Month: April 2016

What does it take to believe that Jesus is God?

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John 5

31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

Jesus knew that the people of His day and the people of all time had and were going to have trouble accepting Him as God.  Men are not gods; at least poor and uncomely men are not gods.  Jesus fell into that category and His deity was not apparent.  In this conversation Jesus went to great lengths of logic to confirm His deity.

As a man by Himself Jesus confirmed that His witness alone was not sufficient.  Anyone can claim to be someone they are not and that claim has no value to it.  So Jesus went to the claim of the Father, the claim of His works, and the claims of John the Baptist.

All of the people recognized that John the Baptist was a prophet.  There was no question as to John’s messages being from God.  Jesus reminded them that John made the claim of the deity of Christ.  If John, a bona fide prophet, was convinced from God that Jesus was God then his witness was true.

The second witness Jesus refers to then is the witness of his works.  No one in history had been able to do all of the miraculous works that Jesus did.  Talk about “signs and wonders,” no one had ever conveyed the signs and wonders that Jesus did.  We would think that the miracles of Christ by themselves would have convinced the hardest of hearts.  Nicodemus came to Jesus recognizing that no one can do these signs unless God is with him. But the other Pharisees were angered by the miracles of Jesus and wanted to kill him and Lazarus after Lazarus’ resurrection.

This should remind us that we cannot “logically argue” anyone to faith in Christ.  Unless the Holy Spirit of God confirms the deity of the Savior people remain in their unbelief.  I have labored for years to help people come to faith only to have them remain in their unbelief.  I continue to pray that the Lord will show Himself to their unbelieving hearts.  Let us take time today to pray for someone we know who remains in unbelief that the Holy Spirit will bring them to faith in Christ as Savior and as Lord.

I had a great time at Sunrise yesterday.  It is usually attended by five to six people.  Yesterday I had fourteen in attendance.  It was a joy to minister God’s grace from Isaiah 55 to them. 

Tonight we gather for prayer and Bible study.  Pray for our teens who are having night 2 of their Cola Clash outreach.  Kids4Truth will also be meeting. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

In the grave we will hear a voice

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John 5

25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

When was the last time you knew a dead person to hear a voice?  Twice in these few verses Jesus says that the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God.  I suppose that those of us who in this life have been accustomed to hearing the voice of Jesus in our hearts and through His word, we will recognize it and rejoice.  This is not too strange of a thought for us, in fact, hearing the voice of Jesus after we die is a comforting thought.

But notice that Jesus said that those who hear will live.  Does this indicate that there are those who will not hear His voice after they die?  As we continue reading Jesus clarifies this and says that all who are in the grave will hear His voice.  To some, however, that voice will not be a reassuring voice but a voice of judgment and of condemnation. Revelation 20 clears this up for us and tells us that those whose names are not found in the book of life are cast into the Lake of Fire.

You see, at one point in time, every man and woman who has ever lived, those who have loved the Lord Jesus and those who have cursed Him, will bow to Him.  Some will bow in love and others will bow in fear.  Read Revelation 1 and think with your imagination about John’s description of the risen Lord Jesus.  Even John, who knew Jesus personally, fell at the feet of the King of kings who with fire in his eyes and a sword coming out of his mouth, spoke to him.  Then imagine if you had spent your life cursing and denying Christ and you found yourself in His presence.  You would be bowing in fear not in faith.

Jesus then says that those who have done good will find themselves headed to the resurrection of life. Conversely, those who have done evil will find themselves in the resurrection to condemnation. Let us tell all who will listen that there is a day coming when all people will find themselves before the Lord Jesus.  Let’s tell them that they can know Him now and be at peace with Him then.

My yard has been an orphan for several years.  Sure, I would fertilize it then mow it.  Yesterday I gave it the whole day.  Now I know why it never really looked good. I have never given it that much time before.  Maybe this year will be better.  Last night, Stefani played in the “Senior Concerto’s” at Waubonsie.  There is some amazing talent in this community!  The soloists played with such precision and clarity that if you closed your eyes you would think you were at a professional concert.  Jared and I ate Combos during the concert because we didn’t have time for dinner before we left.  We made it.  Afterwards we ran into some old friends and renewed our friendship with them. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Jesus and God both must be honored to gain eternal life

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John 5

22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

 

Over and over in the Gospel of John we see promises of eternal life tied to Jesus Christ.  Here we see that the Father has given judgment to the Son.  The Father wants the Son to receive the same honor that men have given to the Father.  Thus, when people dishonor Jesus Christ they are also dishonoring God the Father.  So if a religious system, such as Jehovah Witness, Mormonism, and Islam, to name a few, do not honor Jesus Christ as God, is that system really honoring God the Father?  We cannot look to their efforts but we must look to God’s prescription.  God does not want honor apart from the Son.  The two are equal and one so to leave one of them out of the honor and worship is to leave both out.

As you know, this teaching goes against political and religious correctness.  Universalism is the name of the religious game.  “God is going to receive all people eventually; who they worshipped in this life doesn’t ultimately matter.”   It seemed to matter to Jesus.

Then Jesus ties eternal life to believing His teaching and believing in the Father who sent Him.  Whenever we come across an authoritative statement of truth we must analyze the source of the statement.  In this case the source is Jesus Christ.  If Jesus Christ told even one lie or stretched the truth even one time He could not have been the spotless Lamb to take away the sin of the world.  If the source of this statement of eternal life tied to Jesus and God is reliable then we have to believe the statement.  We don’t need to reinterpret it nor find some obscure teaching to get around it.  No, we just need to accept the teachings of Jesus as clear.

Therefore, to whom are you looking for eternal life?  Are you concerned for people you know who are relying on some other way to heaven?  Look to Jesus yourself.  Submit to the will of the Father and accept the Son as Savior and Lord.  Study your salvation so you can explain it to others who are in great need of God’s gospel.  Jesus promised that those who believe in Him and honor the Father will not come into judgment (for their sin) but have passed from death to life.  This is good teaching.

I am thankful to God for how He brought us together yesterday. He brought in two visitor families who said they would be back.  Pray with us for God to bring new people into our church for His glory. 

I really enjoyed preaching through Isaiah 55.  This has been a rich study of God’s desire to satisfy us, lead us by His word to accomplish His purpose, and then to rejoice in God’s ability to bring fruitfulness out of a once thorny and thistle-filled field.  There are no excuses for not being fruitful for the Lord.  When He comes in He cleans out the thistles and He replaces them with fruit bearing trees and grassy meadows.  It is a wonderful passage to gain understanding of.  Last night we had our sermon discussion time and as always, it was a rich time of reviewing the word of God. 

Do pray for our students in school.  As I mentioned yesterday, the LGBT influence is very strong.  Last week they pushed the “day of silence” when students, in support of homosexuality, rebel against all instruction and refuse to speak all day.  This day is a disruption of education and becomes a bullying against kids who refuse to participate.  Our children are made susceptible to this madness.  Pray for them with fervor that they will see the failure of sin and understand the reason behind God’s righteous ways.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The Father, the Son, and eternal life

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John 5

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

In order for us to have strong faith we need to understand solid teaching.  Jesus spent much of His earthly ministry teaching about His relationship to the Father.  It is wonderful teaching as it gives us great clarity regarding the relationship between Christ and the Father.

In His incarnation, (Christ becoming flesh, in the likeness of man) Christ came to do the will of the Father.  He lived totally submitted to the Father’s will, which will had been predetermined long before Christ came as a man.  In God’s trinity form, God had determined a plan to redeem fallen mankind.  God agreed with God’s plan before God came in the form of man.  Is that confusing?  I just want to emphasize that Jesus is God and made Himself equal with God on many occasions.  When Christ came to earth, the first separation of God, He came with a predetermined purpose and fulfilled it exactly as planned.

From this we learn that God is not arbitrary.  Just the opposite is true; God is the ultimate engineer as He planned out just how to pay for our sin so we could be eternally reconciled to Him.  Jesus was a part of that planning and fulfilled that plan in every way.  So when Christ on the Cross cried out, “It is finished!” He was making a statement of utter completion of our redemption.  It was at that moment that Christ ripped the curtain in the Temple thus opening, by His blood, the Holy of holies for all who would come to God through Him.

Jesus then gained all the authority of the Father and now gives eternal life to all whom He will.  God loves the Son and God loves us. The Son gives us life by the love of the Father.  The Son gives life because He completed the work of the Father on our behalf.  This gift of love eternally demonstrates what love is: love is an act of sacrificial giving far beyond a normal gift.  Thus we rejoice in these words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.”

It is Friday and I am looking forward to Sunday.  We will be in Isaiah 55 one more time.  Read the last five verses of the chapter to prepare your understanding for Sunday’s message.  This has been another rich study into God’s plans for His people.  In the Sunday school hour the adults are studying “Joy” and will be in John 15.

Saturday night we are hosting a dinner for those who came through the Art of Marriage class.  It is at my house and all who came through the class are invited. 

Sunday afternoon there is a leadership meeting at 4:30.  This is for all deacons, trustees, and elders. 

Pray for Sunday that God will do a wonderful work in and through us.  Pray that we will enjoy His presence together and rejoice in His love. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Who is Jesus?

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John 5

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

The deity of Jesus Christ has been a sticking point ever since he walked the earth. When asked who He was, Jesus confirmed over and over that he was equal with God. He called Himself the “I Am.” He accepted the worship of many people. He did incredible miracles everywhere he went. His teaching was different than any of the other teachers of his day for Jesus spoke on his own authority. Jesus acted like God in every way and yet people have wanted to deny his deity.

Jesus was sinless. The Pharisees thought he broke the Sabbath but Jesus never broke any of the commandments! Jesus healed men on the Sabbath, that is, he did good on the day of good deeds. Why not give someone a lifelong blessing on the Sabbath? Good deeds done in the name of the Father are not limited to six days but are able to be done on any day of the week. The Pharisees had built laws around God’s laws and then sought to enforce their own laws on the same level as God’s laws. Jesus broke the Pharisees’ law; he never broke God’s law. He was sinless.

Because Jesus was God and because Jesus was sinless, he was able to be our Savior. In his person, Jesus is God. In his work, Jesus is our Savior. The Pharisees sought to deny Christ both of these offices. In fact, they hated Jesus for acting like God and talking like God. They hated him for healing people and for raising the dead. They hated him for breaking their laws. They accused Christ of breaking the Sabbath and of speaking blasphemy.

Never forget that the two most important doctrines of our faith are wrapped up in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. In his person, Jesus is the eternal and sinless God. He is God, the Son, but not through a woman for he has always been. In his work Jesus remained sinless so that He could be our Lamb who, through the sacrifice of Himself on the altar of the Cross, could take away our sin. Because of who Jesus is and what He did He is both our justifier and our eternal intercessor. Hallelujah! What a Savior.

Last night our youth group had week 1 of the Cola Clash. There were over 20 teens who came and they had a GREAT time together. Ben had the teens give each other the gospel. It was an amazing night of ministry.

 

I attended a leaders’ prayer summit at Moody yesterday. The churches in the city are praying for God to bring an end to the violence in it. Join them in prayer for a break in this horrible cycle.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

We have fun

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Yes even in random dancing 

Cola-Clash Gospel night 

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