Month: May 2016

Set free by Jesus Himself

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John 8

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

 

This is one of the most merciful and grace-filled events of the Bible.  Yes, the men were mean, judgmental, and cruel to use a woman to try to get Jesus to make a wrong decision for which they could destroy Him.  Yes, they should have brought the man also to make the accusations fair.  But the fact that the woman was caught in the act of adultery made her guilty of breaking God’s law!  She was in the wrong and deserved the wrath of God and the full treatment of the Law of God, which was that she should be stoned to death.  The Law had been broken and the transgressor was tossed at Jesus’ feet where He was called to be the voice of God in this court.

Had Jesus said, “Take her out and stone her and get the man on the way.”  He would have been just in His verdict.   Instead, Jesus looked at the men who brought her, whose motives were far from pure, and made a request from them, “The ones of you without sin throw the first stone at this sinful woman.”  Jesus knew that these men, while haters of Him, were faithful to the Law.  He knew that none of them were without sin and that in honesty; none of them could pick up stones to take her life from her.

When we are faced with judgmental situations where the one we are judging is clearly in the wrong, let us be careful about how many stones we throw.  Let’s heed Jesus’ request and show honesty in accusation.

Once the men were gone, Jesus then spoke to the woman who was pulling a bed sheet around her naked body, shamed beyond shame by the treatment she had just publicly received.  Jesus’ first words were, “Woman, where are your accusers?”  As she looks up, maybe for the first time, she sees that they are all gone and responds that they are gone.  In great mercy and compassion Jesus says directly to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin (like this) no more.”  Jesus does not hold the woman’s adultery against her and sends her home released from her condemnation.  She gathers the sheet around her and hurries away thankful for having been brought to Jesus.  Her burden was lifted, her shame lessened, Jesus set her free.

What have you done?  How has sin separated you from Jesus?  Do you think His attitude toward you is going to be different than it was toward this woman in need of grace?  Regardless of who in this life accuses you, Jesus wants to show you grace and set you free.

 

God gave us great weather yesterday and our church picnic was a blast!  The food was abundant and delicious.  Patty brought a friend from work with her four children and I had fun making sure the boys got their tummy’s full.  We played volleyball, bocce ball (thanks to Dennis for bringing this game), canoed, (thanks to Dave for bringing his canoe which Max and Rob flipped – oops), we sang, fellowshipped and ate some more. And, for the first time in awhile, we did not get rained on.  I really love our church.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Enjoy your liberty then ask what can you do with it?

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Galatians 5:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Brothers and sisters, on this Memorial Day I write to you as one who has been set free.  As a “set free one” I have enjoyed liberty for a long time.  Being born an American in 1959 I grew up in a time of great national pride.  As an American I have enjoyed the liberty bought with the blood of true patriots.  From them I have enjoyed the liberty of worship, the liberty of free speech, the liberty of work, the liberty of travel and the liberty of protection.  I have voted and spoke of my political thoughts without fear of being reprimanded.  I have raised my children to love their country, to serve her when necessary, and to stand for liberty of all people of all races and creeds.

In 1972-1973 I came to enjoy the liberty of Jesus Christ.  His blood set me free from sin’s dominion and from sin’s judgment.  I have lived free from the moral failures around men, I have lived free from the fear of the eternal judgment of God, I have lived free from the requirements of the Deuteronic Law.  I have lived free to love Christ and to seek His will and to enjoy His glory and His grace.

Liberty is a wonderful thing.  As American Christians we have it made, so to speak.  Christians in many countries have liberty in Christ but not liberty to worship.  We have much to thank God for.  We did not choose to be born in America but God, in His sovereignty, put us here.  Why did God put us here and others in oppressive countries?  This Memorial Day, as you remember the blood that was shed for your freedom, ask what God has for you to do in this freedom.

