Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

True North on the Compass of your Life

There is a magnetic north, which is not true north.

You can navigate with magnetic north for short trips.  It will get you in the general vicinity.

But to navigate accurately, especially for long trips, over long distances and time;  you must be able to ascertain true north.

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision,  the people perish:  but he that keepeth the law,  happy is he.”

As Christians, we should all have a vision or goal to which we are working.

And this goal  should come from the Lord.

We are never without purpose.

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith;  that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:

                                 Not of works,  lest any man should boast.

                                 For we are His workmanship,  created in Christ Jesus unto good works,  which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

For we are His workmanship, molded into the character of Christ Jesus, for good works:  For which He has made full provision, so we might walk in them.

This is our purpose.

If we are to navigate our life through this wicked world;  from here all the way to heaven,  we need to find true north.

So,  what is true north for each Christian?

The True North for each of us is  making Jesus Christ, Lord of our lives.

And He is not Lord of us, until we determine to obey Him.

If we were talking about a car;  His Lordship is the power in the engine,  and our obedience is the wheels which is the motion.

And of course He is driving.

John 7:17 “If any man will do His will,  he shall know of the doctrine,  whither it be of God,  or whither I speak of myself.”

John 7:17 (LNT) “If any of you really determines to do God’s will, then you will certainly know whether My teaching is from God or merely My own.”

I rarely use any other translation but the King James Version. But this translation in the LNT describes what I have found to be so:   We need to “really determine” to do God’s Will.   

“If any man will do His will” also describes it;  it is, of course by our will,  which is the action to do anything.   We need to will it.

But for myself, at least,  this is a picture of digging in and that: “I’m going to do this no matter what it cost me” determination.

That is what making Jesus Christ our Lord  takes.

We know His will by doing it.   If we do it today,  then tomorrow when we seek His Will,  it will come easier.

(And of course, if we hesitate and put it off,  tomorrow it will be harder to find it)

The world’s influence, and our old selves, and the devil are against us.

The old me will tell me,  “Well,  if I was still in charge, I would not require you to pray so much.   After all,  we’re busy.   God knows what we need.”

And the world will say,  “Why not laugh at that joke?  So what,  it was a little “bad”.    A little won’t hurt.”

But if Jesus is Lord to me,  it is not what I would do,  or what the world says is OK,  but where He leads, and how He would have me to go.

It is a process.   I believe you can commit yourself to the Lord, as Lord;  but then it is a matter of putting everything in our lives in His order.

No, it is not a list that is handed out;  but a conviction from the Holy Spirit within which shows us the way.

This is His order:

Philippians 2:12-13 “Wherefore my beloved,  as ye have always obeyed,  not as in my presence only,  but now much more in my absence,  work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:

                                    For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Notice that we are to work out what God works in.   We are to work out the salvation from sin that Christ Jesus works in us,  by His Holy Spirit.

Then we have that true north on the compass of our lives;  and we will surely get safely to our destination.

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Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Amos;  and our calling.

Amos 7:14-15 “Then answered Amos,  and said to Amaziah,   I was no prophet,  neither was I a prophet’s son  but I was a herdsman,  and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: (wild figs)

                            And the Lord took me as I followed the flock,  and the Lord said unto me,   Go prophesy unto My people Israel.”

He was not a prophet or a prophet’s son,  but called from being a shepherd and gathering wild figs,   he was called to preach repentance to Israel, that they might remember their Shepherd, and bring forth fruit to God.

Israel and Judah had separated.   In Jerusalem was the temple.  And the king of Israel was afraid that Israel would go back to Judah to worship at the Temple.

So he set up two idols to worship.  He told them that these were just a representation of God;  but he lied to them.

Israel apostatized.   They had begun to worship the idols which were calves.  

 This was great sin.  God is a jealous God, and so He sent them prophets to rebuke the king, the people,  and this sin.  

But the practice stuck.  They refused to be healed of it.  And so finally, after many years;  God was going to send Israel into captivity.   

And to a terrible people: cruel and vicious , the Assyrians.

But before He did,  He sent Amos to call them to repentance, and to tell them what was going to happen if they refused to hear, this last time.

Amos 3:1-2 “Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you,  O children of Israel,  against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt,  saying, 

                       You only have I known of all the families of the earth:  therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

It was because Israel knew the Lord, He was God,  that He was going to punish them for turning away from Him.  They had seen His works,  they had been given His Word,  and they knew He was the real God.

Light brings responsibility.     When we know to do good and do it not,  that is sin. (James 4:17)

And sin added to sin,  is spitting in the face of God.   

He is long-suffering, and merciful;  but He knows when enough is enough.  

He decides when drastic measures are called for; and that is to finally bring all who will hear His Words, to return to Him.

They knew that what they were doing was against God’s Commandments and laws;  yet they continued in them,  because they thought they could get by with it. 

Ecclesiastes 8:11-13 “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,  therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

                                      Tho a sinner do evil an hundred times,  and his days be prolonged,  yet surely I know it shall be well with them that fear God,  which fear before Him:

                                       But it shall not be well with the wicked,  neither shall he prolong his days,  which are as a shadow;  because he feareth not before God.”

                                       

So Amos came up to Israel, and preached repentance to the people, and at Bethel. (This was one of the places where the idols were.)

Amos 7:1-3 “Thus hath the Lord God showed unto me;  and,  behold,  He formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth;…

                        And it came to pass,  that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land,  then I said,  O Lord God,  forgive,  I beseech Thee: by whom shall Jacob arise?  For he is small.

                        The Lord repented for this:  It shall not be,  saith the Lord.”

                       

First, it was grasshoppers to eat the grass to feed the flocks.   But at Amos prayer,  God “repented” or stopped His judgement, so that all would not be destroyed.

(This show us how important our prayers are.   The Lord hears the prayers of the righteous,  and many times it is our prayers that change a situation for good.)

Second, God sent scorching heat to lay waste the waters they counted on.

But again Amos prayed for them, and God halted the judgement that way.

But the third time, The Lord showed Amos a plum line. (A plumb line is a line with a weight on the bottom to hold it down straight.)

Amos 7:7-8 “Thus He showed me,  and, behold,  the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line,  with a plumb line in His hand.

                        And the Lord said unto me,  Amos,  what seest thou?  And I said,  A plumb line,   Then said the Lord,  Behold,  I have a set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel:  I will not again pass by them any more:”

God would put a plumb line in the midst of His people.   If they would “straighten out” their lives by turning back to Him, they would be spared.

But those who refused, and remained “crooked”,  would fall as a wall which leans.

And how did God want them to repent?

First to return unto Him.

Amos 5:4 “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel,  Seek ye Me,  and ye shall live:”

                      Second, The Lord wanted them to treat the poor with dignity, and fairness.

Amos 8:4-6 “Hear this,  O ye that swallow the needy,  even to make the poor of the land to fail, 

                       Saying,  When will the new moon be gone,  that we may sell corn? And the sabbath,  that we may set forth wheat,  making the ephah (like a bushel) small,  and the shekel (their money) great,  and falsifying the balances by deceit?

                        That we may buy the poor for silver,  and the needy for a pair of shoes;  yea,  and sell the refuse of the wheat?”

 

The title of this is Amos; and our calling.

As Christians,  we too, are called to our family, our friends, our church, and our nation:  to pray for and to seek their good.   

And the greatest good we can pray for,  is for them to know and love The Lord, and to treat others as they want to be treated,  with dignity and respect.

Under the idolatry of Israel,  many were destroyed spiritually,  long before God sent them out of their land, in judgement.

He sent prophets to preach His Words,  and chastening circumstances so they would see His hand.

Finally, He sent them out of the good land, to sift them as wheat:

Amos 9:9-10 “For, lo,  I will command,  and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations,  like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.

                         All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,  which say,  The evil shall not over take  or prevent us.”

But even as Amos left Israel to return to being a shepherd,  he heard a promise:

God would not utterly forsake His people.   

They would have to go through terrible trouble to finally learn the lesson He would have easily taught them,  had they listened and turned to Him.

But…

“In that day will I raise up….and I will build…saith the Lord that does this.  I will bring again…and I will plant.  (Amos 9:11-15)

The Lord sent Amos to preach repentance to “all who will” hear.

And we are all called to witness to our Lord Jesus Christ.   To let our lights so shine that all may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

To Know the Lord

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know,  if we follow on to know the Lord:  His going forth is prepared as the morning;  and He shall come unto us as the rain,  as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

“Then”. 

This is time word: not before, but “then”.

“Then” what?   We shall we know Lord,  “If” we follow on to know the Lord.

This might seem like a revolving door.  We will know, if we follow on to know.

But Jesus said the same thing when He was here:

John 8:31-32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him,   If ye continue in My words,  then are ye My disciples indeed;  

                          And ye shall know the truth,  and the truth shall make you free.”

Now these people believed on Him;  but they were to continue to believe and obey His word.     Then they would know the truth, and the truth would make them free.  (Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6)

You see,  we are called to a walk with Jesus.   That is taking each step, each day, each forward move:  with Him.

And what does He promise those who “follow on”?

“His going forth (with us) is prepared as the morning;”

As certain as this old earth keeps turning, there will be sunrise tomorrow.

There may be clouds, or the day dark and dreary;  but the sun will be there: prepared as the morning.

He knows everything that will come to us each day.  He is there, preparing in us the grace we need to deal with each thing.

He will rise with us;  hit the highway with us;  go into our work place, or school with us;  and all along the way He will:     “Come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth.”

Rain in scripture speaks of His mercy:

This rain was essential for a good harvest in Israel.

You had to have the early rain to soften the ground;  and the latter rain to grow the crops.

All this was by the mercy of God.

And He will come unto us:  in the circumstances we are in now, today;  and “rain” the blessing of grace and mercy for us.  (He will be there; guide us, help us, and lift us up;  in this time,  whatever is going on.)

He wants us to know Him as Lord and Savior.  

He wants us to know Him more each day:  what He wills for us, and what He will do for us.

He has prepared each grace that we need;  “prepared as the morning”—it is sure.

And He wants us to go with Him, into all our circumstances and relationships;  and know more and more of Him: “to follow on to know”.

For “then”,  we will know:  

And let’s face it:  knowing the Lord is:  truth,  life,  and everything we will want.

He fills our hearts and lives with joy:  “If” we continue in His word.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Rich Ruler

Mark 10:17 “And when He was gone forth into the way,  there came one running and kneeled to Him,  and asked Him,   Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Here is a man seeking eternal life (In Luke 18:18 he is called a ruler).   And he comes to the right place:  to Jesus.

But Jesus first points this young man to God.

Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him,   Why callest thou Me good?  There is none good but one,  that is,  God.”

He was showing this seeker that eternal life, does not come through following a certain set of rules.

But eternal life comes by receiving, and following Him.  Through the Son of God,  Who was right before him.

If He was good, and none was good but God:  then He was God (which He was).

But since this rich ruler was asking what he should do,  Jesus points him to God’s Word.  

Jesus was drawing out of this man what his heart was really like, for it is only as we see our real need, that it can be met.

Mark 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments,  Do not commit adultery,   Do not kill,  Do not steal,  Do not bear false witness,  Defraud not,  Honor thy father and thy mother.”

Jesus quotes the second half of the Ten Commandments.  The part that deals with our relations with people. 

(The first half deals with honoring God, and not worshipping idols, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, and the Sabbath rest, to honor God’s works)

Mark 10:20 “And he answered and said unto Him,   Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

This young man falls short of getting what Jesus is really telling him.    Standing right before him was God’s Way of Salvation, in His Son;  yet he is intent on finding something to do.

“I have kept them all.    Yet, I know I do not have eternal life by doing what I am doing.    So,  what more can I do.   What don’t I have?”

Instead of asking, “what more can I do?”;  he should have been asking,  “Can I come after You?   For only You can lead me into eternal life.”

Mark 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him,  and said unto him,   One thing thou lackest:  go thy way,  sell  whatsoever thou hast,  and give to the poor,  and  thou shalt have treasure in heaven:  and come, take up the cross,  and follow Me.”

Jesus loved him.   Jesus could look into every heart and He knew that this man really wanted Eternal life. 

But Jesus also saw the problem.   He had given this man the part of the law which dealt with people for a reason.  

The problem was:  his riches and possessions.  

They had his heart all tied up.   Nothing could get in,  he was so full of them.

So the answer was: give away to other people your possessions.  Free up your heart from the grip of them, and come and follow Me.

This man had followed the Law:  he had not taken from any one, whether by false accusation, or theft.  He had not committed adultery.   He had honored his father and mother.

But he was very rich—he had “great possessions”.

Jesus was not bargaining with this man.   He was telling him what hindered his heart from finding eternal life.

Mark 10:22 “And he was sad at that saying,  and went away grieved:  for he had great possessions.”

Whether this man ever did what Jesus said, or whether he let eternal life go, to hang onto his riches;  he went away.

He turned from the Person Who was the answer;  and went away.

Mark 10:23-25 “And Jesus looked round about,  and saith unto His disciples,   How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!  

                            And the disciples were astonished at His words,  but Jesus answereth them again,  and saith unto them,  Children,  how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

                             It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,  than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Jesus is saying, that it is very hard for people who have “trusted” in other things;  to let go of them, and “Come and take up the cross, and follow Me”.

It is Jesus that saves, not Jesus and…

But you have to let go of what you are hanging on to;  to take hold on Christ.

“Who then can be saved?”  His disciples asked.

Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith,   With man it is impossible,  but not with God:  for with God all things are possible.”

Again Jesus points to God, and God’s only Way of Salvation in His Son,  Jesus Christ.

I hope this rich ruler came back and received eternal life by Jesus Christ;  but the answer is the same today for everyone who seeks true life:

“Come and take up the cross, and follow Jesus.”

In Him is eternal life.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Jesus and the Children

Matthew 18:12-14 “How think ye?  If a man have a hundred sheep,  and one of them be gone astray,  doth he not leave the ninety and nine,  and goeth into the mountains,  and seeketh that which has gone astray?

                               And if so be that He find it, verily I say unto you,  he rejoicieth more of that sheep,  then of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

                               Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven,  that one of these little ones should perish.”

Jesus thinks children are very important.  The training and guiding them to come to Him, is vital.

Jesus would have them all come to Him and be saved.

“..it is not the will of your Father in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

And in order for that to happen,  He will go out and search for them.

In Mark it says:

Mark 10:13-14, 16 “And they brought young children to Him,  that He should touch them;  and His disciples rebuked those that brought them.

                                But when Jesus saw it,  He was much displeased,  and said unto them,   Suffer the little children to come unto Me,  and forbid them not;  for of such is the kingdom of God.

                                And He took them up in His arms,  put His hands upon them,  and blessed them.”

He was displeased that the disciples wanted to keep the children away.  He took them up in His arms and blessed them.

Children who are brought up to love the Lord, and know His love for them personally,  may stray far,   when they grow older. (My son was one of these.)

But they will be brought back, for He is always their Shepherd.

Matthew 18:12-13 “How think ye?  If a man have a hundred sheep,  and one of them be gone astray,  doth he not leave the ninety and nine,  and goeth into the mountains,  and seeketh that which is gone astray?

                                 And if so be that he find it,  verily I say unto you,  he rejoiceth more of that sheep,  than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

And why does He rejoice so, over that one?

Because, they are always in His plans and purposes.

Matthew 18:10-11 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones;  for I say unto you,  that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.

                                  For the Son of man came to save that which was lost.”

The children are especially mentioned when He comes into Jerusalem.  He is praised by the multitude;  but they fade away.  

But the children come into the Temple with the blind and the lame, after Jesus drives out the moneychangers.  And they keep on praising Him.  

When they are complained about,  Jesus says God has ordained them for praise.

Matthew 21:15-16 “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did,  and the children crying in the temple,  and saying,  Hosanna to the Son of David;  they were sore displeased,  

                                 And said unto Him,   Hearest Thou what these say?  And Jesus said unto them,   Yea;  have ye never read,  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?”

Psalm 8:2 “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies,  that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”

After Christ arose, and Peter is forgiven his denials of Jesus, and given his ministry for the rest of his life;  he was told first:

John 21:15 “So when they had dined,  Jesus saith to Simon Peter,   Simon, son of Jona,  lovest thou Me more than these?   He saith unto Him,  Yea, Lord;  Thou knowest that I love Thee.   He saith unto him,   Feed my lambs.”

Sometimes I feel that we are like the Israelites in Egypt under the Pharaoh which killed so many children.   (Exodus 1:22)

Our Adversary, the devil, is seeking to limit the influence of Christ Jesus,  so how better, than to destroy our children. 

Pharaoh drowned them in the Nile, and how many children are being “drowned” in things of this world:  the internet, peer pressure, violence.   There are many others, but all are choking the true “life” in Christ, out of our children.

It does not matter whether they are rich or poor,  the answer is as Jesus said, “Bring them unto me.”

(Many say that a whole generation is already gone:  Maybe so,  and maybe [and let us all pray so] the Shepherd is going out now to rescue these lost ones.)

Proverbs 2:1-2, 9 “My son,  if thou wilt receive My words,  and hide My commandments with thee;  

                                 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understand;

                              Then shalt thou understand righteousness,  and judgement,  and equity;  yea, every good path.

That is what we want for our children,  the “good path”,  wherein is righteousness and peace.

Matthew 18:12-13 “…If a man have a hundred sheep,  and one of them be gone astray,  doth he not leave the ninety and nine,  and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

                                 And if it so be that he find it,  verily I say unto you,  he rejoiceth more of that sheep,  than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

The Lord Jesus loves our children,  let us love them also, with our prayers for their salvation, and our witness of all the good God has done for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

This is the Way

Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ear shall hear a word behind thee,  saying,   This is the way, walk ye in it,  when ye turn to the right hand,  or when ye turn to the left.”

To “walk” sets forth the fact of everyday living.

And we are to walk with Christ Jesus in our every day lives.

We often look for special days;  when spiritual reality for us, must come down to today, tomorrow, and the next day.   Each day in it’s time.

There is where we need to be found faithful to Jesus.

There are so many people we come into contact with which have a need, that the Lord has placed you around, at that time.  

You may say, I can do nothing for them.   But…

You can shine your light of Jesus Christ,  that all that see it,  may glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men,  that they may see your good works,  and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

A word in due season:

Proverbs 15:23 “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth:  and a word spoken in due season,  how good is it!”

This is a simple testimony, or verse, or explanation why you pray over your food,  or why you say, Praise God.

A word,  but in the right season, to bring forth fruit in that person’s life.

A word of prayer.  We can pray, when we can do nothing else.

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing;  but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you,  with meekness and fear:”

We should be ready to speak about the Lord Jesus anytime.   That He is our Lord,    and what He has done for us.

This is the way,  walk ye in it.    We are not to run, or hide.   Simply walk with Him, and talk of Him with any we are told to.

He will guide us to turn to the left hand or to the right hand:  to speak, pray, or witness of our Lord Jesus Christ;  for He is right there with us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

To Know the Love of Jesus 

Song of Solomon 1:2 “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth:  for Thy love is better than wine.”

I have often wondered how we , as Christians, who say we know Jesus loves us;  can be so indifferent to His love, and to the fellowship of believers.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not “knowing” His love in our minds;  but it is receiving it in our lives, that is the problem.  

(Most of us like the idea of love,  who would not?   But to receive Jesus’s love truly,  is to receive Him into our lives.

There used to be a illustration of a husband and wife, just married, and the wife says to her husband:  “OK, dear,  I will see you Wednesday night and Sunday.  Bye for now.”     

So is our relationship with Christ Jesus,  if it is not everyday.)

And what hinders us from opening our lives and receiving His personal love to us?

You know how a child has a fit about something, and is corrected. 

Then the parent tries to gently explain why they were scolded; the child wiggles and turns away, not wanting to receive the love of the parent just then.

The child wanting to reject the love shown them, to hurt them as they were seemingly hurt.

We are the same, as children of our Heavenly Father.

We wiggle, and turn away from the very love we want, because we did not get what we wanted;  or because we did not want to be “wrong”.

To kiss someone on the mouth is a most intimate form of affection.   You can only kiss one person at a time, this way.  

This is the affection that the believer has, who is longing to receive a closer relationship with Christ Jesus.   

They want more of Him.   They want Him for themselves.  They want to “kiss”. and “to be kissed”,  by no other but Him.

This sort of love has gone beyond, “I know I am saved, and that is enough.”

It is:   “I know I am saved, and I want what the Lord has next for me:  I want to know Him as much as I can;  to come as close to Him as is possible here on earth.”

As Jesus said about Mary, who sat at His feet, wanting to catch every word He said:  “But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part,  which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:42)

This is to know Him,  Whom to know aright is to have Eternal Life. (And Eternal life is a condition of life here, as well as eternity in heaven.)

To know Him a little, is to want to know Him more.

This kiss is not the kiss of repentance on the feet of Jesus:

Luke 7:38 “And stood at His feet behind Him weeping,  and began to wash His feet with tears,  and did wipe them with the hairs of her head,  and kissed His feet,  and anointed them with the ointment.”

Or,

This is not the kiss of the traitor Judas:

Mark 14:44-45 “And he that betrayed Him had given them a token,  saying,  Whomsoever I will kiss,  the same is He;  take Him,  and lead Him away safely.

                             And as soon as he was come,  he goeth straightway to Him, and saith,  Master, Master, and kissed Him.”

But this is the kiss of a heart that wants to show Jesus all her love, and also, to receive all His love to her.

A relationship like that keeps growing, from here to heaven.

Are there hinderances to remove?  Or obstacles to overcome?

Of course,  but continuing to receive His love,  we continue to receive the power and personal authority of His Name, and move into a more intimate fellowship with Him.

Song of Solomon 1:3-4 “Because of the savor of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love Thee.

                                           Draw me,  we will run after Thee:  the King hath brought me into His chambers:  we will be glad and rejoice in Thee,  we will remember Thy love more than wine:  the upright love Thee.”

With the continuing to receive His love in this more personal relationship,  there is joy, and rejoicing.

Do we want this?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Demas

Col. 4:14 “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.”

Philemon 23-24 “There salute the Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;       Mark , Aristarchus,  Demas,  Luke, my fellow laborers.”           

2 Timothy 4:9-10 “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:     For Demas hath forsaken me,  having loved this present world,  and is departed unto Thessalonica;….”

It matters a great deal Who or what we love.

Demas is an example of this.

He was found in the writings of Paul as a fellow-laborer.   If Paul had taken him with him, then surely he would have seemed faithful.

Yet, when Paul was arrested the second time,  Demas forsook him, having loved “this present world”.

(Paul was arrested two times.   Once in Jerusalem, and sent before the Roman governor,  where he appealed unto Caesar.  

He was tried and released for a while, traveling west.  Then arrested again when he came back through Rome.)

Whether Demas was from a wealthy family,  or from the poor section of people, it does not say.   He was apparently saved, and joined Paul’s ministry. 

He is always mentioned with Luke, so perhaps he was a colleague, or student of his.

Paul wrote:

2 Timothy 3:1, 10-12 “This know also,  that in the last days perilous times shall come.

                      But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life,  purpose, faith, longsuffering,  charity, patience, 

                       Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra;  what persecutions I endured:  but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

                        Yea, and all that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

But at a certain time,  Demas looked around and saw the way things were going for Christians,  and decided that he did not love Christ Jesus enough to suffer and die as a testimony for Him.

He was going to leave Paul, and head out.  He would go back to the world.  He loved it more than Christ.

What does it mean, “this present world”?    Simply,  Demas wanted his blessings here.  There had probably been many wonderful things he had seen Paul do.  Many coming to the Lord, and people being healed, lives changed.  Wow!

But when it came to himself, and “gaining or losing”  here,  he did not love the Lord more than  what he could get out of life now.

Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples,   If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,  take up his cross, and follow Me.

                      For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.

                      For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world,  and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Luke 17:33 “Whosoever will seek to save his life shall lose it;  and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

This life is a short expanse of time.  For it is just time.   But the everlasting Kingdom and the rewards there, are for eternity.

Demas may be rewarded with “ good things “ now.  

But Paul will have his better things forever.

2 Timothy 4:16-17 “At my first answer no man stood with me,  and all men forsook me:  I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

                         Not withstanding the Lord stood with me,  and strengthened me;  that by me the preaching might be fully known,  and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”

Picture Paul:  alone, standing before Caesar and a crowd of people, who were always around him.  Onlookers, or favor seekers; standing and hearing this Paul preach about Jesus Christ, his Lord.  

No man stood with him before Caesar.  

It mattered who you had to stand with you.   If it was a man of influence, then Ceasar might take into account that he might need that man’s influence sometime, and so be lenient on Paul.

But no man did.  

Yet Paul did not want any to be charged before God with this sin.  He forgave them, and prayed that God would forgive them. 

But God stood with him.

2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work,  and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom:  to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

I must admit, ridicule, slander, and persecution are not things I want to have happen to me, either.   But I love my Lord Jesus Christ.

I want the Lord Jesus Christ to stand with me;  therefore I must stand with Him, even in the perilous times.

It matters, Who or what we love,  for that effects every decision we make.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Make Room For Christ, by Repentance 

Luke 3:2-6 “…the word of God came unto John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

                     And he came into all the country about Jordon,  preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

                     As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying,   The voice of one crying in the wilderness,  Prepare ye the way of the Lord,  make his paths straight.

                     Every valley shall be filled,  and every mountain and hill shall be brought low;  and the crooked shall be made straight,  and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 

                     And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Baptism was done to proselytes (Gentiles who wanted to be admitted into the worship of God).   Then they could go into the Temple. (There was a court of the Gentiles)

But here, John the Baptist comes to Israel, God’s chosen people;  and preaches repentance from their sins, as he was told to do.

Prepare yourselves:  for the Lord is coming.  

If you want to be in the kingdom of God, prepare your hearts by repentance, and bring forth fruit in your life that shows that you have repented.

Luke 3:8-9 “Bring forth therefore fruits of repentance,  and begin not to say within yourselves,   We have Abraham to our father:  for I say unto you,  That  God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

                      And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the tree:  every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn (cut) down,  and cast into the fire.”

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”     But how?

Luke 3:10-11 “And the people asked him,  saying,  What shall we do then?

                         He answereth and saith unto them,   He that hath two coats,  let him impart to him that hath none;  and he that hath meat,  let him do likewise.”

These were simple things which were written in the Law.  But the poor state of most of the people,  had caused them to think only of themselves.  

Luke 3:12-13 “Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him,   Master,  what shall we do?

                        And he said unto them,  Exact no more then that which is appointed you.”

Publicans were tax collectors, and were most often cheats.  They demanded extra taxes to be paid, and kept the extra.   The people could not say anything about it, for they were usually accompanied by Roman soldiers.

Luke 3:14 “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him,  saying,  And what shall we do?     And he said unto them,   Do violence to no man,  neither accuse any falsely;  and be content with your wages.”

Again, these would have been things which were written in the Law.  Things which they should have already been doing.

But everyone had stopped paying any attention to God’s Word:  going, instead, after their own way, or the way of the times (everyone else is doing it, so I can too.).

The valleys to be filled, were those who had given up: depressed, despondent; they were to be given joy in the Lord.

The mountains and hills to be “brought low”,  were the proud and rich, with the attitude of piling up riches, to gain power or influence.   Not caring about their responsibility in caring for their brethren.   They were to come to a new understanding about mercy. (Matthew 9:11-13)

The crooked were the flagrant sinners;  those who everyone knew to be sinners.

They were to be saved and “sin no more”. (John 8:11)

The rough ways were the practices of the scribes and Pharisees, which instructed the people in the traditions;  yet did not practice them, themselves.

All needed repentance.  To change their hearts and lives.  To live according to the Word they had already received.   To make room for Christ.

Isaiah said, “…make straight in the desert a highway for our God….And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh see it together ; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

A highway is a road built up;  set up above the ground around.  It is a road that all can see, for it is higher then the fields and streams.

John the Baptist came building up a way that all could see and follow.

It would be straight;  and all who would repent and come,  could walk in it.

Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway shall be there,  and a way,  and it shall be called the way of holiness;   the unclean shall not pass over it;    but it shall be for those:  the wayfaring men, though fools,  shall not err therein.”

“Wayfaring men” are those whose whole lives are moving from one thing to another.   Yet even though they are just passing by,  they will know God’s Will for them.

John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing all who wanted to have the reality of true worship of the Lord.

The people who knew they were not right, and wanted to be.  Maybe they were called the “down-and-out”.  

Maybe they were so far from God, they thought they would never be able to come back.

But John preached to all:  and whosoever will, may come.

Then Jesus came.   

“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

John 1:29 “The next day John seeing Jesus coming unto him,  and saith,  Behold the Lamb of God,  which taketh away the sin of the world!”

Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus,  when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:  and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him,  and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,  and lightening upon Him:

                                And lo a voice from heaven,  saying,  This is My beloved Son,  in whom I am well pleased.”

He was the Son of God, having come to take away the sins of the world.

And the message to all His disciples was:

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

                                   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you alway,  even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

May I ask you:  what will we do with His Word?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The  Centurion’s Faith

Matthew 8:5-7 “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion,  beseeching  him.

                            And saying,  Lord,  my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy,  grievously tormented.   

                            And Jesus saith unto him,  I will come and heal him.”

(In Luke, it says that he sent the elders of the city,  and then friends, which represented him to Jesus. Luke 7:1-10. He thought himself unworthy of the Lord coming to his house, for he was a gentile.       This representation was, as if he came himself)

Jesus has said he would come and heal the centurion’s servant.

And this draws a statement of faith from him,  which marveled, or pleased the Lord a lot.   So much so;  that He speaks of it to the crowd.

Matthew 8:8-10 “The centurion answered and said,   Lord,  I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof:  but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

                              For I am a man under authority,  having soldiers under me:  and I say unto this man,  Go,  and he goeth;  and to another,  Come, and he cometh;  and to my servant,  Do this, and he doeth it.

                               When Jesus heard it,  he marveled,  and said to them that followed,  Verily I say unto you,  I have not found so great faith,  no,  not in Israel.”

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith took hold in this centurion’s heart, when he heard of all that Jesus was doing, both in Capernaum, and other places.  

(Capernaum was the place Jesus lived, after leaving Nazareth.   It was the place he did many miracles.

Luke 4:31-32 “And came down to Capernaum,  a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

                         And they were astonished at his doctrine:  for his word was with power.”

Luke 4:36-37 “And they were all amazed,  and spake among themselves, saying,   What a word is this!   For with authority and power he commanded the unclean spirits,  and they come out.

                          And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.”)

When this centurion heard of these things,  he must have thought they were wonderful, for he loved Israel.   

But,  until he needed Jesus’ power for himself (for his sick servant, who was dear to him),  it was just information.

Good news, but it had not touched him.

Then, his servant got sick, grievously tormented, and ready to die.

Suddenly, those things he had heard about Jesus, were for him.  

(How many times we are the same:  we have heard Bible lessons for years, even, and they are good news,  but then something happens that affects us,  and “Wham”,  that good news hits us where we live.   

We can have this!  This is real!  This is for me.)

Faith has made the information real from the first.  We believe it.

Then faith evidences that information within us, because we have a need that is only met by Christ Jesus.

The centurion also knew, by faith, that if Jesus heard of the need,  He could meet it.

Faith reached out, through the elders, and friends, to Jesus;  and stated the need.

When Jesus said He would come,  the centurion’s faith reached out further by the evidence of Jesus’ coming;  and said:

“Speak the word, only”

Why? Was he testing Jesus?

No.   But he felt unworthy that Jesus should come into his house.

And why did he feel Jesus could do this?   Was it just because of what he had heard?

No.

It was from his own experience.  He was a voice of Rome, as a centurion (he had one hundred men under him).

Under all the authority of Rome,  he spoke and told men what to do.  And they did it.

So he knew that Jesus, who was the voice of God and had the authority to speak,  and make things happen,  because He spoke.

He could heal, because He was the Son of God.

This was the centurion’s faith.   Wow!

Matthew 8:13 “And Jesus said unto the centurion,   Go thy way;  and as thou hast believed,  so be it done unto thee.      And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”

Believe is the action of faith.  And as he believed Jesus could heal by his word, only;  so it was.

What of us?   We say we have faith in God.  We say we believe what Jesus has said, and done for us.

Are we using this faith with God, and having the evidence of His authority and power in our lives?

And for the lives of people we pray for?

The Lord honors true faith in Himself. (Not presumption, or to ask of Him, what we know is not His will).  But real faith, reaches out to Him, that He will do what He wills.   

Jesus’ will was to heal the sick;  both sin-sick and many illnesses, while He was here on earth; as He preached that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.

He did this to meet the need of the people, that the chief priests and scribes had discounted; and for the most part, had abandoned.

But God never abandon’s His people.   Those that come unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)

But it takes humbling of our hearts, to come. (As this centurion did)

John 6:40 “And this is the will of him that sent me,  that everyone that seeth the Son,  and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.  And I will raise him up at the last day.”

The centurion’s faith was real.  He had heard.   And he came, humbly to Jesus to ask that He speak a word of healing.  The centurion honored Him, and believed.

What is our faith doing?