dead of night to the middle of nowhere. He walked into a dilapidated building crammed with one hundred young people. And realized it was a unique opportunity. Through an interpreter Stuart preached from John 15 on abiding in Christ. Ten minutes into his message, the lights went out. Pitch black. Stuart’s interpreter urged him to keep talking. Unable to see his notes or read his Bible, he continued. After Stuart had preached in the dark for twenty minutes, the lights suddenly blinked on, and what Stuart saw startled him: everyone was on their knees, and they remained there for the rest of my message. The next day Stuart commented on this to one man, and he said, "After you left, we stayed on our knees most of the night. Your teaching was new to us. We wanted to make sure we were abiding in Christ."

This is the same expression of adoration we should be displaying each and every day for our Saving King! A Servant who became our Sacrifice. A Servant who never claimed to be king when he walked among us. See we come to a passage where I get mixed emotions as Jesus enters the city. Part of me is exited as these people are and part of me is saddened by Jesus' reaction to crowd that is celebrating His arrival into Jerusalem. To help you understand I came across one of John Pipers messages on this passage and what he says sums up those mixed feelings I have. John Piper called it "The Tragic Beauty of the Triumphal Entry"  He wrote this "When I was in seminary, I had one of Rembrandt's paintings of the face of Christ on the wall beside my desk. I was (and still am) captivated by this painting. If you covered one of Christ's eyes, his face had a sparkle of joy and hope. But if you covered his other eye, he looked like he was about to cry. And if you tried to look at both eyes, there were both emotions: first one, then the other, then mingled in a beautiful and tragic expression. That's the face of Jesus I see on Palm Sunday. In one eye we see the sparkle: "Yes, I am the king who comes in the name of the Lord. This is my city. These are my subjects." But in the other eye we see a tear: "No, there will be no reign in Jerusalem, no peace, no justice, no coronation day—at least not now. I have one week to live, and even that week will not be kingly."

Do you realize we are one day closer.....for when we stand before the King!We are here to celebrate not mourn! We are here to display to the world the true King reigns on high. THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS! Which King are you praising this morning? An earthly King or a Heavenly King? LOOK AT THE TEXT THIS MORNING AND SEE IF YOU CAN PICK OUT WHICH KING THEY ARE PRAISING AS JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM? The news of the raising Lazarus from the dead would have spread throughout the land like a wild fire.The scene is electrifying which is grabbing the attention of the people, because its the Passover! The decibel level must feel like if you were at the Stanley Cup finals. These people are genuinely excited because the King is here to rescue them!

It’s so loud! It’s drawing the attention of everyone! Why do I say that? Look at (v39)Quit these people because it could cause the Romans to get hostile towards us. What they were really saying was...... "Quit these people because this will make it harder for us to destroy you. BUT I LOVE JESUS’ RESPONSE! (v40) Do you realize what this verse is saying! Even creation knows who I’AM! The whole earth is full of His glory and you cannot contain creation as they praise the true King! Psa 98:4-9 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”

But many, who were there, were not praising Him as who came to be! The Messiah.....The Redeemer and Saviour for lost sinners. John’s Gospel says as Jesus enter the city they were crying out “Hosanna” which means “save us now” WHAT THEY WANTED WAS TO BE SAVED FROM THE ROMAN BANDAGE! The Jews had limitations to their surroundings and how they governed their people. They weren’t as free as you and I are today to a certain degree! They were under Roman’s rule and they had to obey and answer to the Emperor and King at that time. When they were crying out save us! What they really were saying was “save us....free us from Romans and take over the throne” I say this because of what John records after Jesus feed the 5000! In John 6:15 “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” They weren’t looking for forgiveness of sins or redemption and restoration! They were only looking to Jesus for the physical not the spiritual, they wanted their present needs met, not their future needs. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS IS! John 6:26 “Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”

AGAIN LOOK AT (v37) as Jesus entered the city perimeter road of Jerusalem.

  • Jesus was there Genie in a bottle!
  • Jesus was there filling for comforts of life
  • Jesus was nothing but a man to bring them physical joy and freedom from the bondage of Caesar.
  • Jesus was going to be there muscle because He was so powerful to even raise the dead after 4 days
  • Jesus was able to heal the blind as John records before Jesus made His journey into Jerusalem.
BUT THIS NOT WHY JESUS ENTERED THE CITY OF JERUSALEM. Jesus wasn't entering the city to be a King. Jesus was entering this city to be a sacrifice for sinful man and women! our Substitute because we have offended a holy God with our depravity and sin. Again as Jesus sais to His disciples in Luke 18:31:33 “And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise."


