Month: January 2018
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
It is truly wonderful to think of our Savior in the light of this passage. During His earthly ministry Jesus was busy with people. He taught them, He preached to them, and He healed them. Imagine the throngs of people who came to Christ for hope with broken and sickened bodies and He healed them all. There is not one record of Jesus ignoring someone who came to Him, even when the crowd pushed someone aside, Jesus would know and heal them. No one was in the margin for Jesus, all who were made in God’s image were worthy of His care.
Let me take a quantum leap today. When we come to God for salvation He saves us through the blood of Christ. Then we receive, by grace, the Holy Spirit of God to live within us. The Holy Spirit brings the person of God to live in us with all of His power. I don’t think we understand this. No, we do not become divine healers nor do we suddenly become eloquent preachers and teachers. We do gain the compassion of Christ, the love God, and the power of God. We learn that we can pray and God will hear and answer according to His will. We have the Holy Spirit of Christ in us.
How often do we sense someone’s need because the Holy Spirit brings that need to our attention? How often do we say a kind word or give a gospel witness when the Holy Spirit leads us? Jesus said that we would do greater things than He did. Have you ever, in the power of God, led a soul to Jesus Christ? If so, then you did more than Jesus did for Jesus healed human frailties but you gave someone eternal hope. We have the Spirit of Christ in us. How does His indwelling Spirit make your life different? This is far more than just putting off sin and putting on righteousness, the indwelling Holy Spirit of God enables us be disciples of Christ putting His truth in us and enabling us to submit to God’s word. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit of Christ? What actions and attitudes of the Savior do you now have?
We are getting ready for Sunday, I pray that you are too. I will be speaking from 1 John 1:5-7 looking at the reality that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. This is another important message for us who live in a darkened world and have been influenced by its darkness far more than we realize. God would have us to walk in His light as we walk away from the darkness we used to live in. In the adult Sunday school I will be still looking at chapter 1 studying the indwelling Holy Spirit in the healthy disciple.
Pray for Dasha as she has sinus surgery today. Pray for Peggy’s foot to continue to heal.
Sunday night at 6:00 at Moody Church there is a praise and prayer service that you would enjoy. It is short notice but if you can make it you will be blessed.
Have a great day in the Lord,
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
When Jesus called His disciples, He called them away from what they were doing, from the major emphasis of their lives, to follow Him. These men had careers, families, and futures. They did not plan to leave what they were doing. No one would have thought they did the right thing. Yet, when Jesus called them to follow Him, they did. In retrospect, they did the right thing; they did the exact right thing.
When Jesus left this earth His final words to His disciples were that they should do for others what He did for them. Jesus called them from their lives to follow Him then told them to call others from their lives to become followers of Chris as they were.
When I say this we all understand and are in full agreement with what happened and with what Jesus wanted. But whenever I ask someone to work with me in a discipleship relationship there seems to be a deer-in-the-headlights moment. Responses like this are normal: “Yes, I would like that but let me get back with on it” or “Yeah, I know I should do that but I am really busy right now” or “I don’t think Jesus meant to put everything else on hold while I follow Him so let me rewrite the terms a bit then I’ll get back with you.”
My friends, Jesus called us all to follow Him and to become His disciples. Please bear with me a moment, but Jesus did not call us to come to church once a week or even twice a week. He called us to trade everything to follow Him; that is, we are to make following Christ our greatest priority and all other aspects of life, family, work, and future, become secondary or less. Yes, we have to work and to care for our families, Paul taught that. And yes, we are to become disciples of Jesus Christ and then to help others become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Let’s call this “food for thought” today. Think about this with me and if you can, send me your thoughts.
Our first son, Steven, had his 34th birthday today. Happy Birthday Steve! It’s been a joy to see God shape you into the man you have become. Keep seeking Christ first and foremost, everything else will keep making sense.
Pray for one of our young people who is now in their career as a teacher. The first week after Christmas break has been especially difficult in the classroom.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
As Jesus took on a body of flesh, He took on all of the characteristics of humanity. He grew tired even to exhaustion; He was grieved over the apostles lack of faith; He got angry in the Temple when He drove out the money changers; He was sorrowful that those who loved Him thought He let them down; He groaned under the weight of the cross; and in His humanity the Lord Jesus was hungry and weakened after forty days of fasting. Besides being the Man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief, Jesus faced unusual temptations to sin for Satan himself came after the incarnate Lord.
As this is a very familiar passage, we know that Christ resisted Satan with the word of God and that in the end Satan left and angels came and ministered to the Lord Jesus. I want us to focus today on the fact of the temptation of Christ. Satan had been tempting people for thousands of years and one after another fell to his subtle and devious ways. Satan came to the weakened Jesus knowing that he could make this One fall also. Satan came after Christ with both human and divine temptations offering Jesus a way around the Cross if He would worship the Tempter. Satan thought he could make Jesus sin and thus forever destroy God’s eternal plans.
Aren’t you glad today that Jesus in His weakened condition was stronger than Satan at his best? Aren’t you glad that Jesus bested His and our worst enemy? Since Jesus defeated this enemy at this time, we know that when Jesus is in us we too can defeat the enemies of our souls. Since Satan is not omnipresent, I do not think he has ever tempted us. Satan probably sends his lackey demons to bring us down. But when we have Jesus none of the evil one’s crew can defeat us.
I am thankful for Hebrews 4 as this passage lets me know that as Christ defeated all of the enemies of this life I can go to Him and in His strength fight all of my battles. He is familiar with all of my infirmities for He lived in a body just like mine. He was tempted in far greater ways than I have ever been tempted and He defeated every temptation. It is this great Victor that calls me to take up my cross and to follow Him. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
How often have we wished for a voice from heaven to confirm something to us? How many times would we have liked for God to audibly speak to us His words of guidance, comfort, or confirmation? Twice in the life of Christ God spoke these words from heaven, “This is My beloved Son…” As far as I know God has never spoken from heaven in such a way that the whole crowd assembled heard Him speak. So, at this time and to these people God audibly spoke to confirm the deity of Jesus Christ.
If John the Baptist had any questions about the deity of his cousin, they evaporated when God spoke from heaven. Surely, if we had been there, our faith would also have been confirmed.
What has God done in your life to confirm His will, His love, and His presence? No, I have never heard an audible voice but I can look back at several times when God Himself intervened and confirmed His guidance and His comfort. When David, the young shepherd boy, faced Goliath, he looked back at two other events in his life and found strength. God had been with David when he killed a lion and a bear that were attacking his sheep. Those events gave him confidence to face Goliath. What has God done in your life to confirm His presence and His power?
Kameron and I started a study yesterday on the grace of God. What great joy to spend time realizing all that God has done to give us His grace, His favor, His salvation. We who deserve death and judgment receive sonship, righteousness, and eternal life. God has confirmed His grace to us through His indwelling Holy Spirit. The written Word of God is like a love-letter to His children who read it as a living book from the living and loving God. My friends, God confirms Himself and His Son to us all the time. No, not with audible voices but through His word and His Holy Spirit we come to know the comforting and guiding “voice” of God.
Bobbi has been taking a class all week so I have been working from home. It has been a bit different in that I have Jared to care for and had Stefani to enjoy. In two weeks I will start a class and Bobbi will be home. Whew.
Pray for those on the east coast who are facing unusual storms and cold. Pray that they will look to
God for help and guidance and salvation.
Have a great day in the Lord,
Too much focus has been on when Jesus is returning not that He is returning. In this message, Pastor Steve takes us through the Bible to confirm that Jesus is coming again. Jesus asked if his listeners were ready for his second coming. Be ready to ask yourself this important question: if we can confirm that Jesus is returning, are we ready if he came today?
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
John the Baptist was powerful preacher. He proclaimed the need for repentance from sin and the judgment of God upon those who refused to repent. But by John’s own words, the One coming after him was so much greater that John wasn’t worthy to unbuckle His sandals and when He preached the results would be much more powerful. When Jesus came, the crowds were amazed at His doctrine and authority. Jesus did bring the Holy Spirit who when He came people’s lives truly changed.
There are two sides to our salvation. There is the biblical side, that is, the side that tells us what happens when we are saved, and there is the experiential side, that is, the actions that take place within us when we are saved. John predicted this baptism of the Holy Spirit upon all who came to Christ. In the church today I have witnessed many people who both knew Christ according to the Scriptures and knew Christ according to their own experience. After trusting the Savior to remove their sins and to give them His righteousness, their lives changed for good because the Holy Spirit entered into them. I have also known people who claimed Christ but did not have any evidence of the Holy Spirit within.
Do you see the problem here? When Jesus came He brought the Holy Spirit. All who claimed Him were baptized with the Holy Spirit, according to John’s teaching. If someone claims Christ but does not possess the Holy Spirit, has Christ truly saved them? According to the Scriptures, all who have the Holy Spirit have received Christ and all who do not possess the Holy Spirit do not have Christ. The second part of John’s prophecy concerning Christ is that He will eternally, with fire, judge all who face Him as their judge.
As you look at your own life and at the lives of others, do you see evidence of the Holy Spirit within? If you do then you identify with them as brothers and sisters in Christ living possessed of the Holy Spirit of God. As you look at yourself and others and see those who are unable to live for Christ It may be that they have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit, they then are not saved. All people of all ages need the saving grace of God found in the work and the person of Jesus Christ. When the grace of God is received the Holy Spirit takes up residence. I am so glad that I know this both from the Bible and from my own experience of coming to Christ 44 years ago.
Men, we will have our Saturday morning prayer breakfast at Denny’s this Saturday. We meet at 7:30. I hope you can join us.
After the service Sunday morning we are having a brief church family meeting. We will be ending the service a little early to accommodate this meeting. If you are a member or a regular attender please plan to stay for this family meeting.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
When the Pharisees came to hear what John the Baptist was preaching, he rebuked them for their actions which belied their words. By their words, the Pharisees said everything right; by their actions, the Pharisees mistreated almost everyone. John’s words to them were biting indeed as he called them a brood of snakes who did not come out to escape the wrath of God’s coming judgment. He then called them to actions that come from a repentant heart.
As we have sown the seeds of the gospel into the hearts of men, women, teens, and children we have often seen those who repented of their sin and had a complete change of life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 teaches us the “new creature” mentality. Those who repent of their sin and give their hearts and lives to follow Jesus will shortly manifest fruits worthy of repentance in their lives. Their language changes, their music changes, their entertainment changes, their anger goes away, their lying stops, they become loving, joyous, peaceful, longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, meek, and self-controlled, in other words, they show forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
John rebuked all men and women of all time who claim to know God but have no evidence, no fruits of their repentance coming through their lives. Do you know someone who claims Christ but has no evidence of Christ within? Pray about rebuking their lack of fruits worthy of repentance. We don’t do people any favors when we agree that they must be saved when they don’t have any evidence of “new creature” life within.
What about you? Do you claim Christ but live like those who don’t? Does the Holy Spirit show forth His fruit through you? Are you a new creature in Christ? This warning to the Pharisees is for us as well to look at our own lives and to confirm that we have more than knowledge, we have the life-changing Savior whose Holy Spirit lives the righteousness of Christ from within.
Yes, it is cold outside but the church is warm. We will have our regular services and meetings tonight. There is no Kids4Truth until next week. We do have the adult studies, prayer time and youth group.
Pray for the persecuted church around the world. The Christians in Egypt have been under recent attack. Let’s pray for them to stand firm for Christ and to show His love and truth even to those persecuting them.
Have a great day in the Lord,