Friday, April 17, 2009

 

2 Timothy 3:16 The Necessity of The Scriptures

 

A November afternoon in 1971 in Portland, Oregon. A storm was blowing in from the west…rainy/windy/dreary. A man in his mid 40's bought an airline ticket for $20 to fly from Portland to Seattle, Washington. Once the plane was aloft, he called to the flight attendant, and gave her a note.

Then he opened his "carry-on" bag to show her a bomb, with dynamite and wires attached.

Flight 462 was now officially hijacked by a man known as D.B. Cooper.

The plane landed in Seattle and everyone got off except Cooper & Flight Crew.

Cooper demanded $200,000 and 4 parachutes.

The plane took back off, and somewhere over the Washington State wilderness, Cooper took one of the parachutes, opened the rear door of the plane, and jumped with his money. D.B. Cooper has never been found. How was D.B.Cooper able to carry a bomb aboard an American airliner? In 1971, there was no security at American airports. No security gates, no gun/bomb detection devices.

The security steps that are now routine in airports were not in place in 1971.

As a result, Cooper was able to completely take control of a Boeing 727 and its passengers/crew.

They landed where he demanded and did everything he said.

The passengers/crew of Flight 462 lost all control over their lives…They had been hijacked!

The same thing happens to good Christian men and women every day.

Too many Christians get hijacked by the Adversary and false doctrines. Too many Christians feel lost/disappointed and hopeless. Too many Christians are indecisive about their faith…rudderless. Too many Christians give up, or live a shadow of the life Christ called us to live. It doesn't have to be that way!

This passage gives us some clues on how to keep Satan from hijacking us.

Chuck Swindoll said, "The greatest need in our times, is for Gods people to be biblically literate." I could not agree more. Christians leave themselves open to being hijacked today when we don't know the Word of God. Paul warns Timothy 2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 13 Evil people and imposters will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Paul is saying men are going to come and try to twist God's Word to match the philosophy of the moment. Christianity is being "re-interpreted" in the light of what is "politically correct" in today's society!

A move is on to make God's Word not only condone today's low morals, but justify them.

Christians are being hijacked from the truth in the name of "political correctness".

What can you do about it? How can you avoid the deceivers?

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

I wish I could say that I was surprised that Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Community Church, has apologized to his homosexual friends for comments he made in October to his church in support of Proposition 8 in California, that marriage is between a man and a woman exclusively. What actually surprised me was his backing of Prop 8 (although belatedly) at all. There are several excellent reads on his inconsistent statements. Both believers and unbelievers have already called him out on his duplicity.
Therefore, I do not need to point out Warren's parsing of words and phrases in his attempt to walk a tightrope between Scripture and his homosexual friends.

113 I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law.

114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

115 Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God!

Did you notice the direction Paul gives Timothy? Don’t get swept up with the world and wind up in hell. Listen to the Word of God.

The Word of God is the only thing that can keep you on track ina world that has lost its way.

Paul is giving the first principles that the Psalmist gave in Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

What would you like your life to be like? You are starting out on life.. how do you want to wind up?

Do you want to wind up messed up? Or do you want to wind up useful to the Lord and fruitful in life?

Your personality will set the agenda for your life.. will it be blessing or cursing?

Some time ago I met a deacon in a church who had caught AIDS through secret homosexual liaisons and passed it on to his wife! This was a life that had been blessed that became cursed!

Could your life become cursed? Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, reminds seminary graduates that they should have another trade because a percentage of them would fall into immorality and bring discredit on the ministry.  Some go to selling grave plots! Perhaps this is the Lord's sense of humour for a ministry made dead through moral failure! 

Could your life go from blessing to cursing?

Backing into the passage.. Cursing.. Psalm 1:4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Will you choose Ruin? Eternal Judgement. A waste life.. chaff that blows away!

Or will you choose fruitfulness? Psalm 1:3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water Comforted, pleasant and nourished by the Lord.

that bears its fruit in season Gal 5:22 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

John 15 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 17 This is what I command you: love one another.

How? get bye the river 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

and whose leaf does not wither. Have you thought about children? And the heritage you will leave them? And grandchildren? So many children of believers not walking with the Lord. Grievous in many families.. why? Is it because their parents Christianity did not “catch”? Did something that happen that destroyed the witness of the life? Immorality, anger, violence? Did all these things destroy the testimony? Its not always the fault of the home, but lets be fair, often it is. Proverbs 22: 6 Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Whatever he does prospers.

1. The Direction of your life is set by the devotion of your life

Psalm 1:2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 119:118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood.

During the early days of World War II, when the Nazis invaded France, French citizens took down all signposts. As the Nazi armies advanced, they didn't know which way to turn or in what direction lay their objective. Does it seem to you that the signposts of life have all been taken down? They were not taken down by us to confuse the enemy; they were taken down by the enemy to confuse us. We don't know which way to turn until we open the Scriptures. The only reliable signposts are there.

God Himself speaks in His Word. We may add nothing to the Word of God to make the Word relevant. We may only speak the Word in the ears of the people of the world. When we speak from the Bible, the Word opens ears and hearts to God's truth. The Word reveals to the listener what is truly relevant: that God is sovereign, that man is sinful, that judgment is at hand, and that the cross of Jesus Christ is man's only hope.

Psalm 119:57 You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words.

58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word.

59 I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

60 I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant.

77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.

"Desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby" (I Peter 2:2). This verse tells us that if we want our people to grow spiritually, we must get them into the Word of God. Why are so many Christians shallow? Because they’re not in the Bible. Why are so many Christians defeated by sin? Because they don’t think scripturally. Why are so many Christians living in sin? Because they don’t have a biblical mind. II Tim 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The Bible is profitable...

1. For doctrine that is, it may be used as the perfect textbook to present the systematic teachings of the great truths relating to God himself.

2. For reproof that is, the Bible is to be used to convict us of the wrong in our lives.

3. For correction that is, it will then show us the right way.

4. For instruction in righteousness that is, God's Word provides all the necessary details which will allow a Christian to become fully equipped for every good work.

Matt 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

The Bible is the Word of God; It stands for ever

152 Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever. –

89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven

The Bible is the Word of God; It is historically accurate.