WE SHOULD STOP HERE AND PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND REFLECT ON WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU AND ME! When I read the account of Jesus entering the city:

  • I see selfless sacrifice and redemption for my wretched soul.
  • I see the King who has delivered me from the bondage of my master Satan.
  • I see the glory of redemption entering the city.
  • I see the glory of the Gospel as He sits on a colt.
  • I see the glory of Heaven displaying its love for sinful mankind. 
THIS IS WHY THE STONES WOULD CRY OUT IF WE DIDN’T! The Creator of the universe is coming into the city riding on a colt... which is a humbling display of grace and love towards a people that would later call out His name to be crucified. This is why I can sing with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Job.....and the saints of old that our King is here to deliver us from our sins and to pave a way home to the Father. THIS IS WHY I CAN SING WITH THE PSALMIST, Ps 118:20-26 “This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.” 

THIS JOYFULL EXPRESSION BY THE PSLAMIST MAKES ME GO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION! .........Which King are you rejoicing this morning? Are you saying “save us Lord from the bondage of sin” or are you saying “free me so that I can have my physically desires and comforts met” Is it for an earthly King which fills your physical needs or a Heavenly King which saves your soul from eternal Hell? Because the majority of these people were looking towards present gain which will never solve the long term problem that separates us from God because of sin. YOU ASK YOURSELF! Mike, why do you say such a thing? 

Look at the verses that follow (v41-v44) Jesus “wept over the hearts of the people” Jesus lamented for the people because He knew their hearts and motives. OH! How devastating that must have been for the Jesus to see into the sinful hearts of man and to know what they truly worshipped. Jesus knew what they were going to do in the coming days. Jesus knew the hearts of the ones that would deny Him for salvation. Jesus wept for the souls that were lost. Jesus knew the outcome and the pending dome for His created children! (v43). The Lord saw the proud, unrepentant city as a pile of rubble wet with blood. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT HAPPENED TO JERUSALEM IN 70AD. Titus seized the city by cutting off all supplies and trapping thousands of people who had been in Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Romans systematically built embankments around the city and one by one they demolished the city temple....residences, and people. Men, women and children were brutally slaughtered by the tens of thousands.This destruction was God’s divine judgement for their failure to recognize and embrace their Messiah when He visited them. In Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!" But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."They were cheering for the wrong King, they were chanting for an earthly King.

JESUS CAME TO SAVE THE LOST THAT WERE BROKEN SPIRITUALLY! Jesus came to deliver them from the bondage of sin! Not from the bondage of rulers. Kent Hughes said “with the panorama of Jerusalem before His eyes, the Saviour began to weep, not with quit tears as when He wept at the grave of Lazarus, whom He was going to resurrect, but with a loud and deep lamentation. There in the middle of the road, with the great city in full view, the stunned multitude heard the saviour of the world wail over Jerusalem!” We need to look through the eyes of Christ in our own hearts this morning! ARE YOU REJOICING FOR THE RIGHT KING THIS MORNING? Jesus came to be my King, by becoming my shame, punishment, place and He became my substitute for the wrath I deserve.

So that I could be:

  • Redeemed from that wrath that is yet to come.
  • Restored back to the Father.
  • Forgiven for my sin.
  • Free from sin and death.
  • Claimed as His for all eternity.
SO HOW CAN WE BE SILENT WHEN HE CAME TO BE OUR HEAVENLY KING......NOT OUR EARTHLY KING? Palm Sunday is a day when we reflect on what Jesus came to do for sinful man and woman. WE NEED TO REFLECT AND ASK OURSELVES THE QUESTION! Who Am I rejoicing and worshipping this morning? The Jesus who will give me what I want so that I can be happy here on this earth? Or the Jesus who saved my wretched soul for all eternity? As Kevin DeYoung says “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Palm Sunday is a day we remember of His compassion and love for fallen sinners. As the King of glory comes entering the city to redeem sinful man and sinful woman from the bondage of Satan............... Not! Rome.

24 March 2015

MY JOY IS FOUND IN YOUR JOY


I want to share my heart personally with you this morning because we are going see Paul’s heart as we open this portion of scripture! Because this portion of Paul’s letter is personal and it reveals the true heart of Paul. Nothing excites me more than to see people growing in their walk with the Lord. Especially those who the Lord allowed me to be a part of! That excites me because it’s a privilege. This should be every pastor’s heart around the world this morning to see God’s children walking with Him. SEE MY JOY COMES.......
  • When you want to talk about Him and His glory.
  • When you want to learn and grow through the studying of the His Word.
  • When you want to pray and praise His name in the good and bad times.
  • When you want to share about what the Lord has been teaching you through your circumstances
  • When you want nothing more than to see people come to the Lord through Jesus Christ.
  • When you consume all your time and energy focused on Him! Because He is worth. it! And everything else seems meaningless in comparison to Him and His glory.
BUT sometimes my joy can seem to be sizzled out or distant! Because we only get to spend so much time together! Sundays, prayer meetings, special functions or visits throughout the months! But I know in my heart of hearts that’s not true! Though we all go our separate ways and have personal lives. I can rejoice in the fact that we serve an amazing God who….keeps us, sustains us, sanctifies us, secures us by His sovereign grace. That gives me peace and thankfulness for each and every one of you this morning. For Paul it was a little different!  Look what Paul says in (v17) “Taken from you” denotes an understanding of “being orphaned”

It literally means “to be torn apart” A Literal translation of this verse says “we being orphanized from you” It gives you the sense of a parent is without or the loss of a deceased child or a child is orphaned from its deceased parents. This portion of Paul’s letter illuminates how he felt about this forced separation from the Thessalonians. PAUL FELT THIS WAY WITH ALL HIS SPIRITUAL CHILDREN:

CORINTHIAN CHURCH: “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” 2 Cor 2:4

PHILIPPIAN CHURCH: “it is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”  Phil 1:7-8

PHILEMON’S CHURCH FAMILY: “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7

ROMAN CHURCH: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” Rom 1:8-10

EPHESIAN CHURCH: “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears (v31).......And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.” Acts 20:36-38

There are more examples of other churches that Paul founded on the word of God about his passionate heart for them. Paul loved these people just as much as the churches I just mentioned... ”He was torn from his children” The reason being..................going back to what was happening in Acts 17. Paul had no choice but to leave because the Gospel was causing so much commotion. Paul was forced from his spiritual children. Can you sense the emotion in his letter especially during a very trying time for any Christian with all the persecution?Their fellow countrymen; the religious types of their day! Not to mention the brutal behaviour of the Roman Emperor. It was almost impossible for Paul to return because of the hatred towards the gospel. Look what he says at the end of verse 17 “endeavoured more eagerly to see you face to face with great desire” Literally means “A great desire to see your face” I have a passion, I’m compelled and I have this controlling desire to see you again, I miss you dearly loved ones. This wasn’t a job to Paul but a passionate desire and care for others. See, this is humility in action seeking the interest of others. Why? As he said to the Philippians “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” Phil 2:2-5

Something happened that made this action impossible. Because he couldn’t! Why? Answer is found in verse 18 “Satan hindered us”
  • Satan is seeking whom he many devour
  • Satan has been doing this from the very beginning!
  • Satan has been trying to tear down the church and the children of God for centuries
  • Satan wants nothing more than for the church of God to fail
  • Satan desires nothing more than to see corruption in the church of God
LISTEN WHAT PAUL WROTE TO THE CHURCH OF CORINTH And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”2 Cor 11:12-14. Please do not be fooled! For Satan has deceived many into believing a lie! How? He gives some truth with much error! Paul was hindered in coming to them! Hindered (means) to cut into, detain” it’s a military term referring to digging a trench or breaking up a road. One of the countermeasures an ancient army would take against the opposition was to dig a massive trench that would prevent enemy troops from reaching its men. Another way to frustrate the enemy’s progress would be to tear up a brick or stone road so that he could not traverse it. It’s the idea when Paul gently rebuked the good people of Galatia “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Gal 5:7. It’s the same expression Peter used when he said “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Satan was making it hard for Paul to come back to them.....Again going back to Acts 17. Satan hated Paul, and anyone who bring the true unadulterated Gospel message. Paul was a marked man…because of his passion for the gospel. Paul was hated by many and many wanted to kill the apostle Paul! Again going back to Acts 17. We always have to remember that no matter what Satan tries to do, he will never have victory over our lives. Because?Jesus has conquered sin and the grave, He is seated on the Throne, He is above all things, and He is the Sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe. The Sovereign One who said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail (succeed, win, and triumph) against it.” Matt 16:18. Despite the road block that Paul was faced with; this didn’t stop him from finding joy in the Thessalonians church! Look at (v19) Paul shows us the personal side of his heart with 3 expressible things that gave him such great joy and victory! Even if this meant being separated, hindered by Satan and his fallen angels from the people he loved and desired to be with. THIS SHOULD BE OUR HEARTS AS WELL THIS MORNING! SHOULDN’T IT? Nothing can ever separate the love that we have in Christ Jesus our LORD. If you don’t believe me then listen to what Paul writes “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:37-39. Though we are miles apart physically we are always together in spirit.........Though we all go through different circumstances of life we are there for one another. Though we cannot always be together, we know God can and for that we find rest. He is always with us to the end of this life and forever in eternity! That’s why Paul could write the words he wrote! Look what Paul writes……..

YOU ARE OUR HOPE (referring to the promise of future reward and eternal blessing)

“Hope” as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining…..like most false religions. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:3-4. This is not our home! Paul knew, that even through separation and persecution he found genuine joy that the hope these people had was in the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is alive and sure because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Doesn’t this encourage your heart? Knowing that you we have born again loved ones who cannot be with us physically, but have that same hope that we have!

YOU ARE OUR JOY (our external happiness and satisfaction)

“Joy” is describes an attitude which is cheerful and glad. The world defines joy as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. But, the Bible defines joy as a gift of God, a fruit of His Spirit, which is independent of your circumstances. Luke 24:51-53 display this joy for us! “While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” We see this expression of joy when Paul said “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Phil 4:1. And even though he was faced with so much opposition over the gospel. This did not rob him of the joy he had in God’s children. It’s the joy that the bible speaks of as “overabundance” that could never be extinguished by Satan or anyone else. As Paul said in 2Cor 1:7 “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” John Piper said “for the Christian things may go really bad right now and yet not rob him of his JOY. The JOY is the JOY OF HOPE. Christians set their hearts on how good it will be in the age to come and in the presence of Christ after death. This is why Christians can REJOICE in tribulation and not just in health and peace and security. Tribulation drives the roots of JOY down into HOPE. The future JOY streams back into the presence and lightens every load.”

YOU ARE OUR CROWN OF REJOICING (your eternal life is a like a reward)

“crown of rejoicing” or of "glorying", or "boasting" It wasn’t that Paul gloried in them, for they gloried not in men. Paul gloried in the Lord, for His righteousness, riches, wisdom, strength, and grace, in the person, blood, and cross of Christ. Paul gloried of them, as trophies of divine grace, as a prey taken out of the hand of the mighty, and as lawful captives delivered from the power of Satan. The Bible speaks of 5 DIFFERENT kinds of crowns or wreaths in the New Testament!

The IMPERISHABLE WREATH that celebrates salvation's victory over corruption“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Cor 9:25)

The RIGHTEOUS WREATH that celebrates salvation's victory over unrighteousness. “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, (2 Tim 2:18)

The UNFADING WREATH of glory that celebrates salvation's victory over defilement. “you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4)

The WREATH OF LIFE that celebrates salvation's victory over death “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12)

The WREATH OF EXULTATION which celebrates salvation's victory over Satan and mankind’s persecution of believers. This is the wreath Paul is speaking of in this passage! (Refers to the overwhelming victory God gives His own: over sin, suffering, death and judgement). To those who are faithful no matter what the circumstance or situation may be! Nobody can take that away and Paul knew that wonderful truth! See, the crowns that God gives His servants are not like…… those crowns which were given to the conqueror, in the Olympic Games! Which were made of diver flowers, of the olive, wild olive, pine tree, and of parsley, and inserted in a branch of the wild olive tree and which quickly faded away? Peter called it an imperishable, unfading crown as we have seen earlier!

See my greatest joy is for you to see….
  • Jesus as your crowning glory.
  • Jesus as your crowning victory.
  • Jesus as your crown of eternal blessing.
  • Jesus is the reason you boast and live your life for.
  • Jesus is the reason you find true joy [not happiness] in a perverse and corrupt generation.
  • Jesus is the reason you love your spouse more, your children, your singleness. Why? Because Jesus is all satisfying.
Nothing or no one can ever take that away from us.......because it’s by His power and strength that we are forever His “in the presence of the Lord Jesus at His coming”. This should be everyone’s aim in the Christian life! Rejoicing over those who rejoice with us in Spirit and truth.

  • The saved
  • The sanctified
  • The children of God
  • The crowning glory of God
  • This was Paul’s source of joy and happiness (v20) “for you are our glory and joy”
William Macdonald said “The saints were Paul’s glory and joy. He had invested in human personality and his reward was spiritual sons and daughters who would worship the Lamb of God for all eternity”. THAT’S MY JOY AS WELL! To know that God is doing a work in and through your lives. To know that He keeps His promises of “coming again” for His children. To know that you are worth it and your worth is found in Christ. Thessalonica, continually were a source of glory and joy to Paul. Their existence in Heaven would also be an eternal source of glory and joy to Paul, Silvanus and Timothy! So let me ask you the Sunday question! Look around at the faces in this room! Who will be in Heaven that will be your eternal source of glory and joy? Can you say with Paul about those in this Sanctuary “for you are our glory and joy.”