Month: April 2018
Still in the Book of Ruth, Pastor Steve builds on the message of God’s hesed toward us showing that God established our salvation long before time began. God, in hesed toward us, defined two offices of the go’el, the kinsmen redeemer in the Law of Moses. In office, the go’el was to redeem his brother’s property; in another office, the go’el was to redeem his brother’s life. This study shows the complexity of our salvation and the wisdom of God who designed it so that our enemy, Satan, would be defeated while our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, becomes King and restores both land and life to His eternal children.
In this message from Ruth Pastor Steve explains why the Hebrew word hesed does not have a good English equivalent and then uses the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz to show us what God has done in His hesed toward us. As Christians, we need to have greater understanding of what God did for us and continues to do for us all stemming from His heart of love, compassion, commitment, and mercy.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
After choosing the twelve (including Judas whom Jesus knew would betray him) Jesus sent them out to do His work. By now, they had seen the wonderful works of God and the power of God. Jesus was giving power them His power to do His work.
I would like for us to look at the last phrase of verse 8 today. As they went out they were not ever to charge for their work but were to give out as freely as they had received. We have been given eternal life. We are to offer the gift of God’s grace to others in the same way that we have received it. Since we are all in agreement on this, what else have we been given that we should freely give to others?
As you consider this we must refer to James who said that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, from the Father of Lights. The world is concerned with profit and with sales. Jesus was concerned about people. As the disciples went out, Jesus wanted them to share His values. As we go throughout our lives, what would God have us freely give to others? Yes, we have to work for a living and yes we need to get paid for our work. So what are we to freely give to others?
Instead of answering this question for you today, I am going to ask you to ask God what He would have you to give to others. What has God freely given to you? Once you have answered that you will be ready to discern what He wants you to freely give away.
As Christ promised to meet the needs of the disciples as they went out doing His work so we must trust that God is going to take care of us when we give away what He has given to us.
Caleb and Lindsey are here until Monday. It is nice to have them with us. Right now, Caleb is teaching 4-5 children English via computer. This is a live class with children in China. Pretty cool stuff. They will be with us in church on Sunday.
I plan to be back in the book of Ruth on Sunday. This week we will look at the concept of the “kinsmen redeemer.” I think you will be excited to hear how God’s teaching on this not only benefited Naomi and Ruth but also benefits us.
Remember to pray for one another. Several of us need prayer today.
Have a great day in the Lord,
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Tens of thousands of sermons have been preached on this passage, hundreds of books have been written on it, and rightly so. Jesus had been on the move in cities and in villages teaching, preaching, healing, and raising the dead. On occasion Jesus fed multitudes of people. Everywhere Jesus went, the crowds thronged him, sometimes reaching to touch him so that they might be healed by that touch.
The word “compassion” has to do with a feeling that comes from the very core of who you are. It is a compound word that can be stated “with passion.” Jesus, from the very core of who he was, had great passion for every person that he came in contact with. Caring for people was the very essence of Jesus’ public ministry.
However, Jesus knew that his time on earth was short and that when he left this earth there would still be multitudes of people in need. As they came to him from the cities and from the villages Jesus looked out on the literal sea of humanity and told his disciples to look and to see what he saw; he wanted them to see through his compassionate eyes. So Jesus cried out to his disciples, “Look at this crowd of humanity coming toward us, they are scattered like sheep without a shepherd, they are a harvest of souls waiting to be cared for. As you see them, pray to the God of heaven that he would send laborers to this great harvest of souls.”
The disciples did not miss the message for after Christ ascended and Holy Ghost descended, they went out and spent their lives caring for the harvest of souls. Let’s not miss the message of Jesus here. We live in a sea of humanity, people like sheep that are scattered and lost. We should pray for God to send laborers out into his harvest; while praying we should be showing compassionate care to these scattered sheep whom Jesus loves.
I received a message from Pastor Mark that Victory needs our prayers today. An incident that took place in February just came to light. Pray for the staff to have God’s wisdom, patience, understanding and compassion. Pray for the boys involved to see God turn something intended for evil into something God uses for good.
Tonight is our regular Wednesday night prayer meeting, Bible study, youth program and kids4truth. Pray for lives to be affected by the Word and through prayer.
I met with a man named Aaron last night. Twenty-five years ago he was a boy at Victory. He told me that his time at Victory saved his life. I am so thankful that God used our feeble efforts to bring a boy to know the Lord and to bring that man ultimately to live for Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed.
33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”
34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
In this passage there are two surprised groups. The first surprised group was the people who marveled that Jesus could cast out a demon and make that mute man able to speak. They had good reason to be surprised for no one else could do these amazing miracles. It was as though anyone with any condition, medical or spiritual or intertwined, coming to Jesus, could be made well. Never in Israel, never in the history of the world, had this been seen.
While the world has had people who called themselves “faith healers,” none have been like Jesus. Jesus caused a man who literally could not speak to be able to speak. Furthermore, Jesus knew that the cause of this man’s physical problem was an evil spirit that possessed him. When was the last time a physical doctor performed an exorcism to heal one of his patients? How many physical doctors even know to look into the spiritual realm, if they could, to heal a patient? Jesus both knew what was wrong and had the power to fix the problem. No, this had never been seen in Israel and the people were surprised.
The second group of surprised people was the Pharisees who hated everything Jesus did. (We have people like this today who hate everything good about anyone.) Since the Pharisees could not deny something miraculous had been done, they decided to give the praise for the miracle to Satan, not to Jesus. When the lost of this world witness a spiritual miracle, they are surprised but don’t know what to do with it. They ascribe the change to everything and everyone but God. Those of us who have enjoyed the miracle of spiritual healing, i.e. salvation, we are surprised at what God has done for us and we give God the glory for we know who did this great work of grace.
It is normal to be surprised at the miraculous work of God. When we see it, let us ever give the praise to God. May we never think we had a part in it so we could share in God’s glory nor may we ever think that some other cause brought about the miracle of salvation. Greater works than these we can do and greater works we do when we tell people of the saving power of God, help them from their sin to the Savior and then marvel with them at the amazing work of the Lord Jesus.
A teenager named Haley is in need of our prayers today. She is the relative of a church member and is in a dark place. Pray that God would send the loving hands of a child of God to care for this girl.
Pray for Dasha who had a surgery yesterday. Pray with her for healing and restoration.
Thanks to those who came to my concert on Sunday. It was a lot of fun! Steven did a great job directing and Bonnie formally retired from the group. At the end we invited all former members up to sing a couple of songs together. It was a great time.
Pray for our service this morning.
Have a great day in the Lord,
27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country.
In the context of time, these blind men came to Jesus on the day that he had first healed the woman with the issue of blood and then raised the girl from the dead. When he departed from the girls’ house, two blind men followed Him, wanting Jesus to open their blind eyes. Certainly these men had heard about the two miracles already performed that day and certainly their hopes were raised that Jesus could help them too.
When Jesus asked these two blind men if they believed he could heal their eyes, they quickly answered, “Yes, Lord.” While this was undoubtedly the right answer, I want you to consider the next words of Jesus to them and apply these next words of Christ to your need. In verse 29 we read that Jesus touched their eyes and said to them, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Suppose that one believed and one didn’t believe. We have to assume that one would have been healed and one would have remained blind.
What if Jesus said to you in your hour of need, “According to your faith be it unto you.”? Would your need be met according to your faith or would your need remain unmet because in your heart you really did not believe God could or would help you? This is a legitimate question. The Bible’s teaching on the need of faith is the primary call from the beginning. Adam and Eve did not believe what God said. Their faith collapsed in the presence of Satan’s lies. Cain did not believe what God told him and then killed his brother. At the end of the book of Revelation we find that those who do not believe are cast into the Lake of Fire.
Jesus taught much about faith. We particularly like the teaching about faith as a grain of mustard seed. But today’s question is this, do you believe God can and will help you through your current and next problem? If God is going to act according to your faith, how much is He going to do? If the person next to you sees answers to prayer and you do not, you might need to check your level of faith. Remember John 3:16 ‘…whosever believes in me shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Would your eyes have been opened according to your faith?
This Sunday I will be bringing a message from the book of Ruth on the act of hesed. This is a beautiful and wonderful study from this great story and has continued application for us. If you want to read the book of Ruth before Sunday it will prepare your mind for the message.
There is no answer yet to the request I mentioned yesterday so please keep this matter in prayer. It would be wonderful to see God intervene showing His power and love to those involved.
Thanks for your prayers for my son Justin. He lands in San Francisco some time today. The boys, and Kaitlyn, are ready for him to be home. Overall, Justin taught 17 men in the last two weeks, developed deep friendships and carefully opened God’s word with them.
Have a great day in the Lord,
23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.
On the way to heal this girl Jesus was stopped by the woman with the issue of blood. The crowd was all around Jesus as we can tell by the disciples comment that many people were pushing up against them, why would Jesus be surprised that someone “touched” him. So after this woman is publicly healed of a twelve-year condition, Jesus continues to the house of the ruler. When they arrived it was announced to them that the girl was no longer sick but was dead, nothing more could be done.
If you have ever been in a busy hospital room when the patient dies, something immediately changes. All of the work to keep that person alive, all of the beeping machines, all of the coming and going of the hospital staff, all of the effort to keep this person alive comes to an immediate halt. All machines are unplugged, no staff comes in, and an eerie quiet falls over the room.
The home of this little girl had just experienced this shift from care to mourning when Jesus showed up. And just as we would tell a new doctor coming into the room that the patient no longer needs that doctor’s help, so the family and friends of this little girl told Jesus that his services would no longer be needed. So when Jesus said to the grieving crowd that the girl was not dead but was only sleeping, they ridiculed him. Can you hear them, “Don’t play with our emotions, don’t try to excite our hopes, you got here too late to help, just leave us with our grief.”
Twice in my life I have attended a funeral of someone whom I did not know at all. I went with a mutual friend but found myself in a place that I did not belong. I suppose the family of this girl really felt that Jesus and his disciples did not belong there. It was their time to grieve.
It is important for us to set the stage for Christ’s actions of raising this girl. She was dead. There was nothing more that anyone could do. Jesus may as well take his bag of miracles and go home. But Jesus had a different plan. (We should be smiling by now.) He pushed past the mourners and the grieving family, he went to the room where the little girl’s dead body lay, he reached out and took her hand whereupon she opened her eyes, breathed, sat up, stood up and not only was alive but was no longer sick.
When was the last time we expected the Lord Jesus to do more than we could have expected? When was the last time we turned to him when all human hope was truly lost? When in our lives have we seen the Lord pick up those spiritually dead in their sins and restore them to new life in Himself? Pray for the Lord to raise those who are spiritually dead. Pray for Him to do that which only He can do. Pray for the life-giving Savior to give life to those whom you love and whose lives in their spiritual death bring you grief. Just as the people marveled that day, so we marvel every time God raises someone dead in their sins to life in Himself.
I am going to need your prayers today as I have to work through a difficult situation. Satan is our enemy and he is the consummate liar of the ages. Every time he speaks he lies and when we are struggling in one area, the enemy will lie in another area. Pray with me for guidance and for humility in a difficult time.
We do have a NMGC concert Sunday, just reminding you and inviting you to come.
Have a great day in the Lord,