Monday, March 28, 2016
But go, tell His disciples and Peter,
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, Did you ever consider why the angel, sent by the risen Lord Jesus, reminds the ladies at the empty tomb to "7.. tell His disciples and Peter" ? Why Peter? Peter got into trouble with his words. We all do too. A little girl wanted to say grace at the meal table in front of a family invited to lunch. There was silence.. and then nothing... "Just say what mummy says honey" "Lord why did I ever invite these people here for lunch today?" Jesus and His disciples had just finished the Last Supper in the Upper Room. They sang a hymn and then went out to the Mount of Olives. There, Jesus told His disciples that they were fast approaching the “showdown” and in that crunch moment they would all fall away. They would all deny Him, they would all forsake Him. But boldly, Peter said to Jesus, “Not me Lord. All the rest of them may fall away but not me. You can count on me. I would never fail you. I would never deny you. I will go with You to prison and even to death. The others may become weak in the crisis, but not me. I will stand tall. That, You can count on.” And Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, I know you mean well, but the truth is that this very night before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And of course, Jesus was right. That is precisely what happened… and Peter was emotionally and spiritually devastated by his failure to live up to his bold words. How could he face Christ again after falling on his face so completely? How could Peter be redeemed from this tragic failure?
WHEN WE MOST FEEL DESPAIR THE RISEN CHRIST BRINGS HOPEPeter... never forgotten by the Lord.. never left to His stupidity. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.
WHEN WE MOST NEED LOVE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO LOVE US.Peter... never forsaken by the Lord... loved when we need it most. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings fellowship. 1John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed,and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life— 2 that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these thingsso that our joy may be complete.
WHEN WE MOST NEED FORGIVENESS, THE RISEN CHRIST COME TO FORGIVE US. Peter.. forgiven .. the Lord says.. "He's with me!" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings forgiveness. 1John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and • walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. Why do you get a receipt from a shop? 2 reasons.. 1. so you can take the product back when it doesn't work. 2. As a proof of purchase. The resurrection is the proof of purchase. The Son's death at the cross has purchased your pardon. The resurrection is the Father's receipt that the sacrifice is accepted. Do you want to feel the forgiveness of your sins afresh? confess them to the Lord. The risen Lord is ready to hear your prayers. and He applies your forgiveness that He purchased for you at the cross.
WHEN WE MOST NEED DIRECTION, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO DIRECT US.Peter.. Jesus asks the question, "Are you with Me?" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, go to Galilee! He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings a new sense of call for your life. He wants you to follow Him again. Note this in the meeting with the resurrected Lord with Peter at the sea of Galilee. John 21:12 Jesus *said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. The Love Motivation 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16 He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 17 He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep. 18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!" 20 Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" 22 Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.
WHEN WE MOST NEED ASSURANCE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO ASSURE US.A dear Lady was dieing. She had walked with the Lord for many many years.SHe asked me.."But Did He die for me?" I reminded her how the Lord had touched her heart many times in her life to remind her that her sins were pardoned at the cross when the Lord Jesus died. The Risen Lord comes to people personally. He speaks to your heart that your sins are forgiven. Even yours! Even Peters. Even ours. She said to me.. "Yes I see it now. He died for my sins and He is risen and thats all that counts." Do you know He died and is risen.. Has He spoken peace to your heart? He can. Right now..Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." Will you do that right now?