Our picnic begins today at noon at Blackwell Forest Preserve off of Butterfield Road.  When you enter the park drive all the way around the lake.  We are the last pavilion on the east side of the lake.  If you can come please do.  We will have our regular activities of volleyball and Frisbee and we are adding canoeing.  It will be a great time.  If you cannot bring food but want to come, please do.  We always have more than we can eat.  The grill will be hot so bring something to grill and something to share. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Doing what’s important

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John 8

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

If Jesus were teaching at church early Sunday morning I think we all would be there.  Have you ever been offered tickets to a ball game or a concert or a show?  Was it convenient to use those tickets?  I remember a time when Bobbi and I were given tickets to go to a concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  This was a real treat to us for we love live concerts and the CSO is one of the premier orchestras in the world.  But the tickets were for a matinee concert.  How could we rearrange our schedule to get downtown in the middle of the afternoon, park the car, get in and out in a reasonable manner?  No surprise, we made it work. It was wonderful and worth every effort.

When it comes down to it, we do what we want to do.  The people of Jesus day were no different.  They heard that Jesus was teaching in the temple and they flocked to the temple to hear him.  How wonderful it must have been to personally hear Jesus teach!  “No one taught like he taught,” they said.  And when they heard Jesus they all agreed.

How often do we spend time listening to our Savior, the Lord Jesus.  We might engage in the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer but how much time do we spend listening to Him?  Last summer we taught the book, Transforming Prayer, and I have read the Bible differently ever since. I now read looking for ways to revere God.  As I revere Him I respond to that reverence with awe and praise.  I am listening to the Lord Jesus.

We are good talkers, we pray often, but are we good listeners?  Are we waiting on the Lord to hear from Him?  Let’s arrange our schedules to take time to listen to the Lord Jesus.  He is speaking today.

Please be in prayer for Sunday.  I am studying Isaiah 59 but have been reading in Acts.  What does God want you to hear?  Isaiah 59 is a great chapter dealing with the power of God to act and the limiting effects of sin on God’s power.  But in the end, God acts and draws people to himself anyway. 

Keep VBS in your prayers.  Invitation letters have gone out to last years families and signs will go up this week.  Pray for some open spots to be filled with workers and pray for children and adults to hear the gospel and be saved.  The salvation of the lost is our greatest goal for this outreach.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Whom should the Church benefit? Isaiah 58

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This study of Isaiah is changing us, and it should. In this passage we read that God was not interested in religious activity that was for the benefit of those in attendance. God wants us to take our religious work outside the church and care for people in their time of need. As we care, we are to show the light of the Lord Jesus so men will see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Outreach needs to begin with good works. In this message Pastor Steve looks at Isaiah and Zechariah to show us that God has a different plan than just gathering to practice religion. He looks at Marx’s comment of comparing religion to opium and has some interesting insights into today’s church.

 

Water flowing in and out

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John 7

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

For those of us who have enjoyed the living water of the Lord Jesus we read this and cry, “Yes, Yes, thank you Jesus for coming into my life and bringing your wonderful water of life!”  We who were dry and thirsty from the sin of this world and the cravings of our own flesh have come to enjoy the Savior’s water of life.  I see those around me still trying to find water as they go to church, do their religious duties, and live their lives in emptiness without the Savior. Then I thank God who has reached into my heart with His word and with His grace and has quenched my spiritual thirst giving me His reasons for life and fullness of joy in Him.

Look again at the words of Jesus.  Not only does He say that He will give us of Himself to drink but he continues to say that He gives us His water to flow from us.  A stagnant pond is not a life-filled pond.  Algae begins to cover it, the foliage takes over and before long nothing can live in it.  A healthy pond has water coming in and water going out.  The continual ebb and flow keeps the pond alive and healthy.  So it is in our Christian lives.  When we accept the Water of life but never speak of the Savior, we never know the joy of His flowing water.  When we take in from God but never give out to others to meet their needs for Christ’s sake, we are not healthy in our spirit.

This is a great picture for us to pay attention to.  A healthy Christian man or woman is one who is constantly giving out the life of Christ.  By serving others the Water of Life we are replenished with fresh water.  The ebb and flow of the Spirit keeps us clean and fresh in spirit.  There should be no Christian hoarders for we all should be Christian givers letting the Holy Spirit flow in and out of us at all times.  “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

Last night we, the men’s Bible study, had a great study on prayer.  Do you really believe that when you pray in faith believing that God will answer your prayer?  If you really believe this you would pray more.  This came out last night and we spent some time looking at the Word and at our own prayer habits.  What we believe about prayer directly affects the amount of our prayers. 

Bobbi will be at church today at 9:00 – 1:00 working on VBS decorations.  Anyone who can come help will be a help.  “Anyone” means anyone who can trace, color or cut.  There is a mountain of work to do so the more who show up the more that can be done. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Mystery

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John 7

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. 33 Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. 34 You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”

35 Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?”

 

People love a mystery.  Good mystery writers can keep their readers in suspense until the last chapter and the readers love it.  But when Jesus spoke in a mystery it drove the Pharisees crazy!

 

Up until Jesus, no one spoke in terms of going to God and being sought after but not being found.  This was strange speech to the hearers.  Even the disciples did not understand this until after the resurrection.  But that is the nature of mystery.  Jesus knew that what He was saying would not be understood yet He said it anyway.  He knew that the people would discuss what He said trying to come to understand it yet he said it anyway.  There was no way that the people, on that side of the resurrection, could ever understand this mystery that Christ spoke yet He spoke it anyway.

 

The Bible is filled with such mystery teachings.  I took a class in college called “Daniel and Revelation.”  We were supposed to compare the two books, their teachings on the 70th week of Daniel and write a paper concluding our thoughts.  I don’t think I could the paper any better today.  Some of that is still a mystery.  We can talk about it and we can read about it and we can talk about it some more yet it is still a mystery.

 

There are clear teachings of Scripture and we are thankful for them. And then there are mysteries in the Scriptures and we do the best we can and then leave them up to God.  Remember the words of Moses: Deuteronomy 29:29  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The things that are revealed are clear teachings.  Those are the ones we are to keep.  The mysteries will remain secrets that belong to God.  We are not responsible to keep those things.  We will think about them but we will leave them until God reveals them in His time and in His way.  So, study what we can know and live what we learn.  Avoid getting caught up in too much study of the mysteries that God has hidden from our understanding.  In time, as He did with the disciples after the resurrection, God will make the mysteries clear.

Tonight is our last Kids4Truth for school year.  This has been a great year of teaching our children the truths of God.  I am thankful for the women who come every week ready to teach and care for our kids for Truth’s sake.  Thanks to Dawn, Sharon, and MaryEllen for your regular and dedicated work to our kids.  There are several teachers who rotate in each week and a great thanks to all who have stepped in to help. 

We also have our prayer time at 7:00 with Bible study at 7:45.  The youth group meets at 7 for game time and then comes in for prayer, worship and Bible study.  Join us.

Bobbi will be at the church today and tomorrow making the auditorium decorations for VBS.  Any of you who can help would be of great help. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Living submitted to the Father’s will

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John 7

14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

 

The people of Jesus’ day could not wrap their minds around who Jesus was.  It was easier for them to deny Him having come from God than to accept Him having come from God.  Even though Jesus did miracles like no one ever had and even though He taught like no one ever had they still would not accept that He came from God.  So here the people’s accusation against Jesus was that He had never had any higher education.  He was not a “lettered’ man.  How then could He know the stuff He knew?

I see here proof of the deity of Jesus Christ.  Their question inadvertently defends the Savior’s deity.  Since there was no way for Jesus to know all that He knew from a human perspective then He must have gotten His knowledge from another source.  Jesus confirms to them that God the Father, the One who sent him, gave him this knowledge for His own glory.

Jesus ever did what the Father sent him to do.  He lived in constant and consistent submission to the Father’s will.  Therefore, Jesus never did his own will and could always give glory to the Father.  We have the same opportunity. We can spend each morning seeking the will of God and spend each day accomplishing the will of the Father.  We can then thank God each evening for leading us in His will.  By the time a life-time has come and gone we too can say that we spent our years doing the will of God and He received glory through our lives.  As the world did not understand Jesus neither will it understand us. Nonetheless, we must seek the will of God and live submitted to it for His purpose and for His glory.

What a great way that Jesus showed us how to live.

Lisa and Roy had their baby yesterday.  Roy called me this morning.  Lisa and baby are well.  I will get you details later.  Rejoice with them.

Prepare yourself for Sunday by reading Isaiah 58.  It is a fascinating chapter and I am looking forward to preaching it.  Pray for God to open our hearts to its message. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

They hated Jesus but they also needed Him

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John 7

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

 

Isaiah 5

20   Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;

Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;

Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21   Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,

And prudent in their own sight!

John 3

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

 

The issue of the people with Jesus’ teachings was nothing new.  Sinful men and women do not want their sin exposed; they do not want someone telling them that what they love to do is wrong.  Sinful people want to justify their sin calling evil good and good evil.  By justifying sin and demonizing righteousness they are able, in their minds, to accept their sin without as much guilt.  They are wise in their own eyes but professing themselves to be wise they have become fools.  They are lovers of darkness rather than lovers of light because their deeds are evil.  They practice evil and hate the light avoiding it all costs.

When Jesus proclaimed their sin to them and called them out for it they hated him.  The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus long before they actually did.  Even when Jesus did good things they hated him for it because the good that He did exposed the evil that they did.

Does this sound at all familiar?  Is there any of this going on today?  My daughter is called a “hater” at school because she does not approve of homosexuality.  It does not matter that she befriends homosexual students but that she does not approve of their sin.  People today don’t want to be tolerated by Christians but they want us to give full approval to their sinful lives.  When we stand up against their sin they hate us for it.  We become the ones in the wrong demonized for living righteously before God and man.  In fact, our silence even brings attack and we are then put on the defensive as the sinners demand that we accept them in their sin.

When you are hated for righteousness sake remember that you are in the company of Jesus Christ.  Stand firm for righteousness.  Those lost and blinded in sin need to know that there are people who love them but cannot accept their sin.  When their sinful lifestyle fails them, and it will, they need to know that there are people of righteousness and peace to come to for help.  We will be there.

What do you think would happen if Hillary Clinton became a disciple of Jesus Christ?  I mean, what if she turned from her sin and her self to follow Christ as her Savior and her Lord?  Mrs. Clinton grew up in a Methodist church in the north suburbs of Chicago.  She knows about Jesus Christ, his birth, life, death, and resurrection.  If God could save Saul of Tarsus He could also save Hillary Clinton.  Join with me in praying for her salvation.  Pray the same for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  What would it do to Chicago if the Mayor became an outspoken follower of Jesus?  Let us go on the offensive against this election and lets begin to pray for the conversion of the candidates.  That would change everything!

Pray Chicago is hosting a prayer event at McKinley Park in Chicago this Saturday.  A group is leaving from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 2:30.  If you would like to attend this prayer event let me know and I will direct you to it.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Christ’s Words of Peace and Breath of Commission John 20:21

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In this message Pastor Steve looks at Jesus words of peace and then of commission to His disciples after the resurrection. Christ transferred the commission that He received from the Father to the disciples. It was as though He was passing the baton from Himself to them. In this passage the responsibility of the church is cut into two actions: 1.Be at peace with God and man and 2. Continue the commission of Christ to be people of truth and build disciples of truth.

 

His brothers did not believe, at first

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John 7

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Do you find it interesting that the brothers of Jesus (yes, he did have natural brothers who shared Mary as their mother) did not believe that he was the Christ?  Surely, you would think, growing up with a sinless brother would have given you reason to believe in him as someone special.  And maybe they did think that but they did not believe that he was the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

Jesus came through Mary in human flesh but had to go to the Cross.  It was important that no one try to stop that.  Therefore, no one, except Mary, really believed all about Christ until after his resurrection.  Suppose again that a large part of the crowd in Jerusalem had stood against the Pharisees who wanted to crucify Jesus.  And suppose that they divided the mob and prevailed against the crucifixion of the Savior.  Suppose that in all good intentions the Lamb was not sacrificed on the cross that day.

No, it was not sad that the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him yet, it was God’s plan.  Jesus had to be crucified and there had to be a multitude that would turn against Him.  Unwittingly, the mob was doing the will of God.  Peter stated this in his first sermon: Acts 2:23 “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;”   In fact, the unbelief of Jesus’ brothers was as necessary as the unbelief of the mob.

