Thursday, December 29, 2011

God Chose Us



Ephesians 1:4

God chose certain individuals to be saved.

These were the redeemed who would believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.

********

God chose them before the creation of the world.

God planned His salvation ahead of time.

It was a predetermined choice of God.

Before anyone was saved, God had already made a sovereign choice to save certain individuals.

********

God chose them in Jesus Christ.

God sovereignly placed them in Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ came to the earth, they were in Him.

When He died on the cross, they were in Him.

When He rose from the dead, they were in Him.

When God came to them in conviction and they responded in faith, they were baptized into Him.

Their union with Jesus Christ is absolute and eternal (Ephesians 2:5-6).

********

God chose them to be holy and blameless in his sight.

God saved them so that He might demonstrate His saving grace and power in their lives.

God did not choose them because of their abilities, their good deeds, or any merit in them.

God chose them merely because He wanted to.

He saved them for His own glory alone.

********

Some thoughts.
  • The doctrine of election is a hard doctrine to accept. It destroys human pride and ability.
  • Besides, we want God to be fair. We want everyone to have an equal chance to be saved.
  • But the doctrine of God’s sovereign election is a reality. It is a biblical doctrine.
  • We want God to save everybody, but He never intended to.
  • Besides, we know that not everyone is saved!
  • But this does not make God unjust (Rom. 9:14-23).
  • Instead of complaining that God has chosen to save some, we should praise Him that He has chosen to save any!
  • God would have been just if He had allowed all of us to go to Hell because of our sins. But God reached out to save some! If it were not for His sovereign grace, none of us would be saved.
  • But what about those people out there who want to be saved? They should not complain, rather they should come to Jesus Christ for salvation. When they come, He will not turn them away. That is His promise (John 6:37).
  • So, instead of attacking the doctrine of election, we should thank God that He has chosen us in Jesus Christ.
  • If we have not yet been saved, and He is calling us to come to Him, we should come. Be saved today.
  • If we are saved, we should rejoice in all His grace, mercy, and abundant blessings in our lives.

Friday, December 23, 2011

God Is Good



Ephesians 1:3

God is to be praised.

Apostle Paul said praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is to be praised when things go our way and against our way.

God is good no matter what happens.

*******

God has blessed us.

Apostle Paul said God the father has blessed us.

God is the source of all our blessings.

All our blessings come from God.

At times, God turns bad things out for our good (Rom. 8:28).

*******

God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.

Apostle Paul said God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, God gives us unlimited spiritual resources.

We have been given everything God has to offer.

God just keeps blessing and blessing and blessing, giving us love, joy, peace, grace, mercy, glory and hope, and countless other blessings besides!

We are rich in all spiritual blessings!

We do not have to be frugal with His blessings, but we should spend all we can while we are here for His glory!

*******

Our spiritual blessings are located in heavenly places.

Apostle Paul said God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

All our spiritual blessings are in heavenly places.

We just need to take them here on earth.

The only way we can bring them here is by yielding to the Spirit of God.

As we allow the Spirit of God to fill us and use us, He will produce all the spiritual blessings of heaven in our souls (Gal. 5:16, 22-23).

We are rich in Jesus as we lay hold on those riches by walking in the power of the Spirit of God!

*******

All the spiritual blessings are given to us because we are in Christ.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are brought into a wonderful union with Him.

As a result, everything that belongs to Him now belongs to us (Rom. 8:16-17).

We are given these things because of Christ’s work in our hearts and lives.

We don’t deserve it.

We don’t earn it.

Everything is given to us as a free gift of His grace!

*******

We are truly blessed in Jesus Christ.

We have all the heavenly blessings for our needs.

We must ask God to help us walk in the Spirit so that we can lavishly spend everything He has given us in Jesus Christ.

We must get up and go out into the world living out His will and walking in His way.

*******

God is good.

And we must be good to Him.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Greeting From Apostle Paul



Ephesians 1:1-2

Paul was the author of the epistle.

He wrote with divine authority.

*******

Paul was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He was the foundation leader of the early church.

He received direct revelation from God to deliver His truths to His people.

*******

Paul was called by the will of God.

He was sent from God for a special mission.

He was to be an apostle.

*******

Apostle Paul addressed his recipients.

*******

He called them saints.

They had been saved by the grace of God.

They were washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They were imputed with the righteousness of Christ.

They were set apart for the glory of God and for His exclusive use in this world.

*******

He called them the faithful in Christ Jesus.

They were new creations in Christ.

They lived a distinct and different life from the world around them.

They lived a faithful life in Christ in a world that does not know Him.

*******

Apostle Paul acknowledged and greeted his recipients.

*******

He greeted them with the blessing of grace.

He prayed that God would save them.

He prayed that God would keep them.

He prayed that God would change their lives.

*******

He greeted them with the blessing of peace.

Paul prayed that they would have peace with God.

Paul prayed that they would have peace with fellowmen.

*******

Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of good relationship with God.

*******

When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will have God as our Father.

Then we will have the riches of God.

We will enjoy God's grace and God's peace.

*******

As Christians, we are saints and faithful in Christ Jesus.

We know God the Father.

And God will blessed us with abundant grace and peace.

*******

God will feed our souls.

God will challenge our lives.

God will change our church as a result of our faith in Christ.

*******

Let us come praying to God.

Let us wait on Him to bless us.

*******

He just knows how to bless us.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jesus Led The Way



Mark 10:32-34

The Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples were on their way up to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

They were on their way to the Temple where sacrifices were offered and atonement was made.

*******

But the Lord Jesus Christ had His mind on a little hill outside the city gates.

His focus was on a hill called Golgotha, a place called Calvary.

His mind was on the hill where Abraham offered up his son Isaac to the Lord.

His mind was on the place where He would offer Himself up as the final, perfect, eternal sacrifice for sin and sinners.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ knew that when He arrived at Calvary, an ages old plan would be accomplished.

He knew that the prophecies of the prophets would be fulfilled.

He knew that the just demands of a holy God would be met.

God Almighty would be satisfied and lost sinners would be saved.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ had His mind on all those who would bow before the Father and confess the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

He would die for all those who would believe the Gospel message!

*******

The disciples were afraid for the Lord Jesus Christ.

They were also afraid for themselves.

*******

They knew that the Jewish leaders hated the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus had had several bitter encounters with the Jewish religious leaders.

They were upset by His miracles.

They were upset by His claim to be the Son of God.

They were upset by His claim to be the Messiah.

They were so upset that they wanted Him dead.

*******

The disciples were amazed that the Lord Jesus Christ was determined to march to His death.

*******

The disciples were afraid for themselves too!

This was not what they wanted.

They would die with Him and they were afraid.

*******

But they continued to follow Him.

They were resolved to follow the Lord Jesus Christ even if it meant that they would die with Him.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ sensed the fear in His men.

He took the time to comfort them.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ told His men in very clear terms what was about to happen to Him at Jerusalem.

The leaders of the Jews would make a final rejection of Him as the Messiah.

Their Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, would condemn Him as a common criminal and sentence Him to die.

The Jews, the very people He came to save, would turn Him over to the Gentiles so they could put Him to death.

The crowds around the cross would mock Him and ridicule Him as He died.

The soldiers would take Him and scourge Him.

They would bend Him over a low pole and beat His back with a Roman flagellum.

Then they would spit in His face and ripped His bread from His face.

Then they would nail Him to a Roman cross, where He hung for six agonizing hours before He died.

They would remove His dead body from that cross and buried Him in a borrowed tomb.

