16 September 2008

Are You This Man?

How Bad is It?

(Gen 3:1-15)

I want to tell you about my Jesus? The Jesus who is the love of my life. But I can not tell you about Him until I tell you why I love Him so much. We need to go back in time and look at a certain man, a certain place in history were things were beautiful and innocent. I want to tell you about a place that at one time was the most beautiful place to the LORD God than anything He created
1. It was a place of special interest
2. It was a place of extra care and concern
3. It was a place of the bird’s singing and praising Him
4. It was a place were animals roamed around together
5. It was a place of peace and harmony
6. It was a place full of beautiful trees, and plant life
7. It was a place that flowed out 4 rivers
8. It was a place were God poured super abundantly in a special way
9. It was a place where 2 important and special trees were located
10. It was the place were man was created
It’s a place called Eden, known as "the Garden of Eden". The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. (Gen 2:8-10). But something happened to this once beautiful, abundant land that was carefully watered and nourished by the LORD God. Something so great caused a ripple effect to the whole world. Something that changed the way we live today. That something is SIN! Its amazing that this 3 letter word changed the way the world was once was! Well what is Sin? Sin can be easily defined this way "its missing the mark", Sin originated in heavenly places with Lucifer the Ark Angel (Eze 28) and (Isaiah 14:12-15), Sin is universal (all people are affected by this curse) "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). The Biblical definition of Sin: its a transgression against God’s law, its not only an act of wrongdoing but a state of alienation from God. It signifies the rupture of a personal relationship with God, a betrayal of the trust He places in us. Sinful acts have their origin in a corrupt heart, a conscious, undermining, and ongoing state of hostility against God the Creator. The God who said "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 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 2:1-3). Gordon Olson said "We are sinners simply because we choose to sin or live selfishly. We are never held accountable for what we are not the author of. Ability is always the measure of responsibility. God has given us the ability to direct our lives, either according to intelligence in recognition of our obligation to God and our fellowmen, or according to selfishness and unintelligence in the supreme seeking of our own happiness." So I ask the question again! How bad is it? Lets look at how sin affected the whole earth and tainted it with its evil curse. This disobedient act caused 3 major events to happen to every individual ever borne. 1. Sin resulted in Physical Death, 2. Sin resulted in Spiritual Death, 3. Sin resulted in Eternal Death. From the very moment you are conceived you are tainted with this curse. You and I are a sinners! David said "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity (perversity, that is, (moral) evil: - fault, iniquity, mischief, punishment (of iniquity), sin.), And in sin my mother conceived me". (Ps 51:5). David knew his total depravity. David realized his fallen nature was inherited by his parents, who got it from their parents and son on. David realized this curse began in the place that the Lord saw to be special, knowing that Eve is the mother of us all. David realized when sin entered this earth, the curse was laid on every human soul. Job said "Who can bring a clean (pure) thing out of an unclean (foul, defiled) ? No one! (Job 14:4). There is not a single person exempt from this nature that began way back in the garden. We are all faced with: physical aliments, physical disorders, physical deterioration, physical aging, physical death. Remember what the Hebrew wrote "And as it is appointed for men (human beings), to die once, but after this the judgment (the tribunal, the judge in a court of law), (Heb 9:27)". But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:17). Sin is the Result of Spiritual Death. A removal from the presence of a Holy God. Adam and Eve had a very special relationship with the Lord God, because the word of God says "They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden..." (Gen 3:8). Adam and Eve were removed from His glory and holiness separated from the relationship they once had was now broken. Your sin, our sin has offended a holy and just God. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2). This is what each person is faced with right from the time they are conceived, we need to take sin seriously, God is greatly offended by sin. So offended Adam and Eve were removed from this very special place created for them to care for. (Gen 3:23). This one disobedient act caused such a ripple effect to the whole earth. We are all separated from His presence John the New Testament writer says it the best
When he told the religious elite Nicodenmus "You must be born again" (John 3:6). What is he saying? A person will never see the Kingdom of God unless they are saved by His grace, forgiven for their sin which has been the caused since the beginning. The 3rd result is Eternal Death. The sin that began in the garden has made us eternally separated from the One who created us. The LORD said "Eat of this tree you shall surely DIE". The Bible says the unconverted are banished from God “in flaming fire taking vengeance (retribution, vindication, punishment) on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction (everlasting ruin) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”, (2 Thess 1:8-9). Sin is eternal death, sin has its repercussions! We need to understand that a holy God hates sin! Without Jesus Christ in our lives we are eternally separated forever! cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matt 25:30), And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matt 25:46). Does an saved person understand the devastation of knowing that a loved one may spend eternity away from the One who said "it was "good" "Lets create man in Our image" Sin is not to be taken lightly. John Bunyan said "One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner." This is what sin has done to us all! And He (LORD God) said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" This sin has effected the youngest of children to the greatest of adults. Not one person is exempt from this disease. Sin has stained our lives physically, spiritually, eternally. Remember: Sin is dishonest, sin is deceitful, sin ignorant of God, sin is leprous, sin is crooked, sin is a taskmaster, it causes bondage, sin is compared to vomit, swamp water, mud, sin is lost, sin is separated. This once beautiful place flowing with “milk and honey” quickly changed to a place of harden ground, weeds, disease, wickedness, filthiness, sin and worst of all separation from the One that declared it to be “good”. NOW that we have a general understanding of what sin has done! Does sin concern you in your life? Does hurting a loving and faithful God concern you? Does your heart cry for forgiveness of your sin? Arthur Pink said "If any occupation or association is found to hinder our communion with God or our enjoyment of spiritual things, then it must be abandoned. Beware of 'leprosy' in the garment. (Lev. 13:47) Anything in my habits or ways which mars happy fellowship with the brethren or robs me of power in service, is to be unsparingly judged and made an end of— 'burned.' (Lev.13:52) Whatever I cannot do for God's glory must be avoided." Now can I tell you about my Jesus, the Bible says: God is going to do something about this problem, God is going to crush the deceiver, God is going to destroy the evil one. Because of your evil act and deception, you (Satan) will be destroyed. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." (Gen 3:15) “Her Seed” (Christ Jesus) will bruise, crush your head meaning Satan will be defeated once and for all. A Savior will be born from the lineage of Eve, who will one day crush Satan with a fatal blow! He has come and He has defeated sin for us by becoming a curse for you and me. Why do I know this? Because the Lord Jesus said on ther cross "it is finished" Our sin, my sin, your sin has separated us Physically, Spiritually, Eternally. But this is just the beginning as “the Seed” Jesus Christ will and has come to this earth in the form of man. “He will bruise your head”. Satan has been crushed by my Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord Jesus for saving a wretch like me. May we always take our sin seriously. The Bible says if we take sin seriously we are walking in the light where He is, because He is the only One who can forgive us of our sin. John said But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. And John goes on to say "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7,9. Amen to His loving grace towards us.

07 September 2008

Is This You?

Do you ever read the scriptures, and find when you get done reading the passage you just read that it hits you right between the eyes? That happened to me last night. I've been reading through the book of Matthew, and I came to chapter 20 where Jesus speaks of a man who hires labourers to tend to his vineyard. He hired some first thing in the morning, and more throughout the day. At the end of the day, Jesus says, the man paid everyone according to his (the landowner's) goodness. This is the part of the parable that hit me in the face, because the men that were hired in the morning agreed to work for a denarius (a days wage) and the others agreed to whatever the owner wanted to give them at the end of the day. Which, if you continue to read, we see that the owner gives them ALL a days wage. "So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. (v8-v10).

Does this sound strange to you? Our post-modern world would never tolerate this kind of goodness. Why? Because the world says, "Not Fair! You mean to tell me, that if I worked eight hours, and another person only worked one hour, he is going to get paid the same as Me?.... Wait a minute, what gives Me the right to tell the owner what he does with his money? What gives Me the right to complain and look sideways at others when I agreed to work for a certain wage? "..... Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. (v1-v2).

This parable is so true to my life. It is easy to look at others and say: "Why Lord?" "What about ME?" "That's not fair Lord!" What we should be saying is "Thank you Lord for your mercy and goodness toward a sinner such as I." Unfortunately, nine times out ten we end up complaining to others as the men in this parable did. "And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' (v11-v12)

Is this YOU? This is me at times, even in my Christian walk. When others seem to receive more or the same as I, I tend to complain, and ask those selfish questions (the ME questions). Instead, I should be thanking Him for His goodness towards others as well because they also have received a blessing from Him. As Job said " Behold, I am vile; What shall I answerYou?...." (Job 40:4). I have no right to complain when others seem to be 'getting ahead'. It's not for me worry about to whom the Lord wills to give. That is why this passage is so terribly convicting. When people say they can read the scriptures and they don't feel convicted or feel the need to change, they need to ask themselves, "Have I truly been regenerated by the power of the Gospel?"

This parable demonstrates to us that there are some who have lived good lives and some who have lived vile lives. Christ came to this earth to die for the whole world, whether you've worked fifteen hours or one hour. His grace is sufficient for all, and His love is infinitely for all. So we need to stop complaining and looking sideways at others. As Jesus said to Peter " ..... If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." (John 21:22). Jesus is saying you, Michael, look to Me and not sideways at your brother.

03 September 2008

What does Humility mean to You?

When the Christian seeks his or her own interest, their is one question they needed to ask themselves. Do I really understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Bible says "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, 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" (Phil 2:4-8). If our Lord Jesus humbled Himself to become sin for us, and bare the wrath of the Father. Shouldn't we be seeking the interest of others for the Kingdom of God? Do we care about those who are perishing into a Christ-less eternity. Isn't it our duty and previlege to taking up our cross, because "... for me to die is gain" according to Paul. Is your salvation all about you? or Is it all about Him? The One who displayed the greatest humilty for the whole world by becoming sin , the one who became a curse for you and me "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us..." (Gal 3:13). Knowing that I, Mike Andrews, was a curse before I was saved, and that Christ has set me free from the curse, is humbling enough to seek the interest of others before myself. As the apostle Paul said to the believers in Corinth " For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you." (2Cor 1:12). A life of Christ-like HUMILITY. By Mike Andrews