28 May 2013

GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY



God’s Sovereignty
By Mike Andrews

                Have you ever sat down and looked out across the great landscape of God's creation? If not, I highly suggest you do some time it's breath- taking, because it helps put things into perspective when it comes to the attributes of God......especially His sovereignty. The word sovereign means chief or highest; supreme in power; superior in position to all others. God is Spirit, self-existent, immutable, changeless, infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and holy. When we become God’s children, we tend to play God and look at the sin and all the terrible things in everyone around us especially in our Christian brothers and sisters. We tend to always ask the question, ‘Why doesn't the Lord do anything to His disobedient people?’ or, ‘Why doesn't He see what his people are doing in the world that He created?’ The answer for that is not found in human wisdom for the heart is terribly wicked. (Jer 17:9) (Job 25:6) (Ps 118:8)
                Charles H. Spurgeon says “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength”. That statement is so true; I myself have the tendency to do just that. I worry and judge the earth and say “God do you see what your people are doing? Hurry up and do something about it!” We can learn a great deal from the prophetic book of Habakkuk. We are given insight into what he was going through and how he dealt with his burden (Hab 1:1-4) when the people that God chose to receive the promised land (Gen 12:1-3) (Deut 7:6-7) (Ex 19:5) were living a wicked and disobedient life.
                When Christians get to the point in their Christian walk of not understanding circumstances and wanting answers, there is only one Person to whom we can turn. He is the One who is capable of answering any question we might have: He is God the creator of the heavens and the earth, (Gen 1:1) (Ps 19:4) (Is 42:5) (Rev 4:11) the Holy and perfect deity of the triune God. He holds the foundations of the earth in his hand and is the ruler of all things. We as Christians tend to forget that we are here for His good pleasure not the other way around. Often, in difficult times or when we want something we have the tendency to want results NOW! We have the opinion that our ideas or plans are so much better than the sovereign Lord, because we don’t want to wait on God’s timing. When we fall this way, scripture instructs us to go to Him in prayer. (Is 55:6) (Phil 4:6) (Ps 5:2)
                This is exactly what Habakkuk did. He took the burden he had for the people and his knowledge of the terrible events that were going to take place in Judah, to the Holy One (Hab 1:12). As Habakkuk waited in the watch tower (Hab 2:1) to see the results of God’s righteousness, he was reminded that sin in the eyes of the Lord will not go unpunished. The Lord sees all sin as an abomination and He will judge in His timing not ours. (Deut 9:7) (Job 37:13) (Eccl 3:17)
                Even through all His divine righteous judgment of sin, we are still reminded of God’s mercy and the grace that He bestows upon all people who will call on the name of the Lord Jehovah. Habakkuk is reminded in chapter two in verse four that “...the just shall live by his faith”. It is a great comfort to me and for all other believers around the world to know that we have a God who will not only judge each person perfectly, but He will show unlimited grace to the children who look to Christ Crucified as Saviour.
                Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I don’t think before I act or speak, and that usually gets me into a lot of trouble. When that happens, my beautiful wife will say to me “You put your foot in your mouth again, didn’t you, Peter?” Oh how that rings such truth! I’m always wanting to be that self-righteous, prideful Christian (Hab 2:5) (Prov 30:12) (Luke 11:39-44) (Is 64:6) (Rom 10:3) who wants to execute God’s wrath and condemnation on fellow believers. By doing this, I’m only being a disobedient servant (Titus 1:16) (Eph 2:2) and not being the servant who is supposed to show others grace, mercy and especially love. (Rom 15:2) (Col 3:16) (Pro 11:30) (Rom 14:1) In order to accomplish this, I need to understand my error and remind myself that through prayer (Matt 7:7) (Mark 11:25) and walking by faith, I will be led to knowledge. Habakkuk also had to learn to be patient, obedient and to faithfully wait on God to do His sovereign work. Which He had planned to happen, In His own time!
                Jonathan Edwards said “A true love for God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any attribute: for no other attribute is truly without this”. What an amazing God we serve! I am in awe every day that our God could forgive me of all my wicked sin. It is this sin that only brought pain to the One who would suffer the punishment for the whole world: Christ Jesus. He is the One who loved me first before I loved him. (1 Pet 2:25) (John 10:11-15) (Rom 3:25)
                All things that God chooses to put in your path are there for you to learn something of His great will for you. Sometimes he will also use circumstances that are difficult when He wants to chasten you back to the place where you were found: broken and in need of His grace. (Ps 86:15) (Heb 12:6) (Is 26:16) (Job 5:17) The majesty of God is so perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing, (Deut 32:4) (Ps 29:3-5) (Job 26:14) which is why we need to walk by faith and trust that God’s plan is always perfect even when we don’t understand it. This is why I learned so much from the little book of Habakkuk; I was able to see a picture of his problem and how the Lord used that situation to show him what to do. Then I could see Habakkuk being transformed and praising God (Hab 3:3-6) for all His mercy and marvelous grace that he shows his chosen children of Israel. John Piper says “The climax of God’s happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of His people”. We need to look at the LORD Jehovah with reverence and praise (Prov 9:10) (Ps 96:6) (Jude 1:25) (Rev 5:12) for He is the Ruler of the universe and He honors a humble servant who lives with obedience and faithful praise to Him the “God of this World”. He had made a covenant promise with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and then God promised a Son who would come and bear the sins for all mankind (Isa 7:14; 53:1-12) (Zech 9:9). He is truthful (Rom 8:28-29) in everything He said He was going to do. The scripture assures us of this because the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

                Remember when you get to the point of exasperation and doubt that you will never fully understand what God is doing. Submit in obedience to him and go to Him through prayer because He holds all the answers. That’s why I am the created and He is the Sovereign Creator of the universe.

22 May 2013

IS IT BLASPHEMY OR NOT?



John 5:17-30

“I don’t see any God up here” a famous quote that was never said by Yuri but accredited to him. April of 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space. Peering through the window of his spacecraft, Gagarin was reported to have made the comment, “I don’t see any God up here.” [NOTED] Yuri’s colleague and good friend, later insisted that Yuri never made such a statement, though it came to be attributed to him, but was actually the result of a comment by Russian Premiere Nikita Khrushchev in an anti-religious propaganda speech before the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party: “At that time Nikita gave all the Party organizations the task to promote this propaganda and said: ‘Why should you clutch at God? But sadly many people today like this Russian dictator feel the same way down here on earth as well. “I don’t see any God down here either.” Despite who said it….it’s a blasphemous statement to make! Why do I say that? Blasphemy by definition is “to speak harm.” In the biblical context, blasphemy is an attitude of disrespect that finds expression in an act directed against the character of God. People [religious cults] still today chose to deny Jesus’s claims

Islam in the Koran it says “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made an example to the Israelites. Sura 43:59

Jehovah Witness claim Jesus is Michael the Arc Angel

Mormonism claim that Jesus is the half-brother of Satan

Rosicrucianism “Nowhere in the teachings and practices of Jesus can we find the least intimation that His great system was intended to bring salvation to the physical body of man. Even the salvation of the soul was not taught by Jesus, and all references in the Christian Bible to the salvation of the soul constitute a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding, of the secret (Rosicrucianism] principle that Jesus taught.

The Unification Church aka the Moonies “It is a great error to think Jesus was God Himself. Jesus is no different from other men.

The Masonic Lodge “Freemasonry carefully excludes' the Lord Jesus Christ from the lodge and chapter, rejects His atonement, denies and disowns His Gospel, frowns upon His religion and His church, ignores the Holy Spirit...”


Even so-called Evangelicals {I use that term loosely} blasphemy the name of Jesus Christ and His claims……

Kenneth Copeland said “Jesus has a beginning and an end.” In a message called [What Happened From the Cross to the Throne, Tape #00-0303]. Kenneth Copeland even went on to say in his own reference Study Bible “Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross and took His spirit to the dark regions of hell”

Paula White & Larry Huch, boldly and blasphemously stated “Jesus is not the only begotten Son of God. He is not. I am a son of God. He's the first fruit, He's the first-born of many. Jesus is not the only begotten Son of God. He is not. I am a son of God.”


