24 March 2014

WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO


John 10:30-42

What makes a person hate someone so much that they want to take their life? Take for example: More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined. About 170,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year (over 400 per day). Currently over 200 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide. Christians are persecuted in 131 of the world's 193 countries. North Korea: in 2014 it continues to be the worst country in the world for persecution and the list goes on! As one person said “Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.” What makes a person so angry that it fills their heart with murder? Especially towards someone who’s desire to see….
  • People have clean water
  • Cloths on their backs
  • The ability to think and read
  • The shelter of a home
  • The care and well-being of others
  • The care and concern for one’s soul

The answer to that question is one thing! They hate God and anyone who follows after Him. Do we not see this is in this passage of scripture? The religious men didn't just disagree with Jesus; they hated him from a pure evil heart of rage. Think about it for a moment! Not once did Jesus display any form of hatred or hostility towards these men. Not once did Jesus try to trick people or to cause harm to another human being. Not once did Jesus say or do anything that would cause someone to be filled with rage. So the question is…Why were these men so enraged to kill him? I think it comes down to this truth! These men saw what they thought was good and righteous in their own eyes seemed to be worthless as it compared to Jesus. Remember everything Jesus did was perfect and the standard of God’s perfection. His perfection was revealed to their imperfection and that no matter what they thought of themselves it was a wrong view of who they truly were! Wretched sinners who desperately needed a perfect Saviour.

But isn’t that so? Our righteousness is considered as “filthy rages” Isaiah penned these words “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6. The bible declares our righteousness as unclean! Isaiah 6:5  “So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts." Job 14:4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!” In Psalm 51:5 David said “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Rom 7:18  “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Paul wrote to Titus and said “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”Titus 3:3

The natural man hates the things of God! This is natural to those outside the camp of Jesus Christ the beautiful Shepherd. Maybe this is what made these men so angry and filled with hatred! See “hatred” by definition is “a deep and emotional extreme dislike that can be directed against individuals, entities, objects, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger and a disposition towards hostility.”These men hated so much the bible says they picked up stones to kill Him. BUT! Before we jump on the band wagon of disgust because of these men, we need to remember every single one of us in this chapel is CAPABLE of turning into one of these raging lunatics.

Think about! You’re having a good day, your happy things couldn’t be better, then all of a sudden someone or something disrupts your peaceful day of serenity. It could be triggered by……

  • Memory
  • Someone’s behaviour
  • A conversation
  • A phone call
  • A letter
All these can cause your attitude and behaviour to change drastically! Your temperature begins to rises along with your blood pressure. Your face begins change and you begin to use muscles that you thought you never had. There are veins in your head and neck that becoming more noticeable and your day that was once a happy time, is now become a time of irritation. It can happen that quickly and we can become no different than these men in this passage. As one writer said “if  I were to rank a list of sins from the worst to the least destructive…the top two sins would be anger and deceit….not everyone is an alcoholic; not everyone steals, or swears, or commits adultery. But everyone struggles with anger. This is a universal problem and we need to be aware of this issue in our own lives.

Here is the flip side! Is anger always wrong? No …………as Paul said “be anger and sin not” Eph 4:26. It is an emotion that can be used in a constructive way, but also can be used in a destructive way as well. We can see that being used constructively in the life of Christ and the destructive use of anger in the life of Cain. So were these men right to have such anger….a hatred for wickedness that leads to killing someone? Keep in mind again that……..
  • Jesus was no robber
  • Jesus was no murderer
  • Jesus was no rebel against the Law of the land
  • His life was filled to show the love of God, who always went about doing what, was right and good.

As we read “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38. There was no crime to be upset with, yet these men had such hatred and vengeance towards Jesus. As John wrote a few chapters later they hated Him “without cause". It’s as J.C Ryle said “unconverted men would kill God himself if they could only get at Him.” The world and these men hate to see anything of God’s image! Remember Cain and why he killed his brother?1 John 3:11-12 “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.” They hated Jesus because His righteousness reflected the unrighteousness of these men who thought they were a perfect example of righteousness. If these men were righteous in their right to angry with Jesus we need to consider 3 things

RIGHTEOUS ANGER REACTS AGAINST ACTUAL SIN

We must look at sin first as a violation against God, not us! David summarized this truth when he said “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:3-4. Righteous anger arises from an accurate perception of true evil of sin as defined biblically as a violation against God. Jesus did nothing wrong as He said “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" (v32) Healing the sick, and all manner of diseases; cleansing lepers, giving sight to the blind, causing the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. This were not only works of power, but of mercy and goodness; and therefore are called good works, as well as they were great and miraculous ones. The unbelieving Jews at Jerusalem were neither moved by our Lord's miracles nor by His preaching. They were determined not to receive Him as their Messiah "they took up stones to stone Him." See righteous anger does not result from merely being inconvenienced or from a violation of personal preference….and especially human tradition. It responds to sin accurately according to God’s word. It’s too easy to fly off the handle….especially when we think someone has wronged us personally! Don’t get me wrong, it hurt when someone sins against us….but remember it hurt God first before it hurt you.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER FOCUSES ON GOD AND HIS KINGDOM, RIGHTS AND CONCERNS, NOT ON MY KINGDOM, RIGHTS AND CONCERNS?

According to the scriptures righteous anger is God centered, not self centered or motivated to make me come out on top in an argument. My first response should always be concerned with the Kingdom of God and does it offend a holy God. It focuses on how people offend God and His name. Remember as James said “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20. For example when Jesus cleared out the temple merchants He did this because what they were doing was a violation against God. Just as here the traditions of men and their kingdom were more important than God and His kingdom. These men only cared about themselves and their own agenda….as long as everyone agreed with them and followed after them, they were ok! But Jesus and his unorthodox Christianity threw these men into frenzy of rage and hate. All because Jesus went against everything they wanted the people to believe. To go against them was too personally attack them and their character….and sadly these men were more concerned of saving face then the glory of God being defended. Wolves and robbers who were trying to pull the wool over the sheep’s eyes. What they thought was righteous was nothing more than selfish gain and an obsession for power to manipulate.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER IS ACCOMPANIED IN A GODLY MANNER?

All true anger must be handled with self-control. It must be restrained and controlled! Is that possible? Solomon said “Good sense makes one slow to anger,” Prov 19:11. The question you need to ask yourself is, when you have been placed into a situation of conflict….did you chose to speak comely when dealing with a situation properly? Or did you fly off the handle screaming, throwing things and so on? Remember what Paul said “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Rom 6:12. As one writer said “it keeps it head without cursing, screaming, raging, or flying off the handle. Nor does it spiral downwards in self-pity or despair. It does not ignore people, snub people, or withdraw from people.” Take the situation…….between David, Jonathan for example in 1 Samuel 20, when his own father tried to kill him because he believed what was right and the best for his people. Saul was filled with selfish pride and ignorance and his rage against David was so powerful “Then Saul's anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, "You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? (v30). Jonathan on the other hand handled this situation is a godly manner by standing his road firmly in the truth of God’s plans and promises. And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, "Why should he be killed? What has he done?" (v32). This only enraged his father’s anger more and Saul lost control of the situation by throwing a spear at his son “Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David.”(v33). This is where we see Jonathan continuing to handle this situation with righteous anger, even though he almost lost his life. “So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.” (v34)

So who as in the right and who was in the wrong according to John’s letter? If these men didn't meet the criteria of righteous anger then who is in the wrong Jesus or them? The same rule can be applied to you and me when we think someone has wronged us and we think we are entitled to have righteous anger. Before we claim righteous anger as a healthy anger……..remember these three questions…..Is there a sin to angry with? Is this sin against God or me? Can I handle this situation in a godly manner? The answer to those questions will determine whether or not I was just in my anger. Remember as Solomon said “a gentle answer turns away wrath” Prov 15:1. Don’t be like the fool who has foot and mouth syndrome like this man…..“…..who hates to be slapped on the back, once packs his coat with TNT and waited for the man who always slaps his back? His brilliant idea is that…..when he hits me he said “I will get him, I’ll blow him up.” Hate kills both the person who you hate, but also yourself as well. Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat. We need to swift to listen….slow to answer and slow to wrath! James knows what he’s talking about! Because he knows this is a universal problem.

17 March 2014

THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD KNOWS MY NAME


John 1-30

You may not realize it, but you’re mentioned in this chapter of John’s letter? Look back to (v 16) and read what it says “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”  This is speaking of His redeemed church [you and me]. We are the “other sheep” who would taste the grace after the Good shepherd would lay His life down for the sin of the world. I want you to really think about this passage of scripture for a moment! Several times Jesus makes this statement “I know my sheep” What is Jesus saying? What does He mean He knows His sheep Before the foundations of the world my name, your name were written in His book of promises……Why? Because He knows His sheep “other sheep” you and me! See, it’s not that He knows us like he is meeting us for the first time. He knew us before He created the cosmos and the planets. That’s why Paul reminded the true believers with this opening statement…..

In Eph 1:14 we read “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Before He created……..
  • Heavens and the earth
  • The sun, moon and the stars
  • Mountains, streams, rivers and oceans
  • Plant life and animals
  • You and me

He knew our names……………….WOW, WOW, WOW, that’s amazing! David spoke these words about our omniscient God in Psalm 139:16 we read…“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. I wasn’t even a clump of cells and you were already preparing my days. We also read in the gospels! Here is Jesus speaking of the final judgement that is a future promise. In Matt 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

Not only does He know His own sheep, but He also knows the unbeliever [the goats] before the foundations of the world. The Shepherd [the Good Shepherd] or the better translation “the Beautiful Shepherd” knew our names and He made Himself known to us through the precious gospel and the written word of God. The word “know” here is used in the sense of affectionate regard or love. It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in their welfare. What does Jesus know according to this passage in John’s gospel?

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD KNOWS HIS SHEEP (v14, v27)

This passage points to the close connection or intimate relationship Christ has with the believer. He is not a distant God who is just learning about you for the first time. He is not a disconnected God with His creation when it comes to out every being. He is not an unloving God that is completely ignorant to your life…..He knows you better than you know yourself! He knows His each and every one of His sheep….this indicates he knows our individual traits and special needs. When you read the word “know” it means much more than an intellectual awareness. It reveals to us a personal intimate relationship that He has with each and every one of His sheep. He knows you weaknesses and strengths, fears, desires and so on; just as sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for food, water, shelter, protection and guidance. Sheep, even need help getting up when they fall down or over on their backs. What picture of the Christian life!
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to find peace in the midst of turmoil.
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to find rest in a dry weary land.
  • I desperately need hear His voice to find shelter in a storm of my life
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to lead me beside still waters.

Why? He is the beautiful Shepherd and I know Him because I trust in Him alone to guard and deliver my soul into heaven.

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD GIVES HIS SHEEP ETERNAL LIFE (v28a)

The Good Shepherd pardons our sin and cloths us with His righteousness and gives us a right or the title to reside in heaven with Him for all eternity. A God who came to this earth to dwell among men came to die so the He could leave the Spirit to dwell in men for the purpose of preserving his property so that we can finally dwell where He is. In Heaven with all His glory! Just as Jesus said to the woman at the well we need physical water to sustain life, we need His living water which is the promise of everlasting life.
  • Eternal life is more than forgiveness.
  • Eternal life is more than a free pass from Judgement.
  • Eternal life is all about Christ, the beautiful Shepherd who loved me and died for my sin personally.

As Kent Hughes wrote “He is altogether lovely, this beautiful Jesus, our shepherd. Why is he so beautiful? Because of the way He relates to us, calls us by name, and knows us, and because we know Him and He sees to our every need. Why is He so beautiful? Because He is door, and when we go in, we find protection and salvation. And when we go out, we find pasture and abundant life. Why is he so beautiful? Because of his heart. Because he laid down his life for His sheep. And offers us all a place with Him.” Our beautiful Saviour not only knows us individually, but he also keeps us according to His mercy and grace….through the promise He gives to His sheep……..a permanent home where he is in Heaven. As Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3. As a sheep [a child of the Living God] do not be troubled by this world and the situations that He has allowed in your life. He has promised you that he will never leave you or forsake you……because you are His property. This brings me to my 3 point in this passage!

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD DECLARES THAT HIS SHEEP WILL NEVER PERISH (v28b, v29)

Though we are weak, prone to flee or give in or give up by throwing in the towel. Easily persuaded to go back to what or were we feel comfortable. The Shepherd will see to that doesn’t happen as He shepherds us home, “my sheep shall never perish” you should underline the word “never” because as New Covenant believers this is where I find great comfort in my day to day struggles of life. Think about it for a moment! The God and Creator of the universe who spoke life into existence is the one who says the “true believer” will never perish.
  • The same God who parted the Red Sea and held back the Egyptian army. 
  • The same God who made the Israelites walk on dry land, not once, but twice.
  • The same God who prepared a flood and dried it up after His promise to Noah.
  • The same God who took a barren woman of old age and gave her a child.
  • The same God who gave a young boy named David the ability to defeat Goliath.
  • The same God who stood in the midst of the fiery furnace with 3 young men.
  • The same God who shut the mouths of the lions from devouring Daniel.
  • The same God who created a fish big enough to swallow a disgruntle prophet
  • The same God who took dry bones and brought life back to them.
  • The same God who came in the likeness of man born of a virgin.
  • The same God who willing went to the cross and faced the wrath that I deserve.
  • The same God who has the power to resurrect the dead, heal the blind, make the lame man walk, save sinners.

This is the same God who proclaims these words to world and the religious blind men who are before him. “I know my sheep”…….and “they shall never perish”. My question to you is this! Do you believe that the sovereign God of the universe is able to keep you? Not even thieves, robbers or wolves can harm or separate you from His sovereign power. Remember what the apostle Paul said “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Rom 8:28-32. The beautiful shepherd will keep His own safe by His mighty hand (v28). You [personally] have been placed into the sovereign arms of the Good Shepherd, who loves you and will care for you because you’re completely dependent upon the Shepherd for life. Just as a sheep are completely dependent upon the shepherd for all things to survive.

When Jesus performed His miracles they were always done perfectly! When Jesus came to die for the sin of the world, He did it perfectly once and for all. When Jesus called you out of darkness, He did this perfectly and He will completely keep you unto the end. As Paul said “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil 1:6
Embrace this wonderful truth, because its all of grace………….His grace in the life of His sheep [the true born again Christian]. Do not treat this truth as means or a licence to sin because if that’s how you look at the Shepherd and this passage, then you are not truly His. Remember what Jesus said “you are not of my sheep” (v26). But for us who are His…….. It’s liberating and exciting! I’m so thankful he knew me and that He has the power to keep this wretched sinner saved by grace. As one writer said “God, our great owner, the sheep of whose pasture we are by creation, has constituted His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Shepherd. He has all that care of His people that a good shepherd has of his flock. Trust in those promises because Jesus our beautiful Shepherd is incapable of lying. And His promises will always prevail no matter what happens in this life. Let us take care that we belong to His flock…..persevere in His grace of righteousness. Let us take care that we continue to hear His voice and follow Him by faith…..through the written word as we are guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us find rest in His eternal arms of grace……..because this isn't our home, Heaven is we reside. The place where the beautiful Shepherd is calling His sheep home.


10 March 2014

THERE IS NO OTHER DOOR


John 10:1-21

The Lord Jesus has been given many names, He is called……..
  • The Amen [Rev 3:14]
  • The Alpha & Omega [Rev 22:13]
  • The Advocate [1 John 2:1]
  • The Author of Salvation [Heb 2:10]
  • The Bread of Life [John 6:35]
  • The Cornerstone [Eph 2:20]
  • The Great High Priest [Heb 4:14]
  • The Lamb of God [John 1:29]
  • The Son of David [Matt 12:23]
  • The Son of God [Luke 1:35]
  • The Son of Man [John 5:27]
  • The word of Life [1 John 1:1]
  • The Resurrection and the Life [John 11:25]
  • The Son of the Blessed One [Mark 14:61]

But none quit describe the term of endearment that Jesus has towards sinners like the name that He has been given “Great Shepherd” See! A shepherd is someone who guards, guides, protects, tends and generally cares for the well-being of what they are overseeing. The Old Testament predicted this truth about Jesus, “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Eze 34:23. In Micah 5:4 we read “And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;” Who does the Shepherd care for? According to the New Testament, the Church is compared to many things in the Scriptures. It is described (among other things) as a Bride, a Body, a City, a House of Living Stones and a flock of sheep. If you could pick an animal to characterize who are you are, what would that be? I don’t think anyone would choose a sheep. Why? What are sheep like?

Sheep aren't very smart. If a sheep tries to go through a hole in the fence, and the hole is too small, he will just keep on trying to go forward instead of backing out. Like sheep, we aren't very smart either. We keep on doing the same things over and over and expect different results.

Sheep are followers. If one sheep moves, the others will follow even though it may not be a good decision. If the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow. Sometimes we are followers too. We follow what other people are doing, even though it may be harmful to us.

Sheep sometimes wander. They graze without paying attention to where they are going. They may be unable to find their way home even when it's within sight.
We sometimes wander too. We stray away from what God has taught us to do. Like the sheep, we sometimes can't find the way home even when it is in plain sight.

So we can summarize that sheep…..
  • Are creatures of habit
  • Have limited intelligence
  • Are prone to listless wandering
  • Can be very timid and stubborn
  • Easily frightened by the most ridiculous things
  • They are absolutely defenceless if ever attacked

As one writer said “the existence of the sheep was the prime evidence against the theory of evolution, there is no way sheep could have survived.” Let me ask you as we continue in this portion of John’s letter; can you relate to some of those character traits that describe a sheep in your life?
  • We are people of habit, do the same thing over and over again.
  • We are people who are limited in our understanding.
  • We are people who are prone to wander.
  • We are people who are shy but aggressive when we want something.
  • We are people who scare easily.
  • We are people who are defenceless most of the time, 9/11 proved that to the American people south of us.

This is why the Shepherd came, to save us from entering the wrong door because we are just like sheep! What door?
  • The door of deception
  • The door of false promises and dreams
  • The door of misguided truths
  • The door of false religion and religious leaders.

Paul told Timothy “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” 1 Tim 4:1-2. False shepherds, whose consciences are cauterized and hardened to the truth of God’s word. See according to Jesus in this parable, there are certain individuals [religious leaders] who will try to steal your hearts affections and they will do whatever it takes to destroy your soul, even if it means removing you from the flock. Many will try to deceive fallen sheep from entering the right door! Many will or try to pull the wool over your eyes, so that you don’t see or taste the truth of the gospel. Eze 34:1-31 proclaims this clear warning against the false leaders “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

Ezekiel goes on to say for the LORD 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock" therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them." But we see the promise from the true Shepherd of the sheep fold ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

This is who Jesus is addressing here in this parable as He warns the flock to be aware of. Jesus said "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (v1) And then Jesus goes on to say “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (v10). This is a clear warning to all who would listen…….including the Pharisee’s about the clear warning of entering the wrong door or way of "Thieves and robbers" 

What does Jesus mean by this statement? Their rip-offs, con-artists of the church, or into an office, and robs God or Christ of their power and authority; and such were the Scribes and Pharisees….and we see this up front and center today in churches, not just in North America but also around the globe. As this one pastor David Yonggi Cho, founder of world's largest Pentecostal congregation, was found guilty by South Korean court for committing breach of trust and corruption of 13 billion won (US $12 million), after stealing from his church family! To that I say “listen to the warning of this parable” because they stand behind pulpits every Sunday deceiving people, robbing people of the true beauty found in the gospel of Christ. Treating people as numbers and not as people created in the image of God.
Listen to the heart of a shepherd named Robert McCheyne, as he warns the people of his day “You know, dear brethren, this is Satan's great object in the world; it is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. This is the object of Antichrist. This is the object of the world. This is the object of all false ministers. This is the object of your enemies, little flock, for whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Satan comes to rob God of your souls; Antichrist comes to rob God of his throne -- to rob God of his laws; and the world comes to rob God of his Sabbath. So with worldly ministers in like manner, they come to rob you of your soul, of peace, of joy, of holiness. Antichrist robs you of the true way to the Father. And the world comes to rob you -- that pleasant world which says, 'Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, (Proverbs 9:17). And so with worldly ministers - this is their object, to rob, to steal, and to destroy. 0 my brethren, be warned to flee; be warned to flee from Antichrist; be warned to flee from an ungodly world!

See, a shepherd’s responsibility is to teach the sheep how to hear the voice of the Lord. We want to be sure we are following Him and not listening to the voice of a stranger or a counterfeit. This passage, this chapter displays for us what a true shepherd does for His flock! Jesus wants to protect us from people who are selfish and untrue, so He tells a story in the Bible to help us to know the truth. The promise of the gospel! That Jesus entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, through His death and resurrection.


A SHEPHERD CARES AND PROTECTS HIS FLOCK (v1-v10)

This, first of all, shows the complete knowledge he has of the sheep. Remember of Zacchaeus? When he was a stray sheep, Christ said to him when he was in the tree, “'Come down; for today I must abide at thine house'” (Luke 19:5). Jesus says “I am the Door of the sheep” Go back to the sheepfold imagery once again. The sheep are with their shepherd inside the stone enclosure during the night. There was no door of any kind in these enclosures. In place of the door there was just an open space. At night after the shepherd called in his sheep and herded them within the fold. The shepherd himself lies down across the opening and entrance into the sheepfold…..literally the shepherd was the door. No sheep could get out and no enemy could come in except over his body. In a very literal sense, the shepherd was the door. There was no way in or out except through him. What picture of our Lord Jesus Christ who is one who cares and guards our souls for all eternity. Jesus is saying, “I, and I alone, I and no other am the Door of the sheep.” Jesus is the one and only gate into heaven. Jesus Christ is the sole way to God. There is no other way. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Remember! If there is no Christ, there is no way to God. If He is not the Door, there is no entrance into God’s presence. As the Door Jesus is the one way of entrance into salvation.

A SHEPHERD HAS COMPASSION FOR HIS FLOCK (v11-v18)

He will lay His life down for the sheep according to (v11). Where else have we seen this statement about Jesus? Paul wrote “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph 5:1-2. That’s the gospel, which is filled with love and compassion for lost, prone to wandered sheep. Where do we see the compassion for lost sheep in the gospels? A prime example of this is found in the Luke 15 when the one sheep wanders off and the shepherd searches endlessly for that lost sheep. And what does he do when he finds the sheep that wandered? Luke pens these words “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:5. See shepherds who tend their flocks according to Jewish custom, did not tend the sheep in order to slaughter them, unless they were used for sacrifice. Shepherds tended them that the sheep might give wool, milk and baby lambs. The bible says “"I am the good shepherd” which means according to scholars “fundamentally good, beautiful or fair”. It described Jesus as one or the model that others may safely imitate. To call Jesus “good” is to call Him “God”. In Mark 10:17-18 we read “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” A God who cares and has compassion for lost sheep! This is why He came to please the father’s wrath for our sin by becoming one of us to lay His life down as a ransom for mine. As the Good Shepherd He is the One who cares for the sheep and provides for their salvation at the cost of His own life.

To enter through the door is the same thing as to “eat” Jesus, “drink” Jesus, or to “come” to Jesus. You must believe on Christ or trust in Him personally to be saved. We are not trusting in things or ourselves to be saved. See, the Door is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ; the only thing necessary for you to do is believe, repent of your sin and trust in Jesus Christ. So my only Sunday question for those who have not tasted that grace of the gospel……………Have you believed or trusted in Him for everlasting life? As for the believer, find great comfort in this passage as the GOOD SHEPHERD leads you along the story book path of your life that He has written for you. Though it’s easy for sheep to wander and leave the God we love as Robert Robinson said in his song. But we also know in the song “Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger,” Though we will face and walk through cold, dry days down some ugly dark valleys as helpless sheep, we can find great comfort in the GOOD SHEPHERD! As David said “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23


04 March 2014

BLINDNESS OF THE HEART



John 9:1-41

Around the globe we see and hear that sickness is a universal problem and it affects all ages, all religions and all ethnic groups. No one on this planet is exempt from the possibilities of sickness. Ever since the fall of man all physical problems are a result of the fall in Adam, for his disobedience brought sin and death onto the world. And let’s be honest there has been a lot of that already! Paul wrote “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Rom 5:12. We come to an event in history that is filled with emotion [sadness, pity, happiness, anger, grace and worship of the glory of God. It’s a man who has been blinded from birth! Can you imagine being blind from birth? Medically speaking! Of the five senses in the human body, our sight may be the most important to us. Statistics say that in North America someone goes blind every 20 minutes. Many, like this man are unable to enjoy the blessings of……
  • A sunset or a sunrise
  • Witnessing the Northern Lights
  • The stars or a falling star
  • Different types of landscapes and mountain ranges
  • Driving an automobile
  • Watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup this year.
  • Watching the rain come down or the lighting that lights up the sky at night.
  • A simple expression of joy or sadness
  • The beauty of a snow covered landscape
  • The beauty of a flowered covered landscape

All these things we who can see take for granted most of the time. And it’s for this reason, next to the prodigal son; the blind man is one of my favourite events in history recorded in the gospels. It’s filled with spiritual truth about you and me and our desperate need to be able to see the gospel that saves. Why? Before Christ came in we just like the men Jesus confronted at the end of this story,“Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.” (v40-v41) Just like these men we were once ignorant to spiritual truth! Able to see, but spiritually blind. Helen Keller, shortly before her sixtieth birthday, expressed pity for the real unseeing, for those who have eyes yet do not see. Her long years of physical blindness have given her a spiritual insight which enables her to enjoy life in all its fullness. She says: "If the blind put their hand in God’s, they find their way more surely than those who see but have not faith or purpose." See, we’re about to encounter another one of John’s recorded miracles that our precious Jesus performed for the world to see. Again, when Jesus performed miracles it was always to display or prove He was the Messiah. But, there is also usually another reason when he performed miracles…..so that He could teach or convey a spiritual truth. The blind receive sight! This man was once blind but now he can see all because of this simple truth.....“but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.” (v3) 

Let me ask you as we look at this beautiful story of God’s sovereign grace to save a sinner not from physical death but from spiritual death. What's worse: physical blindness or moral and spiritual darkness? Sin clouds the mind in darkness and closes the heart to God's love and truth. Augustine suggests that "The blind man is the human race." This spiritual lesson for us to see in this passage is that we all need God’s divine transforming work in order for us to truly see. Augustine is right! Were all blind! WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN OBSERVE IN THIS PASSAGE?

SIN AS BROUGHT MUCH SORROW INTO THIS WORLD AND INTO OUR LIVES……(v1-v2)

The disciples’ question reflects popular Jewish opinion of their day, that sickness is the result of sin. Like Job’s friends, they seem to reason: “This man is suffering, and it must be due to sin. Such sin is either that of the man himself, or of his parents.” Ultimately all sickness is the result of Adam’s sin. The sin that plunged mankind into sin was not murder or some other gross sin, but a simple act of eating the fruit of a prohibited tree. The sin was disobedience. It shows that man was not capable of determining what was good and evil and that man must trust God in the matter. So since the fall sin has done some really terrible things to people around the globe. It’s not only caused the earth to decay, but it also affects you and me as well.
Our physical bodies are dying and are prone to things of this world, and it’s all because of the fall. Even on today, with many diseases like: aids, cancer, heart problems, diabetes, lyme disease and so on continue to wreak havoc on our culture. Meaning that sin itself has caused much pain…..not to say it’s your sin that is causing you grieve and heart, but that sin has tainted this world. Think about it! If Adam had never fallen then we could assume that people would have never been blind or deaf and so on. But, the sad reality is that he did and this act of disobedience has spread to each and every one of us. As Paul said “But the Scripture has confined all under sin,…” Gal 3:22. “All” meaning every individual: Jews and Gentiles alike are under the power and dominion of sin.

THE POWER THAT CHRIST HOLDS IN HIS HANDS…….(v3-v7)

No medicine or doctors….just some clay and water and the providence of God. Such a miracle displays for us an old truth! That Jesus Christ has all power in heaven and earth. In the cure of this blind man we see nothing less the finger and providence of God. Giving sight to this man so that the people could see the glory of God on display and to be able to witness the supernatural work of God in the life of a poor sinner. The same supernatural work that made this man see is the same God who revealed Himself to you in the written word. Think about it! There isn't one spiritual disease that our Saviour cannot take away. He can take an ignorant person like myself and make me see things that I've never seen before. As J C Ryle said “He can send light onto the darkest heart, and cause blindness and prejudice to pass away.

THE DEPRAVITY OF MAN’S HEART AND THE GREAT LENGTHS THEY GO TO PROVE THEIR PREDISPOSITION. (v13—v18)

If anyone agreed or confessed that Jesus was the Christ they were to be excommunicated from the synagogue. These men were determined not to believe and would do whatever it takes to keep it that way. As one writer said “they were like men who shut their eyes and tie a bandage over them, and refuse to have it untied.” We read that the same thing happen when Stephen preached to the Sandhedrin about Jesus and the precious gospel. They would hear no more of it so they had him stoned! This is by far the most damaging thing that could happen to an unconverted man…….closing and refusing to hear the truth of God’s word. Again as Jesus said earlier to the religious leaders “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.” John 5”39-42. 4 times this poor man had to explain himself about what happened on this “supposed to be glorious day”, a man who was once blind but now is able to see. Their ignorance and unwillingness to listen was the root of their harden hearts. It’s all because of one man……. Jesus Christ!

HOW MUCH WISER ARE THE POOR ARE SOMETIMES OVER THE RICH AND SOPHISTICATED……(v24—v33)

A man who was once in a position the only thing he could to survive was to beg for food or money. Was now a man who could see something the rich elite couldn't see or desired to receive! GRACE. This poor once blind beggar believed what had just occurred in his life  because of the unanswerable divine proof [humanly speaking] our Lord did in his life. Why? Look what he says to the disbelieving Jews! “The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." (v30-v33). He said all this because a simple poor man saw something that the rich and sophisticated didn’t and would not see! The power of God on display to affirm Christ’s claims of Messiahship. But this shouldn’t surprise us or trip us up to hardness of man’s heart as the Apostle Paul said……“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” 1 Cor 1:25-26

WE SEE HOW WICKED A PERSON CAN BECOME OVER THE BLESSING OF ANOTHER…….. (v34)

A day that was supposed to the greatest day of his life turned out to be the worst day in his life. These men, who rejected the Light of the world, excommunicated this young man and put him out into open shame. What do you mean “excommunicated him and put him out into open shame?” This means he would be treated as a “heathen man” [a wretched sinner] so he would be considered an outcast or unclean to his own people. This would cut him off from the outward privileges of the Jewish church when it came to their festivals or forms of corporate worship. This also meant he would be separated from his own family and friends; they would not be unable to socialize with him or do any dealings with him. This was the fear of his parents! This is why they didn’t answer the question from the religious leaders for the fear of this happening to them. (v22) We can find great encouragement from this passage; this man stood his ground on the facts, the truth and did not cave to the power hungry religious leaders scare tactics. Men can kill the body, but they cannot keep us from entering Heavens gates. As Jesus said “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.” Matt 10:28

HOW AMAZING IS THE GRACE AND KINDNESS THAT CHRIST SHOWS A LOST SINNER…….. (v35-v41)

No sooner was this poor man thrown out [cast out] of the Jewish Temple than to find Jesus speaking words of comfort to the hurting man. Why? Jesus came to save the outcast, the lost and destitute from their sins. He comforts this man who has lost so much but has gained more! Eternal life in the Son of God. Remember no matter what you have or are going through we have a personal God who cares. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 58:8. No matter what happens in this life for the sake of the gospel our wounds have been healed in the precious blood of Christ. And most of all our strength is renewed day by day in the sovereign Lord. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


There was a story I came across about a man named Bob who was blind for 51 years. “Bob couldn't see a thing. His world was a black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. And then, he could see. A skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob had sight. He found it overwhelming. "I never would have dreamed that yellow is so...yellow," he exclaimed. "I don't have the words. I am amazed by yellow. But red is my favorite color. I just can't believe red. I can see the shape of the moon--and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapor trail. And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And at night I look at the stars in the sky and the flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is." “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Eph 2:8. For 30 years I was blind spiritually, walking in darkness living a life without hope or care. Until the greatest surgeon performed His surgery on my heart and gave me a new one, so that I could see the beauty of His grace and the love He had for sinners to take my place on the cross of Calvary. He removed my heart of stone and replaced it with His. He washed me clean by His blood so that I could truly see for the first time. He removed the scales from eyes to see and taste the grace of the gospel that saves. We all were once blind……..blind to sin and death, but praise be it to Jesus Christ who came, suffered and died so that I could see. As John Newton said “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

01 March 2014

STICKS AND STONES


John 8:48-59

We have all heard the expression “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. But the reality is that words can hurt. The Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword." Our words can cut like a knife and they can really hurt others. We all know that God hears every word we say and he knows every thought we have in our mind. This is why it’s very important for us to be careful about the things we think and say. We have seen this throughout the entire conversation that Jesus has been having with men who love to throw stones. Throughout history men of God have defended the truth of the scriptures, facing evil head on with the truth and exposing the evil that is in men’s hearts for centuries. Moses, who demanded that Pharaoh let his people go (Exo 5:1), Elijah, who challenged the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19-40), John the Baptist, who confronted the corruption among the religious leaders. (Matt 7:51-53), Stephen, who stood and proclaimed the truth to the Sandhedrin and paid for it with his life. (Acts 7:51-53), Peter and John, who rebuked the sorcerer Simon. (Acts 8:9-24), Paul and Barnabas, who condemned the false prophet Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:9-11).

We continue to observe the conversation that Jesus the eternal Son has with the: Sceptics, disbelievers, sons of disobedience, and haters of God who love darkness rather than light. Men who are evil and in bondage to their father the devil, according to Jesus. What made these men so angry? What caused them to continue in this discussion with Jesus? Maybe it had something to do with what Jesus has been saying all along! I am the Great I’AM.  He expressed this truth when He said “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." (v56). What does He mean Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw and was glad? It wasn’t that Abraham had some private vision, but it was God who gave him the “spiritual awareness” to see these future events. For example: The miraculous birth of his own son Isaac, born by his barren wife of old age. [Heb 11:11]. Abraham would have certainly seen the grace of Calvary when he went to offer his son to God. [Heb 11:17-19]. He would have witnessed the priestly ministry of Melchizedek who was Christ type of our Heavenly Lord. [Gen 14:17-24]. Though the marriage promises of his son Isaac, Abraham would be able to see a picture of the blessed marriage found in the Lamb of God. [Gen 24]

We need to remember the Lord didn’t say “Abraham saw Me”, but that “Abraham saw my DAY”. A future day [a time] of deliverance from the bondage of sin and death. A future day that through Abraham all nations would be blessed because the Messiah would be from the seed of his blood line. [Gen 17]. Though this Abraham rejoiced and walked by faith in the covenant promises that our Lord declared to him. This was an object that filled the heart of Abraham with joy; and, that he earnestly desired to see it. This is the same joy Jesus spoke of in Matt 5:12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” These men didn’t have the same sentiment that their founding father had when Jesus said “Abraham rejoiced to see My day” (v56). They only cared about the fight of control…these were power hungry men who didn’t know the truth! Why? Their pride was being attacked according to them by Jesus when He said “you are of your father the devil…” (v44). 

Look at how they responded! (v48) Not to be out done by this Jesus character; they say “He must be a Samaritan and demon-possessed.” This is a radical and religious belittling or dishonoring.This was about the meanest comment that was readily available to them. "Samaritan" especially to a Jew. Remember back in John 4:9 “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
Why? According to the Jews, Samaritan people were considered heretics and divisive, unclean people [half breeds]. These wicked men resorted to personal abuse and attacks. To lose ones temper, and call names, is a common sign of a defeated cause. They were attacking the very character of Jesus which means they were attacking God. We see this all the time in our homes, the work place, social events and even in the news. Listen to the conversations in your home, workplace, the school playground, even in the church. The world does this on a daily basis without even realizing the damage they are doing ; especially when you bring Jesus into the conversation…..listen to the comments by the media, the debates when the name of Jesus is mentioned!

It brings about: bitterness, hatred [and I mean murderous hatred] it brings out the worst in a person and it also reveals the genuineness of their heart. As the word of God says “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. In Mat 12:35-37 we hear about Jesus addressing their accusations of being demon possessed. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." But be of good cheer Christian! This shouldn’t surprise us or discourage us to continue the fight for the glory of His Son. Again! Not that we should go looking for it, but that we should be ready to face it as it comes our way!

As John Calvin said “The true Christian in the present day must never be surprised to find that he has constant trials to endure from this quarter. Human nature never changes. So long as he serves the world, and walks in the broad way, little perhaps will be said against him. Once let him take up the cross and follow Christ, and there is no lie too monstrous, and no story too absurd, for some to tell against him, and for others to believe. But let him take comfort in the thought that he is only drinking the cup which his blessed Master drank before him. The lies of his enemies do him no injury in heaven, whatever they may on earth. Let him bear them patiently, and not fret, or lose his temper. When Christ was reviled, "He reviled not again." Let the Christian do likewise.”

Why? We are under the sovereign care of the eternal Son of God that’s why! Abraham could rejoice as he looked to a day when sin would be no more on the earth. Look what Jesus says to remind us as He answers the ignorance of man. (v58). What is Jesus saying? I’AM the pre-existent, self-sustaining one who created all things for My glory.”Before Abraham was even conceived, born……I was the Great I’AM. This I’AM statement is the name in which God revealed Himself to the Jews when He sent Moses to deliver His people. In Exo 3:13-15 we read “Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' The words expressed are absolute, and therefore unchanging. It also signifies his eternity and immutability, and his constancy and faithfulness in fulfilling His promises, for it includes all time, past, present, and to come; and the sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am. So the question for us church is how should we respond to when faced with hostile and hurtful words? It’s simple: What did Jesus do? He spoke the truth in love to a people who desperately needed a saving.

NEVER RESPOND WITH ANGER OR INSULTS WITH THE PURPOSE THE INTENT TO HURT.

Romans 12:17-19 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.” Solomon wrote “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” Prov 15:1-2. Jesus said “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:27-28

BECOME AN INSTRUMENT OF GOD’S GRACE.

Eph 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”


ALWAYS PRAY FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE AND SUBMIT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT TO COUNSEL YOU’RE EVERY ACTION.

John 16:13 “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;…”

MAINTAIN AND REMEMBER YOUR IDENTITY AS CHILDREN OF CHRIST.

Col 3:1-3 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Remember!  'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me', is not true!” In-fact it's quite the opposite. Bones can heal a whole lot faster than words spoken over us. Observe the eternal Son of God and how He responded to His creation, to the ones who are created in His image. Speaking the truth in love with the purpose of drawing people to the gospel that saves. Respond as Jesus without excuses! I say this because as J.C Ryle said “nicknames, insults, labels, and violent language, are favourite weapons with the devil. Let me close with this story of an official of a Mission Board, who knew that it takes more than desire to make a missionary, was appointed to examine a candidate. He told the young man to come to his house at 6 in the morning. The young man went at 6 in the morning to be examined, and the examiner kept him sitting in the room until ten. Then he went down to him and said abruptly, “Can you spell? Can you spell God?” “Yes, sir,” came the answer calmly. “Can you write your name? Do you know what your name is?” “Yes, sir,” again he replied. He put him through a series of questions of that kind, and then went to the Missionary Board and said, “He will do. I tried his patience for four hours, and he did not break down: I then insulted him, and he did not lose his temper. He will do.” That is the way to prove Christianity. If a man answers all abuses with patience, courage, a gentleness that cannot be violated, depend upon it, Christ’s love has conquered his heart, and the Christianity that has made him what he is vindicated by the very quality of his character. Such a Christian causes men to say, “Well, after all, you’ve got to say something for a religion that produces a man like that.” So let’s follow our Lord Jesus Christ……the one who created us for His glory and our good.
  • The one who secures us in His sovereign grace.
  • The one who we’re to lean upon when faced with adversity and conflict.
  • The one who displays for us how we are to live for Him.
  • The one who we are emulate to a world trapped in bondage.