Saturday, March 12, 2016
The Paradoxes of Christian Fruitfulness I’ll never forget the short tribute one on large tombstone. A man’s name was listed and then it said, “He was a great man.” I often wondered what criteria did they use to determine that this was a great man? The word “great” is probably the most overused word in the English language. When you Google the word great there are 5.5 billion links. And we not only have great, we have greater, and greatest! There were three restaurants on one city block. The first restaurant had a large sign that said, “The Greatest Restaurant in the city.” The second restaurant had a larger sign that said, “The Greatest Restaurant in the county.” The third restaurant had a small sign that simply said, “The Greatest Restaurant on this block.” But the word “great” can also mean just the opposite. If you get in your car to crank it up and the battery’s dead you might say, “Well, that’s just great!” No wonder it’s hard to learn English! In 2001, Jim Collins wrote a bestselling management book entitled Good to Great. The subtitle was “Why some Companies take the leap and others don’t.” Collins studied a number of successful companies like Nucor and Walgreens and presented management principles on how to take a good company and make it great. I’ve entitled this message From Great to Good. I don’t think a business book with that title would sell many copies. But when it comes to our personal relationship with God and with others, Jesus taught that personal goodness is more valuable than personal greatness. Let’s unpack this truth by exploring three principles from this episode. But Jesus is omniscient—He knows all things—so He knew exactly what they were arguing about: Who was the greatest. We all have to deal with the temptation of our flesh to think we are great. We have an “I” problem, and it has nothing to do with sight. I’m talking about the big “I” that represents your ego. It wants to be great. I can remember boxer Muhammad Ali brashly declaring, “I am the greatest!!” We say so many things are “great” that the word has lost its power. We talk about the Great Lakes, Great Britain, the Great Plains, the Great Wall in China; and the Great White Shark swimming in the Great Barrier Reef. And history has dubbed certain leaders with the title “great.” You’ve probably heard of Alexander the Great, Herod the Great, and even Catherine the Great. Wikipedia reports there has been at least 114 world leaders who had the word “great” used with their names, all the way from Albert the Great to Xerxes the Great. HE WHO WOULD LIVE MUST DIE Mark 8 34“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. The essence of sin is self-centeredness. And a person who suffers from selfish pride places their ego at the center of their own personal universe and everything and everyone revolves around them. They don’t know much about theology, but their favorite topic is Me-ology. They love to talk about “me” and what “me” likes or “me” doesn’t like. And drumroll please; now we have the ability to take pictures of our favorite subject—me!! According to a CBS report, we are taking 93 million selfies a day. The Bible teaches that we must resist this temptation for self-promotion. The Bible says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3 There’s nothing wrong with having ambition—ambition for your family, your church, or your business can be a good thing. The Bible warns about the kind of SELFISH ambition that causes you to consider yourself better than everyone else. In His book, Good to Great, Jim Collins points out a surprising discovery. The leaders of these great companies were actually humble men and women. He wrote: “The best CEOs in our research display tremendous ambition for their company. Yet at the same time they display a remarkable humility about themselves, ascribing much of their own success to luck, discipline and preparation rather than personal genius.” Dr. Jim Henry served as Pastor of FBC Orlando for almost thirty years before he retired in 2009. He is a great guy. He is a genuinely humble servant of God. He tells the story on himself about the time when he was attending a graduation ceremony in the football stadium at his alma mater, Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. He was receiving the outstanding alumnus award. He was sitting up on the platform with the president and the faculty in his dark robe. And for a few minutes he was feeling pretty good about himself. Just before he got up to get the award he was thinking, “When I was a student here, I was a nobody. Nobody expected me to succeed. Nobody knew that I would be the pastor of one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. But here I am. Getting the outstanding alumnus award. Not bad, Jim, old boy.” Then Jim said, just as he walked to the podium to get the award, he said a large bird flew over him and bombed him from his head down the shoulder of his black robe. He started laughing and everyone else started laughing. And Jim was thinking, “God sure has a since of humor. And He has a way of humbling us when we start thinking too highly of ourselves!” 1. THE WAY UP IS DOWN Mark 9:33-37 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” In this world, everyone is trying to make it to the top. They want to get to the top of the corporate ladder, or the top of the heap, or the top of the list of richest people. But God’s kingdom is a reverse kingdom. In God’s kingdom, the way up is down and way down is up. The Bible says in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Then a few verses later in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” The way down is up and the way up is down in God’s kingdom. In Isaiah 14 we read about the selfish ambition of an angel named Lucifer. He said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will place my throne above the stars of heaven…I will make myself like the most high!” (Isaiah 14:13-14) Satan said, “I’m going up, up, up. The sky’s not even the limit for me!” But God said, “No way. You’re going down, down, down.” And Satan has been going down since that day, and one day he’ll go all the way down to the bottomless pit. Because in God’s kingdom. The way up is down and the way down is up. He that is down needs fear no fall, He that is low no pride; He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide. I am content with what I have, Little be it or much; And, Lord, contentment still I crave Because Thou savest such. Fulness to such a burden is That go in pilgrimage; Here little and hereafter bliss Is best from all to age. In God’s eyes, greatness isn’t determined by how many servants you have; but by how many people you serve. 2. TO LOSE IS TO WIN 10:29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 3. To SERVE IS TO REIGN 10:35- 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus demonstrated a servant’s heart when He washed the disciples’ feet the night before He was crucified. They all thought they were too important to wash feet, but Jesus showed them what servanthood is all about. He was the Son of God, but He didn’t lead with a fancy title, He lead with a foot towel. Here’s a point for you to consider: In God’s eyes, greatness isn’t determined by how many servants you have; but by how many people you serve. In Hollywood there is the Walk of Fame, where stone and brass stars in the sidewalk honor the stars of entertainment. There are 2,500 stars all the way from Bud Abbott to Keenan Wynn. But God has another list of stars and they are the ones who serve. The world values greatness by how many servants a person has, but God assigns value according to how many people we serve. "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life. Wess Roberts wrote a book called "Leadership Secrets of Attila The Hun" (New York: Warner Books, 1987), 26 Listen to his advice... “Lust for Leadership: ‘You’ve got to want to be in charge. Above all other traits, one who desires to lead must possess an intrinsic desire to achieve substantial personal recognition and be willing to earn it. You must have the courage, creativity and stamina to focus on accomplishing your responsibilities through the directed, delegated efforts of subordinates.” Stacy T. Rinehart wrote a book titled "Upside Down" that describes the difference between the world's view and the Christian view... “Jesus contradicted everything I had thought, learned and experienced concerning the subject of leadership. Leading from a position of authority and power might be the accepted way of the world, but Jesus said it must not be so among His people.” Calvin Miller, made the following statement in a book called The Empowered Leader, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 40. "Once we have given up all rights to reputation, we may begin the walk of faith with nothing crucial to be lost!” And Gene Wilkes put it this way... "The disciples learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself... so that others can have the life God desires for them.” Hans Finzel a leadership expert said this...“Nothing destroys morale more than a ‘control freak’—the old-fashioned kind of leader who still wants to make all the decisions, call all the shots, and be the sole captain of the ship." 4. TO GIVE IS TO GAIN 12:41- 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” We know exactly where this took place because Josephus provided a detailed description of the Temple during the time of Jesus. The treasury was actually thirteen offering shofars build into a wall running beside the Court of the Women. Seven shofars were for tithes and six were for freewill offerings. They were called shofars because they resembled a horn made from a ram’s horn that the Jews would blow to signal religious holidays. The religious show-offs were mostly interested in what they could GET out of life. And the poor widow as interested in all she could GIVE. Passover Festival, so there would have been thousands of pilgrims in the city and almost all of them would have been making offerings. Mark 12:28Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. Max Lucado put it this way... “When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God Himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about Him.” Isaac Watts wrote a beautiful song in 1707 The first verse says, “When I survey the wondrous cross; on which the prince of glory died; My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.”, “Were the whole realm of nature mine; that were a present far too small; Love so amazing so divine; demands my soul, my life, my all!” Bill Hybels stated it this way in his book, "Descending into Greatness" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 22. “God asks us to lose so we can gain. He makes a hard request, then offers a promise. Lose your selfish ambition; I will honor you for loving others. Lose your addiction to things; I will provide for you if you seek Me wholeheartedly Lose your obsession to be in control; I will give you power as you follow Me Lose your appetite for thrills; I will startle you with pleasures you could never have found on your own. Lose your life; I will give you eternity.”