However, we see later that that many of the mob who crucified Christ were converted.  So were some of Jesus’ brothers.  James, the brother of Jesus, was killed by Herod.  James had become a believer in his brother.   God had and has a long term plan for the salvation of men and women.  Before we give up on people, let’s let God do His work to accomplish His salvation in hearts and lives.

I do pray to see many of you in prayer tonight.  We must move forward on our knees together.  It is needful for us to cry out to God together united in humility and need.  Join us at 7:00.

I met a man at a loading dock yesterday who was very open to speak of Christianity.  A truck driver had talked to him before.  It was a good opportunity to tell a man of the Savior.  You never know whose seed you are watering.  Keep talking to people about Jesus.  This man asked me how I looked so good for my age.  I told him that I lived at peace with God and with my family.  That opened the door to speak of Christ and forgiveness of sin.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

G.O.S.P.E.L. Testimony from Kameron

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Cameron gave a great personal testimony of how the Gospel has affected his life in the past and how it is working in his life in the present.

Theology keeps you with Christ

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John 6

67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

As we read yesterday, many ‘disciples’ of Jesus left him when he gave them a heavy dose of theology.  So when the twelve did not leave Jesus asked them if they wanted to leave.  I have found that when people want to leave the process of discipleship there is no holding them back.  We have tried over and over to draw men and women back into discipleship relationships but they, when they lose heart, are not coming back.  So Jesus put the twelve to a test, were they going to leave?  Did they want to leave?

 

Peter, ever the spokesmen, answered for them all when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  You see, the twelve had accepted the theology.  They knew it to be true. Jesus was the Son of the living God.  Partaking of Him was partaking of eternal life.  They believed that Jesus was the Messiah come into the world while those who left did not believe this for if they had believed the theology they would not have left.

 

When people leave the Lord they do so because they doubt who He is or they doubt His attributes in their lives.   Those who remain faithful to the Lord do so because they believe the theology of who He is and what He does.  When you study Romans 8, for example, you are studying theology.  When you have a faith crisis Romans 8 will help you.  Peter could not leave the Lord Jesus because he believed that Jesus was who He said He was in every way.  Believe with Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and you too will stay.

 

Mechanical things drive me nuts.  I hate to pay people to do what I can do but when I pay someone to do something and still have to take time to work on it I am double nuts.  We paid a shop to work on our home computer.  Last night I had to work on it myself.  Ugh.  As you can tell, it is working today.  (No, I don’t want to work on anyone else’s computer.)

 

I found some papers during Saturday’s work day at the church.  The history of this church is rich in supporting missions.  They kept careful notes and years of missionary letters.  While this church has never gotten big it has sent tens of thousands of dollars around the world in the support of those spreading God’s gospel.  I am thankful for this heritage and want to make sure we continue it in the years to come.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Theology matters, don’t run from it

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John 6

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

Theology is a challenge to us.  We like the miracles, we like the parts of Christianity that make us feel good, and we like the people we get to hang around with.  But I have had people leave me because of my theology.  People left Jesus because of His theology.  They loved the miracles and the feel good stuff and the friends but when Jesus got down to business about who He was and what following Him really meant, some people left him.

Why is theology important? The word ‘theology’ means ‘a study of God.’  When we study theology we are studying God, His attributes, His purposes, His ways, His likes and His dis-likes.  The more we know about God the more prepared we are for the different chapters and events of our lives.  It is the fact of God’s omnipotence and wisdom that have carried Bobbi and me through several of life’s dark hours.  Because we were convinced from the Bible that God knew exactly what He was doing we were able to rest in His plans when life was painful.

When people do not know theology and they face life’s difficult moments they will create their own thoughts of God which are not accurate and will either become angry at God for not being good to them or leave God for being too harsh to them.  But wait a minute, theology teaches us that God is wisdom and that God is love, therefore; God cannot act in unkindness, foolishness and hatred toward us.  Every act of God is consistent with who He is.  Therefore we can trust Him in the worst times of life.

Don’t be afraid of theology and don’t leave the Lord when he tries to teach it to you.  Your understanding of God will either carry you through life or cause you to become bitter in life.  The greater your knowledge of Him the greater your peace in Him.  Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.”  Those who believed stayed with the Lord and those who did not believe His theology did not stay with him.