128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them.

130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

The Bible is the Word of God It is scientifically accurate.

Oceanography owes a great debt to the books of Matthew Fontaine Maury. His discoveries have been of inestimable help to navigators of the high seas. Maury acknowledged his debt to the Bible for some of his scientific findings. One day when he was ill, his son read Psalm 8 to him. When the boy read the eighth verse, his father asked him to repeat it: "The birds of the air, and fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the seas." When the boy had finished, the great scientist declared, "If there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them." Today the great oceangoing vessels follow the paths marked out by Maury, who believed they were there because the Bible said they were. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

The Bible is not a textbook on science, but where it speaks on issues of science, it is always accurate.

In the 10th century BC, Solomon wrote that God inscribed a circle on the face of the deep – that the face of the oceans is rounded, not flat. Proverbs 8:27

In the 8th century BC, Isaiah wrote that God is seated above the circle of the earth – that from space you see a rounded, or spherical, earth. Isaiah 40:22

Job, the oldest book in the Bible, written about 2000 BC, stated that God hung the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

Hindus taught that the earth was supported on the back of a giant elephant that stood on the back of a giant turtle and when the elephant wiggled, it caused an earthquake.

Greek mythology taught that the earth was supported on the shoulders of Atlas.

One of the evidences of the supernatural origin of this book is that not one such absurd myth or legend is found within its pages.

Concerning the origin of life, the Bible begins, without preamble, fanfare, or embellishment, that "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth."

Of course, the scientist, the professor, the teacher, and the filmmaker will tell you that the Biblical account of creation has been proven to be a myth. We have evolved through a series of "beneficial accidents" – mutations – that have resulted in all the different species we see today. As some poet has written:

"Once I was a tadpole, beginning to begin; then I was a frog, with my tail tucked in. Then I was a monkey in a Banyan tree. Now, I am a professor with a Ph.D.

Well, neither reason nor scientific discovery supports the claim of the evolutionist.

Psalm 119:142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

151 You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.

140 Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.

160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever

The Bible is the Word of God; It changes lives.

93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.

Psalm 119: 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!

3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.

25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

28 My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word. 29 Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.

9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.

101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.

133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

Dr. W.A. Criswell tells of a small New Testament that was taken from the breast-pocket of a fallen American soldier in Vietnam, a young boy from Georgia. When Mr. Pat Zondervan held up that New Testament before the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Dr. Criswell could see the light of a bullet hole through its middle. Later, when Dr. Criswell held it in his hands, he saw that the pages were stained with the blood of that fallen soldier. Flipping through it, he found an inscription in the back that had survived intact. It read, "On this date, I Wilton Thomas take Jesus Christ as my personal Savior." Then it was signed and dated by the hand of that young man. That is what the Bible is for. It is not to amaze us with its scientific accuracy or impress us with its historical integrity, but to lead us to a personal knowledge of God through Jesus Christ as Saviour.

Do you desire the Word of God?

1 Peter 2:2 says, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." If you have really been saved, within you there is a desire for God and His Word. You must feed this desire. There is a story attributed to Socrates, I don't know whether it is truth or fiction but it goes like this. During the time when Socrates was the chief philosopher of his time, many, many young men wanted to become his students. The story is told of a certain young man who came to the great teacher and asked to become his disciple. Socrates responded, "Follow me." With that he arose and began to walk. The young man stepped right in behind him. Socrates walked until he came to the seashore. He walked into the breaking surf and the young man followed obediently behind him. Finally when the philosopher reached a point where his head was barely out of the water, he turned to his would-be student. While the young man wondered what this lesson was all about, Socrates grabbed his head and pushed him under the water. Trying to learn and respect his teacher, the student held his breath and tried to remain still. After a while, with his lungs bursting for air, he began to flail about and finally the teacher let him go. In a burst of anger, the young man shouted, "What were you doing? You were trying to kill me." Socrates answered, "When you want to know as badly as you want to breathe, I'll be your teacher."

Do you desire the Word of God?

14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.

16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.

97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.

162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.

Psalms 19:7 NAS: “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

2. The Destination of your life can be stopped by the demons of your life Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. This is stuff you won’t notice.

that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

You won’t notice that the time you spend with the ungodly is influencing your life and your destiny.

The influence of scientism on your epistemology is to make you relativistic.

nor standeth in the way of sinners,

The influence of relativism on your morality is to make you tolerant of sin.

nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

The influence of toleration of sin is to make you scornful of conservatives

Scornful of Theological conservatives.

Evolution versus creation.

Complacent versus Expectant of second coming

Scornful of Political conservatives

Scornful of moral conservatives

Alcohol versus abstention issues. Abortion versus Life issues. Adultery versus

Do you want to be blessed?


 

Matthew 9:35 “THE GREAT COMMISSION”

 

35 Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their • synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

When we think of the great commission we think usually about those commanding words of the last chapter of Matthew’s gospel, those words that reach the pinnacle of the message of Easter Sunday;

Matthew 28:16 The 11 disciples travelled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“All authority!” It is because He is Lord, and He is risen from the dead to prove He is Lord, that He has all authority to command you and me and the church as a whole.
The Authority of Jesus Establishes the Priority of the Church. Jesus has authority over the church. depends upon the decisions and actions of each specific congregation.

The Authority of Jesus Provides the Ability of the Church. power by which a church can function as a church. Human strength, abilities, and resources alone cannot sustain the work of the church. Is the church charting its course in response to institutional principles of success, suggestions for good public relations, or data devised to assure popularity? How much does the church depend upon God?

The Authority of Jesus Shapes the Identity of the Church. “they worshiped him, but some doubted.” sheer humanity of the people Jesus chose to do his work. strugglers, doubters, and failures in the crowd. But Jesus was not put off by this reality. Weaknesses, mistakes, and even sins were rejected as disqualifications for ministry. The identity of people on mission is shaped by the authority of Jesus.

The Authority of Jesus Demands Activity by the Church. God calls the church to be a people on mission. Not just a people, but a people on mission. Obedience to “The Great Commission” is not an option for people earnestly desiring to live and function as a church. The authority of Jesus shapes the very identity of the church, even its priorities, power, and ministry.