All true blasphemy is rooted in false-worship & so-called religious organizations because they all have something in common! They DENY the biblical truth claims of Christ as lies and distortion of the text. It’s genius really! What better way to get people to ignore the Jesus of the bible by making Him out to be false teacher and liar. Throughout the centuries scholars and skeptics have given many different answers to the query “Who is Jesus Christ?” Countless opinions have appeared as unbelievers have attempted to explain away the truth about Him. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day motivated by their hatred and bitterness towards Him accused Him of many things
  • A Samaritan…………….. John 8:48
  • A man who was demon possessed………….. John 7:20; 8:52
  • An illegitimate child or birth……….. John 8:41

As one theologian put it so boldly and incorrectly “He [meaning Jesus] was an example of faith, not the object of faith.” So the question remains for us this morning!  Was Jesus telling the truth or was he blaspheming God with his actions and words? We are going to see 4 truth claims that Jesus defends as He speaks to His accusers.


JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD THE FATHER IN HIS PERSON (17-V18)

"My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." What is Jesus saying here? In my pre-incarnate state and in my incarnate state I’ve always been working and will continue to work throughout my creation because I am God. Throughout the gospel letter’s we see Jesus making claims too many Divine things…For example
  • Jesus called God’s angels, His angels
  • Jesus called God’s elect, His elect
  • Jesus called God’s Kingdom, His Kingdom

When the Samaritan woman said to Him “I know the Messiah is coming [He who is called the Christ which it’s the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word translated “Messiah”]; when that one comes, He will declare all things to us” John 4:25. Jesus responded with these words “I who speak to you an He” John 4:26. As one writer said “What works did his Father work? He had made the world in six days, and had then rested. He had rested from creating, but not from preserving. God preserves man and beast continually. He is working in this manner on every side continually. Were he to cease from this work on the Sabbath-day, or on any other day, all creatures would sink into death; for it is God that preserves even the angels of heaven from death every moment. This is exactly what Jesus is doing and will continue to do throughout eternity. That should bring a sense of rest or peace in our day to day struggles of life. That Jesus never stops [He is relentless] in His pursuit of sanctifying you for His glory and saving lost sinners.

The book of Hebrew is very clear on the personhood and deity of Jesus as it pertains to the God head. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, (His equality with God , literal translation "in son") whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being  (always being) the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (His essence) and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (the work is completely finished” Heb 1:1-3

He has sat down (means) honor, authority, and rest "it is finished" This is where He rules as Sovereign Lord, making Himself equal in every way as the Father. Jesus is so equal with the Father in His person Matthew says "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Matt 12:8). The Son of Man is a name that Daniel gave the Lord Jesus before His incarnation. In Daniel 7:13-14 it says "….And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.


JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD THE FATHER IN HIS ACTIONS (V19-V20)

"Truly, truly, I say to you" (v19) What I’m telling you is the truth so listen up! For a man to claim to be God was, to the Jews, an outrageous act of blasphemy as it would be for us if someone claimed to be Christ today as many have tried and failed. For example:
  • Most recently a charismatic preacher Allan John Miller in Australia claimed to be Jesus.
  • A Russian ex- police officer calls himself Vissarion claims to be the Messiah.
  • A man in the Philippines Apollo Carreon Quiboloy who as over a 6 million follows today.
  • Dr Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda from Miami claims to be Jesus. 

So what was Jesus stating to the blind religious leaders? Whatever my Father is doing, I’m doing also. Jesus is implying that the only One who could do what the Father does must be as great as the Father. In Matt 17:5 “While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
  • Listen to Him
  • Trust Him
  • Obey Him
  • He speaks on My behalf
  • The sad thing is

Moses speaks of the coming Lord Jesus, in Deut 18:19 “And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” Isn't it a comfort to know that Jesus Christ has been working since the day He created it for His glory. Isn't comforting to know that He came to this earth to complete the work, so that we could attain eternal life. He is equal in His works "I and My Father are One" (John 10:30)


JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD THE FATHER IN HIS POWER AND SOVEREIGNTY (V21, V24-V26)

Jesus has the power to raise the dead, Jesus couldn't have made it any clearer to these men. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” (v20). This is speaking of the powerful work of raising the dead. God has the power to raise the dead and Jesus also has that same power. The Bible says that only God has the power to give life to the dead “Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Deut 32:39. Nothing is hidden, no sin goes unnoticed and no good deed will go unnoticed either. I build and I tear down because I AM the LORD [the sovereign Creator] where there is nothing to impossible for me to handle. Remember the story of Lazuras……… Mary and Martha's brother was dead for 4 days. Jesus wanted us and them to know that Lazuras was really dead [4 days prove that] For what reason? So that we understand who Jesus truly is. We are going to see what Jesus meant when He was speaking to these Religious blind men (v21) What is Jesus capable of doing? What makes Him equal with God? Jesus has power to raise the physical dead, but he also has the power to give spiritual life to the spiritually dead. Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well? “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14


JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD THE FATHER IN HIS JUDGMENTS (V22, V27-V30)

Jesus has the authority to give spiritual life "Son gives life to whom He wills" He also has the authority to judge all men on the last day according to the scriptures. Its either going to be the Judgment Seat of Christ which is for the believer. Where Paul said we will all appear before Him “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10. Or the Great White Throne Judgment which is reserved for the unconverted, the rebellious sinner. Why because Jesus says so in (v22). All judgment has been given to the Son, which means the Spiritually Blind will have their eyes opened finally when they see Him at the Great White Throne. But the sad reality is that it will be too late to defend your case or lifestyle choses. Matt 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” If you are not found in the Lambs book of Life you are lacking one thing! His imputed righteousness found in the gospel upon your life and you will be cast into a Christ less eternity. But for those who are being saved we wait for the glorious return of our Lord Jesus to deliver us from this sin filled world. As Paul so beautifully penned in  2 Tim 4:8 “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” I think Paul summarizes this glorious truth that Jesus claimed to the religious skeptics of their day and ours. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him [meaning Jesus] and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11

I love what John MacArthur says The Father and the Son are to be afforded equal honor forcefully asserts Christ's deity and equality with God, who declared through the prophet Isaiah, "I will not give My glory to another". (Isa 42:8). Yet, the Father has commanded that all will honor the Son. Willingly or unwillingly, everyone will eventually obey the Father's command to honor Jesus Christ". J C Ryle penned these words about our Lord Jesus “Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and world were formed, Jesus Christ was like the Father, very God. From the beginning He was foreordained to be the Savior of sinners. He was always the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, without whose blood there could be no remission. The same Jesus, to whom alone we may look for salvation, that same Jesus was the only hope of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and all the patriarchs; what we are privileged to see distinctly they doubtless saw indistinctly – but the Savior both we and they rest upon is one. It was Christ Jesus who was foretold in all the prophets, and foreshadowed and represented in all the law – the daily sacrifice of the lamb, the cities of refuge, the brazen serpent, all these were so many emblems to Israel of that Redeemer who was yet to come, and without whom no person could be saved. There never was but one road to heaven: Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life yesterday as well as today.” "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."  (v17) So when a skeptic, a religious or a hostile person comes to you and tells you Jesus is a joke and blasphemy’s the name of Jesus……….you can say to them sir or madam no He is not! We serve a God that says "God My Father and I His Son do not stop working on the Sabbath" Unlike my opening quote……I see a God here and He’s found on the pages of scripture! His name is Jesus Christ……the God man! All of God's attributes goes 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We serve a God who never rests as we have seen He’s claims this morning

"I and My Father, we keep on working" AMEN!

14 May 2013

A MOTHER’S TRUE DESIRE



Prov 31

“A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
“If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,
‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,
“Ryan, you be Jesus!”

Being a mom isn't easy! It's a 24/7, 365 days a year responsibility. I can attest to this in my own home. My wife [Julie] is Mrs Clever, Super Woman and Chuck Norris all rolled into one taking care of six children [See how I added myself into that mix, her biggest suck....Me]. I thank the Lord each and every day for the blessing that He has given me [my wife Julie]. What I find amazing is that the bible declares “behold, children are a heritage from the LORD. The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Ps 127:3. Do you realize moms that God gives you the greatest responsibilities of all…. to love and nurture His wonderful creation...back to Him? When I think of that statement I'm reminded of Hannah [a barren women who prayed to God for a child]. John MacArthur says “one of the unique features of the bible is the way it exalts women. Far from ever demeaning or belittling women, Scripture often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples” 

Interesting to note as we come to this portion of Solomon’s letter: This final chapter of Proverbs contains two poems — the Wise King (31:2-9) and the Excellent Wife (31:10-31) — both of which are attributed to King Lemuel, whom ancient Jewish tradition identified as King Solomon, but who is otherwise unknown. If Lemuel is, in fact, Solomon, that means the mother who taught her son these wise sayings about excellent character was Bathsheba — a woman known more for scandal than virtue. Perhaps Bathsheba taught Solomon about his ancestor Ruth (Matthew 1:5-6), who had a spotless reputation, and then Solomon could have penned Proverbs 31:10-31 with Ruth in mind. After all, the passage parallels Ruth’s life in many ways. The Bible calls her “.... a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies”. This is speaking of her general character. She is an excellent wife, a strong or virtuous woman, full of mental energy. She is invaluable (extremely useful); her price is far above rubies (priceless). No quantity of precious stones can be equal to her worth.

SHE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A MOM WHO IS LOYAL (V11-V12)

She is trusted by her husband. She always has her husband’s happiness in view constantly. She recompenses all his kindness to her in beneficent acts. For kind words she returns kind deeds. Her good is pure; she will do him good and not evil. (v12) Her good is not inconsistent; it is constant and enduring, whiles she and her husband live. (v12). This is her general characteristic of a virtuous wife an “excellent wife/mother” who is loyal to her husband. Her husband’s heart safely trusts in her, for she will do him well all the days of her life. She is so loyal and caring wife/mother

SHE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A MOM WHO IS SELFLESS (V13-V24)

She is gifted with her hands and willingly works using them (v13). In Exo 35:25 it says "And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined line."
  • She collects the best for her family (v14)
  • She labours hard for her family (v15)
  • She provides food for her family (v15)
  • She is resourceful (v16 - v17)
  • She knows how to budget wisely and she knows what to invest in that is going to benefit her family
  • She helps others (v20)

Prov 22:9 "Whoever has a bountiful (generosity that person looks with a desire to give) eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor."
  • She anticipates the seasons, and prepares for them (v21)
  • She makes clothing for herself (v22)
  • She sells things from her handy work (v24)

This characteristic that Solomon speaks of is a mother that does all these things for her family with a heart of gladness. This is the “Fruits for her labour” a privilege to serve her family out of love not out of duty. The praise and success she laboured to bring was to her family and Community

SHE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A MOM WHO HAS A GENTLE AND QUIET SPIRIT (V25-V26)

She is full of wisdom (v26). As Paul said in Eph 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Let no corrupt communication. What is rotten? Anything that will demoralize others, obscene, immoral thoughts or immoral language is forbidden. All that the Christian speaks should be that which is good to the use of edifying building the hearers up in Christ. She is full of kindness (v26)

Prov 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

She is a skilled manger of her home a Titus 2 woman (v27) In Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” I think one of the biggest responsibilities is an organized home. That is hard, hard work. She makes wise use of her time and is not idle (v27) “Idleness” (means) sluggishness, laziness as we been talking about with the church in Thessalonica

Prov 14:1 “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.”

SHE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A MOM WHO IS BLESSED (V28-V31)

She is greatly respected by her children (v28). Nothing makes a mom happier to know that her family love and respect her for all her hard work! A great example is found in 2Tim 1:5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” His grandmother and mother had been converted before him, and he had followed them into the kingdom. By their example and faithfulness they were blessed women, who loved and feared the Lord who saves by His grace! Prov 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Abraham Lincoln says “no man is poor who has a godly mother”. She is praised by her husband (V28)
  • I praise my wife because she is someone who is very special to me because God gave her to me!
  • I praise my wife for her hard work as a wife and mother
  • I praise my wife for her faithfulness and devotion to me and our children
  • I praise my wife for her loyalty to God first and passion to be a wife and mother that the bible calls virtuous

What this verse is saying is that her husband is so fulfilled with her conduct.....
  • Towards himself
  • His household,
  • His business, and their children,
  • That he praises her.

He shows himself wise of her excellence, and encourages her, in her work, by the compliments he praises her with. (V23-24). Husbands your responsibility is love her and care for her as extremely valuable ..............!! Listen to what Paul said in Eph 5:25-31 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Here is a grand rule according to which every husband is called to act:” Love your wife as Christ loved the Church.

How did Christ love the Church?
  • He gave himself for it
  • He laid down his life for it.
  • So then husbands should, if necessary, lay down their lives for their wives:

Peter goes one step further to say that men! 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise ...live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
  • Show them tenderness
  • Give them honour  for they are special
  • Both in heart, in word and in action

Why? Because we are joint heirs of the same eternal life through Jesus and His finishing work on the Cross! Look what her husband says in (v29) “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." This is the hub of a godly woman! She is a God fearing woman (v30) Prov 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. The fear of the Lord is the condition of all woman, as well as of all men, excellence. In Luke we read 1:46-50 “And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation.”

Mothers are a family’s greatest treasure....Why? Because God has set guidelines and enormous responsibilities for Mother’s of all ages!!
  • A Mother who is Loyal to her family
  • A Mother who labor’s with a joyful heart
  • A Mother who is full of wisdom and gentleness
  • A Mother who is kind to all
  • A Mother who is an example of godly character
  • A Mother who is respected and greatly appreciated by her family
  • A Mother who fears the Lord with reverence and awe

(V30-31) “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Ruth Graham “As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible” As Charles Spurgeon “I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. . . .Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.” 

The Sunday Question: Have you shown her how much you value her role today children, husbands?

02 May 2013

DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WELL?



John 5:1-9

Sin is a terrible, despicable, and deceiving thing that affects everything and everyone. Since the fall, this world has been under the curse of sin. Everything became tainted with sin and death through the rebellious act of Adam and Eve. Rebellion, disease, temptation, bitterness, lying, stealing, murder, adultery, pride, idolatry, lust, envy and the list is endless. Sin has affected every inch of this earth! As Galatians 3:22 says “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin…” Paul wrote in Rom 5:12  says “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” We come to another encounter that started with a man and ended in a discussion with a hostile religious group of leaders. I want us to focus on the lame man who is by the pool this morning! There is a lot we can learn from this man and the situation he is in, as it relates to our own lives! What do I mean? We have a man who is unable to walk or move for 38 years by what we read in the scriptures (v5). He’s been there the whole time and is unable and people are unable or refuse to help him into the water. Now I want you to put yourself in the position of this man as Jesus approaches him with this question “Do you want to be made well?”  (v6). Now if you were in the same position as this man wouldn’t you think to yourself that this guy is either a lunatic or he’s trying to be smart with you? You haven’t walked in 38 years….which means your muscles, your body mass is deteriorating, your weak and this guy has the nerve to ask you such an insulting question. But if you stop and think about for a moment, it’s a legitimate question to ask anyone, especially a person in this sort of situation. t’s a question that will forever change the way you live and act in society!

Think about it:

If He says yes, then this man is going to have to find work. If he says yes, then this man will have to change his daily routine and future aspirations. Now I know this is good and I myself would jump at the occasion if I was in this sort of situation. But we forget one simple thing here [or we take it for granted] 38 years this man has been left helpless without hope, or a family. This would be exciting at first, but a couple of days, months go by and the reality of his new ability to walk would forever change the way he interacts with society. Which would be very hard for a person like this? Take for example! A man who has been incarcerated, let’s say “38 years” and he is finally going to be released from prison. Now, that’s a very long time to be isolated in a cell from society and things, life as he knew it would be much different than when he first went in. Do you realize that a great majority [not all of them] but a great majority of inmates return back to prison! Why? Prison life is all they know? They return back,  because they don’t know how live or change their old habits, they’re so used to living the way things were they don’t know how change or adapt to their new found freedom. As one secular writer said “When an inmate is released from prison, that’s all that happens. They let the released prisoners out the door and often there’s nobody outside waiting for them and they’re given a list of shelters to go to. They also have a list of transition assistance programs, but that doesn't help them at that moment. They may not even be familiar with the city where they’ve been released, they‘re broke and alone. Getting out of prison is tough.”

Please understand! I’m not trying to compare this offer of a miracle with prison life. What I’m trying to convey is that this man’s life is about to drastically change forever. Why? He has been a prisoner to his sin…… at least this sin for 38 years. (v14). See we need to understand sin destroys and kills everything it touches. So we really need to stop and think about what Jesus is offering this man. This is a question that I think we as Christians or a society need to be asked or need to consider daily! “Do we really want to be made well?” If so there has to be some dramatic changes in our lifestyle, in our churches.
  • Do we really want to let go of bitterness
  • Do we really want to let go of the past
  • Do we really want to let go of our anger
  • Do we really want to let go of our self-righteousness
  • Do we really want to let go of our sin

Again! Put yourself in the shoes of this man with what sin you struggle with the most! As Jesus said “Do you really want to be made well?” 
  • To the person who lusts after women! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
  • To the person who lusts after men! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously 
  • To the person who won’t forgive! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously 
  • To the person who can’t seem to find the time for your spouse or family! Do you really want this gone from your life? Seriously
  • To the person who is a workaholic! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
  • To the person who struggles with pornography! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
  • To the young person who disobeys your parents! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously
  • To the parents who abuse or treat their children wrongly with your words or action! Do you really want this gone in your life? Seriously 
  • To the person who makes excuses about attending church, bible studies and so on! Do you seriously want this gone from your life? Seriously
  • To all of us who claim to be a disciple of Christ! Have we counted the cost to what it means to follow Jesus?

If your answer is yes; then we need to let go of the sin that we’re in bondage too and cling to what is right! Christ and His precious gospel. It will forever change your life from this point on! And this scares some people! For some of us possibly in this room, we would rather stay in our sin. It feels too good to let go or give up! I don’t know what I would do if it was gone? We have become so desensitized to our sin it becomes a part of us and we really don’t know how to cope without it. Jesus came to this man with a question that is life changing and has eternal implications! What’s amazing is that……there are three basic responses to this question.
  • First, one can say “Yes.”
  • Second, one can say, “No.”
  • And finally one can ignore the question or say, “I don’t know.” its like seating on the fence! 

This last response was mine for many years, which in reality is the most dangerous, because it leads to apathy and a hardened heart. It’s like the song “Slow To Fade” by Casting Crowns. The subtlety of sin that creeps into our lives and takes up residence unnoticed by ignorance; and one day it comes to a head and life seems like its spinning out of control. Remember the Heart is deceitful and desperately wicked and only God knows it. So let me ask you ……..we’re you this morning! As Prov 5:22 says “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare [occupies] him, and he is held fast [captive] in the cords of his sin.” What sin is holding you captive for the past hour, day, week, month, year, and decade? The ultimate question is do you want to be changed? Yes or no! What I want you realize this morning is that our God is a personal, intimate God, who is full of mercy and grace towards sinful people like you and me. This is why came to this man and throughout history God has always been merciful even when we deserve His wrath. Jesus saw this man, full of sin, lost and helpless, just like you… before He got a hold of your heart. Micah said it best in his letter! Mic 7:18 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” Who has made the heaven and earth, the sea and all that there is? Exo 20:11. Who tells the number of the stars; and calls them all by their names? Ps 147:4. Who by His strength set fast the mountains and is bound about with power? Ps 65:6. Our mighty merciful God who showed compassion upon a sinner who needed saving. Jesus saw this suffering outcast of a man who was overlooked by the crowd, came to this man full of mercy with a question that could change his life forever (v6-v9) A question that has been asked to each and every one of us in this room “Do you want to be made well”

MADE WELL FROM WHAT?

THE BONDAGE OF SIN AND DEATH........1Cor 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

THE WRATH OF GOD.........Rom 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

ETERNAL DAMNATION WHICH IS RESERVED FOR SATAN AND HIS FALLEN ANGELS..........Matt 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

STRENGTH TO FLEE FROM SIN WHEN TEMPTED...........1Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Many people today don’t know they are really sick. This man knew he was physically sick, but did not appreciate the greater spiritual sickness he had due to his sin. Sin is eternally fatal. Many today are hardened by “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb.3:13). Others foolishly ignore or deny sin in their lives (1 Jn 1:8-10) What misery sin has brought into the world? How great is the mercy and compassion of Christ? The immediate rescue should impress on us the importance of living our lives each and every day for the glory of Jesus Christ. As John Newton proclaimed “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be; but, by the grace of God, I am not what I was. But again the question remains!

Do you really want to be made well? Seriously

Jeremy Camp - Reckless