John

Rejoice in the Groom, not the best man

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John 3

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

John the Baptist understood his position.  He understood that his fame was going to be replaced by Jesus Christ.  He understood that all that he did was to prepare the people for the Christ.  So when Christ came and the people told John that Jesus was increasing in popularity, John was OK with this.  They expected John to defend himself and to proclaim to the people his greatness.  They did not expect what John told them.

In vs 27 we read that John told them that all he had came to him from God.  John knew who he was and who he came to testify of.  In vs 28 John makes it clear that he was not the Christ but came to bear witness; as an announcer announces the famous speaker and we forget the announcer, so John came to announce Jesus and John was OK with his job.  When we do a job for Christ and no one remembers us are we OK with that?  Do we want some of the credit when people’s lives are changed because we think we did something to help God make the change?  Are we OK with being a nameless announcer preparing the way for the Savior in people’s hearts?

John then gives an example of the best man at a wedding.  Do people come to see the best man?  During the wedding is the best man jealous that his friend, the groom, is getting the bride and lights?  Of course not and if the best man felt this way we would all say that he was out of place.  John knew his place was beside Jesus exalting and rejoicing in Him.  In that position John’s joy and ours too, was fulfilled.  When Christ is exalted we all rejoice.  He must increase but we must decrease.  Rejoice in the work of Christ and be thankful when we are able to stand next to Him exalting Him.  We will not steal His lime-light and we must be OK with being second.

Tonight at 7:00 will be our prayer time followed by our Bible study time.  Kids4Truth begins at 7:00 and is a great time for our children to get grounded in the Word of God.  Youth group starts at 7:00 and is vital for our teens as they gather to have fun, prayer, and Bible instruction.  See you then.

Friday night will be a time of reflection on the Cross of Christ.  The death of Christ has been called the “Darkest night in history” and we will, from Isaiah 53, examine the work of God that took place on the Cross.  We will also be exalting Christ in song.

Saturday’s prayer event, from 12:30-4:30 will be a time focusing on the responsibility of the church to be the light of Christ.  Join us for the whole time or for any part of the time that you can come. 

Have a great day in the Lord

PS

Love the Light!

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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.

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

It is a bit ironic that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and Jesus closes the conversation with a teaching on light and darkness. Nicodemus came to the Light of the world. He was not aware of who Jesus was in His fullness so Jesus taught him a lesson he would never forget. Nicodemus came to the Light but he came in the darkness obscuring his deeds before the other Pharisees. Jesus tells him that when he is willing to come to Christ as his Light, Nicodemus will no longer be ashamed of the Savior. This came true in Nicodemus’ life at the death of Christ when Joseph of Aramthea and Nicodemus took Jesus off of the cross and beg to have His body given to them for a proper burial. Finally, Nicodemus did not care what the others thought; he was going to do right by Jesus. (John 19:38-42)

Why do men love darkness? Why is so much of sin done in the night? Why are places of sin dimly lit? Men don’t want their evil deeds broadcasted but they want them hidden. Therefore, men love darkness as the best place of their operation.

But, when we do works for God we want the lights on, we want the deed exposed, we want God glorified through our works. No longer are we lovers of darkness but we are now lovers of light. Our Lord is the Light of the world and we are in Him and He is in us. His glow surrounds all that we desire and do. There is no glory in the hidden things of darkness, the things of which we were ashamed. There is great glory in living in Christ’s light and letting our deeds for Him be known.

Love the Light!

I am off to Sunrise Assisted Living in a few minutes for a service there. Please pray for that service. Last week I was wondering if I should continue this service until some of the people in the service let me know just how much they appreciated my coming and bringing God’s word to them. It was God’s confirmation to me.

This afternoon is my library study time and I am looking forward to more time in Isaiah 53. Read this everyday this week with me. Prepare your heart and mind to learn all that God can teach you from it. Friday night and Sunday morning will be special to all of us who prepare our hearts and minds from this great text.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Who is responsible for salvation and who is responsible for condemnation?

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John 3

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 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.

What primary actions do you see God doing in these verses?

  1. Loving mankind
  2. Granting eternal life
  3. Sending His Son

What primary actions do you see men doing?

  1. Believing
  2. Not believing
  3. Loving darkness

When people have a wrong view of God they will develop a wrong view of their own responsibility toward God.  Then from that wrong view sinful mankind will blame God for condemning them.  I have heard this often.  People ask, “Why does God send people to hell?”  “Why does a good and loving God condemn people forever?”  As we carefully examine the scriptures where salvation is taught, we find God loving mankind, granting eternal life to all who believe and reminding them that He sent His Son to provide their salvation.  What a great and good God He is to demonstrate His love so fully and to offer it so freely.

In return to God’s love, men often don’t believe because they love the darkness of their sin and don’t really want to believe to the change of their lives.  They know the options but love their sin to the rejection of God’s offer.  This passage tells us that men are condemned because they do not believe in Christ.  At this level, who is responsible for those who go to hell?  Is God responsible for this or does the responsibility lay in the rejection of those who refuse God’s offer?

A careful reading of Christ’s teaching here shows us clearly that men and women are responsible to God and to God alone for their acceptance or rejection of His offer of eternal life.  God has clearly provided a wonderful alternative to a life filled with sin and an eternity of paying for that sin.  Jesus paid the price and offers us full forgiveness and eternal life.  No, God does not send mankind to hell for their sin, their rejection of God’s offer is their condemnation.  Pray with me today for those who need to be saved to come clearly to the Savior to find eternal life in Him.

Yesterday was a great day for our church.  We enjoyed the music as we lifted up our hearts and hands to the Savior.  We enjoyed our fellowship with one another.  We enjoyed the church family as we planned for the future events including Good Friday service an Saturday prayer time.  I brought the first in s series of three messages from Isaiah 53 on Christ who is the only key that fits all of the tumblers of this great chapter.  I am still rejoicing in this great teaching.

This morning there is a ladies Bible study led by Sandy Petrelle at 9:00.  If you are free do join them.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

The clearest call to salvation

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John 3

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

The clarity of this teaching by Jesus, lets all people of all time know that the only way of salvation is through Him.  Jesus could not have made it any clearer than this.  He references Numbers 21:19 for clarity.  The people of Israel had rebelled against God and complained against Him so much that God sent poisonous snakes into their encampment to bite and kill the people.  As the people were suffering and dying Moses interceded and God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it on a pole.  He then promised Moses that all who looked on the bronze snake would live.  That look would have been a look of faith.  I am certain that there were those in the camp who refused to look at the bronze snake thinking it just wouldn’t work. But all who looked with faith upon that snake were healed of their snake bite.

Jesus used this illustration to prophesy His being lifted up on the cross.  One day, all who looked to Him with the look of faith, would live.  We have been bitten by the snake of sin, just as Eve was, and the bite is deadly.  We are going to die in our sin unless we look to Jesus for life.  When we do look to Jesus for life we gain eternal life.

Why does God do this? Because He so much loves us that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him will not, will not, perish, that is, they will not die in their sin, but will have eternal, everlasting life.  With all of this love and salvation on display why won’t more people look to Jesus and live?  Pray with me for more people this year in our community to look to Jesus and live.

What did God do? God sent His Son to give us life.  He did not send Jesus to condemn us, our sin does that, but God send Jesus to give us life.  God wants us to be saved from our sin, to rise from that snake bite of sin and to live in Him both here and forever.  If you have never looked to Jesus with the look of faith to save you from the snake bite of sin, will you look to Him today and find life abundant and life eternal in Him?

Ben’s message from last Sunday will be on the church website today.  I am thankful for Ben’s competence with the Scriptures and the clarity with which he delivered this message to our church. 

If you are struggling with this election, read Psalm 2. 

A young man named Derek died of an OD this week.  He was a work friend of Ron.  Pray for his family as the funeral is tonight. 

We had a blessed time of prayer and Bible study last night.  What a thrill to gather with brothers and sisters around God’s word.  I am so thankful for our Wednesday night times. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

There is more than the perspective we know

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John 3

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

Nicodemus only had eyes for this world. He was desperately trying to understand the words of Jesus from his own perspective. Verse 11 tells us that we only speak that which we know and we only testify what we have seen. So until the Word of God becomes real to someone they will not be able to understand what that Word is teaching them. This is why people of a different faith have so much trouble converting to Christianity: they are speaking what they know and testifying what they have seen.

 

Jesus wanted Nicodemus, and all people of all ages, to understand His words. His words alone are true words. However, since we are of this earth we only see through the glasses of this life. Jesus wants us to take a look at His teaching from His point of view, through heavenly glasses, as it were.

 

Then in verse 13 Jesus tells us why His witness is true, He came down from heaven. His witness, that is, what His eyes have seen, is different from ours for He has seen what He is talking about. When it comes down to faith and to belief we all place our faith in something. We follow someone’s teachings, some church’s view of life. Jesus wants us to look at life through His glasses. He wants us to trust His words for they are true and come from a different perspective. We cannot see Jesus’ perspective so we have to accept it by faith as being true. Do you?

 

Tonight is our prayer and Bible study. Tonight is more important than yesterday. We will be looking at Psalm 2 for a few minutes. If you have questions about the elections, read Psalm 2.  

 

Pray for one another. Pray for a friend named Sande. Pray for the work at Victory Homes. Pray for our children in school and our young adults in college. Pray for Friday night’s movie outreach. Pray for people to come and for people to be saved.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Salvation comes totally from God

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John 3

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

There are two primary schools of thought regarding salvation. One says that salvation is synergistic, that is, man partners with God for his salvation; the other view is monergistic, that is, God alone is the one who saves. This passage supports the monergistic view of salvation. Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking answers about Jesus but Jesus turned the conversation to the spiritual needs of Nicodemus.

Jesus often turned people’s apparent questions around to get them to examine their own hearts. (Look at the rich young ruler and the woman at the well for examples.) So Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless he is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. This set Nicodemus on edge. Jesus’ response was not what Nicodemus had to do for he could never be born again on his own. New birth is a spiritual action that has to come from the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus takes an illustration from the wind. Where does the wind come from? Where does it go? So is the moving of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. New birth is the result of the Holy Spirit moving in someone’s life bringing them to the point of conversion.

Take a look at these references:

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

 

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

The Holy Spirit of God moves in our hearts showing us the mercy and grace of God. We come to this understanding and cry out to God to save us from our sin. God provided the plan, Jesus paid the price, and the Holy Spirit, like an unknown wind, moves in our hearts to draw us to salvation. Salvation is of God. Nicodemus wanted something that he could add to his list of things he was doing. Jesus told him that he had to wait on the Holy Spirit to bring new life into Nicodemus’s heart.

I am so glad that God is the author and the finisher of our salvation. If we had some part in it then we might have some part in losing it. Because God has it all in His hand and promises never to let us go we have far greater confidence in the eternality of our salvation from Him.

It is good to be back home. I had a great week at John MacArthur’s Shepherds Conference in Panama City, California. It was awesome to sing the praises of God with over 3500 men. It was awesome to hear the glories of God proclaimed with great authority from the Word of God. It was a special joy to do so with my sons, Steven and Justin. Thanks to the church for paying the conference fee and for letting me gone for a week. It was a week well spent.

Thanks to Ben for his sermon on Sunday. His competent handling of the Scriptures and applying them to the church was a great wrap up to our January and February series. Thanks to all who kept the church going in my absence. I had no doubts.

This Friday night we are showing the movie Woodlawn. Come at 7:00, or earlier, and bring a friend. It is a free event showing the power of racism and the greater power of redemption. It is a football movie so invite your football loving friends.   Pray for this movie night to be used to bring people to the Savior and to faith in Him.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Are you “Born Again?”

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John 3

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

 

This is the only time that Jesus used the metaphor of being born again yet it has come to describe the new life of the believer.  We are often called “the born-againers” with a bit of a derogatory tone.  After Adam and Eve died spiritually in the Garden we have come to understand the “new birth” as the coming alive to God that they lost.  For while sin kills, Christ gives life.  Paul says that we were “quickened” or made alive in Christ.  The idea of new life in Christ begins with the new birth.

 

This authoritative statement by Jesus demanding that we be born again if we want to see the kingdom of God has drawn thousands if not millions come to salvation through Christ.  We are dead in trespasses and sins.  We cannot bring ourselves to life in God.  We need an external life-source to birth us into the family of God.  Thus, we need to be born again.  There is physical birth and there is spiritual birth.  Jesus made this clear to Nicodemus.  Do not confuse spiritual and physical birth.  They are two different events.  No one is born spiritually at birth, thus the need to be born again.

 

Are you born again?  Has Jesus Christ, through His eternal Spirit, entered your life and brought His eternal life with Him?  Do you possess spiritual life?  When a body is dead we know it.  When a life is void of spiritual life we know that too.  Are you born again?  Do you have spiritual life in you that gives you a hunger to eat spiritual food and to grow and develop spiritual muscles and thoughts?  Are you a member of the family of God by new birth?  Take time to examine your life and allow the words of Christ to Nicodemus bring light into your soul.

 

Yesterday was a wonderful day at Grace for Life.  Our morning service with rich with worship and praise and fellowship.  The message required us to examine whether or not we always labor abundantly for the Lord.  We observed the Lord’s table in worship and praise.  We brought in another new member into our congregation; welcome to Michelle this week and Pam last week.  We then enjoyed the fellowship of a meal together. 

 

Last night we hosted Harvest America and had many people come who are not part of our church family.  It was a joy to see so many people together rejoicing in the worship and in the message of salvation.  Greg Laurie brought a powerful message on salvation.  He opened up his life and told of his mom and step dad.  His mom was married seven times.  His step dad was a lawyer who was a good man.  Both of them needed salvation through Jesus Christ.  I am thankful for God’s use of a man to proclaim His message to so many people in one night.  Today I am praying that God will save many who heard the message last night. 

 

This week is John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference.  I have not been for three years and am looking forward to going.  Pray for this to be a time of great challenge to me to love God and His word more.  Pray that it will be a time of refreshing as both Steven and Justin are also going.  If you have a pastoral need this week you will need to contact either Tom, Pastor Bill or Ben. 

 

Thanks for a great Sunday together.  I am still rejoicing.

 

Have a great day and week in the Lord, PS

What answer does the lost one with questions need?

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John 3

1.There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 

Let’s take a look today at Nicodemus’ question and Jesus’ answer.  Nicodemus had undoubtedly seen and heard Jesus in the day.  His teachings and His miracles confirmed to Nicodemus that Jesus had at least come from God. There were OT prophets who did miracles and said amazing things.  Elijah prayed in a three and a half year famine.  At his prayer it rained.  He prayed down fire from heaven. He outran a chariot. He healed sick people, raised a dead son and opened a river to walk through on dry ground. As Nicodemus spoke to Jesus he wanted to know if Jesus was a prophet.  Did He come from God?

There was nothing wrong with Nicodemus’ question.  Many people have the same question about the deity of Christ.  In answer to their questions we have developed an entire study of thought called “apologetics.”  If someone wants to know the genuineness of Christ we can give them books of arguments to prove this.  It has been said that Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord.  Nice.

But I want you to notice Jesus’ response. He did not answer the question! A leader of the Pharisees has come and has come with one question; he wants confirmation that Jesus came from God.  Jesus blows right past the question!  He had the opportunity to give us all the ammunition we would need to defend His deity and Jesus ignores the question.  Instead, Jesus went straight to the greatest need of Nicodemus’ heart which was not knowledge but conviction of sin. Nicodemus thought he was a good man, one who was going to make it to heaven.  But Jesus tells him straightforward that unless he is born again he will never see the kingdom he longed for.

This question struck Nicodemus’ heart like a splitting maul hits a cut log and it split his heart wide-open.  Here is the point.  When people come to us questioning Jesus, let’s take them to the heart of the matter which is their need of the Savior.  Let’s spend less time defending Christ and more time presenting Christ.  A gun is not something you defend to an intruder. “I have a gun in my hand.  In the gun is a bullet.  When I pull the trigger an explosion in the chamber will occur and piece of lead is going to come out of the end of the barrel and might enter your body causing you harm.”  No, you simply say, “Stop! Or I will shoot!”  In the same manner, Jesus Christ does not need to be defended, He needs to be applied to the hearts of those we know and love.  As the bullet will do its job without defense so the Lord Jesus will break into the hard heart and bring conviction and salvation as He did with Nicodemus.

This is a busy weekend.  Men’s prayer breakfast is tomorrow morning.  We will be doing set up for Sunday on Saturday. (Anyone who wants to help surely can.)  Sunday morning is our regular service with the addition of the Lord’s Table which we are changing from the second Sunday to the first Sunday to coincide with our church dinner. After church I will be going out to pass out flyers for the evenings Harvest America event.  At 5:00 we will be getting to the church to make sure we are ready.  If you can come and be a greeter or an usher we are going to need your help either in the church, at the door, or in the parking lot. 

The Harvest America rally will run almost until 8:00.  At the end of the message, Greg Laurie is going to invite people to trust Jesus Christ as Savior and to follow Him as Lord.  We need to have people ready to meet with those who stand to receive Christ.  I have special tracts designed to enable us to walk someone through a salvation decision.  They are called Bridge Tracts and show Christ as the bridge to eternal life.  These tracts are a great tool to enable all of us to lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ.  We are praying for a harvest of souls.  Pray with us and come to serve the Lord Sunday evening. 

If you would like to see videos on the event go to www.harvestamerica.com

There is RU tonight.  Pray for God to bring in those that He wants to save.  Pray for the leadership to be ready to minister Christ to those who come.

Pastor Bill’s nursing home service was cancelled due to sickness there.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Jumping to the wrong conclusions

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John 2:18–22

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

Have you ever wondered what the Lord was doing in your life?   Have you ever just sensed that things were not going the way they should? These Pharisees were listening to someone who just told them that if they destroyed this temple he could rebuild it in three days. How absurd this man was! Didn’t he know it took Herod’s builders 46 years to build it? This guy really needed a reality check because he was so out of touch with the real facts of life.

 

Are we that much different? When we have plans that God wants to change don’t we take time to tell Him just how much time and effort we had into these plans and just how unfair He was to make us change them? After all, doesn’t God realize how long it takes for us to do things? Does He really think that He can just move in and change things around? The Pharisees said, “No, we won’t let you make changes to our time developed system.” We look at the Pharisees as having made a grave mistake.

 

The next time God changes your plans think about the Pharisees. They had no problem telling Jesus that he was in error, that there was no way it could work out the way he said. Then take a step back and remember that God’s plans may not be about today but when He brings them to pass we will even have a better understanding of today.

 

During prayer time tonight we will focus our prayer on this Sunday’s Harvest America event. Many have been invited. Their willingness to come will require the Lord to do His work to get them here. Once here, they will hear the Gospel! Satan is against that. Pray with us for souls to be saved and for our church to be encouraged.

 

This Sunday is our church dinner day. Be sure to bring enough food for your family and a little more to share. After lunch some of us will be going out to pass out flyers for the evening event. If you want to come let me know.

We had two great answers to prayer yesterday. I will bring them up tonight for rejoicing.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

When does our faith increase?

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John 2

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

 

After Jesus accomplished His first miracle, providing wine at a wedding by turning the water into wine, the disciples who had begun to follow Him began to believe in Him. Before this miracle the disciples followed because of the word of John the Baptist and the teachings of Jesus.  But when they began to see the miracles first-hand their faith increased.

We are not much different from they.  We hear about Jesus Christ; we might even hear about His miracles in someone else’s life. We like what we hear and we begin to turn our lives in His direction.  We confess Christ as Savior and Lord but do not have the maturity of faith that someone else has. For while we believe He died for us and rose from the dead to save us, we have not experienced the power of God in our lives.

But then an old temptation comes by and that which had always tripped us up we step over.  An old attitude that always brought us down we are able to avoid.  The people who always led us astray can’t pull us their way.  As we read the Bible it begins to make sense to us.  Church is something we begin to look forward to and Christians, the people we used to avoid, are suddenly attractive.

The miracle of salvation brings with it many consecutive miracles.  We might not see them at first but before long a string of miraculous changes become evident.  At some point we begin to care for the salvation of those we know and love.  We begin to pray for them and God opens up an opportunity to share Christ and they come to saving faith.  Another miracle.

We don’t need to see Jesus do something external when He is doing miraculous things within us. As with the disciples, when miracles occur, our faith increases.

 

We are getting excited about this Sunday night.  The Harvest America crusade is going to be simulcast at Grace for Life.  It starts at 5:30 and goes to almost 8:00.  The first hour and a half are mostly music and testimonies of God’s saving grace.  For members and regular attenders of Grace for Life, we need greeters, nursery workers, and ushers.  We need parking lot greeters, indoor greeters auditorium greeters.  We know people with children are coming so we are going to need nursery workers.  If you would like to serve in any of these capacities please let me know ASAP. 

Spend time praying for people to be saved.  Greg Laurie is going to give a clear presentation of the Gospel and then invite people to pray with him to trust Christ. How we long to see people saved in our church. What a thrill it will be to see God move in this we and to allow us to be a part of this great event.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Who needs to be brought to Jesus?

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John 1

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Were Andrew’s actions normative of a new follower of Jesus Christ? Andrew, a fisherman, had become a follower of John the Baptist.  His heart resonated with the teachings of John and he identified with John’s anticipation of the Christ.  When John identified Jesus as the Christ of God Andrew left John and went to follow Jesus.  Jesus accepted Andrew who stayed the evening and the night with Jesus learning from Him as the Rabbi, the Teacher he was longing for.  Andrew’s heart must have thrilled to be with Jesus!  John had been talking about Jesus and now Andrew was with Him, seeing Him, hearing His voice, absorbing His teachings. How wonderful this was.

When Andrew left Jesus he went to his brother Simon.  He went to him with one purpose; he couldn’t wait to tell his brother about Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ of God.  We don’t know how Simon responded but we do know that he came back with Andrew. Andrew must have been convincing.  He must have been thrilled. He must have been determined to drag Simon back with him to meet Jesus.

What else could Andrew have done?  He had found the most important Person in all of history!  He had met Him, talked with Him, and stayed with Him.  Now, he had to tell one of the most important people in his life, his own brother.  When we understand who Jesus is and learn at His feet, we cannot help but talk about Him.  We want to bring others with us to Jesus.

Sunday night, March 6th, we have an opportunity to bring our friends to Jesus.  Pastor Greg Laurie is leading a massive outreach event from the AT&T stadium.  While he preaches Christ churches all over the country, including ours, are watching the simulcast.  The time is from 5:30-7:30 as there are four music groups performing before the message.  We have invitations at the church.  Pray with us and bring a friend to meet Jesus.

We missed the snow.  The snow missed us.  Most of you are very glad for that.  I kind of like the snow but am a bit of a rarity.  I think Spring is coming early this year.

Pray for one another.  A few people in church have asked for prayer for specific issues.  Do keep one another held up before the Lord.  Pray for a new place for Kim Lavryk.  She really needs to find a new place to live. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Has your sin been removed from God’s holy presence?

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John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

For thousands of years and millions of sacrifices no one ever thought of their lamb taking away their sin. The most they could hope for was an annual provision to cover their sins for another year. Imagine living in the reality that not one of your sins was ever removed but only atoned for. If God ever needed to reference a past sin He certainly could because there was not a chance of your sin ever being removed from His divine and perfect judgment. And yet, all you had was the command from the God to go to the Temple year after year with the best lamb you had as a sacrifice for yours and your family’s sins.

The Jewish audience that John was speaking to would have known exactly what John was saying and would have taken a new look at this man walking toward them. What special power did He possess? How was He going to take away the sin of the world, their sin? John called Him a lamb. What did that mean? A lamb was placed on an altar; what did this Man have to do with the altar?

Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, God sacrificed a lamb for the sin of Adam and Eve. Abel brought a lamb to the sacrifice and God received his offering. Noah took animals on the ark for the purpose of sacrificing to God when the Flood subsided. Abraham made sacrifices to God. The Passover was the ultimate picture of the blood of an animal providing atonement from the passing Death angel. Moses came down with very specific requirements of sacrifices for sin. How was this man going to do better than all of that? How was He going to take away the sin of the world?

We now know that Jesus did go to the altar of the Cross. We know that He did shed His own blood to take away our sin. We know that His death and resurrection were for our justification. We know that John was absolutely right in his wonderful prophetic statement. Hallelujah, what a Savior. Jesus came to take away the sin of the world, our sin, my sin, from the judgment bar of God. When I stand before God washed in the blood of the Lamb, cloaked with the righteousness of Christ, He will see me eternally cleansed, without sin, without need of condemnation, and welcome me by grace into His eternal holy kingdom. Yes, John, Jesus, the Lamb of God, has taken away my sin.

I was reminded by this weeks Art of Marriage video that we have an enemy who seeks to destroy us. My wife is not my enemy. My neighbor is not my enemy. No, Satan and all of his hosts are my enemy. They truly seek to destroy me. When someone tells me they have prayed for me I am genuinely thankful. Take time to pray for one another. All of us are in a battle and are upheld by the prayers of those who think to pray for us.

Tonight, our prayer time begins around 7:00. Join us for this important time. The snow is going to be light in our area. I plan to be there. Don’t let it keep you away.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Is Jesus God?

Posted on

John 1

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Are you convinced that when you pray to Jesus that you are praying to God? Do you see Jesus as a Sunday school picture that you or your kids colored pictures of or do you see Him as God Almighty?

 

Give the testimony of John the Baptist some attention. First of all, John the Baptist (or the baptizer because he baptized those who repented from their sin) was the last Old Testament prophet. What was a prophet? Well, a prophet brought messages from God. God spoke directly to the prophets so when they spoke the people knew that they were bringing the very message from God. Jesus called John the greatest prophet born of women. The people recognized John as a prophet. So, the words that John spoke had God’s authority behind them.

 

God had told John that the One on whom the Holy Spirit would descend would be the Son of God, the incarnate God, the Messiah in the flesh. When John baptized Jesus the Holy Spirit descended and John knew that God had made it clear, Jesus was God in the flesh.

 

John did not seek to build his own following but sought to prepare people to follow Jesus. As we read here, John proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and two of his followers turned to follow Jesus instead. John was a way -maker, he made the way for people to follow Jesus.

 

Since the last OT prophet called Jesus God, then we have no doubt that He is. This is He who lives in us through His Holy Spirit. We have God living in us! Whatever is giving you trouble, God is in you. You have the power of God Almighty in you. Give your situation to Him to work out and watch Him work His work in and through your life. John made a proclamation. We know we have Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit of God, as our Savior, Lord, and indwelling God.

 

I spent Sunday night at Victory Homes. Do keep them all in your prayers. While the boys become compliant what is really desired is their salvation. Pray for the boys there to truly hear the call of God and to surrender their hearts and lives to Him.

 

Lynne’s mom went to be with the Lord on Sunday. There will be funeral in Florida for her mom this Saturday. Pray for the Massey family, Lynn’s dad and brother during this time.

 

Sunday was a great day for us at church. I am ever thankful for our church and for those of you who call it your church. We are seeing God’s word shape our lives into His image. Keep one another in your prayers.

 

Pray for a friend who is making a positive life change but is facing struggles from within and without as she makes this change.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS