Month: March 2018

Christ, our Substitute

Posted on

Matthew 8

14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.

16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

“He Himself took our infirmities

And bore our sicknesses.”

As we are now into Good Friday and headed into Resurrection Sunday, it is interesting that we are at this passage in our devotionals.  We need to consider more about Jesus Christ, about his love, his care, and his sacrifice for our sin.  “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” In every way, both in his life and in his death, Jesus was our substitution.  Mankind has deserved every sickness, every disease, every demon possession, every trouble and every death he has ever received.  Sin is so dark and so deep that we cannot ever say we don’t deserve what we get.  Yet Jesus has taken them all upon Himself.

Isaiah 53 makes this very clear.

4Surely He has borne our griefs  And carried our sorrows;  Yet we esteemed Him stricken,  Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,  And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray;  We have turned, every one, to his own way;  And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Without a substitute we would feel every pain, every sorrow, and every judgment of our sin.  We have much to be thankful for in that Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, came to earth, took on human form, bore our grief’s, carried our sorrows, took our infirmities and our sicknesses upon Himself, so that we could be set free from all of the effects of our own sin and the sin of our parents before us.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

 

Tonight at 7:00 join us for a focus on the Cross of Christ.  This will be a serious service of worship and reflection that will draw us into greater gratitude for and greater dedication to our Lord Jesus. 

Sunday morning we will be serving breakfast at the church starting at 9:00 and then our Resurrection service will be at 10:30.  I trust you will join us once again as we celebrate and rejoice in the power of God in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 

Do continue to pray with me for a troubled family in their time of great need.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Faith that causes others to Marvel

Posted on

Matthew 8

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

 

Most often in the New Testament, the word “marveled” is used of other people’s attitude toward the miracles and teachings of Jesus.  Verse 10 tells us that Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion.  Do you find this interesting? A man comes to Jesus to ask him to heal the man’s servant, the man’s slave, and when Jesus tells the man he will come and heal him, the man lets Jesus know that he believes that Jesus can heal him from a distance.  Jesus does not need to come to the man’s house, he just needs to say the word and the unnamed servant will be healed.

How often have you been in a prayer meeting where the person praying tells God all of the details of someone’s sickness, as if God wasn’t sure of those details, tells God what hospital the person is in, their name and family’s names and then asks God to heal that sick one?  This centurion’s faith was so great that neither did he tell Jesus the name of the servant nor the location of his house.  In response, Jesus marveled at this man’s faith. We read in verse 13 that Jesus did heal the man and by the time the centurion got home he discovered that his servant was healed at the same time that Jesus said he had been healed.

The irony here is that the centurion was a Roman, not a Jew.  Jesus used this Gentile’s faith to rebuke the nation of Israel and to encourage us to come to him.  The sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness, a euphemism for hell and its punishment, while the Gentiles will sit down with Abraham and Isaac in the Kingdom of heaven.  What does the text tell us that the variable is between the Jews and Gentiles?  Jesus is talking about the faith of the centurion which made him marvel.

Has Jesus ever marveled at our faith? Have we trusted in him so much that he took notice and used our faith as an example to someone else?  This is an interesting thought for us today.

 

Tomorrow night is our Good Friday service at 7:00.  We will focus on the impact of the Cross of Christ on our entire lives and our eternity.  This will be a powerful service for our understanding and faith.

Sunday morning at 9:00 we will begin breakfast at church and then our Resurrection morning service will begin at 10:30.  Bring family and friends with you to this wonderful time of fellowship and worship around the resurrection of the Savior.

Pray for a church family, God knows who they are, that are in a particular time of trouble.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The Need To Ask

Posted on

Matthew

1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

 

When I read this account I am reminded of Jesus’ teaching on asking and seeking and knocking.  Suppose this leprous man had stayed home out of fear of rejection.  Suppose he had convinced himself that Jesus would not see him or that even Jesus could not help this problem?  Suppose the man in need just had not asked for Jesus to help him?  It seems, according to his condition, that he would have died from leprosy a premature and miserable death following a miserable life.

It is important to bring this out because even though God is sovereign and knows all things, God seems to wait for us to ask.  James wrote that “we have not because we ask not.”  God’s desire for us to ask is neither a mean nor a cruel thing to wait for.  As parents, we sometimes don’t know what our children need until they ask.  God wants us to ask so that he knows we are depending on him and not on ourselves.  God wants us to ask so that we will give him the thanks and the praise for the answer.

This man asked Jesus a single question: “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” As we pray for the will of God to be done we are asking the same question.  The will of God is superior to our will. As the omnipotent One, God knows what is good for us and what is not good for us.  We ask God to work on our behalf according to His will.  Jesus answered this man that healing him was according to the will of God.  He then healed the man by an instantaneous and complete act.

When God is willing to answer our prayers, we know that He has stepped in to answer them.  We are aware that God has moved on our behalf and we rejoice.  Let us not hold back on going to the Lord and asking him for the hard things in life.  Let us ask according to God’s will even when we don’t know what that will is.  As Jesus healed this man according to the will of God, so we will see answers to our prayers according to the will of God.  Remember this: we must ask.

 

Bobbi and Stefani and Andrew are on a college trip to Bob Jones this week. It is that time of life.  We are praying for clarity of direction and for God’s provision as they go.  Jared and I went to Sunrise together yesterday.  Jared likes to go to the “nursing home” his daddy.  The people there know and love Jared so it is good when he can go with me.

Tonight is our regular night of Bible study, prayer, Kids4Truth and youth group.  The teens are having a pizza party.  Pray that their friends will want to come along for the evening to eat and to hear the gospel.

Friday night at 7:00 is our Good Friday service.  Join us as we focus on the death of our Lord.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

An Incredible Conclusion

Posted on

Matthew 7

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

 

Everyone likes the Sermon on the Mount. It speaks to so many subjects, contains the “Lord’s Prayer,” shows Jesus’ compassion and much more.  While all of this is true, we cannot pull even one lesson from this great sermon without closely observing its conclusion.

Are you aware of the problem of familiarity?  The more familiar you are with something the more commonplace it becomes.  Let’s say you grew up next to the Grand Canyon and saw it every day for all of the years of your growing up. You hiked it often, you rafted it many times a year, you flew over it in the helicopter regularly, and then met someone who was seeing it for the first time. While they wanted to see and learn all about it, you want to know where they live and what they do. The beauty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon had become familiar to you.  It is still beautiful but you are accustomed to it.

As a child, we sang the song about the wise man who built his house upon the rock.  We sang how the rains came down and the floods came up and how his house stood firm.  We sang about the foolish man who built his house upon the sand and that when the rains came down and the floods came up his house, (with a loud clap of the hands) went “smash.”  So when you read this familiar story at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, do you really see it as Jesus’ great conclusion to his greatest recorded sermon?

Are we really aware that when we take the teachings of Jesus and live them to the fullest of our Spirit-led ability that the structure of our lives will stand firm?  Do we really believe that when we let the clear teachings of Jesus sit outside of our lives that we are building life in the sand and that the structure of our lives will collapse?  Jesus could not have made this application any more clear.  And yet person after person comes in with major parts of their lives in rebellion to the teachings of God’s word and wonder why their lives are collapsing.  They see those whose lives are strong and flourishing and just think that those blessed people just got a better break in life.

My friends, lives that are shattered are usually the result of those that did not found themselves on the truths of God’s word and did not anchor themselves to those truths.  Lives that are secure are usually the result of those who have anchored themselves to the teaching of God’s word and seek to live in submission to God’s wisdom.   Built of the rock or on the sand? Standing or falling? Come to the foundation of God’s word and begin in the power of the Holy Spirit to live according to all of its teachings.  You will find great security here.

 

This Sunday is Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday is a memorial of the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem to the praise and worship of thousands upon thousands of people.  We will reflect on the Lord’s teaching in light of Palm Sunday as we gather this Sunday.  Then Friday night, Good Friday, as it is called, we will gather again to remember the death of our Lord.  We will sing of the Cross and spend time focusing the Lord’s sacrifice of himself for us.  Then next Sunday, as you know, is Resurrection Sunday, (Easter to the others) when we gather once a year to especially remember the Lords’ resurrection and the glory of it for us and for men and women of all time. 

 

I came across this presentation last night and was particularly blessed by the families determination to accept all seven babies to be born.  This was now 20 years ago and especially relevant today as they reflect on how God blessed their family and has directed the lives of all seven of their children who were born at the same time.

http://www.articlesvally.com/lifestyle/first-septuplets/38

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

A Community of Footwashers – John 13

Posted on

I am in California right now enjoying the Shepherds Conference at Grace Community Church. There are about 3500 pastors from all 50 states and from 60 different countries. There are men here who are not pastors but most of them are serving their church in some capacity. The preaching is amazing but the worship is like none other. Can you imagine a full orchestra, a choir of 300 men, and then 3500 in the audience together singing praise to God? These are powerful and memorable moments.

We heard four sermons yesterday, all of them had to do with the building of the church of Jesus Christ. One message was taken from the time when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. They were arguing who amongst them would be the greatest in the kingdom. None of them would take the job of the household slave, so Jesus takes off his robe, puts on the towel, takes the water basin and rag and begins to wash the feet of these men who were too proud to do this. The disciples were stunned into silence, except for Peter. He blurts out and tells the Lord that he is not going to wash his feet! Jesus turns the lesson into one of salvation and says, “If I do not wash your feet you will have no part in my kingdom.”

When no one else was willing to serve, Jesus served. When one complained, Jesus served. There was nothing to be gained by Jesus washing their feet and if no one did this then they would have eaten with hot, dusty, dirty feet. What things around us need to be done but we think those things below us? What things around us need to be done but we assume someone else will do it? What things around us need to be done but if no one does it it just won’t get done? Yet, if Jesus had not demonstrated humble servanthood here in this act, which needed to be done, what a great lesson we would have lost.

We need to adopt a basin theology. There were two basins in the New Testament. From this basin Jesus served his disciples and proved to them his power to cleanse and to save. Pilate had a basin too, from his basin he washed his hands from the guilt of crucifying Jesus. One basin served others, the other basin rejected the Savior and selfishly served Pilate. I want to use the basin to serve others leading them to Christ and salvation in His cleansing.48BE4581-E263-4D43-8240-C4B8A4F3958D

Don’t Love the World; Enjoy the Love of the Father – 1 John 2:15-17

Posted on

“Love not the world nor the things that are in the world,” has been the text of many sermons urging Christians not to follow after whatever thing of the world that the preacher wanted to preach against.  That type of emphasis from this passage has created a negative attitude of “not loving the world.”  While the commandment here is clear, Pastor Steve brings out that the key point of the passage is that we don’t love the world because we have enjoyed the love of the Father.

“The love of the Father” is the fulness of God in our lives loving us in spite of our sin and caring for us now and forever with His eternal love for us.  When we enjoy the love of the Father we will love Him more than we love this world.  This is the positive side to loving not the world; enjoy the Father

Loving others while walking the Narrow Road

Posted on

Matthew 7

12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

We have two teachings in these few verses.  The first one has come to be known as “The Golden Rule.” Jesus teaches us that we can expect people to treat us in the way that we treat them. In marriage counseling I always tell the husband that his wife will respond to his treatment and his attitudes toward her.  People are responders. We see this most often in traffic.  The second place we see this most exposed is in the family.  If people treat you wrongly, the best thing you can do is to love them in return.  Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” This is how we can break the cycle of mistreatment. Someone has to get off the marry-go-round and begin treating the other with intentional kindness and love.

The second teaching here has to do with the path to eternal life. There are not many ways to the same place, no, there is only one way. The way to eternal life is not the way of the world; it is not the way of ease.  For while we long for the bliss of heaven, we have to travel the path of thorns to get there.  God will bless our lives here and now but there is no promise of ease and prosperity. Ease and prosperity are the promises of this world and at times the world does deliver.  However, as we saw last Sunday, the world is passing away with all that is in it, only they who do the will of God abide forever.

My friends, our hope is not nor cannot be in this life.  Our goals for this life must reflect the eternal hope and the eternal rewards for being faithful to our Lord now.  When it comes to life decisions we must keep eternity in view.  When we see the promises of eternity: that view enables us to travel the narrow path here.  Get a good look at the eternal promises then keep your eyes above and not below.  Colossians 3 is a help to us.  We are the few of this world who find the narrow way.  Led by the light of the Father and the work of the Son we see the emptiness of the broad road and look forward to being with Him.

Sunday is our monthly dinner day at Grace for Life.  This is always a time of blessed fellowship around the table as we enjoy the meals prepared by one another.  I hope you can stay and spend lunch with us.

Pray for Pastor Bill. He is having some health issues and we are getting some tests done today to see if they can determine the cause.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS