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Monthly Archives : March 2017

Jesus In Judges … The Perfect Ruler… March 26, 2017

     The historical account of Judges makes clear that people need a leader sent and ordained by God. When a ruler / judge was sent by God to deliver His people out of the bondage of sinful practices, the people would live for God as long as the ruler / judge lived. However, when that ruler died, they would revert back to ungodly living and follow false gods, placing themselves once again in bondage. Because we, today, can see the pattern of people in the book of Judges, we can see the need for Jesus who is the eternal perfect ruler. People will always be influenced by the leader they serve. The question we must ask ourselves is “Who do I follow?” The Bible makes clear that no one can serve two masters. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24 EVS What dominates your life/thoughts can become the master/god of your life. Remember the first of the ten commandments. You shall have no others gods before me. Exodus 20:3 ESV Jesus was asked by a Pharisees, “Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law?” to which Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 ESV If you are loving God as the desire of your heart, soul, and mind, you will have no other gods before him, and Jesus will be the ruler of your life. So how do we make Jesus the judge / ruler in our life so that we will follow?
 
First, We Know That Jesus Is Eternal:
     Unlike the judges / rulers in the book of Judges that died, Jesus will never die, so we can follow with confidence. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Romans 6:9 ESV Most of the disciples fled in fear the night of his crucifixion, but after His resurrection they followed him to their death. They could die in their devotion to Jesus, for they knew that they served a risen Savior.
 
Second We Follow His Teachings:
     Every Christian will follow the teaching of Jesus. He walked with his disciples and taught them how they should live in this world. We, as Christians, have something the disciples did not have before His death, burial, and resurrection, and that is the indwelling Holy Spirit. This makes every Christian the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, speaking to His disciples, told them of the coming Holy Spirit that would come and live in them. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all I have said to you. John 14:26 ESV ….. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
 
Live, Walk, And Work In Grace:
     Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 ESV ….. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared  beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 8-10 ESV In other words, live on purpose for God, giving him the glory for all the He has done for you and in you.
     In Judges the people fell away when the leaders died, but we serve a living ruler and a judge who is eternal. Let me leave you with the words and challenge of 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV… I charge you in the presence of God and Jesus Christ, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. Live as Jesus taught…Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind. Matthew 22:37
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Joshua … Our Perfect Leader … John 10: 3-4 … March 19, 2017

     To him the gate keeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10: 3-4 ESV
 
     Joshua was leading God’s chosen people out of the wilderness and into the promised land. God opened the Jordan River for them to cross into the land that he had promised. It was a rich land flowing with milk and honey; in other words, it was a very rich land with all the provision one would ever need. The wilderness wanderings were finished, and now the people were going to take possession of the land. In possessing the land many battles were to be fought, but God had already orchestrated the outcome by fighting for his people. The people acted in obedience, and God gave them victory over enemies that were bigger and stronger. Jesus, as did Joshua, leads his sheep out of the bondage of the wilderness of sin and into a life of promise. Life that will have battles but also the promise of citizenship in heaven, and dwelling in the presence of God for eternity will be the ultimate gift. Christians, the victory was won on the cross, and we are called to follow wherever he leads us. In battles we face every day, the victory is sure because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us. He who is in you is greater the he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 ESV As we journey to all that God has promised, for those who believe in His Son Jesus and confess their sin unto repentance, let us follow as we hear his voice.
 
IT IS A PERSONAL CALL : He calls his own sheep by name. Becoming a sheep that has a name is the result of the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. It is not a universal call in that everyone in the world is saved because of the cross, but a personal call to repentance for the forgiveness of sin. The promise of Heaven is for all who go by the name Christian as a result of repenting and believing. Heaven is a place flowing with the presence of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All that we will ever need in Heaven is to be in His presence.
 
HE, JESUS, WILL LEAD US : He leads them out ….. he goes before them. Jesus will never lead you to a place that he has not already been. Joshua had never lived in the promise land, but Jesus came from the heaven promised, and returned there to prepare a place for us. When he left Heaven to become flesh, he also took on all the flesh experiences except sin. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so he was totally God, and born of a woman, being totally man. Flesh that had emotions, pain, and physical boundaries. He needed sleep, felt hungry, and every other experience that came with being flesh. We can be encouraged because he overcame the world in the flesh. (John 16:33) Tempted in every fashion as we are tempted, yet without sin.(Hebrews 4:15) He calls us, as he did those whom he did not condemn in the Bible, to go and sin no more. ( John 8: 10-11) The closer we follow Jesus the more repulsive sin will become to us, and he will never lead us in a way that will cause us to sin. Sin can only be attractive to those who have not experienced the saving grace of Christ. To those who are in Christ, you are in constant remembrance that your sin was the cause for which Jesus died in your place. The closer you follow to Jesus the more keenly aware you are of this fact and desire to sin no more.
 
HIS SHEEP WILL FOLLOW : The sheep follow him for they know his voice. In Bible times shepherds would bring their sheep together to graze in the fields. At the end of the day when it was time to depart, the shepherds would begin to call out and the sheep would follow the voice of their particular shepherd. So it is with every person… we follow a voice from within. Whoever or whatever controls our life will be the voice we follow. The Bible is clear that you cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24) There is only one voice that we should listen for and that is the voice of Jesus. If you are not listening, then your heart is in danger of becoming hardened, and we are warned by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in rebellion. Hebrews 3:7 ESV  Today, Jesus speaks to us from the Bible, giving us clear direction as to how we should live. I believe there are times the Holy Spirit speaks to us and impresses us to do or take action concerning a matter, but it will always be in agreement with biblical principles. Jesus calls us to follow Him in the Bible when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV We follow him not on a literal cross but by putting to death every day the sins of the flesh for which he died upon the cross. In doing so we become living sacrifices as described in chapter twelve verse one of Romans. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as LIVING SACRIFICES, HOLY AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, which is your spiritual worship.”
 
     In closing I pose the question, to what flock do you belong? Is your shepherd’s voice the one who died upon the cross for your sin, or is he the shepherd which will ultimately destroy you? We all will serve one or the other. We consciously serve Jesus or in some cases consciously or unconsciously serve the way of the Satan. The reason I say this is because at the end of life there will be a judgement and everyone will reap what they have sown. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8 ESV So let me ask again, “What shepherd voice are you following?”
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Deuteronomy … Our Hope … 1 Peter 1:3-4 … March 12, 2017

     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4 ESV
 
     Moses, in the book of Deuteronomy, reminds the people of everything they experienced in the wilderness and reiterates all that is required in the law as instructed by God. As I read the book, it was overwhelming trying to remember the details of the law, and then thinking about living by the letter of the law in order to be holy and acceptable before God. The scriptures teach, without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) Living holy should be the desire of every Christian, and it is our calling to do so. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV  When the people to whom Moses was speaking didn’t keep the law, a sacrifice had to be offered before God as an act of atonement and repentance. This emphasizes the seriousness of sin, and, without exception, will always have a consequence. God will not have fellowship with sin, and this leaves a void in the life He would otherwise occupy. The requirement for the consequence of sin… sacrifice…. has not changed, but God Himself sent his only Son, Jesus, to meet the requirement of sacrifice for us. Jesus is our HOPE of assurance that we can be made right before God. God, in his mercy, fulfilled once and for all the requirement of the law concerning sin. Jesus, the perfect lamb of God without blemish or the flaw of sin, became the ultimate sacrifice for sin to anyone who would call upon His name. Let us look to 1 Peter 1: 3-4 as to the hope we have in Jesus, knowing how we should live, how it was made possible, and what we should expect as Christians.

LIVE BEING A BLESSING TO GOD.
Bless the Lord,O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Psalms 103:1 ESV  This should be the desire for everyone who has received the benefit of his sacrifice for their sins. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 ESV God has done more than mere words could express, by fulfilling the requirement of the law for us. How could we not want to live strong under grace, bringing him glory? By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8 ESV We must always remember: life is not about us,but rather about He who saved us by His amazing grace.
 
MADE POSSIBLE BY MERCY & THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS FROM THE DEAD
     But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved- and raised up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV Jesus was in the grave only three days, and then was resurrected from the dead. He walked the earth forty days, and then ascended to the Father and is seated by the right hand of God. God did all this in mercy, that we might receive forgiveness of sin and be alive in Christ.
 
EXPECTING THE INHERITANCE OF HEAVEN
     Our inheritance is a life eternal in heaven with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As the people, Israel, in Deuteronomy were to take possession of the promise land so will Christians receive the promise of heaven. They would take possession as promised by God, and by his provisional hand making it possible. The lands had armies that were greater than the army of Israel, but not greater than God, who fought for them. So it is with the church today. By ourselves we are no match for Satan and his demons, but as stated in 1 John 4: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (ESV) We can expect heaven not because we made it on our own, but because of grace. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one man boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
 
     I thank God for His mercy and grace which make salvation and heaven possible. Let me close with the verse of a hymn I can so relate to. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” This make Jesus, and rightly so ….. my only hope.
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Numbers.. Our Provider … Philippians 4:19 … March 5, 2017

     And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV

     When we read the account of the people of Israel in the book of numbers, we can see not much has changed as to the nature of people. They were going to a land promised to them by God; but in their travels to this land, the majority of the people constantly found reason to question and complain to God. They questioned and complained about the food, yet God supplied. They thought they were going to die of thirst, yet God supplied. They questioned their ability to conquer the inhabitants of the land promised to them, yet God gave them the land ….to the next generation of those who believed. God provided and did all that he said he would because God, our provider, is faithful to his word. God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19 ESV When my children were young, I made the statement that one day we were going to go to a particular place for a vacation. My children would say, “Do you promise?” The reason they asked me to promise is that, as a dad, when I made a promise to my children I made sure I followed through with what I promised. They knew if I promised it, it would happen; but if I didn’t promise, it might just be something we talked about. I am just human and could fail, but God, in His promises, NEVER fails. Throughout Numbers, God always provided for his people, even when they did not deserve it. God continues to do that for us today as we travel to the promise land of heaven. So as we travel, let us never forget God’s provision……..
 
GOD WILL SUPPLY EVERY NEED. Be careful not to confuse “want” with “need”. While I do believe that many times God gives us even more than we need and blesses us beyond measure, we must be careful not to just consume, but also be outlets by which God meets the needs of others. But beyond the physical need, every person has a greater need, which is a spiritual need. The need of restoration and hope as we travel through life. The people in the book of Numbers needed to forget where they came from, and focus on where they were going. Many times they would refer to going back to Egypt, but the promised land would only be gained by moving forward, not going backward. They would want to go back when fear controlled their next step. Fear of hunger, thirst, or a problem bigger than which they could see a solution. By faith we must believe that God, in Christ Jesus, is our provider for every situation of life. We must focus on where we are going, and not from which we came. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider the I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 12-15 ESV
 
ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES. God, without exception, was faithful to provide every need for the people of Israel as they traveled in the wilderness. He will do the same for us today. Probably one of the most used passages of today is the 23rd Psalm….. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want……. Read the whole 23rd Psalm, which should form our attitude concerning living life everyday. God richly blesses us beyond measure everyday if we will but look to see him. He, who owns the cattle on a thousands hills, is leading us in every step we take, and providing all that we need.
 
IN CHRIST JESUS. As stated above, the greatest need we have is spiritual. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight. Ephesians 1: 7-8 ESV Going through life is not a journey unless you know Jesus as Savior and Lord in your life. A short trip- yes… a journey- no. A short trip because it ends in hell, which is no destination one would want to reach because they were unprepared to meet God. As entering the promise land was accomplished by those who believed, so it will be by those who enter heaven.
 
As God provided all the physical needs of the people going to the promise land, Jesus provides all the spiritual needs for us to enter heaven. Jesus said, I am the WAY, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV There are not many ways to heaven but only one-JESUS. He is the road map by which we must travel if we ever plan to arrive in the promise land of heaven. Every other map will lead to road blocks or dead ends.
 
Let me close today by giving you the beginning point of following the map of Jesus. It is as simple as
 
A. ADMIT to God that you are a sinner. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
 
B. BELIEVE Jesus Christ as God’s only Son. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16 ESV
 
C. CONFESS your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ESV
 
May I invite you today to join the journey of faith to heaven in Jesus, our provider.
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Leviticus.. The Lamb … John 1:29 … February 26, 2017

     The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV

     Leviticus speaks to all the different sacrifices and offerings made to God for restoring what was lost due to sin. God will not have fellowship with sin, yet provided clear instructions to restore this relationship and fellowship with Him. This shows God’s abundant mercy toward us even though He was disobeyed. In reading Leviticus, it is clear sin needs to be dealt with; which ultimately, God did once and for all by sending His only Son. Jesus, His son, became the perfect sacrifice that took away the consequences of all sin and provided a way of escape through his shed blood and forgiveness. Jesus spoke concerning himself when he said, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28 ESV Paul spoke to this truth concerning Jesus in Ephesians 1: 7-8a ESV, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.” It is important for one to believe this in order to experience this forgiveness. Where would a person start in believing this truth and receiving forgiveness, ultimately restoring a personal relationship with God? Most people feel they need to do some type of work in order to make it right with God. I suppose you do if you believe the words of Jesus Himself. Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29 ESV So lets get to work by recognizing Jesus.
 
RECOGNIZE HIM AS FLESH…. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him”….. When John described Jesus coming toward him, he saw a man. God made flesh! He didn’t see a spirit or some type of vision; he saw Jesus. This is extremely important because it meant he had life blood flowing through his veins. Blood that would be poured out to reconcile us to God. Necessary blood, for…. without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:22b ESV So we must believe that God was made flesh in Jesus. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV
 
RECOGNIZE HIM FOR WHO HE IS….. “Behold, the Lamb of God”…. There were several people that day by the Jordan River where John was preaching and baptizing, and perhaps they all knew each other. But then came Jesus, not just a man, but the ultimate sacrifice. John was not about to let it go unnoticed that the Savior of the world had just walked to the river. Neither should we. When we recognize who he is in our lives we should announce to the world, “THE LAMB OF GOD who took away my sin.” In this we recognize who Jesus is in our lives, but also who he is or can be in the lives of all who will believe.
 
RECOGNIZE HIS PURPOSE…. “Who takes away the sin of the world” …. Jesus knew his purpose, and he wasn’t going to waver. When in the garden the night before his crucifixion he said, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” John 12:27 ESV You and I were his purpose. I once heard a man say while talking about the resurrection say, “Whats the big deal; He’s God, of course he could rise from the dead.” Let me give you the big deal… YOU ARE. He did it for you and me. If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 ESV He died so that you might live.
 
     Jesus was a human sacrifice given for you and for me. The fact that he was totally God and totally man made him the perfect lamb of God to redeem us from every sin. He was sacrificed in death so that we might be living sacrifices. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 ESV This is the least we can do….. to live for him who died for us.
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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