Three days after He died on the cross, He would get up from the dead!

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ led the way.

Like a Good Shepherd, He walked before His flock, taking care of their every need.

He had cleared the way for His people.

He had come to this world with a single goal.

He had come to accomplish our salvation.

He had done all these when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.

He had went where we could not go and done what we could not do, so that we might receive what only Him could give us.

*******

Let us come to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eternal Life



Mark 10:17-22

A young man came to the Lord Jesus.

He heard the way of salvation.

But he left as lost as he came.

*******

This man was rich.

Anything he wanted was well within his reach.

*******

This man lived a clean and moral life.

*******

But his money and morality couldn’t satisfy the deepest longing of his soul.

He wanted most of all the peace with God before he died.

He wanted eternal life.

*******

This man wanted a saving relationship with the Almighty God.

He wanted to do something about it.

He ran to the Lord Jesus; it was urgent.

He fell on his knees before the Lord Jesus Christ; the Lord Jesus Christ was special.

He came while Jesus was in the way; he was not ashamed to admit he had a spiritual need.

He wanted to know how he might inherit eternal life.

*******

This man was confused.

He thought salvation could be earned.

He thought salvation was a reward.

He thought if he could do enough good things, God would give him eternal life as a reward.

*******

This man called the Lord Jesus “Good teacher”.

He didn’t know that the Lord Jesus is God.

He is God in the flesh!

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

He is the only hope we have of salvation.

*******

The Lord Jesus gave him a list of commands to get him see that he was a sinner.

The Lord Jesus wanted him to be honest about his spiritual condition.

The Lord Jesus wanted him to see that he was morally and spiritually bankrupt.

He was a sinner in need of a Savior.

*******

This man responded to the challenge by telling the Lord Jesus that he had kept all those commandments since his youth.

The Lord Jesus looked at him; He loved him.

He didn’t rebuke him for his claim.

*******

The Lord Jesus told him in very clear terms how he was to be saved.

The Lord Jesus told him “One thing you lack.”

This man needed to get rid of his wealth and his self.

He was to sell what he had and gave it all away.

*******

We can never be saved until we are willing to lay down everything we own to the Lord Jesus.

*******

Next, the Lord Jesus called him to totally commit his life to Him.

*******

When this man heard the Lord’s demands, he was sad.

*******

He wanted salvation.

But he wanted it on his terms.

He wanted to keep all he had.

*******

This man chose his possessions over the Lord Jesus!

He loved his money more than he wanted to be saved.

*******

Let us examine our faith today.

What do we trust to give us eternal life?

*******

We are to lay down everything to follow the Lord Jesus.

*******

Without Him, we are lost, doomed and headed to Hell.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who Is The Greatest



Mark 9:30-41

The Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples were on their way to Capernaum.

*******

Once again He told them that He would be killed, but He would rise the 3rd day.

*******

They did not understand.

And they were afraid to ask Him what He meant.

They only understood everything after He had died on the cross and risen from the dead.

*******

They reached Capernaum.

The Lord Jesus Christ wanted to know what the disciples were discussing on the way.

*******

His question was met with silence.

*******

The disciples were arguing among themselves who was the greatest of their number.

They were arguing who was the no.1 disciple!

*******

Everyone thought he was more qualified than the others.

Everyone thought he was more worthy of honor.

Everyone thought he should be the leader of the group.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ wanted to correct the immature and foolish thinking of His disciples.

He sat down and told them the way to greatness was through serving others.

*******

True greatness is achieved through the humble service to others.

We must put others before ourselves and meet their needs, forgetting about our own needs.

When we humble ourselves, the Lord will exalt us in due time.

*******

To make His teaching clear, the Lord Jesus Christ took a child and placed him before the disciples.

He told them that if they received a child in His name, they were actually received both the Son and the Father Who sent Him.

*******

When we serve the least among us, we are in reality serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

By serving Him, we are serving His Father as well.

*******

Children need to be served.

But they cannot serve us in return.

That is a lesson we all need to take to heart.

*******

Too often, we only serve those who can do something in return.

*******

We are to reach out to those who are the neediest.

We are to serve those who cannot or will not serve us in return.

We are to give our all for those who may break our hearts in return.

*******

The Lord Jesus had set us a good example.

He was a servant of the neediest people of all.

He was a servant to those who could never repay Him.

He was a servant to those who would fail Him, deny Him, and dishonor Him.

He was a servant to everyone of us when He died on the cross.

*******

When John heard the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, he brought up an incident that had occurred sometime earlier.

Apparently, the disciples had encountered a fellow who was casting out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This fellow was successful.

But since he didn’t follow the Lord Jesus Christ and His men, the disciples rebuked him and told him to stop what he was doing.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ responded by telling them to let people like that alone.

If they were doing good works in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they were not against Him; they were actually working for Him.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ went on to tell His men that even if someone just gave a disciple a cup of water in the name of the Lord, that person would surely be rewarded.

*******

The greatest person in the church is the person who serves others selflessly, with no thought for what they might receive in return.

*******

The greatest person in the church is the person who is willing to take the last place so that others can be first.

*******

The greatest person in the church is the person who seeks to serve those who can never give anything back in return.

*******

Does that describe us?

*******

Remember, we are to serve God by serving others.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Is Our Answer?



Mark 8:27-30

The Lord Jesus asked His disciples 2 questions.

The 1st question was about what others said about Him.

The 2nd was about their personal opinions about Him.

*******

The Lord Jesus Asked A Probing Question (27-28)

The Lord Jesus and His disciples were around Caesarea Philippi.

This was a predominately Gentile area.

It was steeped in pagan religion.

*******

Here, the Lord Jesus chose to make a fuller revelation of Himself to His disciples.

*******

The Lord Jesus’ first question was this: “Who do people say I am?”

The Lord Jesus wanted to use the opinions of others to make the disciples to form their own opinions of who He was.

*******

The disciples replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

*******

The Lord Jesus Asked A Personal Question (29-30)

The Lord Jesus then asked their personal opinions of Him.

*******

This was the moment of truth!

Everything He had taught and shown them had been leading up to this moment in time.

Every miracle was leading to this moment in time.

*******

Their response would let Him know how effective His personal ministry to them had been.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ simply asked, “Who do you say I am?”

It was a simple question, but it was filled with eternal implications.

A correct answer would take one to Heaven.

A wrong answer would take one to Hell.

*******

Apostle Peter, as was his custom, spoke for the whole group.

He said, “You are the Messiah.”

*******

He got it right!

He looked at the Lord Jesus and saw the Messiah, which is what the word “Christ” means.

What a statement of faith!

*******

The Lord Jesus’ identity was revealed to Peter by God Himself.

This is true in every genuine conversion.

No one is saved by the persuasive opinions of men.

People are saved when their spiritual eyes are opened by the Lord Jesus.

He gives them the faith to believe unto salvation.

*******

Peter’s declaration lets us know that he was a saved man.

He knew who the Lord Jesus was and he openly confessed Him.

*******

Our opinion about who the Lord Jesus is is a very personal thing.

No one can speak for us.

No one can believe for us.

It all comes down to who we believe He is.

*******

Our answer to the Lord’s question is absolutely vital to our salvation.

How we answer that question will determine where we spend eternity.

*******

Apostle Peter and all the other disciples believed the Lord Jesus was God, Lord and Savior, and they were saved.

Millions have believed the same thing about Him over the last 2,000 years and they have all been saved.

*******

The Lord Jesus told His disciples not to reveal His identity.

He did this because it wasn’t time.

If they went over the land preaching that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, opposition would have grown so great that the Lord Jesus would have been unable to complete His mission.

*******

Today, His mission stands completed and He commands us to tell the world about Him.

*******

Who is the Lord Jesus to us?

What is our answer?

*******

If we can honestly say that Jesus is our Savior and the Lord of our life, then we should praise Him today.

If we have any other answer, we need to change our answer.

And we must do it now!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

He Has Done Everything Well



Mark 7:31-37

The Man And His Condition (32)

This man was deaf.

He also had a speech impediment.

But he had people around him who cared about him.

*******

They heard that the Lord Jesus Christ was passing by. So they brought him to Him.

They believed that the Lord Jesus Christ could heal him!

*******

The Master And His Cure (33-35)

The Lord Jesus Christ did a great work in his life.

*******

First, He took him aside, away from the crowd.

He didn’t want to embarrass him in front of a harsh staring public.

*******

Then He used a sign language to communicate His intentions.

First, He stuck His fingers in the man’s ears to let him know that He was going to do something about his deafness.

He spat on His finger and touched the man’s tongue to let him know that He was about to lubricate his speech.

*******

The Lord Jesus is trying to awaken faith in his heart.

He was trying to get him to understand that something was about to happen in his life and that He was going to bring about the changes.

*******

Then He looked toward Heaven.

This act served two purposes.

First, it told the deaf man that the healing was coming from above.

Secondly, it demonstrated the Son’s dependence upon the Father.

*******

Then, He sighed deeply.

The sigh that seemed to say “I care about you and what you are going through!”

*******

Then, the Lord Jesus said, “Ephphatha”, which means “be opened”.

*******

When He said this, the man’s ears were healed and his tongue was loosed.

He could hear!

He could speak!

Oh, what a miracle!

*******

One command from the Lord Jesus Christ and his life changed forever!

That is the power of the Word of God!

*******

The Multitude And Their Confession (36-37)

As soon as the Lord Jesus Christ had accomplished the miracle, He told the multitudes not to tell anyone else.

*******

He told them to keep quiet.

But they did just the opposite.

He told them to tell no one and they told everyone!

*******

These people were overwhelmed with amazement.

“He has done everything well,” they said.

“He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

That statement was a statement of faith.

*******

They looked at all that they knew about the Lord Jesus Christ and they voiced their approval of Him and His ministry.

They considered His miracles and His ministry and they said, “He has done everything well!”

*******

The man met the Lord Jesus Christ that day and his life was never the same again.

Meeting the Lord Jesus Christ changed everything forever for this man.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ can do the same thing for any person who will come to Him today!

And He will do everything well!

*******

Will you come?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Lord Of The Little



Mark 6:35-44

The Lord Of Little Fears (35-36)

The people followed the Lord Jesus Christ to the other side of the lake.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ spent the day teaching them.

*******

The hour was growing late.

The disciples came to the Lord Jesus Christ and interrupted His teaching.

*******

They demanded that He sent the people away so that they could find food to eat.

They were afraid that the people would not be able to find any food to eat if the hour grew any later.

*******

They were ten miles away from home.

They were in a deserted location.

They were in a place where no food was to be found.

*******

The disciples were in the presence of the Lord of Glory.

But they didn’t believe that He could handle the situation.

To their eyes, the situation looked impossible.

*******

They were not coming to the Lord Jesus in faith.

They were coming to Him in fear!

*******

Our Savior is the Lord of little fears!

*******

The Lord Of Little Faith (37-38)

When the Lord Jesus Christ heard the fears of His men, He said, “You give them something to eat.”

*******

This command was immediately met with an expression of absolute unbelief.

This was a problem that was insurmountable!

It was an impossible challenge for them.

*******

The Lord Of Little Food (39-44)

After their display of faithlessness, the Lord Jesus asked them how much food they had.

He told them to go and find out.

All they could find was 5 loaves and 2 fishes.

*******

The Lord Jesus commanded the people to sit down in groups of hundreds and fifties.

Then He took the 5 loaves and 2 fish.

He lifted His face toward Heaven and He blessed the food.

*******

He was not upset that the provisions were so meager.

He is not bothered by the small amount of food.

*******

He took what was given to Him and He began to break it.

He kept on breaking and kept on giving.

And they continued to multiply in His hands.

*******

He kept breaking and giving until every person in the crowd had no more desire for food.

Then, when the disciples took of the leftovers, there were 12 baskets full!

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of the little!

He took a little and made a lot out of it!

*******

He can multiply the little that we have if we will just put them in His hand.

*******

He will use us in ways we never imagined if we will only give Him our little.

*******

The Lord Jesus was more than sufficient for every circumstance in life.

*******

He is more than sufficient to take our little and give us a lot more in return!

*******

Let us come to Him right now.

Let us put our little in His hands.

He is the Lord of the little!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Bloody Woman



Mark 5:24-34

The Condition Of Her Health (24-26)

The Diagnosis

This woman had an issue of blood.

She was hemorrhaging from some place in her body.

It ruined her life.

The Duration

She had been plagued with this condition for 12 years.

The Discomfort

She had tried all the remedies of all the physicians of her day.

And she suffered much under their care.

The Damage

She had spent all of her money seeking a cure.

She had nothing left to sustain her meager existence.

The Danger

Her condition continued to deteriorate.

She was headed for death.

Her life was draining out of her body day by day.

********

The Circumstances Of Her Healing (27-29)

It Involved Facts

This woman had heard of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It Involved Faith

This woman believed that by touching His garments she would be healed.

It Involved Fortitude

She approached the Lord Jesus Christ in the crowd.

She was taking a great risk.

If she was recognized, she might be stoned to death.

It Involved Fulfillment

She reached out her trembling hand and touched His garment.

Immediately she experienced healing!

********

The Compassion Of Her Healer (30-34)

His Reaction

As soon as she touched the Lord Jesus Christ, He knew what had happened.

He asked the question, "Who touched My clothes?"

Her Reply

The woman came before Him, bowed at His feet and confessed everything to Him.

His Response

The Lord Jesus Christ acknowledged her testimony.

He spoke words of great comfort to her heart:

A Word Of Confirmation

The woman got more than physical healing that day.

Her faith brought her into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Word Of Compassion

The Lord Jesus Christ told her to go in peace.

His words let her know that she had done the right thing in coming to Him and touching Him.

A Word Of Completion

She was finally and fully free from her plague.

Her battle with this dread disease was forever finished!

********

Our world is filled with people like this sick woman.

They may have physical afflictions.

But their real disease is a disease of the soul and of the heart.

All they need for their healing is to get to the Lord Jesus Christ.

If they will come to Him today, He will heal the problem in their soul and He will give them a new life in Him.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Back From The Dead



Mark 5:1-20

The Man’s Slavery (1-6)

His Master

This man was under the control of Satan.

He was home to a few thousand of demons.

His Misery

This man lived in the tombs.

He was a wild man.

His demons caused him to be self-destructive.

His Mentality

This man ran to the Lord Jesus Christ!

He still had the knowledge of right and wrong!

********

The Man’s Savior (6-13)

The Savior’s Purpose

The Lord Jesus Christ went over to the other side of the lake just to reach him.

What love! What compassion!

The Savior’s Perception

When the Lord Jesus Christ looked at this man, He saw a human in need of heavenly intervention!

The Savior’s Power

The Lord Jesus Christ has more power than the devil!

At His command, the demons left the poor man and entered a herd of 2,000 swine that ran down the side of a cliff and committed suicide in the sea!

*******

The Man’s Salvation (14-20)

Salvation Changed Him

No longer was the man running around, crying out and cutting himself.

Now he was calm and seated beside the Lord Jesus Christ!

Salvation Clothed Him

No longer was he naked, but now he was clothed!

Salvation Calmed Him

Now he was in his right mind!

He had perfect peace!

He has been changed spiritually, physically and mentally!

Salvation Compelled Him

He Was Compelled To Desire Jesus

Now that he was saved, all he wanted to do was to be around the Lord Jesus Christ and do His business.

He Was Compelled To Declare Jesus

He was told to go home and tell those who know him what the Lord Jesus Christ had done in his life!

He went to Decapolis, and started telling people what had happened and it got their attention!

*******

Has the Lord Jesus Christ passed by when you were trapped in the bondage of your sins, and set you free?

Have you experienced His life-changing, sin-killing, bondage-breaking power in your life?

If you haven’t, you can!

If you will come to the Lord Jesus Christ right now, He is here to save.

He may have come this way just for you today!

Will you come to Him?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Master Of The Deep



Mark 4:35-41

The Power Of The Storm (37)

Its Suddenness

The Sea of Galilee is susceptible to sudden storms.

That is the way life is too!

Often we are in the storm of our lives.

Its Severity

The disciples were frightened by the severity of the storm.

The ship was rocking and reeling.

It was full of water.

It was about to sink.

It was a violent storm.

And it was night time.

They were in terrible danger.

They feared for their lives.

*******

So are the storms of life.

They are often severe.

And cause us great anguish, fear, anxiety and pain.

Its Source

It might have been natural since the Sea of Galilee was susceptible to storms.

Or God might have sent it for the purpose of teaching them to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Or it might be an attempt by Satan to destroy the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

So are the storms in our own lives.

They can come from various sources too.

*******

The Problem Of The Storm (35, 38)

The storm was raging.

But the Lord was asleep.

The disciples woke Him up.

They had lost all hope of surviving the storm.

They Doubted His Goodness

They accused the Lord Jesus Christ of not caring about what they were facing.

They Doubted His Grace

They were afraid that the Lord Jesus Christ would let them all die.

They Doubted His Guarantee

They feared they wouldn’t reach the other side of the lake.

*******

The Purpose Of The Storm (39-41)

The Lord Jesus Christ woke up and began to work.

As He did, the disciples made some precious discoveries about Him.

They Discovered About His Power

The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea.

When He did, the winds fell silent and the sea became as a sheet of glass.

The storm is not a problem when the Lord Jesus Christ is with us!

They Discovered About His Promises

They passed over to the other side of the lake.

Everything the Lord Jesus Christ has promised, He will do.

They Discovered About His Presence

They discovered they had an advantage when the Lord Jesus Christ was with them.

They were able to call on Him.

They were able to see Him move in power.

They were able to experience His peace.

They Discovered About His Purposes

They discovered that they were sent into the storm so that they could learn to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The storm increased their faith!

They Discovered About His Peace

They were fretting and fearing.

The Lord Jesus Christ was sleeping.

He could sleep during the storm.

He trusted His Father to take care of Him.

They Discovered About His Person

They learned that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Master of the Deep.

*******

When the Lord Jesus Christ is with us, we can face our storms of life without fear.

He can ease our pain in our storm of suffering.

He can comfort our soul in our storms of sorrow.

He can deliver us and set us free in our storms of sin.

*******

Do we hear the Lord Jesus Christ say “Peace, be still!” to our storms?

Let us watch the Lord Jesus Christ work in our lives.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Parable Of The Soils



Mark 4:1-20

The Lord Jesus Christ was ministering in the city of Capernaum.

Great crowds gathered around Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ taught them from a boat.

He used parables.

He took the common, everyday events of life and used them to illustrate the deep things of God.

The people would have to think through what they were hearing.

Those who were sincere and hungry for the truth would know the truth.

Those who were closed minded to the truth would be concealed from them.

Let us consider first the parable of the soils.

*******

The Closed Mind (4, 15)

The wayside refers to the narrow footpaths that ran through the fields.

These were the roads of the day.

The soil on them had become hard.

When the seed fell on the footpath, it could not penetrate the soil.

It remained there in the open, only to be devoured by the fowls of the air.

*******

This speaks of the people who hear the Gospel but cannot see how it can connect to their life.

They are hard hearted.

The seed of the Gospel cannot penetrate the soil of their mind.

They hear the Gospel and dismiss it as foolishness.

And the devil comes immediately to snatch away the Gospel seed.

*******

The Confused Mind (5-6, 16-17)

The stony ground looks promising.

The seed casts here will germinate and quickly spring up into a plant.

But there is no depth of soil.

As soon as the sun beats down on the tender plant, it withers and dies without producing any fruit.

*******

This speaks of the people who make emotional responses immediately to the presentation of the Gospel.

They receive it with gladness.

But because they have no depth to their profession, they fall away when the persecutions and tribulations associated with knowing the Lord Jesus Christ arise.

They are not saved.

There is no fruit of salvation in their life!

*******

The Cluttered Mind (7, 18-19)

This soil looks good.

But underneath the surface are the living roots and seeds of thorns and weeds.

When the seed springs to life, so do the thorns and weeds.

They soon choke out the tender plant.

The young tender plant withers and dies without producing any fruit.

*******

This speaks of the people who try to have the benefit of the Gospel while still clinging to the old life of sin.

The cares of the world, the quest for earthly riches, and the lust for worldly things spell disaster for this kind of soil.

They are not saved.

There is no fruit of salvation in their life!

*******

The Cultivated Mind (8, 20)

This is a good ground.

It has been plowed and tilled.

It is ready to receive the seed when it comes.

The seed will germinate and the plant will grow.

When the plant reaches maturity, it will produce fruit.

*******

This speaks of the heart that has been plowed deeply by the Word of God, and tilled by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

It is a heart that has been prepared by the grace of God.

This is the only soil that produces fruit!

On the hard soil, the seed never penetrates the hard ground and is carried away.

On the other three soils, the seed penetrates and disappears, but only that which falls on the good soil produces fruit!

And some of the seeds produce more fruit that others.

*******

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

*******

Let us examine our life today and see whether or not our life is producing spiritual fruit to the glory of God.

Let us know our own heart.

The soil of our life will be judged by the fruit it bears.

Are we in a personal, faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ today?

Are we saved?

Are we producing fruit that is pleasing to the Lord?

Let us make very sure.

*******

Let us come to the Lord Jesus Christ today.

He will help us with the needs we have in our life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Scandal Over The Sabbath



Mark 2:23-28

Jesus And The Irritation (23-24)

The Conduct Of The Disciples

The Pharisees were upset.

The disciples were eating heads of grain in a field on the Sabbath Day.

The Criticism Of The Disciples

The Pharisees came to the Lord Jesus Christ.

They accused His disciples of doing something unlawful on the Sabbath Day.

They considered what they were doing to be work.

But that was not true.

The disciples were not working.

They were simply meeting a pressing need.

They were hungry and they were simply doing what the Law gave them permission to do.

*******

Jesus And The Illustration (25-26)

When His men were attacked, the Lord Jesus Christ neither condemned the disciples nor condoned their actions.

Neither did He enter into an argument with the Pharisees.

Instead, He pointed them to the Word of God.

The Lord’s Confrontation

The Lord Jesus Christ looked at these men and He said, “Have you never read…?”

He used a little sarcasm to get these men to understand that their argument was not based on a proper understanding of what the Bible says about such matter.

The Lord’s Clarification

The Lord Jesus Christ proceeded to remind them of an incident that occurred during the life of David.

When David was fleeing from Saul, he and his men needed food.

They came to the priest and ask for food.

The priest told David there was no bread there but the showbread.

The showbread was 12 loaves of bread that were baked fresh every Sabbath Day.

They were placed on a table in the holy place in the Tabernacle.

They represented the 12 tribes of Israel.

They reminded Israel of their dependence upon the Lord God for their physical needs.

The showbread was changed every Sabbath Day.

The old bread was eaten by the priests in the holy place.

This bread was not to be eaten by non-priests, according to the Law.

But it was given to David and His men.

The clear teaching here is that there are times when human needs are more important than a legalistic keeping of the Law.

*******

Jesus And The Illumination (27-28)

The Reason For The Sabbath

The Lord Jesus Christ told these men that the Sabbath Day was given to man.

The Sabbath does not exist to be served, it exists to serve.

The Sabbath was given to man out of the grace of God.

God gave man one day out of seven in which he did not have to work for a living.

Man was to take that one day per week and he was to rest from his physical labors.

Man was to use that day for reflection on what the Lord had done for him the other 6 days.

Man was to use that time to rest his body; reflect on the blessings o the Lord and refresh his spirit by worshiping the Lord.

That was the original intent of the Sabbath.

The Reality Of The Sabbath

The Lord Jesus Christ summed it all up by telling the Pharisees that He is “Lord of the Sabbath”.

It is far more important to know Him through a personal relationship than it is to keep rules and rituals.

The Lord Jesus Christ is greater than the Sabbath!

*******

Sunday is a very special day.

It is the Lord’s Day.

It is the day when the church gathers to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.

It is a day set aside to honor Him.

It is good not to do physical work on Sunday.

But there is nothing wrong if we have to.

This whole thing comes down to personal opinion.

It is a matter of conscience.

Whatever we do, let us be sure that we honor the Lord, not just on Sunday, but 7 days per week.

Every day is our Sabbath Day because we are in Jesus the place of Rest.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Transforming Moment



Mark 1:40-45

In the midst of His preaching and teaching ministry in Capernaum, the Lord Jesus Christ was interrupted by a leper.

*******

The Condition Of The Leper (40)

His Disease

This man was suffering from leprosy, the most feared disease and affliction that devastated the ancient world.

*******

His Desire

But that morning, faith was awakened in his heart.

He knew he had to get to the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

He made his way through the frightened crowd and stopped within arm’s length of Jesus.

He knelt before the Lord and declared to the Lord his desire.

*******

His words indicated a desire to be free from his disease.

His words declared his faith in Christ’s ability.

His words revealed his own sense of unworthiness before the Lord.

*******

The Compassion Of The Lord (41-42; 45)

The Lord Jesus Christ showed this man great compassion.

He Touched Him

How glorious that one touch must have felt to this man!

He Transformed Him

As soon as the Lord Jesus Christ touched the leper, he was made clean.

His leprosy instantly departed.

His skin was made as new and as fresh as a baby.

He was literally given a new lease on life.

*******

He could return to his loved ones.

He could rejoin society.

Everything changed when he felt the transforming touch of the Lord Jesus Christ on his skin.

*******

The Command Of The Law (43-44)

The Demands Of The Law

This leper was to go and present himself to the priest.

He was to get a certificate of cleansing on the basis of a ceremony in Leviticus 14.

*******

The Desire Of The Lord

The high priest had never seen a leper cleansed.

What a testimony it would be if that poor old leper who was gloriously cleansed could appear at the temple for cleansing!

*******

Are we like that poor old leper?

Are we diseased spiritually and need help?

The Lord Jesus Christ is still in the life-changing, soul-saving business.

If we will come to Him right now, like that leper did, believing Him for our souls’ salvation, everything will forever change in our lives.

*******

If God is calling us and we are ready for a new life, we must come to Him right now!

Whatever our needs may be today, we must come to Him and He will take care of us!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Becoming Fishers Of Men



Mark 1:16-20

The Lord Jesus Christ called 4 simple Galilean fishermen from 2 fishing boats.

He invited them to come and follow Him.

When He did, they left their nets and boats behind to follow Him as His disciples.

*******

His call to them was simple, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

This call changed their lives forever!

They were transformed into some of the greatest fishers of men the world has ever seen!

*******

If we are going to become fishers of men, we must:

Follow The Right Person

These men left everything to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

They learned the truth that God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

They learned that the Lord Jesus came to die for sinners.

They learned that the Gospel message is to be preached everywhere to everyone.

*******

Finish The Right Preparations

James and John were busy getting their nets ready to cast.

If we are going to be effective as fishers of men, we must be sure of our own salvation.

We must know what the Lord has done for us and how to share them with people.

We must pray and be ready for the Lord Jesus to use us when He allows opportunities to witness to come our way.

*******

Find The Right Process

Peter and Andrew were casting their nets when the Lord Jesus Christ found them.

They were casting those nets all over the place trying to gather in some fish!

We are to share the gospel message everywhere we go!

We are to use every situation as an opportunity to talk to someone about the condition of their soul.

*******

Fish The Right Places

Peter and Andrew were casting their nets into the water.

That’s where the fish live!

We have got to go where people are!

We must go into the world where the lost lives are and share the Gospel with them!

We are to get the message out into the world!

We preach the Gospel in the church, but we must preach the Gospel in the world if we would see people saved!

*******

Furnish The Right Patience

The Lord Jesus said to Peter and to Andrew, “I will make you to become fishers of men.”

That statement is in the future tense.

It would take some time before we are to become fishers of men.

*******

Let us get ready and go after the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let Him show us where to fish and go to it!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Beginning Of The Gospel



Mark 1:1-8

Mark’s desire was to present the Lord Jesus Christ as a servant.

His first sentence plunges us immediately into the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

********

Mark called the Lord “Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.

The Lord has a human name called “Jesus”.

It reveals the fact that He came into the world to save lost sinners.

The Lord is also called “Christ”.

He will deliver His people from their enemies.

The Lord is also called “the Son of God”.

He is God in the flesh.

********

We will begin by considering the ministry of John the Baptist.

********

John And His Mandate (2-3)

John the Baptist came to this world with a divine mission.

He was to clear the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He preached and appealed to the people, calling on them to repent because the Lord Jesus Christ was coming to deliver them.

********

John And His Methods (4-5)

John’s Preaching

John came telling men of the need for repentance.

He came confronting sin and calling on people to repent.

He called on them to change their minds regarding sin.

He called on them to clean up their lives in preparation for the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He told the people that their repentance would result in God’s forgiveness!

********

John’s Practice

John baptized the Jews.

These people were being baptized because their sins had been forgiven.

They went to John and were immersed into the river Jordan to declare publicly that their lives had been changed by the power of God.

They were baptized to give glory to the God Who had forgiven their sins and made them whole.

********

John’s Power

These people made a break with their past and were changed by the power of God.

********

John And His Manner (6)

His Fashion

John did not wear fine robes.

He dressed like a man of the desert.

********

His Food

John lived on what the Lord had provided.

He was satisfied with the basics of life.

********

John And His Message (7-8)

The Message Of A Humble Servant

When John talked about the Lord Jesus Christ, he became very humble.

He told the people that compared to Jesus, he was a nobody!

He wasn’t even worthy to do the job of the lowest household slave.

********

The Message Of A Holy Savior

John also told the people that when the Lord Jesus Christ came, He would do a spiritual work in their hearts.

He would baptize their souls with the Holy Spirit.

He would take them, wash their sins away in His blood, and give them a new life.

********

John the Baptist was pointing the people to a Savior Who could save their souls, forgive their sins and change their lives.

********

John preached a simple message about a wonderful Savior named Jesus.

He preached a simple message about the need for the people to deal honestly with their sins.

He preached a message that those people needed to hear.

He preached a message that we need to hear as well.

********

Let us come to the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and call on Him by faith.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will save our souls, forgive our sins and change our lives.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 7 Steps Toward Godly Living



2 Peter 1:1-15 (NIV)

The Apostle Peter Gives Us 4 Great Blessings Of “These Things” (8-11)

*******

(1) "These Things" Guarantee Our Fruitfulness

If "these things" are found in our life, then we will never be barren. We will always be fruitful for God’s glory. We will be a witness and a soul winner for the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

(2) These Things Guarantee Spiritual Discernment (1:9a)

When "these things" are active in our lives, we will be able to see the tricks, traps and temptations of the Devil. We will be able to see the needs of others and not be blinded by our own selfish interests.

*******

(3) These Things Guarantee Us Absolute Assurance Of Salvation (1:9b)

"These things" promise us that we can have assurance of salvation. They promise us that we can get to the place where we never doubt again!

*******

(4) These Things Guarantee That We Will Never Fall Again (1:10)

These things, if practiced in our lives, will keep us from falling. These things promise us a fall free life.

*******

What are "these things"?

*******

These Things Are The 7 Steps Toward Godly Living (5-7)

*******

(a) Goodness (1:5)

We must live by the Bible and live morally pure lives.

*******

(b) Knowledge (1:5)

We must have a sound knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity and apply them to our lives and living them out.

*******

(c) Self-Control (1:6)

We must control ourselves and do as the Lord pleases! We must control our tongues, our tempers, and our temptations.

*******

(d) Perseverance (1: 6)

We must not be swerved from our devotion to God even by the greatest of trials. We must not allow the slightest little wind to blow us off course.

*******

(e) Godliness (1:6)

We must yield our every action and attitude to the fear of the Lord. We must spend our days serving God. We must strive at every turn to please the Lord God and Him alone.

*******

(f) Mutual Affection (1:7)

We must practice the second Great Commandment (Matt. 22:39). We must not bicker and fight with people.

*******

(g) Love (1:7)

We must live out that self-sacrificing, never-ending, all-encompassing love that the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited when He came to the earth to die for sin.

*******

These things are to be practiced as a whole and every one of them is to be active all the time. God wants us to have them all operating in our lives all the time.

*******

Now, we know what "these things" are and what they can do for us. Let us make sure that all of them are present in our lives today.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why Do Christians Suffer?



Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)

The apostle Peter had given the Jews in exile several reasons for rejoicing:
  • They have a Living Hope. (1:3)
  • They have a Lasting Inheritance. (1:4)
  • They have a Long-term Salvation. (1:5)
  • They have a Longed for Final Reward. (1:6)

*******

The apostle Peter then taught them about their trials and why Christians must suffer.

*******

Reality of Christian Sufferings (1:6)

Christians are to be a rejoicing people.

We are to rejoice in spite of our troubles.

*******

But being saved is no hedge from trouble!

Christians are not immune from all kinds of trials.

These trials hit us from every side and often with devastating consequences.

*******

Realignment of Christian Sufferings (1:7)

When troubles come, they concentrate their power against our faith in the Lord.

Satan wants to do all that he can to make Christians doubt the power of God to meet their need.

*******

The apostle Peter spoke of the refining process that gold goes through.

When it is subjected to the flame, the impurities and dross in the gold come to the top.

The result is far purer gold than that which was present before!

*******

The same is true in the life of the believer.

When Jesus allows us to go through the furnace of affliction, it serves to remove from our lives things that were not needed and it brings into a closer and purer relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

Our trials are working for our good (Rom. 8:28).

We may not see the benefit today.

But when we stand before the Lord in Heaven, and we are rewarded for our walk with Him and for the sufferings we endured below, it will be worth it all.

*******

God knows best.

He will not let us crash and burn.

He just allows what He does to strengthen our faith and to grow us up in Him.

If the Lord doesn’t challenge us, we would never grow!

*******

Reliability of Christian Sufferings (1:8)

As we weather the storms of life and see God come through time and again, we can actually learn to develop a spirit of praise as we journey toward Heaven.

*******

We will find that our unseen Savior will see us through every trial!

*******

The Lord Jesus ever abides with His own.

When we face trials, He goes through them with us.

He will never leave us nor forsake us .

*******

His grace is always sufficient for every need.

This ought to cause us to be filled with unspeakable joy.

*******

The apostle Peter gave us hope regarding the overcoming of life's difficult times.

Let us not lose hope.

Let us rejoice in all our trials.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Church Elder Is Not Violent



Titus 1:7d

Church elder must not have a quarrelsome or combative nature.

********

Someone who is constantly quarreling and always in conflict is always in sin.

********

Argumentative people are showing that they always put their own wants, lusts, and desires above others.

********

Every argument begins when both parties want to assert their own idea and have things their own way.

********

The man appointed as a Church elder should not be one who gets in fistfights.

********

Adam and Eve's son Abel was the victim of his brother Cain's violence.

Cain was angry and struck him dead.

This was a man to whom the Lord spoke personally.

This was a guy who was a believer.

And yet, he did not master sin, and the result was murder.

********

Hitting is possible for any of us.

It is such a possibility for anyone that God dedicated much of Exodus 21 to outlining penalties for those who hit.

That chapter includes the commandment: He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 21:12)

There are terrible consequences for hitting.

********

Sometimes it seems like people are asking for it.

When they tailgate us, are obnoxious in their behavior, or belligerent in their demeanor, it is as if their mouths are begging to be punched.

But wisdom dictates that we must refrain from getting into it with the fool.

It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel. (Prov. 20:3)

********

Jesus also taught us, "Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Church Elder Must Be Blameless



Titus 1:6a (NKJV)

After the introduction, Paul began to instruct Titus.

*******

Paul first directive to Titus was to appoint elders.

*******

Titus was to approach the matter prayerfully.

He was to examine these men's lives carefully.

There are attributes that are essential for a Church elder to possess.

*******

The first attribute : Church elder must be blameless (1:6a)

Every Church elder must be above reproach in his behavior and his life.

*******

Every Church elder must constantly examine himself to make sure that he is above reproach and blameless.

*******

This doesn't mean that Church elder will never do wrong or that he will never be accused.

*******

There are some keys for a Church elder to live above reproach and be blameless:

Church elder must live uprightly.

He must be straightforward and honest.

He must be clear and sincere.

Church elder must fear God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Church elder must turn away from evil.

When a Church elder turn away from evil, he turns towards a much happier life.

It is so much more peaceful.

He does not have to worry about who will find out about his sin.

He does not have to worry about what will be exposed.

*******

A Church elder must be blameless.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Word Of God



2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed.

Every word of the Bible is by the inspiration of God.

*******

The Word of God speaks directly to us, to our hearts, to our situations, to our lives, and right where we are at.

*******

The Scripture is so valuable.

We must pay close attention to it.

*******

The Word of God is Good For Teaching

We must know the value of teaching the Scripture.

We must know the profit that it produces in our lives.

When we are taught the Word of God:

... We learn more about how much God loves us.

... We understand more about God's plans for us.

... We gain knowledge to answer different questions from people.

... We are protected from cults and false teachers.

*******

The Word of God Is Good For Rebuking And Correcting

The Word of God is necessary to set us straight and direct us back onto the right path.

*******

The Word Of God is Good For Training In Righteousness

When we read the Word of God, we understand what God wants in our lives.

*******

When we are taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness by the Word of God, we are thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In other words, we are completely equipped as Christians.

And we don't need anything else.

*******

The Word of God is the means that God uses to teach us, to speak to us, to educate us, and to set standards for us.

We will find the true knowledge of Him through the Bible.

And that true knowledge of Him gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

*******

When we are complete with the Word of God, we're fully equipped for every good work.

*******

The purpose of the church is to equip Christians for the work by educating them with the Word of God.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guard The Gospel



2 Timothy 1:13-18 (NIV)

1:13 Keep As The Pattern Of Sound Teaching

Paul told Timothy, "What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching."

Sound teaching is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of godliness.

Paul was saying that the teaching that Timothy received should be presented in the same way it was originally given.

It should be the same gospel, the same message that was originally presented in the Scripture.

*******

We are not to come up with new truths, but simply to explain the old ones, to make them understandable to the people.

*******

The greatest teachers are not the ones who come up with a new revelation, a new message, or a new teaching.

They are the ones that direct us along the ancient paths, showing and reminding us what the good way is, and encouraging us to walk in it.

*******

The teachers of sound teaching must keep themselves in the faith and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They must believe what they are saying.

They must speak with love and care.

They must be convinced of the truths of the Word of God.

They must love the people, desiring them to be saved and grow in the knowledge of God.

*******

1:14 The Holy Spirit Lives In Us

The Holy Spirit living in us is God's promise of eternal life.

If we have been born again into a new life in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in us.

The Holy Spirit helps us, teaches us, and brings to our remembrance what the Lord Jesus Christ said.

He empowers us to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He comforts us.

He speaks to us and through us.

*******

We are to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us.

What is that good deposit?

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

*******

1:16-18 Onesiphorus

Onesiphorus was a real Christian who loved with action.

He guard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and acted accordingly.

He lived with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

How about us?

Will we guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Falling Away From Faith



1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV)

Christians should conduct themselves in a godly manner.

The church should be the pillar and foundation of the truth.

But there are people who are falling away from the faith into unbelief.

********

There are people whose hearts are hardened into unbelief because of sin.

Continual, habitual, unrepentant sin will harden our heart to the point of unbelief.

********

If we live in sin for so long that we find it is easier to stop believing in God rather than to live under conviction, we are not saved.

********

It is true that some people leave the faith.

They fall away.

They leave the faith and are paying attention to deceitful spirits.

They pay attention to the doctrines of the demons.

********

There are demonic forces to cause us to believe a lie.

They will cook up all sorts of deceptions to lead us away from the truth of God.

********

The doctrines of demons have infiltrated the church, in the form of false teachings.

They come from all sides, in every area of Christianity.

********

The only way to have a true, Biblical Christianity is to stick to the true Christianity taught in the Bible!

Let us pay more attention to the Word of God, which teaches us the only true gospel.

********

The doctrines of demons are propagated by hypocritical liars whose own consciences have been seared.

Their inner voice that tells them right from wrong has been burned up by their hypocrisy.

********

Hypocritical liars in the church always have some new teaching that we must believe and some new practice that we must observe.

********

Paul uses two examples of this: forbidding marriage and abstaining from foods.

********

It is widely believed that a truly righteous person is unmarried.

To remain unmarried can be advantageous for those who want to be devoted to the Lord.

But not everyone is cut out for that.

In other words, if we can manage in our singleness, praise God.

But if we know we need to get married, then get married.

There's no law of God saying that we must be single.

********

Abstaining from certain foods is viewed by many to be the more holy thing to do.

The key to food is to receive it with gratitude.

No one can condemn us for violating religious rules regarding food, if we give thanks to God, if we give Him the glory.

Whatever we eat, no one can condemn us if we do it all to the glory of God!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fight A Good Fight


1 Timothy 1:18-20

Paul had exhorted Timothy to instruct the false teachers in Ephesus to stop teaching their strange doctrines.

*******

He then took a few verses to point out that his calling as an apostle was against his nature.

He had been a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor.

But through the mercy, grace, and strength of God, he was re-created to be something else.

*******

Paul was assuring Timothy that God could re-create him to be something else as well.

*******

Timothy was supposed to fight a good fight in accordance with the prophecies made concerning him.

*******

Earlier in Timothy's life, the elders had laid hands on him and words of prophecy were spoken over him.

*******

Timothy had received the spiritual gift of teaching.

*******

Paul was telling Timothy to trust in God, to remember that the Lord had spoken great things about how He would use Timothy, so that by recalling them Timothy might fight the battle well.

*******

Timothy was supposed to fight the good fight of faith.

It was a fight to keep the faith pure.

It was a fight against false doctrines with the truth of the Scriptures.

*******

Now, in order to fight a good fight, Timothy needed to keep faith and a good conscience.

*******

Our faith will grow as we spend time in the Word.

That is how we keep faith.

And we won't lose trust in God when things get difficult.

*******

The second necessity for fighting the good fight of faith is keeping a good conscience.

Having a good conscience means that we are living our life above reproach before God and fellow men.

We are to resist temptation and to avoid sin.

In this way, we will walk with a good conscience before God and men.

*******

Some people had been shipwrecked in regard to their faith.

They got stuck at a certain point, crashed and burned, fell away from God and the church.

*******

For some, it was because they never got rooted and grounded in the Word.

They never laid in themselves the foundation of the Bible to build their faith on.

They lost faith when things seemed to fall apart.

*******

Others failed to resist temptation and avoid sin.

They turned the grace of God into licentiousness.

They continued in sin.

They hardened their hearts into unbelief.

*******

Paul gave two examples of people whose faith was shipwrecked: Hymenaeus and Alexander.

*******

Hymenaeus was teaching falsely that the resurrection had already taken place (2 Tim. 2:16-18).

*******

Alexander was always vigorously opposing true teaching (2Tim 4:14-15).

*******

Paul says that he has delivered these guys to Satan.

It means to disfellowship them.

And kicks them out of the church.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

They Lied About The Resurrection!



Matthew 28:11-15

Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

*******

Some of the guards went to make a report to the chief priests.

They wanted to tell them all the things that had done.

They described the earthquake.

They described the rolling of the stone.

They described the arrival of an angel sitting on the stone.

They described the empty tomb.

It had all happened and they described it all.

*******

They knew it was a supernatural event.

They understood that the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.

And so they told the Jewish leaders.

But the Jewish leaders didn’t believe.

And they didn’t want to investigate.

*******

The Jewish leaders were so resistant, so blind, so sinful, so self-willed and so locked in to their own religious belief that they would not even investigate the truth that was reported to them by the soldiers.

They just refused to believe.

*******

The news brought shock.

The news brought fear.

But it did not bring repentance.

And it did not bring faith.

*******

The Jewish leaders convened immediately.

They had to deal with the fact that something supernatural had happened at the grave.

The disciples had not stolen His body.

They had got to answer this problem.

If they allowed the people to think the Lord Jesus Christ was alive, they were going to have a worse situation than they had ever had.

The whole city and the whole nation would go after the resurrected Christ.

So they had got to plan to lie about the resurrection.

*******

They came out with a three-part resolution:

Firstly, they bribed the soldiers to lie about the truth of the resurrection. They gave them a great amount of money.

Second, they asked the soldiers to spread lie about the resurrection: the disciples had come and stolen His body while they were asleep.

Third, they promised to cover for the soldiers if they got in trouble with Pilate.

*******

The apostasy of the nation of Israel was final.

Their Messiah had risen from the dead and they were not the least bit interested in affirming whether or not it was true.

They were obstinate in their apostasy.

They willfully rejected the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what the evidence was.

*******

The soldiers took the money and did what they were taught.

They went out and lied about the resurrection.

And to this day the prevalent anti-resurrection theory is still the "theft theory" that the disciples stole His body.

*******

The soldiers knew the truth.

The Jewish leaders had every reason to know the truth.

But they refused to believe.

And the soldiers were successful at what they did.

*******

Many have seen the truth about the Resurrection and believed.

Many have seen the truth about the Resurrection but refused to believe.

And they lie about the Resurrection so that others may not believe the truth.

How about you?


Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Responses To The Death of Christ


Matthew 27:54-56

The Response Of Saving Faith...

*******

So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)

*******

The centurion commanded over a hundred men.

He and his men were given the responsibility of guarding the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

When the sun instantly became dark at noon, when the earthquake split the ground and the rocks, and when the graves were opened, they knew something out of the ordinary was happening.

And they feared greatly.

*******

The soldiers were not afraid merely of the earthquake or the darkness.

Inherent within their fear was spiritual awe.

They concluded that the Lord Jesus Christ was not just another criminal or rebel.

*******

They might had heard the Lord Jesus Christ spoke.

Now they saw miraculous phenomena.

They knew something has gone wrong.

Their fear indicated an awareness of their sins.

They feared they might be under the judgment of God.

*******

They affirmed the divine Sonship of Jesus.

Their confession indicated salvation.

*******

What had happened to the centurion and some of the soldiers was a work of the Holy Spirit.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ’s attitude and words on the cross, and through the supernatural phenomena, the Holy Spirit brought them to an affirmation of faith that can only come from God.

*******

The best response anyone can have toward the gospel is saving faith.

*******

The Response of Sympathetic Loyalty...

*******

And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. (Matthew 27:55-56)

*******

The women stood afar off.

The soldiers kept some area clear between the cross and the crowd.

*******

These women were loving and sympathetic.

But they could only watch their Master die.

*******

Their loyalties ran so deep.

Their hearts were so filled with love and sympathy.

They would stay with the Lord Jesus Christ to the end.

*******

They didn’t fear the Jews or the Romans.

Nothing could overpower their love and sympathy for the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

They had followed the Lord Jesus Christ from Galilee to the foot of the cross.

They remained loyal, sympathetic, unwavering, and faithful.

*******

God allowed these women to be eyewitnesses of His Son’s death and resurrection because they were faithful.

*******

What about us?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Shall I Do with Jesus?



Matthew 27:11-25

Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” (Matthew 27:11)

*******

The Romans held the exclusive right of execution.

The Jewish leaders had to approach Pilate.

*******

And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. (Matthew 27:12)

*******

There was no fault in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Jewish leaders had to manufacture lies to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pilate could see through their plan.

But Pilate allowed the leaders to scream more accusations against the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. (Matthew 27:13-14)

*******

Pilate was amazed.

The Lord Jesus Christ was being accused of serious crimes, yet He said nothing in His own defense.

The Lord Jesus Christ was resolute.

He willingly went to the cross.

*******

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. (Matthew 27:15)

*******

As a concession to a conquered people, the governor would release a criminal during the Passover.

*******

And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. (Matthew 27:16)

*******

Barabbas was not just another common criminal; he was well-known.

He was a robber.

He was an insurrectionist and a murderer.

He was a severe threat to the safety of the people.

And he was due to be crucified.

*******

Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:17)

For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. (Matthew 27:18)

*******

Pilate knew whom the leaders would choose.

But he wanted to pit the leaders against the people.

He knew about the popularity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:20)

The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" (Matthew 27:21)

*******

Pilate underestimated the power of the leaders.

He overestimated the heart of the people.

*******

Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!" Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!" (Matthew 27:22-23)

*******

They wanted the Lord Jesus Christ’ blood.

Nothing Pilate did would change that.

Pilate was in a panic.

He didn’t want to violate justice.

But he also didn’t want to start a riot.

*******

When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." (Matthew 27:24)

And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25)

*******

What a frightening thought!

The Jewish crowd said they would be responsible for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That was the verdict of the nation Israel on their Messiah.

The Jewish people took on themselves the blood guiltiness for the Lord Jesus Christ’s death.

In so doing, they gave testimony to the whole world that it was their responsibility.

*******

Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26)

*******

What shall you do with the Lord Jesus Christ?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Runaway Christians



Matthew 26:50b-56

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him away.

And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

----------------------------------------

The chief priests and elders engineered the plot to arrest the Lord Jesus Christ.

They enlisted the help of the Romans, who came and laid hands on the Lord Jesus Christ and took Him.

*******

It was apostle Peter who drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10).

His impetuous nature reacted violently to the Lord Jesus Christ’s arrest.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ gives us some very important reasons for avoiding violence.

*******

"For all who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Violence is fatal.

*******

When someone takes a life, the government has the right to take his life.

*******

Under no circumstances does a Christian have the right to decide on his own to take a life, even if his intent is to defend the Lord Jesus Christ’s honor.

*******

"Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?"

Violence is foolish.

*******

The apostle Peter didn’t have to fight.

If the Lord Jesus Christ wanted help, He could have asked God to send Him more than twelve legions of angels, or more than 72,000 angels.

*******

"How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

"But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Violence violates the plan of God.

*******

According to Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ had to be taken captive and led away like a sheep to slaughter.

Sheep do not battle the shepherd.

They are led to slaughter quietly and peacefully.

The Lord Jesus Christ had to be betrayed.

*******

Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

*******

The disciples fled out of fear.

Once the Lord Jesus Christ was tied up, they became afraid.

*******

Although the Lord Jesus Christ forced the Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders to admit that they were interested in arresting Him only, the disciples were sure they would come after them eventually.

*******

The disciples couldn’t handle the pressure of their trial.

They claimed they would follow the Lord Jesus Christ to death if need be.

They claimed they would never be offended by Him or deny Him.

But that didn’t happen.

When the trial arrived and their lives were on the line, they ran.

*******

Sometimes we wonder how they could have done that to the Son of God.

But if we look at our own faithfulness, we realize that we too have run from trials and abandoned the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

There were few reasons why the disciples fled.

*******

They were unprepared.

They slept instead of praying.

People will defect when they are weak in the Word of God and prayer.

*******

They were impulsive.

They acted on impulse rather than reason.

They acted on emotion rather than revelation.

They didn’t think through what was right or reason what was best.

They reacted to the moment.

*******

They were impatient.

They couldn’t wait for God’s deliverance.

Had they waited on God, they might have seen a great miracle delivering them from harm.

*******

They were carnal.

They relied on their fleshly power and weapons.

But when they lost those fleshly resources, they didn’t know what to do or whom to trust.

They were inconsistent.

*******

In spite of all that happened, the Lord Jesus Christ was triumphant.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ questioned their wasted opportunities to arrest Him when He was with them in the Temple.

Why didn’t they seize Him there and then?

*******

These people were robbers.

They had no justification to take the Lord Jesus Christ away publicly.

And they feared the people, who believed Him to be the Messiah.

So they took Him away secretly.

*******

Are we Christians who would stay faithful to the end?

Or would we be the runaway Christians during our trials?