Theology matters.

Yesterday I brought a message from John 20:21-23 on Christ granting peace and passing the baton of His commission.  I should have it on the website later today or tomorrow.  It is an important message for the church as we do have a commission and it is both simple and clear.  I don’t think we are doing it as Christ asked it to be done.  Let’s give this some thought and prayer this week and become the church that Christ called us to be.

We met Justin and Jaimmey Smith yesterday.  They are on their way to the Dominican Republic as missionaries.  What a great couple!  They are so genuine and so determined to serve the Lord.  Pray about what we can do to help them on their way.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

This is Good News

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Acts 13:29-33 (ESV)

29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
” ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
My friends, I read this today and am rejoicing in the “good news” of the resurrected Jesus. No other faith system or religious teaching has a resurrected Savior, but we do. That is good news. Every other religious founder died and is still in the grave but Jesus rose from His tomb. That is good news. Every other person who has ever died from the beginning of time has gone to the grave and their body has corrupted in the grave, but Jesus did not see corruption, in fact, just the opposite happened. When the broken body of Jesus went into the tomb and healed body came out! This is good news.
Jesus rose from the dead conquering both sin, the cause of death, and death itself, which is the end of sin. In the death and resurrection of life we have life for through His sacrificial death Christ justifies us before the holy Father. Yes, this is good news indeed.
What do we do with good news? We proclaim it, we talk about it, we love it. Tell someone the good news today.
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7S201 River Road
Naperville IL 60504
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Jesus was misunderstood and in some places still is

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John 6

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

These words of Christ have been misunderstood and changed into a false teaching about how we get the Lord Jesus into our lives.

During His teachings, Jesus used many metaphors; He called himself the door, the way, the truth, the life, the water of life, the light of the world, the good Shepherd, and the bread of life.  In this metaphor of the bread the point Jesus made was the He was to be a part of the lives of those who partook of His grace.  The people of Moses day ate the manna and were sustained.  There was nothing mystical about eating the manna, it was food.  Jesus calls himself spiritual food that we must partake.  Jesus was not advocating some form of spiritual nor mystical cannibalism, which the Pharisees understood Him as saying.

After the cross we understand the broken body and the shed blood of Christ as that event which paid the price for our sin to reconcile us to God.  Jesus does not need to be re-crucified and re-distributed at the whim of the church.  We partake of His broken body and of His shed blood when we come to Christ for eternal salvation.  He removes our sin and imputes to us His righteousness.  He, through His Holy Spirit indwells us as though we had ingested Him into our very souls.  Having Christ in our mouth and stomach and digested through is not the correct picture here.  No, Jesus wants us to ingest Him into our entire beings, our minds, our wills, our emotions, our very soul itself.  How in the world does a mystic change of the wafer and wine accomplish this?

When we partake of Christ at salvation He comes into us in a far greater way than if we just ate a part of Him. When people tell me that they need to ingest the wafer and the wine to get Christ in their lives I realize that they don’t understand eternal salvation by faith in God’s grace.  I have had the ingested Christ in my entire life since as a teenager I cried out to Him as my Savior and Lord.  I have never had more of Him nor have I ever had less of Him.  He came into my life, my body, my being, my soul, and took over.  I partook of His eternal body and His eternal blood at that time and it has never left my system.  When I took Christ into my life He gave me eternal life.  Every month as we partake of the Lord’s Table in remembrance of His broken body and shed blood I thank Him again and again for reaching down to save a wretch like me.  He has promised to never leave those He adopts and He has never left me.

Tomorrow is a church work day.  Come join us for extra cleaning, extra sprucing up, extra flower gardening and so on. 

Sunday I will be bringing a message from John 20:21 and tying it to last week’s message from Isaiah 57.  Our Sunday school hour will be led by a young missionary and his wife who are going to the Dominican Republic. Justin & Jeimmy Smith attend Village Baptist Church here in Aurora and are a great couple heading out to serve the Kingdom of God.  You will enjoy getting to know them. During the Sunday school hour they will be speaking to the teens and the adults.  Their testimony is unique as you will hear how God brought together a young lawyer from Aurora and the daughter of an orphanage director from Guatemala. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS