Thursday, September 18, 2014

JESUS ACCEPTED WORSHIP - HE IS LORD!

Both the Old and the New Testaments warn against worshipping "other gods."  In Exodus 34:4-14, after Moses made a second copy of the Ten Commandments, he was told by God to warn Israel about worshipping anything or anyone other than Him.  Verse 14 says, "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God!"  About 1500 years later, when Satan tried to tempt Jesus into worshipping him, Jesus responded by saying, "...Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Mt. 4:10).  And yet, there are several instances in the Gospels which reveal that Jesus, Himself, accepted worship!  Here are some examples:

*       The Magi were allowed to worship Jesus (Mt. 2:2, 11).
*       A leper worshipped Jesus (Mt. 8:2).
*       The father of a dead girl worshipped Jesus (Mt. 9:18).
*       His disciples worshipped Him after He calmed the storm (Mt. 14:33).
*       The Canaanite mother of an ill girl worshipped Him (Mt. 15:25).
*       The mother of James and John worshipped Him (Mt. 20:20).
*       The women at the empty tomb worshipped Him (Mt. 28:17).
*       The eleven disciples worshipped their risen Savior (Mt. 28:17).
*       The demoniac recognized Jesus and worshipped Him (Mk. 5:6).
*       The disciples worshipped Him at His Ascension (Lk. 24:52).
*       The healed blind man worshipped Him (Jn. 9:38).

Some have said that the Greek word translated "worship" meant "a means of showing homage to persons or beings of higher rank" (Strong's Concordance; Blue Letter Bible; etc.).  However, the same word [προσκυνέω (proskyneō)], is found in Matthew 4:10, quoted above.  Clearly, the examples given above, taken in context, show Jesus received the worship due only to God Almighty!

Why do you suppose He did not object?  The answer is clear:  Jesus is God!  The first verse in the Bible says, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).  Not only did Jesus create everything which exists (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; etc.), He maintains its existence.  Here is what the Apostle Paul said about Jesus:

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:  in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:  and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:13-17).


Born again believers know Jesus as Savior, Lord, and God!

  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DISCIPLINING A CHILD

In light of recent events involving a National League Football player, I feel the need to share my thoughts on disciplining children.  The main reason is, forty years ago, when I was disciplining my children, I was guilty of child abuse.  I was a new Christian, and as such, I absorbed sermons like a sponge!  It was all new to me, so I did more listening than studying what all the Word had to say on a subject.  Needless to say, I had, and still have, a lot to learn.

You and I know that the Bible clearly teaches believers to use corporeal punishment.  While "Spare the rod; spoil the child." may be the most quoted non-biblical "verse" in the world, the Word does say that the rod of discipline should be used on a child (Prov. 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15).  In fact, for a father to spare using the rod of discipline, means he does not love his child (Prov. 13:24)!  We see this pictured in the Father disciplining all His children because He loves them (Heb. 12:5-8).

But how is the rod to be applied?  For one thing, we are not to use the rod when we are angry.  It is counter-productive.  Proverbs 22:8 says that the rod used by an angry person "shall fail."  The wise father will wait before disciplining his child.  It serves two purposes:  it provides time for anger to subside, and it provides time for the child to think about the foolishness of his actions.

The rod should be used in such a way as to cause some pain, but not hard enough to cause bruising or lacerations.  I would suggest the palm of one's hand be used, because our hand tells us exactly how hard we are spanking the child.  If our hand stings, that is certainly hare enough.  That is just my personal opinion.

Another factor needs to be applied as well.  Am I, as a father, living for the Lord?  Am I, as His child, in need of discipline?  If so, then I am not qualified to address the sins of my children!  This is what the Apostle Paul wrote on the subject: 

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).

You, as a parent, have the right, and responsibility of disciplining your child.  However, "...take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak" (1 Cor. 8:9).  Ephesians 6:4 says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."


The test of your success:  does your child recognizes his error, and that he is loved.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MY LEAST IMPORTANT BIRTHDAY

Seventy-two years ago today, my mother, through much suffering, brought me into this world.  Her water broke, and she delivered me, her only child, her only son.  Two thousand years ago, give or take a few, Mary brought forth her first born, a Son, and she named Him Jesus.  Her water broke, she suffered, and the result was Emmanuel:  God with us (Mt. 1:23)!  That is where the resemblance between Jesus and I ends.  We were both born physically.

Jesus went on to live a perfect, sinless life (Heb. 4:15), and He was murdered somewhere around the age of thirty-three.  I, on the other hand, have done very little but sin over my lifetime, and yet, I am still here.  Amazing!  I spent twenty years in the military, had two .45 caliber pistols pointed at me from less than ten feet, had blood clots in both lungs, had a heart attack, and have lived with congestive heart failure for many years; yet, here I am! 

In John's Gospel, Jesus told a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who had come to speak with Him under the cover of darkness, that he needed to be born a second time.  Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3).  Of course, Nicodemus found the Lord's words to be ludicrous.  Nicodemus responded by saying, "How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born" (v. 4)?

Of course, the answer is no; the physical birth can only occur one time.  Jesus explained that He was speaking of another kind of birth.  He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (v. 5).  Jesus went on to explain the difference between the two births necessary for a man to be part of God's Kingdom; He said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh (water); and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (v. 6-7).  The two births differ in one main factor:  the physical birth comes with the breaking of the mother's water, while the Spiritual birth is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (v. 8 - note that the spiritual birth is compared to the working of the wind; the word for "breath," "wind," and "spirit," are the same:  Strong's #4151).

Jesus explained, elsewhere in John's Gospel, what takes place when a man is born again.  The Father draws him to believe (Jn. 6:44), the Spirit convinces man he is a sinner needing a Savior, and that Jesus is the Savior (Jn. 16:7-15), and when he accepts Jesus, he becomes a child of God (Jn. 1:12).

That happened to me on January 31, 1971.
That is the birthday I love to celebrate!

 

Monday, September 15, 2014

HALF A GOSPEL IS A FALSE GOSPEL

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Most conservative churches faithfully proclaim the Gospel message, but they do so only in part; they faithfully proclaim what Jesus Christ did for us, but they forget to correctly identify who Jesus is!  Notice in the passage above, two important facts: 

1) Paul was proclaiming that Jesus was the Christ!  Jesus was not just any man; He was the long-awaited King of the Jews, the promised offspring of David!  Matthew's Gospel refers to Jesus as the Son of David ten times:  1:1, 20; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30, 31; 21:9, 15; and 22:42!  Jesus is to be our King!  He is to rule over us!  Also notice that the passage above mentions that the Gospel is based upon what Paul had preached to those in Corinth.  He had taught them that Jesus is the "Son of God" (1 Cor. 1:9), and "Lord" (64 times)!  That is why, in the middle of the four verses above, Paul says, "if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you!"

2) Jesus, while instructing His disciples about preaching the Gospel, made it quite clear that the message was to include a call to repentance.  Luke 24:46-47 says:

"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Notice that these two verses present the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, AND a call to repentance!  If Jesus is not to be both Savior AND Lord, then why the need for repentance?  Jesus was announced as both:  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11)Both Paul and Peter taught that Jesus was both Lord AND Savior (Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:4; 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18)!  There is little doubt as to what He wanted mankind to know about Himself; He said, in John 13:13,


"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

FIRST THINGS FIRST

My Pastor spoke to us today, about making sure we have our priorities straight.  He used the illustration of a modern day genie who, because of inflation, could only afford to grant a single wish to those who rubbed his lamp.  The genie said the only wish he would not grant, was a wish for more wishes.  He then asked us what our wish would be if we found the genies' lamp. 

That was really a tough one!  There are so many things going on in the world which need to be stopped:  wars, famine, disease, poverty, murders, rapes, etc.; basically, our world is filled with total selfishness, lawlessness, and depravity!  Using my one wish to eliminate any one of these, would still leave a world filled with suffering. 

I could wish for everyone to begin loving everyone else, and that would certainly stop all of those things, except for perhaps disease.  Even so, without wars and crime, think of how much money would be available for medical research!  Like humanity at the Tower of Babel, there is no limit to what a united human race could accomplish (Gen. 11:1-6).

Even if mankind was able to eliminate all of its woes, man would still face the inevitable:  death.  That is why many in the congregation would use their one wish on getting their lost family members and friends saved.  Few would include their enemies in their wish for salvation; after all, not everyone will be saved on judgment day.  Even Jesus knew that regardless of how salvation was offered to the lost, many would reject it, and even though God's Word tells us that God wants none to perish, but for all to turn to Him from their sin (2 Pet. 3:9), we all know that the majority would reject His free gift of salvation (Mt. 7:13-14; Jn. 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.).

Pastor's sermon was based on Matthew 6:33, which says, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  What I got out of it, was that before we try to fix a broken world, we need to make certain that we don't need to use our wish on ourselves!  We need to make sure we are acceptable in God's Kingdom, by receiving Jesus Christ and HIS righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21); our own righteousness, no matter how hard we try, is as "filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6)!  Once we are clothed in HIS righteousness, once we are in His Kingdom, once He is our King, we will want our every thought, word, and deed, to be pleasing unto Him!  AND, the lost will see Christ in us, and hunger for what He has given us!

Seek to be what others will desire to be! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

IN WHOM MUST ONE BELIEVE TO BE SAVED?

All who believe will be saved!  Believe what?  Believe the Word of the Lord! 

1)  There is a God before whom all will stand in judgment; Revelation 20:11-13 says,

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

2)  God does not want any to be cast into the Lake of Fire.  2 Peter 3:9 says,

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

3)  God offered mankind an opportunity to be saved; He provided a substitute to pay for our sins:

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:14-16).

4)  Before Jesus died for our sins, He pleaded with people to trust His Father:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (Jn. 5:24).

5)  Yes, we are to believe that God, the Father of Jesus, sent Him to die for us:

"...This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29).  "And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn. 6:40).

6)  The Father sent His Son to die, but He also raised Him from the dead:    

"...Believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Rom. 4:24).  "But God raised him from the dead" (Acts 13:30).

7)  To be saved then, one must trust in both the Father and in His Son:

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me" (Jn. 14:1).  "...This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29).  "I and My Father are one" (Jn. 10:30). 







Friday, September 12, 2014

JOHN WROTE SO THAT YOU WOULD BELIEVE IN JESUS

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name" (Jn. 20:30-31).

"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:11-13).

"He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (Jn. 3:18).

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29).

"And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (Jn. 6:69).

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24).

"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.  And He said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him" (Jn. 9:35-38).

"She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (Jn. 11:27).

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me" (Jn. 14:1).

"But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe" (Jn. 19:34-35).

"And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment" (1 Jn. 3:23).

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 Jn. 5:13).