Brothers, we are not journey guides, self-help gurus, positive thinkers, entertainers, comedians, or liberal or conservative commentators, parroting the wisdom of the world. We are gospel preachers, Jesus-intoxicated heralds! Any theology that does not compel you to plead with men to be reconciled with God is a theology not worth having. Any preaching that does expect the living and powerful Word of God to produce results and usher in conversions is preaching that should be retired to the graveyard where it rightfully belongs. Missions is not a ministry of the church, it is at the heart of the church’s identity and essence. The local church is to be ground zero for the missio dei. Here is the “spiritual outpost” for the invasion of enemy territory as we reclaim lost ground for its rightful owner King Jesus. –Daniel Akin President of SEBTS April 15th 2009.

But how do we get the motivation to do what He has commanded us!

The Authority of Jesus Establishes the Priority of the Church and Demands Activity by the Church. But where is the motivation to come from?

A group of senior citizens was sitting around talking about their ailments.
"My arms are so weak I can hardly hold this cup of coffee," said one.
"Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can't even see my coffee," replied another.
"It has gotten to where I cannot hear anything anymore," said one in the loudest voice of the group.
"I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a fourth, to which several nodded weakly in agreement. "My blood pressure pills make me dizzy," claimed another. Finally one man summed it up for the group: "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old. But thank the Lord we can all still drive!"

It all has to do with motivation doesn’t it?

The Compassion of Jesus Motivates Us Over The Slowness Of the Heart

For many months, everywhere Jesus went, He was followed by large crowds. If He got in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, they would either follow in other boats or run around the shore and meet Him on the other side. They followed Him from town to town and even house to house. Jesus, rather than becoming angry with them saw their real needs. Their needs went way beyond a crippled body, blind eyes, deaf ears, and paralysis. He saw that as a result of their sin, they were spiritually blind and had spirits that were dead to God. The text says that He was moved with compassion for them. This Greek word translated “compassion” is a strong word. It is actually from the word for intestines or bowels. When this word is used figuratively (as it is here), it refers to the seat of strong emotions. We usually use the heart as the seat of our emotions, but the Jews centred the emotions in the stomach. As you know, intense emotions affect our stomach and intestinal tract. When we are emotionally torn up, we can’t eat and our stomach churns. We say, “This thing just ripped my guts out”. That was where the word for compassion came from. We know that emotional distress over time can cause or certainly make worse things like ulcers and colitis. We also see His compassion in Matthew 14:14 (NKJV) “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Throughout the history of Christianity, we see that those who were greatly used by God were men and women of deep compassion. We see the compassion of the Apostle Paul in his gut wrenching words about his fellow Jews who had rejected their Messiah. Romans 9:1-3 (NKJV) “1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh”. Again he says in Romans 10:1 (NKJV) “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” The great British Pastor of London of the 1870’s Charles Spurgeon was deeply motivated with this same compassion as he worked with hurting and lost people. “I long for your salvation most vehemently. I would say anything and say it any way, if I could but win you to immediate faith in the Lord Jesus. The desire is so strong upon me that should I not succeed on this occasion, I will try again. And if, unhappily, I should fail again, I will continue at the work as long as you live and I am able to reach you. I will go before God in secret, lay your case before Him, and beg Him to interpose. We cannot let you be damned! It is dreadful. We cannot stand by and see you lost”. On another occasion he said, “Love your fellowmen, and cry about them if you cannot bring them to Christ. If you cannot save them, you can weep over them. If you cannot give them a drop of cold water in hell, you can give them your hearts tears while they are still in this body”. This compassion that characterized our Lord and all of His servants mightily used by Him is unique to Christianity. Hinduism as a religious system knows nothing of true heart felt compassion. The caste system prevents anyone from even touching someone of another caste. Because of their belief in karma and reincarnation, helping the sick and dying only delays the process of endless reincarnations. Islam has a history and lots of current examples of atrocities to other Muslims as well as infidels. Good deeds in Buddhism are not out of compassion, but to increase ones own chances to move up in the next life after their reincarnation.

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson said, “We may force our Lord to punish us, but we will never have to force Him to love us”. His love and compassion toward us is the only explanation for the cross and the suffering of Christ in our place. If this compassionate Christ dwells in you, your life will reflect that same type of compassion. 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV) “8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

The Compassion of Jesus Motivates Us over the State Of The Hordes

What did Jesus see as He looked at the multitudes that dogged Him everywhere he went? Did He see a bunch of self-centred people who were just following Him for the personal benefits they might receive? Well, He certainly knew what was in the heart of men. Did He see them as a bother and a drain on His time? No, He saw down deep to their real need. They were weary and scattered like sheep with no shepherd. Let’s look at some key words and phrases here.

* “weary” – This word means to be harassed or distressed. It is the idea of being mangled by wild beasts (A. T. Robertson). Other translations translate it distressed or harassed.

* “scattered” – This word has the idea of being thrown down prostrate and utterly helpless. Other translations say downcast, helpless, worn out, and fainting.

* “like sheep having no shepherd” – The shepherds (religious leaders) sought their own power and did not care for the people. The shepherds who should have been leading them beside the still waters, making them lie down in green pastures, and leading them in the paths of righteousness were neglecting them, using them, putting heavy loads of legalism on them, and scattering them. The failure of religious leaders is often pictured in the Old Testament as shepherds who are not leading the sheep. An example would be Ezekiel 34:2-4 (NKJV) 2 "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? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 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.’”

Matthew 23:37  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicksunder her wings, yet you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Luke 19: 41 As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

The Compassion of Jesus Motivates Us Over The Situation with the Harvest (V37)

Over the years, I have changed my view as to what is meant by the harvest. The traditional interpretation is that it the mass of lost people that need to be “harvested with the presentation of the gospel”. That could be, but as I look at the context and compare Scripture with Scripture, I believe that the harvest is the judgment that is surely coming. The picture of the judgment as a harvest is an oft used one in the Old Testament. Here are just a few examples: Isaiah 17:10-11 (NKJV) “10 Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, And have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, Therefore you will plant pleasant plants And set out foreign seedlings; 11 In the day you will make your plant to grow, And in the morning you will make your seed to flourish; But the harvest will be a heap of ruins In the day of grief and desperate sorrow.” Joel 3:12-14 is speaking of the judgment of God and we read in Joel 3:12-14 (NKJV) 12 "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow-- For their wickedness is great." 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” We see this analogy continued into the New Testament. In the parable of the wheat and tares Jesus said in Matthew 13:30 (NKJV) “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.'" When Jesus later explains that parable, He clearly says that it is referring to judgment (v40-43). We see the analogy of the harvest as judgment in Revelation 14:14-16 (NKJV) “14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” The context here is clearly the judgment of God. When Jesus said that the harvest was great, He was referring to the great number headed for a final irrevocable judgment. While we realize that God is sovereign in salvation, He has chosen the means of our sharing the gospel (which is the power f God unto salvation according to Romans 1:16) as the means of people being saved and escaping from judgment. We are not emotionless bystanders. We are to be passionate about those headed for the harvest, the judgment. We are to be consumed with getting the gospel to them. Again, to quote Spurgeon, who certainly believed that God was the One who did the saving in His sovereignty, saw that we are to be filled with passion and compassion for the lost. He said, “If sinners will be [condemned], at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for” [Quote Book P67]. We don’t coldly present the gospel just out of obedience and then check that off of our list. There is a heart filled with compassion that sees an awful harvest of judgment coming and the horrors of hell serve to intensify our compassion. Yes, our highest motive in sharing the gospel is the glory of God, but it is not without compassion on those who are lost.

I love what Adrian Rogers once said, Life is too short. Eternity is too long. Souls are too precious. The gospel is too wonderful For us to sleep through it all.

I love Amy Carmichael’s parable of the daisy chains.

The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy patch, and at my feet a ravine broke straight down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving toward the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very edge. She lifted her foot for the next step... Then, to my horror, I saw that she was blind. Before I could say anything she was over, and the children with her. Their cries pierced the air as they fell into the inky blackness of the ravine!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all walked straight toward the edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was sheer agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I couldn't even yell; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come out.

Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals.

But the intervals were too large; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the ravine yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the ravine. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it was a rather crude noise. And if one of their group started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries for miles and miles along the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls. Once a child grabbed at a tuft of grass that grew at the very edge of the ravine; it clung convulsively, and it called - but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which her friends reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; "The gap would be well taken care of!", they said. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew that it was "The Cry of the Blood".

Then a voice thundered. It was the voice of the Lord, and He said, "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shrieks of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it? God forgive us!

God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!

The Compassion of Jesus Motivates Us Over The Solution For The Harvest (V38)

The workers are those who know the Saviour who are commanded to go into the highways and hedges and among the weary scattered sheep and see people escape from the judgment to come. Notice the characteristic of the kind of workers that we are to pray for. They are not self appointed, but sent out by the Lord. “Sent out” is better translated “thrust out”. It is a compelling call. This ought to be one of the main focuses of our prayer. Pray that God would thrust out workers into the fields before the final harvest of judgment comes. This is not just a prayer for missionaries and Pastors though it includes them. This is that God would thrust out the whole church into the fields where a harvest is coming.

Will you pray?

When Hudson Taylor arrived in Shanghai, China, in 1854, the city was under attack from rebels. The Chinese regarded Westerners as "foreign devils" and did not allow them into the interior of the country. Taylor had failed to finish medical training, knew no Chinese and was the first missionary in a new, non-denominational society. Undeterred, he studied the language and culture and defied the government by taking the gospel inland. He also adopted Chinese dress and customs so more people would listen to his message.

By prayer he raised up hundreds of missionaries to work in China in sacrificial roles through the then China Inland Mission.  He would pray and God would send.  he would pray and the Lord would supply the funds for these folks. Will you pray? 

Before he died, Hudson Taylor had succeeded in spreading the gospel into many unreached areas of China!  Will you pray?


 

AXIOMS FOR A GREAT COMMISSION RESURGENCE Acts 1:4-8 By Daniel L. Akin

Introduction: 1) Following His resurrection Jesus spent time with His disciples for 40 days preparing them for their assignment once He had ascended.  He led them out to Mount Olivet where He would return back to the Father.  However, just prior to His ascension, the disciples wanted to have a theological conversation concerning matters of eschatology.  Specifically they wanted to know, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v.6). Jesus did not rebuke them for asking what is certainly an interesting question.  His response did, however, indicate that it was not the most important question.  His response reveals that the better question is this, “what should we do until you do come again and establish Your kingdom?” To that question He provides a definitive answer in the Acts version of the Great Commission found in verse 8, “Be my witnesses.”  In essence Jesus was saying to His followers, “do not get distracted over issues that are secondary and non-essential. Stay focused on the main thing.  Make sure your priorities line up with the Father’s.  Be my witnesses and advance the gospel until I return.”

2) Like the disciples, Southern Baptists today run the risk of being distracted from the main thing.  Many of the issues we are emphasizing and debating are interesting things, but they are not the most important things.  They don’t line up well with the priorities we find revealed in Holy Scripture.  The result: we are fractured and factionalizing.  We are confused having lost our spiritual compass.  We have reached, many of us believe, what Alvin Reid describes as “a tipping point.”  We have tragically devolved into “a giant movement now in decline,” experiencing far too much ineffectiveness in gospel ministry and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

3) How do we change this and experience a much needed course correction?  How do we, by God’s grace and for His glory, get in sync with the Savior’s heart, a heart that cried, “I have come to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10).  I share, humbly and with no illusion that I have all the answers, 12 axioms, or values, that I believe can move us in the right direction.  Many of these principles are being talked about all across the Southern Baptist Convention, and people get excited and energized when that happens.  The Great Commission has been defined for us in Matthew 28:18-20.  These principles or axioms describe what the implementation of a Great Commission Resurgence for Southern Baptist might look like.

4) It is not too bold to say that both frustration and anticipation is building among our people, and the time is right to put the former behind us and to pursue the latter with a laser beam focus guided and directed by what so many believe God is leading us to embrace.  It is hard to imagine the evil one leading us to intensify our involvement with what the blogging demon Wormwood calls that “cursed Commission!”  I do think all the demons of hell would do all that they can to distract us from it.  What must happen to make us ready for and get us moving in a God sent Great Commission Resurgence?  My agenda is purposefully positive and forward looking.  I share what I pray will be an encouragement to all of us.

I. We must commit ourselves to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. (Col. 3:16-17, 23-24)

II. We must be gospel centered in all our endeavors for the glory of God. (Rom. 1:16)

III. We must take our stand on the firm foundation of the inerrant and infallible Word of God affirming it’s sufficiency in all matters. (Matt 5:17-18; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

IV. We must devote ourselves to a radical pursuit of the Great Commission in the context of obeying the Great Commandments. (Matt.28:16-20; 22:37-40)

V. We must affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a healthy and sufficient guide for building a theological consensus for partnership in the gospel, refusing to be sidetracked by theological agendas that distract us from our Lord’s Commission. (1 Tim. 6:3-4)

- We affirm the inerrancy, infallibility, authority and sufficiency of the Bible.
- We affirm the Triune God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
- We affirm God as Creator and reject naturalistic evolution as nonsense.
- We affirm both the dignity and depravity of man.
- We affirm the full deity, perfect humanity and sinlessness of Jesus the Son of God.
- We affirm the penal substitutionary nature of the atonement as foundational for understanding the cross work of our Savior.
- We affirm the good news of the gospel as the exclusive and only means whereby any person is reconciled to God.
- We affirm the biblical nature of a regenerate church witnessed in believer’s baptism by immersion.
- We affirm salvation by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.
- We affirm the reception of the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration/conversion and the blessing of spiritual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ.
- We affirm the literal, visible and historical return of Jesus Christ to this earth when He will manifest fully His kingdom.
- We affirm the reality of an eternal heaven and an eternal hell with Jesus as the only difference.
- We affirm a “sanctity of life” ethic from conception to natural death.
- We affirm the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, the goodness of sex in marriage and the gift of children, lots of them.
- We affirm the complementary nature of male/female relationships rejoicing in the divine ordering of them for the home and the church; and the list could go on.

- The exact nature of human depravity and transmission of the sin nature.
- The precise constitution of the human person.
- The issue of whether or not Christ could have sinned. (We all agree He didn’t!)
- The ordo salutis (”order of salvation”).
- The number of elders and the precise nature of congregational governance.
- The continuance of certain spiritual gifts and their nature.
- Does baptism require only right member (born again), right meaning (believer’s) and right mode (immersion) or does it also require the right administrator (ever how that is defined).
- The time of the rapture (pre, mid, post, partial rapture or pre-wrath rapture).
- The nature of the millennium (pre, amill or post)
- And, saving the best for last in our current context, we are not in full agreement about Calvinism and how many points one should affirm or redefine and affirm!

One essential task of the pastor is to feed the congregation and to assist Christians to think theologically in order to demonstrate discernment and authentic discipleship. The pastor’s concentration is a necessary theological discipline.  The pastor must develop the ability to isolate what is most important in terms of theological gravity from that which is less important.  I call this the process of theological triage.

The pastor must learn to discern different levels of theological importance.  First-order doctrines are those that are fundamental and essential to the Christian faith.  The pastor’s theological instincts should seize upon any compromise on doctrines such as the full deity and humanity of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of atonement, and essentials such as justification by faith alone.  Where such doctrines are compromised, the Christian faith falls.

Second-order doctrines are those that are essential to church life and necessary for the ordering of the local church but that, in themselves, do not define the gospel.  That is to say, one may detect an error in a doctrine at this level and still acknowledge that the person in error remains a believing Christian.  At the same time these differences can become so acute that it is difficult to function together in the local congregation over such an expansive theological difference.

Third-order doctrines are those that may be the ground for fruitful theological discussion and debate but that do not threaten the fellowship of the local congregation or the denomination.  Christians who agree on an entire range of theological issues and doctrines may disagree over matters related to the timing and sequence of events related to Christ’s return.  Yet such ecclesiastical debates, while understood to be deeply important because of their biblical nature and connection to the gospel, do not constitute a ground for separation among believing Christians.

Without a proper sense of priority and discernment, the congregation [and denomination] is left to consider every theological issue to be a matter of potential conflict or, at the other extreme to see no doctrines as worth defending if conflict is in any way possible.

Brothers and sisters, some things are worth fighting over, and some things are not.  Some things are worth dividing over, and some things are not.  At the Building Bridges Conference I put it like this, and I have not changed my mind: “Our agreement on The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is an asset, not a weakness.  It is a plus and not a minus.  If I were to pen my own confession it would not look exactly like the BF&M 2000.  But then I do not want nor do I need people exactly like me in order to work together for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the building of His church.  Our confession is a solid foundation for a sound theology that avoids the pitfalls and quicksand of a straightjacket theology.  Do we want or need a theology that rules out of bounds open theism, universalism and inclusivism, faulty perspectives on the atonement, gender-role confusion, works salvation, apostasy of true believers, infant baptism and non-congregational ecclesiology’s just to name a few?  Yes, we do.  These theological errors have never characterized who we are as Southern Baptists and they have no place in our denomination today.  Inerrancy is not up for debate.  The deity of Jesus and His sinless life are not up for debate.  The triune nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not up for debate.  The perfect atoning work of Christ as a penal substitute for sinners is not up for debate.  Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is not up for debate.  A regenerate church is not up for debate.  Believers’ baptism by immersion is not up for debate.  The glorious historical and personal return of Jesus Christ is not up for debate.  The reality of an eternal heaven and an eternal hell is not up for debate.  There is nothing soft about this kind of theology, and we must avoid a soft theology at all cost.

Because of our passionate commitments to the glory of God, the Lordship of Christ, biblical authority, salvation by grace through faith, and the Great Commission, we should be able to work in wonderful harmony with each other.  We have a sound theology.”  The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is a solid confession for building theological consensus for Great Commission Cooperation.  The promise of the Conservative Resurgence was that eventually we would find common, biblical, theological ground that would be more than enough to get us focused on the Great Commission.  I think we have it, and I, for one, am ready to move ahead, and I believe the vast majority of Southern Baptists are as well!

VI. We must dedicate ourselves to a passionate pursuit of the Great Commission of the  Lord Jesus across our nation and to all nations answering the call to go, disciple,  baptize and teach all that the Lord commanded. (Matt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:5;  15:20)

VII. We must covenant to build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and as our first and primary mission field. (Deut. 6:1-9; Psalm 127; 128; Eph. 6:4)

- Children are a burden not a blessing.
- Less is best or at least less is better.
- Result: have less children!

- It is an inferior calling.
- It can be delegated, at least in part, to another.

- He is a bumbling idiot.
- He is not necessary, maybe not even needed.

- It loves Jesus.
- It honors God.
- It teaches the Bible.
- It casts a vision for spiritual greatness.
- It has fun!
- It let’s go so that our children may soar for the glory of God!

Will you pray for God to call your children and grandchildren into vocational ministry? To go to the nations far away and to the hard places as an international missionary?! Will you get a Godward perspective for life, for marriage, for family?

VIII. We must recognize the need to rethink our Convention structure and identity so that we maximize our energy and resources for the fulfilling of the Great Commission. (1 Cor. 10:31)

1) Is there not a way to have annual meetings on the National and State levels that are attractive, inspiring and worth attending? I confess if I were not required to attend I am not sure I would go to our yearly meetings either! So much of what we do is unnecessary and will never allow us to build momentum for the Great Commission.
2) Is the name “Southern Baptist Convention” best for identifying who we are and want to be in the future?
3) Do we need all the boards and agencies we currently have or could there be some healthy and wise mergers?
4) Do we have a healthy structure and mechanism for planting churches that will thrive and survive past a few years?
5) Do we have a giving program that fairly and accurately reflects the gifts many Southern Baptist churches are making to the work of our denomination?
6) Are we distracted by doing many good things but not giving our full attention to the best things? Church planting in the United States, pioneer missions around the world and theological education that starts in the seminaries but finds its way to the local church is a 3-legged stool I believe most Southern Baptists would gladly occupy! Let others do what they can do. Let us focus on what only Christ has commissioned us to do. Prioritize and simplify.

Our mission will require aggressive and intentional cooperation in church planting.  The churches we plant must be sound in their doctrine, contextual in their forms, and aggressive in their evangelistic and mission orientation.  In order to make this work, we need renewed commitment from our churches, local associations, and state conventions.  For local associations, this is an opportunity to demonstrate that they are still needed and that their existence matters.  In days gone by, local associations provided local churches with mission resources and advice that are now being provided by other institutions, networks, and people.  For state conventions, this provides an opportunity to return to their roots and stem the tide of churches that are bypassing (and many more that will) state conventions because they refuse to give money to what they consider to be bloated and inefficient bureaucracies with red tape a mile long.

IX. We must see the necessity for pastors to be faithful Bible preachers who teach us both the content of the Scriptures and the theology embedded in the Scriptures. (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

1) What does this text say about the Bible (and the doctrine of Revelation)?
2) What does this text say about God (also Creation, angelology)?
3) What does this text say about humanity (and sin, our falleness)?
4) What does this text say about Jesus Christ (His person and work)?
5) What does this text say about the Holy Spirit?
6) What does this text say about Salvation?
7) What does this text say about the Church?
8) What does this text say about Last Things?

X. We must encourage pastors to see themselves as the head of a gospel missions agency who will lead the way in calling out the called for international assignments but also equip and train all their people to see themselves as missionaries for Jesus regardless of where they live. (Eph. 4:11-16)

The missional church avoids ‘tribal’ language, stylized prayer language, unnecessary evangelical pious ‘jargon’, and archaic language that seeks to set a ’spiritual tone.’  The missional church avoids ‘we-them’ language, disdainful jokes that mock people of different politics and beliefs, and dismissive, disrespectful comments about those who differ with us.  The missional church avoids sentimental, pompous, ‘inspirational’ talk.  Instead, we engage the culture with the gentle, self-deprecating, but joyful irony the gospel creates.  Humility + joy = gospel irony and realism.  The missional church avoids ever talking as if non-believing people are not present.  If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present (not just scattered Christians), eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.  Unless all of the above is the outflow of a truly humble-bold gospel-changed heart, it is all just ‘marketing’ and ’spin.’ http://www.redeemer2.com/resources/papers/missional.pdf

XI. We must pledge ourselves to a renewed cooperation that is gospel centered and built around a biblical and theological core and not methodological consensus or agreement. (Phil. 2:1-5; 4:2-9)

XII. We must accept our constant need to humble ourselves and repent of pride, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, contentions, lying, selfish ambitions, laziness, complacency, idolatries and other sins of the flesh; pleading with our Lord to do what only He can do in us and through us and all for His glory. (Gal. 5:22-26; James 4:1-10)

Conclusion:


Thursday, April 16, 2009

 

Psalm 1 Do you Want to be blessed?

Psalm 1 Do you Want to be blessed?

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

An Outline.

What would you like your life to be like? You are starting out on life.. how do you want to wind up?

Much of your personality will be set on stone before you turn 25.. what do you want it to look like?

Your personality will set the agenda for your life.. will it be blessing or cursing?

Some time ago I met a deacon in a church who had caught AIDS through secret homosexual liaisons and passed it on to his wife!

This was a life that had been blessed that became cursed!

Could your life become cursed?

Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, reminds seminary graduates that they should have another trade because a percentage of them would fall into immorality and bring discredit on the ministry.  Some go to selling grave plots! Perhaps this is the Lord's sense of humour for a ministry made dead through moral failure! 

Could your life go from blessing to cursing?

Backing into the passage.. Cursing.. Psalm 1:4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Will you choose Ruin? Eternal Judgement. A waste life.. chaff that blows away!

Or will you choose fruitfulness? Psalm 1:3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water Comforted, pleasant and nourished by the Lord.

that bears its fruit in season Gal 5:22 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

John 15 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 17 This is what I command you: love one another.

How? get bye the river 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

and whose leaf does not wither. Have you thought about children? And the heritage you will leave them? And grandchildren? So many children of believers not walking with the Lord. Grievous in many families.. why? Is it because their parents Christianity did not “catch”? Did something that happen that destroyed the witness of the life? Immorality, anger, violence? Did all these things destroy the testimony? Its not always the fault of the home, but lets be fair, often it is. Proverbs 22: 6 Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Whatever he does prospers.

1. The Direction of your life is set by the devotion of your life

Psalm 1:2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

2. The Destination of your life can be stopped by the demons of your life Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. This is stuff you wont notice.

that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

You won’t notice that the time you spend with the ungodly is influencing your life and your destiny.

The influence of scientism on your epistemology is to make you relativistic.

nor standeth in the way of sinners,

The influence of relativism on your morality is to make you tolerant of sin.

nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

The influence of toleration of sin is to make you scornful of conservatives

Scornful of Theological conservatives.

Evolution vesus creation.

Complacent versus Expectant of second coming

Scornful of Political conservatives

Scornful of moral conservatives

Alcohol versus abstention issues. Abortion versus Life issues. Adultery versus

Do you want to be blessed?


Thursday, April 09, 2009

 

MATTHEW 27:11-26 WHAT SHALL I DO WITH JESUS?

And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.


The Roman Prefecture in Judea was not simply a hostile occupation. After the baneful era of Jewish client kings (Herod the Great, Herod Archelaus), marked by oppression and persecution, Roman rule more sane and orderly Pontius Pilate was appointed by Rome as a governor. He was of Equestrian rank (lower Roman nobility), as opposed to the higher Senatorial rank which suggests he probably had a military career before his appointment as Prefect / Governor of Judea. He possibly came from Seville, Married Claudia (the youngest daughter of Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus) with the approval of Caesar Tiberius, and was then immediately sent to Judea. The fifth of 14 Roman Prefects in Judea, Pilate’s 10 year rule, and his predecessor's (Valerius Gratus) 11 year rule, stand out in longevity among the all the other Prefects. Pilate’s longevity caution(s) against prejudging Pilate as irresponsible or extremely controversial. Interestingly the Ethiopian homilies 5th and 6th centuries speak of Pilate’s conversion and martyrdom and Pilate became a baptismal name among the Copts. Pilate is today a saint in the Coptic church

Brown: historical record suggests that Pilate was an unsubtle man, without native diplomatic skills, sometimes out of touch with Jewish sensitivities. He was not however a stubborn tyrant to the point of savagery, although he sometimes underestimated the brutality of his own soldiers, so that the violence of repressive actions during his prefecture may not have reflected his own wishes.

Pilate uttered the one question that challenges every person born in these last 20 centuries.

What will I do with Jesus? A songwriter put it this way:

Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;
Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?”

Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you evade him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide: What will you do with Jesus?

1. What shall do with His words? Never a man spake like that man. Either His words are blasphemous in the highest and darkest degree or else He is veritably the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me."

He said, "I and My Father are one."

He said, "Except a man eat My flesh and drink My blood, he has no life in him.

"But if a man eat My flesh and drink My blood, he shall have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Never a man spake like that man. He said, "I am the resurrection, and the life, he that liveth and believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live,

"And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."

What shall we do with His words? Never a man spake as that man spake.

2. What shall we do with His works and His life?

His marvellous miracles were authentications of His deity and His saviorhood.

For example, when they brought unto Him the sick and the palsy, He said to the man, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." And those who heard murmured saying, "This man blasphemes. For who can forgive sins

3. What Shall I Do With His Way?

Some people say that Christianity is all about living by the principles of Jesus. It is but there is something much much more important than His principles. It is the Way He provided for you to be right with God.

Jesus said John 14: 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 1 Tim 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. When I survey the wondrous cross…….

What Will You Do With Jesus? There were five evasions of Pilate

1. Shall I Palm the decision off to someone else? Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. 5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. 6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. 8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. “If Herod condemns Him, I condemn Him. If Herod accepts Him, trusts Him, believes in Him, I'll accept Him and trust Him. Whatever Herod does, I'll do." "I'll do what somebody else does. I'll do what my wife does" or "I'll do what my husband does" or "I'll do what my children do" or "I'll do what my boss does" or "I'll do what my friends do." I was born for myself. Nobody could be born for me. I live for myself. I breathe for myself. No one can breathe for me. Someday I shall die for myself. No one can die for me. Someday I shall stand at the great judgment bar of Almighty God for myself. Nobody can stand for me. So it is, in my confrontation with Jesus Christ, it is one place in my life where I stand open and naked and alone. What shall I do with Jesus?

2. Shall I Play With The Decision? "I will scourge Him and let Him go. Not crucify Him, not crown Him, but compromise it. I'll beat Him. I'll scourge Him and let Him go." How often do you find that response to the appeal of Christ? "I won't accept Him, I won't crown Him. But I'll tell you what I do. I'll give up this. And I'll give up that and I'll quit doing that and I'll quit doing the other. "I won't accept the Lord. I won't follow Jesus. I won't give my life to Him. I won't be a Christian. But I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll be a better man or I'll be a better woman or I'll try to reform and I'll give up these things that intervene."

3. Shall I Pity Him and pity my own Plight? He was a pitiful sight. And seeing Him, Pilate brought Him forth on the balcony before the enraged people below and standing by His side, uttered those famous words, "Idou ho anthropos -- ecce homo -- behold the man!" John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

It looks so magnanimous of him. He mocks a little but not a lot. He portrays himself as a man of compassion. Do you? Do you say, “Well I am a religious person. I won’t condemn a bit of religion. But I won’t go all the way and worship Him. He can go His way and I’ll go mine” It seems generous hearted, but it is still not acknowledging Jesus Christ for who He is. I am glad you do not condemn Him, but I pity that you will not worship Him as your Lord and Saviour!

4. Shall I Find A Proxy for the decision? A fourth evasion of Pontius Pilate. "I'll substitute somebody for Him.” I’ll poke at something bad and maybe they’ll condemn the real baddy and let Him go. And the crowd cried, "No, not Barabbas. Crucify Jesus." Substituting something else instead of an out and out commitment to the living Lord. Oh, that is the commonest weakness of human life. Rather than a real, personal commitment to the Lord, why, there's a thousand substitutes. "I'll substitute ritual" or "I'll substitute church membership" or "I'll substitute sacraments" or "I'll substitute a moral life" or "I'll substitute a great gift or philanthropies." It's endless. But that doesn't answer it. Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

5. Shall I Protest the Decision? His fifth and last evasion. He called for water, a bowl, and for a towel. And he washed his hands in the presence of the throng. And he said, "I am guiltless of the blood of this just man. See you to it." "I will neither crown nor crucify Him. I will neither accept Him or reject Him. I am neutral. I wash my hands of the decision. I won't make a decision!" When you go out this door it will not be neutral. It will be either as a Christian you walk out that door accepting the Lord as your Saviour, or it will be as a lost soul rejecting His overtures of grace that you leave this service tonight. It is always one or the other. "I am guiltless of the blood of this just man." I wish it were that simple, just washing your hands. But it isn't. He crucified Him. He condemned Him. And the Apostles' Creed yet reads, "Crucified under Pontius Pilate." It will forever read that, "Crucified under Pontius Pilate."

Mt Pilatus overlooks Luzerne "The peasants, in the twilight of the evening can see him rise from the bottom of the lake and wash his hands in the clean, pure, blue water of Lake Lucern."

What Will You Do With Jesus?

What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ? Pilate was choosing that day between conscience and convenience. It may interest you to know that the only voice raised that day on behalf of Jesus was the voice of a woman, Pilate's wife. Mark 15

Even His enemies admit that something must be done with Jesus.

John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873, English philosopher, Political economist.
"It is no use denying the history of Jesus. He must have lived. Not one of His disciples not even Paul the Apostle could have originated such a life as His."
George Bernard Shaw: "I am ready to admit that after contemplating the world and human nature for nearly sixty years, I see no way out of the world's misery but the way of Christ."

Mike Shermer ABC’s Compass programme on Atheism last week.
I think it is probably safe to say religion will not fall into disuse any time soon, so the John Lennonesque, Imagine no religion, I think is probably not realistic in terms of our social needs. We may even have something in our brains that hardwires us to believe in supernatural entities, whether it is animistic spirits, ghosts, demons, multiple gods, single gods the monotheistic - whatever it is I think we our brains lead us to interpret certain events in the world to be caused by hidden spirits of some kind.
It is no ordinary personage with whom you are dealing; the greatest minds of the ages have paid Him compliments. Strauss, the German, said, "He was the highest model of religion." Leakey, the historian, called Him "The highest pattern of virtue." Martineau, the Frenchman, said "He was the Divine Flower of humanity." Robert Owen, an English statesman, called Him "The Irreproachable."
Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, a converted Jew, while Prime Minister of Great Britain, said, "The pupil of Moses may ask himself whether all the princes of the House of David have done so much for Jews as that Prince who was crucified. Had it not been for Him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown, or known only as an Oriental caste which had lost its country. Has not He made their history the most famous history in the world? All countries that refuse the cross will wilt and the time will come when the myriad's of America and Australia will find music in the songs of Zion and solace in the parables of Galilee."

W.H. Fitchett, in his book entitled, "The Unrealized Logic of Religion, " said: "To believe that a remote impostor in a forgotten province of a perished empire, stamped Himself so deeply on time as to compel all centuries to bear His name, is to believe that a child, with its box of colored chalk, could change the tint of the oceans."
Jean Paul Richter was right when he said of Him, "He is the Holiest of the Holy and the mightiest among the mighty and with His pierced hands, He lifted Empires off their hinges and turned the stream of centuries out of its channel and still governs the ages."
“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say: “This I will do with Jesus!”

1. Open the door of your heart, soul. Bow down before Him, call upon His name. You will find Him to be the all adequate Savior and Friend.

Shakespeare, the great playwright, worked, toiled, and saved to be buried in the chancel of the church . Lorelle and I saw the church in which he is buried Holy Trinity Church (Shakespeare’s Burial Place), Stratford-upon-Avon Warwickshire England. We rowed a boat in the middle of a rain storm on the Avon in England. In his will, the great dramatist wrote: "I commit my soul to God my Creator in humble belief through the only merit of Jesus my Saviour, to obtain everlasting life."
2. Open the door of your home, He fits perfectly.

3. Open the door of your Bible. The 300 prophecies of the OT are infinitely perfect.

4. Open the door of your church, let Him be leader. Love, virtue, power, will flow from His heart.
What shall I do with Jesus? Open the door of your heart, This is what I shall do. I shall come to Him and kneel in His presence. I shall look up into His face. I shall open my heart. I shall take Him as my Hope and my Saviour. I shall give Him my life. I shall love Him and praise Him forever and ever.

Like that Negro spiritual:

I'm looking to the Lord Jesus And asking Him to stand by me.

When the storms of life are raging, Blessed Jesus, stand by me.

When the world is tossing me Like a ship upon the sea, Thou who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.

In trial and tribulation, Stand by me. When the host of hell assail And my strength begins to fail,

Thou who never lost a battle, Stand by me.

In the midst of faults and failures, Stand by me. When I do the best I can, And my friends misunderstand, Thou who knowest all about me, Stand by me.

And when I'm growing old and feeble, Stand by me. When my life becomes a burden

And I am facing tragic journey, Oh, thou who opens the door of heaven, Remember me, stand by me.

What shall I do with Jesus? I open to Him my heart. I give Him my life. I invite Him to be my friend and companion through every step of the way and I look forward to the triumph when I see Him face-to-face.

A friend wrote recently "In the song "What About Me?" there is a line, "Now we're standin' on the corner of a world gone home. Nobody's changed, nobody's been saved. And I'm feelin' cold and alone." Many look at this world and conclude that it is anything but redeemed or renewed since the sufferings and miseries of humanity continue unabated. Yet the experience of Christians runs contrary to this, for they believe that God's new creation has burst upon the world in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For me, I know that I am not the same person I was before receiving Christ." My friend came to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord.  He was a military man.  He now serves the Lord as a lecturer in a theological college in Scotland.  What will you do with Jesus? 


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