Friday, December 30, 2011

The Fruitless Fig Tree


Mark 11:12-14; 20-21

It was early Monday morning of our Lord’s Passion Week.

As the Lord Jesus and His men traveled from Bethany back into Jerusalem, He was hungry.

As He walked, He saw a fig tree in a distance.

Since the fruit grows as the tree produces its leaves, it was reasonable for the Lord Jesus to assume that there would be fruit when He came to it.

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As the Lord Jesus searched the tree, He found it was all leaves. There was no fruit to be found.

The leaves promised fruit, but there was none.

So was Israel. They had all the signs of spiritual life, but they had no fruit. They were religious in every detail, but they had no spiritual fruit. They looked alive, but was spiritually barren.

So can we. We have been given every spiritual advantage. There is no excuse for us to be fruitless.

*******

The Lord Jesus pronounced a curse upon the fruitless tree. It was to be fruitless forever.

The Lord Jesus cursed the tree for its hypocrisy. The tree was making promises it could not deliver!

So was Israel! We know from the historical record that Israel was judged for their rejection of the Lord Jesus. They paid a high price for their hypocrisy.

So can we if we have the appearance of life, but bear no fruit. The Lord will judge us too!

*******

The disciples heard the Lord Jesus when He cursed the fruitless fig tree.

The next day, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.

Usually, when a tree withers, it does so from the top down. The root system will be the last part of the tree to die. Not this tree! The Lord Jesus cursed it and it died from the roots up. It is a picture of total destruction!

So was Israel! They were destroyed from the root up.

So can we if we refuse to honor, obey and serve Him. He will chastise us.

*******

The disciples saw what happened and took it to heart.

*******

Judas Iscariot was like Israel.

He was all leaf and no fruit.

He preached, healed and cast out devils.

But there was no reality in what he did.

It was all hypocrisy! He did not know the Lord.

*******

The Lord is looking for fruit in the lives of His people.

The Lord is looking for fruit in His church.

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When He examines us, does He find what He seeks?

Or, is it all leaf and no fruit?


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The King Is Here


Mark 11:1-11

It was early Sunday morning, the week leading up to the Passover.

The Lord Jesus Christ chose this moment to let Israel know that their King had arrived.

He and His disciples were prepared to walk towards Jerusalem.

Many people would crowd there for the Passover celebration.

********

They approached Bethphage and Bethany, two little villages near the top of Mount Olives.

The Lord Jesus Christ sent two of His disciples to a village to get a colt.

He told them exactly where they would find it and what the people standing around would say to them. He even gave them some details about the animal.

His disciples found that everything was just as He said it would be.

The Lord Jesus Christ was a local celebrity. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead.

When the people heard that it was He who wanted the colt, they immediately sent it to Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ promised to return it shortly.

********

The disciples returned and put their outer garments over the colt in place of a saddle.

The Lord Jesus Christ climbed on the colt’s back and started down the mountain.

The King of Israel was ready to present Himself to the nation of Israel.

********

The Lord Jesus Christ was fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Zech. 9:9 as a lowly Messiah.

Here was a humble Man on the back of a humble beast, making a humble declaration of His identity.

Here was a humble Man surrounded by throngs of common people waving palm branches.

********

The Lord Jesus Christ is the lofty One.

As the crowd descended the slopes of the Mount of Olives, they were praising Him.

Here were the people the Lord Jesus Christ had healed, delivered, and ministered to.

They were practicing “antiphonal” singing. The people in front would say a part and the people in back would answer them. It was a cry for the Messiah to deliver His people.

The people were shouting, dancing and singing. They were praising God for His deliverance. They were excited and they were vocal in their excitement.

********

The Lord Jesus Christ went through the procession.

He went to visit the Temple.

He took the time to look at everything. He saw the beauty of the buildings. He saw the priests carrying out their rituals. He saw the people bringing their sacrifices to the priests. He saw it all.

********

The Lord Jesus came to the nation of Israel as prophesied.

But many were not ready for His coming.

The nation of Israel as a whole rejected Him as King of the Jews. They eventually crucified Him.

But a remnant received Him.

********

The Lord Jesus Christ is here.

We must acknowledge His presence and glorify Him.

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Are we ready?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blind Bartimaeus


Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus was blind from birth.

He was a beggar.

He depended on the generosity of others in order to survive.

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Like Bartimaeus, the lost person is spiritually blind.

He is blind to his condition, to his sin and to his impending eternal doom.

He is also a spiritual beggar.

He has to beg for the Lord Jesus to save him.

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Bartimaeus knew who the Lord Jesus Christ was.

He knew what the Lord Jesus Christ could do.

He knew it was the day of his greatest opportunity.

So he began to cry out for the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on him.

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We need to know that now is the greatest opportunity we have to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved by His grace.

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Bartimaeus repeated his cry.

He simply cried louder when other people stopped him.

He was determined to be healed!

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Let us get serious about coming to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us stop at nothing to come to Him.

*******

Bartimaeus received a response.

The Lord Jesus Christ called for him to come to Him.

His faith was honored.

The Lord Jesus Christ wanted to talk with him.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ is not too busy to hear our cries.

If we will cry out to Him, He will save our souls today!

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When the Lord Jesus Christ called, Bartimaeus cast away his outer coat and jumped up to go to Him.

This coat was very valuable to him.

But he wanted to come to the Lord Jesus Christ fast.

*******

There are personal costs to pay in order to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes the price can be very high.

But what are all these costs compared to the worth of our souls?

*******

When Bartimaeus came to the Lord Jesus Christ, he was asked an important question and he responded in pure faith.

He trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to heal him and he received his sight.

Bartimaeus got far more than physical healing that day.

He also got spiritual healing as well.

*******

This is what happens when the lost person responds to the Gospel of grace.

Immediately the power of God saves him instantly, completely and eternally!

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After Bartimaeus was healed, the Lord Jesus Christ told him to go his way.

But Bartimaeus chose to follow Him.

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When salvation comes, the saved person will want to walk with the Lord in holiness.

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Many of us are spiritual blind.

We need to come to the Lord Jesus Christ right now to be healed.

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Some of us Christians are spiritual blind too.

There are many things in our lives that we need to get right with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Let us come to the Lord Jesus Christ now.

He will receive us, forgive us and restore us if we will only come to Him humbly.

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The Lord Jesus Christ is here!

Please do not let this opportunity pass.

Come to Him now and be made whole.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Way Up Is The Way Down


Mark 10:35-45

James and John approached the Lord Jesus asking that they be allowed to sit with Him in the highest positions of His coming kingdom.

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They wanted preeminence.

They wanted the glory and honor that came from being elevated to a throne.

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They wanted proximity.

They wanted to be close to the Lord Jesus in the Kingdom.

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They wanted power.

They wanted positions of great authority in the coming kingdom.

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The Lord Jesus responded by telling them that they had no idea what they were asking for.

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He confronted them by asking them if they were willing and able to experience all that He was about to endure.

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They told Him that they could.

But they did not understand what would await the Lord Jesus.

Their response revealed a complete lack of understanding concerning what the Lord Jesus was about to suffer and of the load He was sent to carry.

The Lord Jesus was on His way to Calvary where He would bear the sins of His people on a Roman cross.

The Lord Jesus was about to experience the undiluted wrath of the Almighty God against sin and sinners.

The Lord Jesus was about to die at the hands of the Heavenly Father.

*******

The Lord Jesus told them that they would suffer and die for their faith.

But they could never endure what He was about to suffer.

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The Lord Jesus told them that positions in the kingdom would not be given out based on selfish ambition.

It would be given according to the will of sovereign God.

*******

When the rest of the disciples heard about what John and James were up to, they became angry.

*******

The Lord Jesus didn’t allow their anger to simmer.

He addressed the issue at hand and called their attention to the Gentile world around them.

He told them that “high seat seeking” is the way of the world.

Those who ruled in this world rose to the top by grabbing power and oppressing their opponents.

*******

But for Christian believers, the path to the top is through the bottom.

If they want to reach the top, they must start out at the bottom.

If they want to be a leader, they must first learn how to serve.

If they want to be recognized and respected, they must give up all ambition and selfishness.

They must live out their days serving others.

*******

The Lord Jesus gave them an example of Himself.

He is the Son of God.

He is God in the flesh.

Yet He did not come to be served.

He came to serve.

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If our God is willing to serve sinful humanity, we should be willing to serve as well.

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The Lord Jesus went willingly to take the place of a slave.

He washed His disciple’s feet.

He washed the feet of Peter who would deny Him 3 times before dawn.

He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot who would betray Him into the hands of His enemies that very night!

*******

The Lord Jesus freely served those who would break His heart.

When the next day dawned, the Lord Jesus performed the greatest service of all when He went to Calvary to die on the cross for sinners who hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.

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The cost of service for the Lord Jesus was extremely high.

It cost Him His very life.

*******

The Lord Jesus willingly went to His death to save those who cared nothing for Him.

He suffered the shame, the pain, the humiliation, and the agony of the cross to serve lost sinners.

He experienced the undiluted wrath of the Almighty God to serve us.

He took the place of a common criminal and was judged as rebel so that sinners could be saved.

He willingly entered into death so that others might enter into life.

*******

For Christian believers, the way up is always down.

How about us?

Are we actively seeking ways to serve others?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Tragic Man


Mark 10:17-22

He was a rich man.

And he lived a clean and moral life.

But he was unhappy.

He wanted peace with God.

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He came quickly to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He fell down on his knees and cried.

He was not ready to die.

He needed eternal life.

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He came to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He came to the right Person.

Only the Lord Jesus Christ could save him.

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He came to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He came in the right way.

He came running.

It was very urgent.

He came kneeling.

The Lord Jesus is worthy.

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He came to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He came with the right purpose.

He wanted to know the way to Heaven.

It was the most important thing in his life.

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He came to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He came at the right time.

He came when the Lord Jesus Christ was passing by.


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But....

There were several things that he got terribly wrong.

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He thought salvation can be earned.

He wanted to earned salvation.

He wanted to earn eternal life for himself.

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He thought salvation is a reward.

He thought if he did enough good things, God would reward it to him.

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This man was a tragic man.

He needed help!

*******

The Lord Jesus confronted him regarding the Person of the Savior.

He told him that Jesus Christ isn’t just a good teacher.

He is God in the flesh.

Before he could be saved, he must recognize Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)!

He is his only hope for salvation!

*******

The Lord Jesus confronted him regarding the problem of sin.

He told him, “No one is good—except God alone.”

He was trying to get him to see that he was a sinner.

And as a sinner he stood guilty before God.

*******

The Lord Jesus wanted him to see that he was morally and spiritually bankrupt.

*******

But the man was unable to understand what the Lord Jesus said.

When he responded to the Lord Jesus Christ, he declared that he had kept the Law and had not broken it.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ loved this man regardless of his sins, and his improper understanding of the things of God.

*******

Patiently, He told him how to be saved.

He told him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor.

He wanted him to give up everything.

He wanted him to take up the cross.

He wanted him to follow Him!

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ wanted him to turn his back on power, prestige, position, and possessions, and then carry his cross and follow Him.

*******

But this man chose his possessions over the Lord Jesus Christ!

He loved his money more than he wanted to be saved.

*******

His face fell.

He went away sad.

He was a tragic man.

*******

The Lord Jesus summed up his dilemma with these words, “One thing you lack.”

This man had everything.

But he lacked the Lord Jesus Christ!

And he was not willing to give up everything for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And he went away sad.

*******

Here was a tragic man.

Does it describe you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Warnings From The Master


Mark 9:42-50

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to protect the least among us from sin.

It is a very serious matter to cause one of God’s children to fall into sin.

It would be better off having a millstone ties around our neck and being cast into the sea.

When we harm one of God’s children, we are actually harming the Lord Himself.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ said that if our hand, our foot or our eye causes us to sin, we are to take drastic action and amputate that body part, so that we will not give in to its desires.

The Lord Jesus Christ was using exaggeration to emphasize the horrible nature of sin.

He is not commanding us to mutilate our bodies.

*******

When temptation to sin comes into our lives, we must deal with it immediately, harshly, ruthlessly, consistently and decisively!

When a relationship is leading us into temptation and sin, we need to sever that relationship!

When some activity is leading us into temptation and sin, we need to cut that out of our lives immediately.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ warned His disciples that nothing in this world is so valuable that it is worth going to Hell.

Hell is a horrible place.

The Lord Jesus Christ quoted Isaiah 66:24.

People in Hell will suffer in 2 terrible ways.

First, “the worms that eat them do not die.”

There will be internal torments in Hell.

Second, “and the fire is not quenched.”

There will be physical agonies too.

*******

The torments of Hell are real and horrible.

They are unceasing and unimaginable.

Hell is real!

If we do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will spend eternity there.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ warned His disciples that serving Him requires sacrifice and purity.

They can expect to be cleansed through fire.

They may have to go through persecution and trials to make them more like the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ then said, “Salt is good.”

But when salt loses its saltiness, it is good for nothing.

It is to be thrown away.

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The Lord Jesus Christ then reminded us to have salt among ourselves.

We must not cause others to stumble and fall into sin.

And we must avoid sin at all costs in our own lives.

We must embrace a sacrificial life and the persecution that comes with it.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ closed by saying “and be at peace with each other.”

We should not argue about who is the greatest.

We should not simply rebuke others.

Instead, we are to examine our own hearts.

We are to judge our own faults!

We are to live lives of commitment and character day by day.

We are to prove that we are God’s people by loving one another and by being at peace with each another!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Mission Of The Messiah


Mark 8:31-33

The Messiah’s Mission Revealed (31)

The Jews looked for God to send a Deliverer.

They anticipated a great military leader who would defeat Israel’s enemies, restore righteousness to the land, and purify and restore Temple worship to its ancient glory.

When the Lord Jesus came preaching, teaching, healing and calling men to repentance, He was not what they were expecting their Messiah to be.

Thus, they rejected Him.

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The disciples recognized the Lord Jesus as the Messiah.

They believed that He was the Christ, the fulfillment of the prophecies and the promises.

But they expected Him to attack the Romans and deliver the nation of Israel from bondage.

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The Lord Jesus revealed His mission to His disciples.

The Lord Jesus called Himself “the Son of Man”.

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He did not come to this world to live as King.

He came to die as a slave.

He came to suffer many things.

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The Lord Jesus told His disciples that He would be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law.

He was referring to the Sanhedrin.

This was a council made up of 70 Jewish leaders, which functioned as the Supreme Court in Israel.

It passed judgment on all matters related to religion and everyday life in Israel.

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The Lord Jesus told them that He would be killed!

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The Lord Jesus told them that He would rise again after 3 days.

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The Messiah’s Message Rebuked (32)

When the disciples heard what the Lord Jesus said, they were dumbfounded!

The concept that the Messiah, the Christ would actually die was more than they could comprehend!

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Peter took the Lord Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him.

He just couldn’t see a cross in the Lord’s future!

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The Messiah’s Men Reprimanded (33)

The Lord Jesus responded to Peter’s rebuke very harshly.

He turned His back to him and looked at the rest of the disciples.

Then He rebuked Peter.

He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

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The Lord Jesus heard in Peter’s words the voice of Satan.

Satan was using Peter to attack the Lord Jesus.

Peter was speaking the words of Satan.

Peter was being used by the devil.

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The Lord Jesus commanded Satan to leave.

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The disciples were looking for power, glory and position.

But those things only come after the Lord Jesus had suffered for sin on the cross.

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God’s plan involved the death of the Messiah.

Anyone who opposed that plan was doing the work of Satan!

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What is our reaction to the gospel of the Lord Jesus?

When we hear about His suffering, His death and His resurrection, do we rejoice that He would do that for us?

Do we embrace His death and the payment for our sin debt?

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“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.”

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Let us rejoice and embrace the suffering, the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Savior Cares


Mark 8:1-9

The Multitudes And Their Need

These people had been with the Lord Jesus Christ for 3 days.

The Lord Jesus Christ had been preaching to them.

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Now that the teaching had ended, the Lord Jesus Christ was ready to dismiss them.

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The Lord Jesus Christ knew that these people had used up all their food and had nothing to eat on their journey home.

Some of them had traveled a long distance to hear Him.

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The Master And His Compassion

The Lord Jesus Christ saw the crowds and He knew their need.

They were tired and hungry.

They couldn’t possibly make the trip home without some food.

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The Lord Jesus Christ had compassion on them.

His heart went out to them.

He was moved by their need.

He decided to do something about it.

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The Miracle And Its Lessons

The Lord Jesus Christ declared His desire to feed them.

But He was immediately met with doubt.

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His disciples had already seen Him feed 5000 men besides women and children.

But they still doubted His ability to do the impossible.

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The Lord Jesus Christ asks them “How many loaves do you have?”

The disciples were called to give up the little amount of food they had.

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The Lord Jesus Christ took the small amount of food that was available, and thanked God for it.

He then broke it and gave it to His disciples to give to the crowd.

The loaves and the fishes multiplied as He broke them.

The miracle took place in the hand of the Lord.

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When the meal was finished and all were filled, the disciples collected the leftovers.

They collected 7 baskets full!

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This miracle reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the universal Savior.

When He fed the 5000 people, the crowd was made up of Jews.

When this miracle was performed, He fed mostly Gentiles.

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This miracle reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ is more than sufficient to meet our needs.

He has everything we need for our journey home.

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This miracle teaches us that great things can happen if we can just get the need into His hands!

A small amount of bread and fish became sufficient for a multitude because they got it into His hands.

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Do we have a need?

Let us get into His hands today!

Whatever our need may be, let us get it into His hands now!



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ultimate Source Of Peace In The Lord Jesus


Mark 6:45-51

He Addressed Their Fear

Storms Are Under His Control

The disciples were terrified.

They were struggling.

They were afraid that they were going to die.

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The Lord Jesus demonstrated His control over the situation by walking on the water and later by calming the storm.

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Storms Are Part Of His Plan For Our Lives

The disciples were in the boat in the middle of the storm simply because they were in the will of God.

They were in the storm because the Lord Jesus sent them there!

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Storms are to be expected, but not feared.

They have been sent to us to help us grow more into the image of the Lord Jesus.

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Storms Are Always Of Limited Duration

The disciples thought that they were finished.

It appeared to them that they would perish in its fury.

When the Lord Jesus came on the scene, He put an end to the storm.

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He Addressed Their Faith

When Jesus came to the disciples walking upon the water, they thought He was a spirit and cried out in fear.

However, when He spoke to them, He addressed their fears.

Then, He gave them ample reason to believe that help had arrived.

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When the Lord Jesus got there, He quickly identified Himself to the disciples.

He said, "It is I."

It meant:
  • He is all powerful.
    He is the Almighty God! He has the power to help!
  • He is all present.
    He is with His children at all times, in all places, through all the difficulties of their lives.
  • He is all perceiving.
    He knows all things. He knows exactly what we are facing as we journey through life. And He is able to help us in our time of need.

*******

He Addressed Their Future

When the Lord Jesus came to the disciples that night, they were certain that their lives were over.

They were preparing to die.

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Yet, when the Lord Jesus came, He let them know that He had a plan for their future.

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It was He who had told them to get on the ship and go to the other side.

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He knew where they were.

He was responsible for where they were.

And He had a plan for them when they reached the other side!

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When the storms of life are raging, always remember that the Lord Jesus is there for us.

He longs to comfort our heart and replace our fears with His perfect peace.

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To do this, we must first be willing to cast our cares onto Him and to come to Him by faith.

As our life unfolds, do not make the Lord Jesus our last resort, rather make Him our first resort.

Turn to Him quickly and fully and He will bless us abundantly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Second Chance


Mark 6:1-6

The Lord Jesus returned to His hometown, Nazareth.

The last time He was there, things didn’t go well for Him.

He went to the synagogue and preached from Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:16-20).

In that service, He proclaimed Himself to be the Jewish Messiah.

But the people rejected His message and tried to kill Him.

He left Nazareth and preached in other places in Galilee.

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Now, a year later, He returned.

He wanted to give His family, His friends and His neighbors another chance to receive Him and His message.

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The People Were Shocked By His Preaching (2)

When He began to speak, the people who heard Him were amazed.

They were filled with fear.

They immediately spoke among themselves about:

His Words

The Lord Jesus preached with grace and charm.

His words were filled with divine authority.

He knew what He was talking about.

His words must either be accepted or rejected.

His Wisdom

When the Lord Jesus spoke, His words were filled with truth.

He taught spiritual truth by using the common everyday things around them.

The Lord’s wisdom left the people shaking their heads in disbelief.

His Works

The people had heard about the miracles He had performed elsewhere.

They could not believe it.

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The People Stumbled Over His Person (3)

The people of Nazareth rejected His message because they thought they knew everything about Him.

They saw Him as a common man!

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They knew His occupation.

They call Him a carpenter.

They saw Him as a common craftsman.

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They were offended in Him.

They refused to listen to Him.

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They resorted to ridicule!

They called Him the son of Mary.

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They reacted to His words, His wisdom and His works with contempt and unvarnished ridicule.

They could not accept what they could not explain!

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The People Were Shunned By His Power (4-6)

The people rejected Him and His message.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

They looked at Him and saw Him as one of their own.

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Because of their unbelief, the Lord Jesus Christ was unable to perform many miracles there.

Only a few sick folks were healed.

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A few people came to Him in faith and those people received His help.

The rest rejected Him and were rejected by Him.

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When the Lord Jesus saw the depth of their rejection, He marveled at their unbelief.

He marveled at the lack of faith among His own people.

*******

These people had heard the truth, seen the truth and still turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to that truth.

As a result, the Lord Jesus Christ left Nazareth again.

There is no record that He ever returned there again.

Their rejection of the Lord Jesus was total.

The Lord Jesus Christ abandoned them to their choice!

*******

Many have become a lot like the people of Nazareth.

They are so familiar with the things of God, the message of the Bible, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, the burial and the resurrection that they are no longer moved by them.

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They have allowed their hearts to grow cold and calloused toward the things of God.

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Today would be a good day to get before the Lord and ask Him to warm our cold heart one more time.


Monday, October 31, 2011

A Tearful Moment


Mark 5:21-43

A Pitiful Dialogue (21-23)

The Accomplishments Of Jairus

Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue.

He was a man of prominence, position, prestige, privilege, prosperity and power.

But none of these mattered anymore.

Death had come to his house.

His little daughter was dying!

The Attitude Of Jairus

God opened his eyes and let him see that the Lord Jesus Christ was his only hope.

********

He heard that the Lord Jesus Christ was passing through the town.

He came reverently, prayerfully and passionately, and fell humbly at His feet.

The Acknowledgment Of Jairus

He acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ’s saving power.

He begged Him earnestly to heal his daughter.

*******

A Painful Delay (24-35)

The Interest Of The Savior

The Lord Jesus Christ had compassion on Jairus.

He went with him to his house.

The Intrusion Of Sickness

They were stopped by the woman with the issue of blood.

*******

This delay must have gripped the heart of Jairus.

But he waited patiently until the Lord Jesus Christ was free and could continue on with him.

The Invasion Of Sorrow

A servant of Jairus came with the tragic word: “Your daughter is dead!”

Jairus’ world must have fallen apart.

*******

A Powerful Deliverance (36-43)

The Exclamation Of Faith

The Lord Jesus Christ said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

What a word of faith!

The Lord Jesus Christ was saying to him not to worry about the problems ahead; just trust Him.

The Exclusions Of Faith

The Lord Jesus Christ put out everyone who did not believe Him.

They were excluded from seeing Him move and work in power.

The Exhibition Of Faith

The Lord Jesus Christ entered the room where the dead girl was lying.

He took her by the hand and told her to rise.

And she did!

Immediately the girl arose and walked.

Then she was given some food.

*******

Only the Lord Jesus Christ can fulfill our needs.

We must do what Jairus did.

We must go to the Lord Jesus Christ, fall at His feet and tell Him what we need.

The Lord Jesus Christ is a Sovereign Lord!

He can take an impossible situation and turn it into a miracle of His power and glory.

Do you have a need?

Get it to Him now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Night Upon The Sea


Mark 4:35-41

A Night Of Great Dangers (37)

The Suddenness Of The Storm

The Sea of Galilee is susceptible to sudden storms.

The Severity Of The Storm

It was a violent storm.

It was night time.

They were in terrible danger.

They feared for their lives.

The Source Of The Storm

It might have been a natural phenomenon.

God might have sent it to teach them a lesson.

It might have been satanic in origin.

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A Night Of Great Doubts (35, 38)

The storm whipped up a storm of doubt within the disciples about the Lord Jesus Christ.

They Doubted His Concern For Them

They accused Him of not caring about them.

They Doubted His Commitment To Them

They were afraid the Lord Jesus Christ might let them all die.

They Doubted His Comment To Them

They doubted they would reach the other side of the lake.

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A Night Of Great Discoveries (39-41)

They woke the Lord Jesus Christ from sleep.

The Lord Jesus Christ began to work.

As He did, they made precious discoveries about the Lord Jesus Christ

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They Learned About His Power

They learned that the Lord Jesus Christ was able to control the storm.

They Learned About His Promise

They passed over to the other side of the lake.

They learned that He was as good as His Word!

They Learned About His Presence

They learned that when the Lord Jesus Christ was with them, they had an advantage.

They Learned About His Purpose

They learned that the Lord Jesus Christ has sent them into this storm to teach them to trust Him.

They Learned About His Peace

They learned that with Him, they could sleep during the storm.

They Learned About His Person

They learned that the Lord Jesus Christ rules over the storm.

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The Lord Jesus Christ can still our storms.

If it is a storm of suffering, He can ease our pain.

If it is a storm of sorrow, He can comfort our soul.

If it is a storm of sin, He can deliver us and set us free.

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Do we hear the Lord Jesus Christ say “Peace, be still!” to our storm?

Let us stay calm and watch Him work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You Can’t Hide From The Light


Mark 4:21-25

Light Has Its Purposes (21)

The Lord Jesus Christ used the image of a candle to teach a profound spiritual truth.

Houses in those days had notches cut into the wall so that a lamp could be placed there.

When a lamp was lit, it was placed in a high location so that everyone in the house could receive light.

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This parable illustrated the purpose of spiritual light.

When the Lord Jesus Christ shared the Word of God, His light was given to people trapped in spiritual darkness.

His light revealed the Heavenly Father to fallen men.

His light increased in its intensity until it shone with the glory of Heaven as He gave His life for sinners on the cross.

Then it burst forth in radiant beams when He rose from the dead.

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When the Lord Jesus Christ saved us from our sins, He placed His light within us.

He does not want us to hide the light away.

He wants us to allow His light to shine through our lives so that others might see the way to God.

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Light Has Its Powers (22)

Light holds the power to make hidden things plain.

Light not only reveals the hidden things of God to man, it also reveals the hidden things within man!

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The Gospel is a message that reveals the darkness of the human heart.

The first step in coming to the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved is to have our sins exposed to the light.

When we get honest about our sins, we can experience God’s forgiveness.

But if we try to hide our sins away, they will destroy us from within.

And we will be punished on the Judgment Day.

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Light Has Its Privileges (24)

We Must Listen To The Right Voice

The right voice will always speak words that line up with the Bible and point us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we hear that voice, we must make sure that we heed what it tells us to do.

We Must Pass On The Truths To Others

We are to share our faith and the things God has shown us with others.

We are to proclaim the Gospel to the world!

We Must Anticipate More Truths

As we give away the truths the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us, He will give us more truths.

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Light Has Its Promises (25)

The Lord Jesus Christ will continue to reveal more truths to those who pass them on to others.

They will grow in the things of God in ways they could never have imagined.

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But those who reject the truth will see their ability to recognize truth diminished.

They will eventually lose their grasp of the truth they once had.

Their will then be condemned to Hell.

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The little candle holds tremendous power.

It has the ability to dispel darkness.

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The little candle gives its light at great cost to itself.

As the candle gives away its precious light, its very life is consumed.

This is a perfect illustration of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us.

He paid a high price to bring His light to the lost.

He died on the cross so that we might have life and light.

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When He saved us, He kindled that light within our hearts.

We must let our lights shine so that a world lost in darkness may see the way to come to God.

It may cost us everything to give the light to others.

But we must be willing to pay the price.

We must never be guilty of hoarding the light, hiding the light or hindering the light.

We must let our light shine for the glory of God!

*******

We can’t hide from the light!

The truth of God’s Word will confront us some day.

It may have already done so today.

It may be that the Lord has spoken to our heart, revealed our sins, and pointed out the truth of the Gospel.

If so, we need to come to Him and be saved!

Please do not reject the truth!

Please do not go on toward Hell.

Please come to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved today.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Is Your Heart?


Mark 3:1-12

The Lord Jesus Christ was in the synagogue on a Sabbath.

The Pharisees followed Him.

They were looking for way to trap Him, discredit Him and destroy His ministry.

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The Hard Heart Of The Pharisees

Their Plan (1-2)

There was a man there who had a withered hand.

He came to seek healing from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Pharisees were watching to see what the Lord Jesus Christ would do.

Their Problem (5)

The Lord Jesus Christ knew what they were doing.

He called for the injured man.

Then He asked the Pharisees whether it was lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill.

They answered Him not.

The Lord Jesus Christ was grieved by the hardness of their hearts.

Their Plot (6)

When the Lord Jesus Christ healed the man, they were outraged.

They considered this healing to be work.

They left that meeting and immediately sought the Herodians to plot together against Him.

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The Holy Heart Of The Savior

His Command (3)

The Lord Jesus Christ knew that the Pharisees were trying to trap Him.

But the man with the withered hand needed healing.

He told the man to step forward.

He wanted everyone present to see the power of God at work.

His Confrontation (4)

The Lord Jesus Christ confronted the Pharisees by asking them two questions:

Is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath?

It is lawful to save a life or to take a life?

The Lord Jesus Christ was trying to awake sympathy in the hearts of the Pharisees.

But His efforts failed!

His Consternation (5)

When they refused to answer His questions, the Lord Jesus Christ became angry.

He was angry because their hearts were hard.

They had continually refused to acknowledge the power and presence of God and He was offended.

He was angry because they had more concern for their man made rules than they did for a man who needs help.

His Compassion (5)

In spite of their attempt to trap Him, the Lord Jesus Christ told the man to stretch out his hand.

When he did, it was healed!

In spite of His anger at their hypocrisy, the Lord Jesus Christ still had compassion on the man with the withered hand.

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The Hopeful Heart Of The Needy

What They Saw In Jesus (10)

When the common people looked at the Lord Jesus Christ, they saw a Healer, a Savior and the Messiah.

What They Sought From Jesus (10)

They wanted to experience His healing power.

What They Said About Jesus (8, 11)

They spread the word about Him.

Everywhere, across the nation of Israel, the people were talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even the evil spirits were talking about Jesus.

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Whatever the Lord God is calling us to do, we must do.

Hardening our heart against the call of God is a serious matter.

We will reach a place where we no longer can hear Him calling.

We will reach a place where He will abandon us to our decision.

We will reach a place where the Lord will allow us to go our own way.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When Jesus Is In The House


Mark 2:1-12

The Lord Jesus Christ and His men returned to Capernaum after some days.

They probably entered the home of Peter.

Word soon got out that He was back in Capernaum.

Many people flocked to the house.

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Jesus And His Preaching (1-2)

The people wanted to see the Lord Jesus Christ work some more miracles.

They were surprised and disappointed when the Lord Jesus Christ began to preach to them.

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Preaching was central to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Through preaching, He reached into the hearts of the lost with the Gospel of grace.

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Jesus And His Power (3-5)

Right in the middle of the preaching service, something spectacular happened.

4 men brought their paralyzed friend to the Lord Jesus Christ.

They believed that if they could get this man to Jesus, then Jesus could heal his body.

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When they arrived at the house, the crowd was so large that they couldn’t get into the house through the door.

These 4 men then carried their friend up the staircase onto the roof of the house.

Once there, they began to dig through the roof until they had made an opening large enough to lower their friend into the house.

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These men were willing to do whatever it took to bring that man to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The paralyzed man was lowered into the service.

The Lord Jesus Christ witnessed the extent and depth of their faith in Him and His ability.

Then He did something amazing!

He says, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

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Jesus And His Proof (6-12a)

The Criticism

Sitting there in the house that day were some scribes.

They were sent to check up on the Lord Jesus Christ.

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When they heard the Lord Jesus Christ forgive the crippled man’s sins, they could not believe their ears!

They knew that only God could forgive sins.

They understood the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as a claim to be God!

When they heard this, they immediately accused Him of blasphemy.

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The Confrontation

The Lord Jesus Christ, being God, knew what they were thinking in their hearts.

He immediately offered them a challenge.

He said, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?

The Lord Jesus Christ was setting up a test to prove that He is the Messiah.

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The Confirmation

The Lord Jesus Christ used the physical to prove the spiritual.

He commanded the man to “arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

The Lord Jesus Christ was proving that He is Who He claims to be.

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By healing this man, the Lord Jesus Christ proved that He is worthy of faith!

He was proving that He is the Messiah.

He was proving that He is God in the flesh.

He was saying that He has the power on earth to forgive sins, and that it would be too late for our sins to be forgiven when this life is over!

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The Lord Jesus Christ healed the man.

The paralyzed man got up, picked up his mat, and elbowed his way through the crowd and left!

He simply got up and walked away!

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His heart was healed first.

Then his flesh followed.

That is the way things go!

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When the Lord forgives a person’s sins, that person becomes a new creature.

The insides are changed and the walk is rearranged!

What the Lord does in the heart always shows up on the outside.

Genuine faith is something that can be seen by others.

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What about us?

Are we like the crowd, still waiting for more miracles?

The Lord Jesus Christ is in the house today.

Let us receive Him and be saved today.

Let us also bring our friends in need to Him too!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Preaching Of The Amazing Servant


Mark 1:21-22

Between verses 20 and 21, Mark passed over a span of time without comment.

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During those several weeks, the Lord Jesus Christ carried out His ministry in Nazareth.

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He preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

He called the rest of the 12 disciples.

He suffered rejection at the hands of the people of Nazareth who even tried to kill Him (Luke 4:16-30).

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As a result, He and His men left Nazareth and moved their ministry to Capernaum.

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As the Lord Jesus Christ taught and ministered in Capernaum, the people there were caught up by, and carried away with, His message.

They were astonished by the things they heard and saw.

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Let us see why they were astonished and amazed by the word and works of the Lord Jesus.

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The Context Of His Preaching

The Lord Jesus Christ and His men went to the synagogue on a Sabbath Day.

The Lord Jesus Christ came preaching the Word of God.

And when these people heard Him preach, they were amazed!

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The Character Of His Preaching

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke as One having authority.

He knew what He was talking about.

He spoke with power and understanding.

When He preached, He used the Word of God as a sharp sword.

When He spoke, hearts were pierced, souls were saved and lives were eternally altered.

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The Content Of His Preaching

The people were astonished at His teaching.

It was something they had never heard before.

It left them speechless and amazed!

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When the people heard the Lord Jesus Christ, they were dumbfounded.

The Lord Jesus Christ knew what He was talking about.

He preached a message of life, liberty and hope.

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The Lord Jesus Christ was an amazing preacher.

And He preached an amazing message.

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He preached a message of hope.

Sin may have beaten and battered our lives.

But the Lord Jesus Christ can set us free!

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The message of the Lord Jesus Christ is an amazing, life-changing message.

Let us heed His message and come to Him today!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Baptism Of The Servant


Mark 1:9-11

The Lord Jesus Christ came when John the Baptist had completed his work.

He came at God’s appointed time for Him to be revealed.

Let us consider the events surrounding the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Appearing Of The Son (9)

The Lord Jesus Christ came to present Himself for baptism.

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He Appeared In Declaration

In His baptism, Jesus made a public declaration of some important facts.
  • He wanted to identify Himself with John the Baptist’s ministry.
  • He wanted to let John the Baptist know that He was the Messiah.
  • He wanted to signal the beginning of His public ministry.

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He Appeared In Dedication

In His baptism, the Lord Jesus Christ accepted the mission He had been given by His Father.

He was to redeem sinners.

He was to offer His life on the cross as a ransom for sin.

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He Appeared In Demonstration

In His baptism, the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself with the people He came to save.

His baptism pictured His Own death and resurrection.

He demonstrated His solemn resolve to lay down His life on the cross for our sins.

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The Anointing Of The Spirit (10)

When The Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, the heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.

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A Picture Of Sacrifice

Doves were associated with sacrifice.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to live a life of self-sacrifice.

He came to die for others.

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Doves are also associated with peace, gentleness and humility.

The Lord Jesus Christ came as the Prince of Peace.

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A Preparation For Service

The Lord Jesus Christ came to live His life as a perfect man.

While He was here on earth, He laid aside His glory and His divine prerogatives.

Everything the Lord Jesus Christ did, He did as a Spirit-filled man.

As a Spirit-filled man, He lived a perfect life.

He satisfied the just demands of God’s Law.

He perfectly kept every rule and regulation.

Then He went to the cross to die so that He could shed His innocent and perfect blood as the atonement for our sins.

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A Perfection Of The Scriptures

The Spirit came on the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah.

The Old Testament prophets said that the Messiah would be a Spirit-filled man (Isa. 11:1-5).

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The Approving Of The Father (11)

When the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, the voice of the Father came out of Heaven and approved Him as His Son.

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It Was A Public Approval

The Father let everyone know that He was pleased with the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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It Was A Personal Approval

The Father spoke of His personal approval of His Son.

He had observed Him for 30 years and He was well pleased!

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It Was A Profound Approval

The Father also voiced His approval of everyone who is in the Son.

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Many things took place the day the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in Jordan.

The greatest thing was the beginning of a ministry that would end with the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross dying for our sins.

The Lord Jesus Christ had died for us and we can be saved if we will come to Him.

Are we living our lives under the control of the Holy Spirit?

Then we should serve Him well.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

How To Be Sure We Have Eternal Security


2 Pet. 2:20-22, Matt. 24:11-13, John 15:5-8 (NIV)

Salvation is the most important thing in life.

Next to salvation is the assurance that we have passed from death to life.

After assurance, there is the question of security.

Is there a possibility that we can ever be lost again?”

The answer is “no!” Once saved, we are saved forever.

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But there are some passages in the Bible that some say teach the loss of salvation.

Let’s find out what they really say as we consider ‘How to be sure we have eternal security’.

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Transformation (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Many feel that these verses teach the loss of salvation.

In fact, they teach the opposite!

These verses tell of the person who turns over a new leaf without receiving a new life.

They get into church, make an outward change, but inwardly, they are unchanged and are still lost.

They have recognized the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ, but have never been changed by His transforming power.

They will eventually live out what they really are.

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Sinful desires cannot be conquered by reformation.

They will simply hibernate and wake up stronger than before.

Only transformation by salvation can defeat the old nature and give new life.

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A person’s true nature will always come out!

A dog may be taught obedience and tricks, but will continue to eat his own vomit.

A pig will always be a pig and will head straight for the wallow when turned loose.

Men may look good in church, but live in sin in the world.

We will always do after our own nature!

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Christians can be assured of their security in the Lord Jesus Christ.

They have been given a new nature.

They will avoid sin and they will please God.

Christians are not reformed.

They have been transformed.

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TENACITY (Matt. 24:11-13)

Many people believe that these verses mean that endurance leads to salvation and the lack of it to loss of salvation.

But this is not true!

A Christian is not saved because he endures; he endures because he is saved!

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True Christianity is marked by tenacity (sticking to something until it is done!).

Eternal security is placed on us by God at the moment of salvation.

We may, and will, wander off, but God will keep drawing us back.

True faith will endure to the end.

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TRADE MARK (John 15:5-8)

Many teach that this is the picture of a Christian who has ceased to live for God, is cut off and cast into hell.

In truth, Jesus isn’t even talking about salvation.

He is dealing with fruit bearing.

His whole point is that a healthy, abiding Christian will bear fruit, while a weak, careless Christian will bear no fruit and is a spiritual castaway.

This passage deals not with the loss of salvation, but of rewards.

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TURNING AWAY (Heb. 6:4-9)

Perhaps this is the most misunderstood passage in regards to eternal security.

The writer says that it is impossible for a certain class of people, if they fall away, to be renewed again to salvation.

Some believe that these verses teach that we can lose our salvation.

If so, it also teaches that we can never get it back again.

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A second interpretation is far better.

It speaks to people who have been confronted with the truth of the Gospel, have had their hearts gripped by the Holy Spirit in conviction, have been enlightened and have seen the truth, but have walked away from Jesus Christ.

These people have been to the very threshold of salvation and looked in on the things of God, have seen that they are true and that they needed what they saw, but they turned away.

They will not be brought to that place again!

This type of person may never have another opportunity to be saved.

This passage does not talk of losing salvation.

It warns against rejecting salvation.

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If we are saved, we are eternally saved!

That is great cause for rejoicing!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Did Jesus Go To Calvary?


1 Peter 1:18-20

It Was To Finish A Plan (1:20a)
  • It was to finish an old plan. The Lord Jesus Christ was chosen before the creation of the world to come to this world and die on the cross for the sins of man. The plan of salvation was in the heart of God before sin was ever in the heart of man!
  • It was to finish the only plan. Lost sinners are saved only by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!

It Was To Furnish A Payment (1:18-19)

  • It was to furnish a ransom payment. When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, He was paying a debt He did not owe. He was paying for those who owed a debt they could not pay.
  • It was to furnish a redemption payment. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He provided the means whereby lost and hell bound sinners trapped in the futility of their wasted lives, and who are headed to a Godless and Christless eternity, might be forever set free from their bondage and delivered from their torment. The Lord Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins and set us free to serve the living God.
  • It was to furnish a reasonable payment. A holy God had been offended by the sins of man. The Lamb of God had to die on the cross. When the Lord Jesus Christ entered this world and died on the cross, He forever satisfied the righteous demands of God and opened the way of salvation for man. Now lost sinners can be saved.

It Was To Free A People (1:18, 20b)


The Lord Jesus Christ came to redeem people from their bondage in sin. He came to set us free from all things that bind us, so that we might be free to serve Him fully.

  • It was to free them from an empty existence. Those who are outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ are living an empty way of life. They are just spinning their wheels and wasting their time. All their planning, working, getting, giving, doing, hoping, and waiting will come to nothing! The quest for popularity, comfort, pleasure, recreation and satisfaction will surely fail. The life lived without Jesus is a totally wasted life. Regardless of what is accomplished or what is obtained as one passes through this world, in the end, it all amounts to nothing and still ends in Hell.

    But the Lord Jesus came that men might have life and have it more abundantly. He came to give meaning to life. He came to make our work worthwhile. He came to insure that our lives would matter even after we leave this world. He came to help us find direction and fulfillment in this life and contentment in His presence in the next. The Lord Jesus Christ promised happiness and contentment, peace and joy, fulfillment and meaning. And, He has the power to deliver them all.
  • It was to free them from an endless eternity. The Lord Jesus died to make life more meaningful. He also died to make eternity more pleasant. When we leave this world, we can rest assured that we will never feel the flames of Hell; we will spend eternity in the very presence of God.

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ go to Calvary? He went for God, He went for Himself and He went for us. He went so that everything might change for us and that we might be saved. Will you come while the door of salvation is still open? Will you come while He calls you right now?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Church Elder Must Be Sober-Minded


Titus 1:8a (NKJV)

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Titus was supposed to appoint men to serve in the ministry as Church elders.

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These men had to meet certain requirements.

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One of the requirements is that they must be sober-minded. (Titus 1:8a)

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Church elder must have a sober mind.

That is, he must have
  • A mature mind,
  • A humble mind,
  • A God-set mind and
  • The same mind as others.

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Church elder must have a mature mind.

He must be mature in his thinking.

He must not be a spirtual immature thinker who desires self-serving and sensual excitement over daily discipleship.

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The church cannot be led by immaturely-thinking Christians.

We must put that away and put on maturity of thinking.

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The second aspect is to have a humble mind.

It is very easy for us to be legends in our own minds.

Some of us are thinking of ourselves as something more than we are.

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That kind of thinking clouds our judgment.

In that state, we are no longer able to make sound decisions.

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We are filtering everything to be about us.

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We are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.

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Thirdly, a sober mind consists of having God's mind towards matters.

Too many people are worldly-minded, thinking about things in the way of the world instead of God's way.

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Christians are told to set their minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

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To have a sober mind means that we must have our minds set on God's priorities, and be tuned into His thinking.

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We must set our minds on the things of the Spirit, for the Spirit knows the mind of God.

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Lastly, Christian elder must be of the same mind as the others in the Church.

Being united in Spirit and of the same mind is essential.

A church which is intent on one Biblical purpose will be a place where God is free to move mightily.

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The early church had a unified purpose.

They continually devoted themselves to Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and the breaking of bread.

As a result, signs and wonders were taking place among them, outreach to the poor was happening, worship was flowing, the church's reputation was increasing, and God was entrusting to that church more and more of His newborn children.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Church Elder Must Discipline His Children


Titus 1:6c (NKJV)

The first requirement of Church elder is he must be blameless.

The second requirement is he must be the husband of one wife.

The third requirement is he must have faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

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There are three things specifically listed in regards to a Church elder's children:
  • They must be faithful children,
  • They must not be accused of dissipation, and
  • They must not be accused of insubordination.

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Church elder must have faithful children.

Though the Church elder cannot guarantee his children will be believers, he must raise them up following the way of the Scriptures.

In other words, he must train them to be Christians.

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This training is two-fold, using both God's Word and personal example.

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It will be good if their children know the Scriptures from childhood.

Only then will they have the opportunity to learn them and become convinced of them.

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Church elder must also need to be living what the Bible teaches.

If he merely says that it is important, but then don't live it, he demonstrates hypocrisy.

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We must not underestimate the power of hypocrisy to carry our children away from the truth.

We must always live what we say we believe.

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He Must Have Children Who Are Not Accused Of Dissipation

He must not let his children live squanderously, wastefully, and dangerously.

His children must not be partying and frittering their lives away, living like there is no tomorrow.

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If a man allows his children to live like this, he is to be disqualified from consideration for appointment as a church elder.

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He Must Have Children Who Are Not Accused Of Insubordination

The third thing is his children must not be in rebellion.

They should respect their father's authority and be obedient.

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They must be disciplined to prevent rebellion.

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He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (Proverbs 13:24)

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Contrary to the world's opinion, it is those who don't discipline their children who don't love them.

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With discipline, we are telling our children that we care how they turn out, or what happens to their lives.

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If we are faithful to do these things, our children will have the best possible chance of growing up godly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pastoral Care


2 Timothy 4:1-22 (NIV)

4:1-2 Preach The Word

Paul urged Timothy to preach the Word.

God is going to judge every person.

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It is the duty of every pastor to preach the gospel and to teach the Bible.

Be ready with the Word of God all the time, in season and out of season.

Be ready even at the times when we are not expected to share.

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Pastors are commanded to correct, rebuke, and encourage their people with great patience and careful instruction.

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4:3-4 Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

Every pastor must have the urgency to preach the Word of God.

As time passes, there will be more and more people in the church who will not want to hear the true Word of God.

More than ever before, they want to be entertained to keep their interest.

They want to hear messages that make them feel good.

They want to be told they are okay even when they are not.

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This has led to the corruption of the church.

This has led to the desecration of the true gospel message.

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4:5 Sober In All Things

Pastors must be serious in everything they do.

There will be hardship in the Christian Ministry.

There will be attacks from every side, because they are on the front lines.

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In addition to teaching the Word, pastor must also do the work of an evangelist.

Why?

Because the great commission that Jesus gave to us was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Everyone needs to hear about the salvation that Jesus Christ offers.

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4:6-8 Being Poured Out Like A Drink Offering

A drink offering was a sacrifice to God.

Instead of being burnt on an altar, it was poured out.

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Paul was saying that he was like that water, poured out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord.

In the world's eyes, his life was wasted.

But he knew better.

He knew a crown in heaven was waiting for him.

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4:9-12 Demas

Paul finished the letter with personal notes to Timothy about his current situation, and where the partners in ministry had gone.

Crescens went to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, and Tychicus to Ephesus.

Only Luke was with Paul.

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Paul also told Timothy what happened to Demas, how he loved the world and deserted Paul.

This was disturbing, because when Paul was writing to the Colossians (4:14) and Philemon (1:24), Demas was partnered with Paul in the ministry, a fellow worker.

But now, we found out that he was more into the things of the world than the things of God.

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It is sad to see people that we have led to Christ, discipled, or served in ministry with, walk away from the Lord, from fellowship, and from the church.

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4:13 When You Come

Winter was approaching.

Paul was getting cold.

He also wanted his library back.

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4:14-15 Alexander

Alexander was the guy that Paul told Timothy about in the first letter (1 Timothy 1:19-20).

Apparently, Alexander continued to cause trouble in the church and with Paul.

Paul warned Timothy to watch out for him.

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4:16-18 The Lord Stood With Me

Through many of Paul's legal troubles, he stood alone.

But he wasn't really alone.

The Lord was with him.

Paul knew that God was going to safely carry him to heaven, no matter what happened on earth.

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4:19-22 Final Greetings

Paul told Timothy to give his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

He also filled Timothy in on the status of Erastus and Trophimus, as well as sending greetings from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and others that Timothy knew.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Be Strong In The Lord


2 Timothy 2:1-10

2:1 Be Strong In The Lord

Paul told Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Grace is a gift that we don't deserve.

It is God's favor on us that we are completely unworthy of.

God loves us so completely that He offers us this free gift of grace.

The Bible says that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are saved by God's grace, not by anything that we have done.

We were sinners, and God reached out to us.

We were unlovable, and God loved us anyway.

That is what grace is all about.

Let us be encouraged that God loves us no matter what.

Let us remember that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.

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2:2 Commit To Faithful Men

Paul also encouraged Timothy to raise up other Bible teachers.

Pastor must learn to train others, equip them, raise them up and send them out.

The gospel truth is for the common people.

And the church's responsibility is to raise up people to bring the teaching to them.

The people we send out should be faithful, dependable, and trustworthy.

They must be people we can trust to carry on the work of the ministry.

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Paul used three word pictures to illustrate service in the kingdom: that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.

2:3-4 The Soldier

The soldier dedicates his life to the service.

He is not entangled by the things of the world.

He has a single purpose; he is not entangled with anything else but his duty.

2:5 The Athlete

The illustration of an athlete is another powerful picture.

An athlete is someone who trains diligently, striving for his or her personal best.

Look at the sacrifice and commitment that athletes make.

How much more should we as Christians be training, striving, sacrificing to win the race?

We have been given the rules to this race.

Let us run according to them.

2:6 The Farmer

Paul's third illustration is that of a farmer.

The farmer works diligently and sacrificially over a long period of time.

And the end result is reward.

All of the plowing, planting, watering, and caring yield a crop that he benefit from.

There is an eternal reward waiting for us when we invest our life in the work of the Kingdom of God.

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2:7 Understanding In Everything

Paul reassured Timothy that if he didn't understand, that the Lord would give him understanding in everything as he considered it.

This promise is to all who have become born again into the new life in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit living inside us can give us understanding in everything as we seek Him and consider the Word of God.

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2:8-10 The Gospel

Salvation is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

This is the pure message of the grace of God: that He loves us in spite of the fact that we have rebelled against Him in our sin.

While we were sinners, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place, to be killed on the cross so that we could live.

Not everyone receives this grace.

Many reject it.

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.

Will we receive God's grace through Jesus Christ, risen from the dead?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Pastor's Job


1 Timothy 4:6-16

Pastor is to present the Word and walk the walk.

Timothy was to point out Paul's teachings, namely:
  • People in the church shouldn't teach strange doctrines.
  • Christians should pray for the people in authority.
  • Women should dress modestly and not take spiritual authority over their husbands.
  • Men should be godly in their reputation and behavior.
  • Christians should be warned that some would fall away from the faith.
When a pastor points out these things, he is a good servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Word of God is life-giving nourishment to our spirit.

Like food to our bodies, the Word of God feeds our spirit.

It is time that we asked ourselves, "How have we been feeding ourselves lately?" Are we nourishing ourselves on the Word of God?"

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Too many of us are paying attention to myths and neglecting the word of God.

Paul told Timothy to have nothing to do with these things.

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We are to have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales.

We are to pay attention to and work on becoming godly people.

The investments we make with prayer and Bible study will last for an eternity.

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Paul says that "we have put our hope in the living God."

Can we say today that we have fixed our hope on the living God?

If we are fixing our hope on anything that is on this earth, it will fail us.

But if we fix our hope on the living God, then we will not ever be let down.

*******

Timothy was a young man to be a pastor.

But he could prevent people from looking down at him, if he set an example in 5 areas:
  • Set an example in speech. Keeping our tongues from evil will serve to keep people from looking down on us.
  • Set an example in conduct. The way that we live, the way that we act, our behavior.Our conduct should be impeccable, our lives drawing people to Jesus.
  • Set an example in love. God loved each one of us in the world, even though there was nothing lovable about us. And that's the kind of love God wants us to have for each other. Love that stays even when someone is unlovable. Love people that are hard to love.
  • Set an example in faith.When we fall short of faith in God, we need to turn to the Word of God.
  • Set an example in purity. Purity means to be free of pollution, to be undefiled. We are not to defile and pollute ourselves with the things of the world. The Lord desires that we would be pure.
*******

Paul emphasized to Timothy again how important the Word of God is to the ministry of a pastor.

He must read the Word publicly, exhort people to act on it faithfully, and teach it understandably.

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There are many ways to receive Spiritual gifts.

One is by the laying on of hands by the elders.

Timothy had received his gift in this manner.

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What was Timothy's gift?

It is the gift of teaching (Romans 12:7).

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Timothy is told to pay attention to his life and to grow spiritually.

Timothy was to watch his life and doctrine closely.

He was to persevere in them.

By doing so, he could insure salvation for himself and for those he encountered.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pray And Share The Truth


1Timothy 2:1-8 (NIV)

To keep faith and a good conscience, we have got to be praying.

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What to pray?

Four essential parts of prayer:

(1) Petitions - We tell God about our needs.

(2) Prayers - We talk to God reverently.

(3) Intercession - We pray for those in need.

(4) Thanksgiving - We thank God for all that He has done.

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Who to pray?

We are to pray for all men.

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We are to pray for kings and those in authority.

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The authority over us may not be godly, wise, or right in making decisions.

But God's plan is that we are to submit to authority, even when it may be unbearably difficult.

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When we don't submit to the authority over us, we are bringing judgment down on our heads.

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God's desire for our lives is tranquility, quietness, godliness, and reverence.

When we Christians live a quiet and godly life, pray for our leaders, and righteously being subject to them, we have nothing to fear.

But when we rebel against those in authority, we cause the government to become suspicious of us.

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It is our duty to pray for them.

It is our responsibility to intercede for them.

We are not to be angry at them.

But we are to love them, to pray for them, and to share with them the knowledge of the truth.

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If we still remembered, many of us became Christians when some believers prayed for us, loved us and shared the gospel with us.

Like the unbelievers, we were once unlovable and unapproachable.

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God wants us to hear and believe in the truth.

And we cannot know the truth apart from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ personally.

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The Lord Jesus Christ is the Mediator by which we approach God.

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We can't get to Him on our own, because we are dirty and sinful.

We cannot come to God based on our own good deeds.

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God sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the death penalty for our sin.

By His dying on the cross, He bridged the gap between us and God.

His death was the ransom for we who were held captive by sin.

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Maybe today, some of us are still held captive to sin.

We are still separated from God because we have never received the ransom that the Lord Jesus Christ paid to save us.

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For some of us, it is time to accept God's free gift today.

Come to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

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Maybe it is time for some of us to pray and talk to those in need.

Would you pray and talk to them?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Great Commission: 3 Important Attitudes


Matthew 28:16-18

Our important calling is to "go and make disciples."

This is the main reason why we are left here on earth.

We are to make disciples.

We are to bring people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Now, if we are to make disciples, we must have the attitudes of availability, worship and submission.

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Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. (Matthew 28:16)

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The first requirement is to make ourselves available for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must be ready for His service.

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When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (Matthew 28:17)

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There is a second requirement and that is the attitude of worship.

This is a question of focus.

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The risen Christ commanded our worship.

We are to worship Him as God.

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Our whole heart is to set on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our whole affection is set on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our whole mind is to set on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our all in all.

He fills our thought and our intention.

And we spend our time thinking how we can exalt His blessed name.

How we can win the lost souls.

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So where is our focus?

Are we available?

Are we worshipers?

Do we focus our whole intent and purpose in life on the Lord Jesus Christ?

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The Christ-centered life is a life that is yielded to the Spirit of God.

It is a life that is centered on the Word of God.

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But there is a third important attitude and that is submission.

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And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18)

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The Lord Jesus Christ is in control and we are to submit to Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ is in charge and we are to listen to Him.

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The 3 necessary elements to win souls are attitudes.

It is the attitude of availability.

It is the attitude of worship.

It is the attitude of submission to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Our important mission in life is to make disciples of all nations.

That is the main reason why we are still left on the earth.

And if we are to make disciples:

... We are to make ourselves available for the Lord Jesus Christ.

... We are to have all our attention on the Lord Jesus Christ and worship Him.

... And we to submit ourselves to do His will.

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There are incredible opportunities for us to reach the world,

... if we have the right attitudes of availability, worship and submission.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Burial of Jesus


Matthew 27:57-61

Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. (Matthew 27:57-60)

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, Jesus was dead.

He had yielded up His own life.

A rich man came from Arimathea, named Joseph.

He had become a secret follower of Jesus.

He was a disciple.

This Joseph went to Pilate.

He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus.

Pilate commanded the body to be given over.

The soldiers took the dead body of the Lord Jesus Christ down.

Then Joseph took Him away.

Joseph wrapped the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in a clean linen cloth.

He laid it in his new tomb.

And he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb.

And he left.

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And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 57:61)

These two women sat there in deep sorrow and in deep agony.

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When the Lord Jesus Christ had risen on the first day, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and she went and told those who had been with Him.

They were the first witnesses.

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Joseph was a secret disciple.

He finally came out of the shadows.

He took a stand for Jesus.

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Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were passionate, devoted, loving, dedicated disciples.

They loved the Lord Jesus Christ from beginning to the end.

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How about us?