Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Luke 2:1-20

Luke 2:1-20  Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled.  (2)  This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  (3)  And all went to enrol themselves, every one to his own city.  (4)  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;  (5)  to enrol himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child.  (6)  And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered.  (7)  And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  (8)  And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.  (9)  And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  (10)  And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:  (11)  for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Sav)iour, who is Christ the Lord.  (12)  And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.  (13)  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  (14)  Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.  (15)  And it came to pass, when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  (16)  And they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.  (17)  And when they saw it, they made known concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this child.  (18)  And all that heard it wondered at the things which were spoken unto them by the shepherds.  (19)  But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.  (20)  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them.

God's ways are not our ways, but God's ways are perfect.  Consider, Jesus had to be both from Galilee and Bethlehem. (Isaiah  9:1-7 and Micah 5:2) and so it was.  The place where he was born was public and accessible to the shepherds to see Him when following the announcement of His birth to them.  He brings peace on earth to those who follow Him, not the kind of peace that everyone normally wants, but that peace that surpasses understanding when you know reflexively that He is in control and all things are ordained acccording to His will for His purposes and His glory. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Romans 8:1-18, 26-27

Rom 8:1-18  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (2)  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  (3)  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  (4)  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (5)  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  (6)  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  (7)  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  (8)  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  (9)  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  (10)  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  (11)  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  (12)  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  (13)  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  (14)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  (15)  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  (16)  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  (17)  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  (18)  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (27)  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Nine things that the Spirit does in the believer's life.
1.  It imparts spiritual life, the real life that only comes from God. v. 2, 10
2.  It dwells within you and makes you one of His children.  v. 9
3.  It assures you that you are a child of God.  v. 15-17
4.  It changes the way you think.  v. 5-6
5.  It dominates your choices when you follow the Spirit.  v. 4-5
6.  It leads you, not by force, but by suggestion, urging the believer constantly to become more.  v. 14
7.  It helps you pray and strengthens you.  v. 26-27
8.  It kills the power of the old life you lead and lets you become a child of God. v. 12-13
9.  It teaches you that all things, even "bad" things by the world's measure, are for your good.  v. 17-18

Luke 16:19-31

Luke 16:19-31  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  (20)  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,  (21)  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  (22)  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  (23)  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  (24)  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  (25)  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  (26)  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  (27)  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:  (28)  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  (29)  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  (30)  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  (31)  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Notice that the rich man is not named, but the beggar is.  In hell, there are no names, you have lost the respect and honor that go with having a name.  Yes, this is generic parable, but, the naming of the beggar Lazarus points this out.

Everything you had will not help you in hell, the rich man, obviously a very rich man has nothing.  See the parallel in Ezekiel 7, especially verse 19.

There is no comfort in hell, instead the burning goes on forever.  Those that have children know when a baby wakes, it cries because it is alone and it is the most heart wrenching cry in its fear of abandonment.  I see those in hell, crying like that baby, as a lost soul, abandoned, but burning with the knowledge that it is their own fault.

There are no exits, even those that may wish to comfort you because they knew and loved you in this life will be unable to reach you.  Nobody can intercede for you and you can intercede for nobody else.  You will be all alone in torment.  You will be without excuse, because the evidence for God is all around in the creation and you have rejected Him.  What will you do?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1-12  And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.  (2)  And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.  (3)  And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.  (4)  And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.  (5)  When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.  (6)  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,  (7)  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?  (8)  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?  (9)  Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?  (10)  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)  (11)  I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  (12)  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Here we see Christ vs. the wisdom of the world (wise).  First we have the one who is sick, second his friends who would save him and third those who are surrounding and hiding Jesus under the pretext of listening to Him.  For those who are seeking and those who desire what Christ can give, be ready for a struggle.

Now, obviously there the crowd in the place Christ is at (v. 1-2), but this man's need is so great and his friends have great faith that if they can just get their sick friend before Christ, he can be healed.  How does one find Christ?  By listening to second hand accounts from preachers, teachers and books?  Those can all be useful things, but the best way is to get right to the Word.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

These friends understood this and they fought to reach Christ, the Word of God (v. 3-4).  They climbed on the roof, dragged the litter with their friend up with them, broke through the roof (which they would have to bear the burden to replace) and lowered their friend down into the presence of Christ.  Nothing was going to stand in their way, they were going to Jesus.  How hard are you willing to fight for Him?  To the extent of reading a chapter or two of the Bible every day?  To the extent of praying every day?  What is your limit to seeking after God?

Jesus seeing their faith, gave the sick man not what he thought he wanted, but what He knew he needed.  He forgave his sins (v. 5).  Remember, God has a purpose for you, to mold you into something pleasing to Him, so you may not get what you want, but be assured that God will give you what you need for His glory.

Of course, there were those just listening in and murmuring against Jesus using their own reasoning and wisdom (v.6-7).  Jesus was ready for them and answered them (v. 8-11), declaring His claim to be the Messiah, the Christ, before the people and followed it up with what the sick man wanted because it was to the glory of God.

The reaction of the people is interesting (v. 12).  First they glorified God and then make a most interesting conclusion: "We never saw it on this fashion.", or we've never seen it this way before.  Remember, God does things His way and by His timing.  It may or may not be the way and timing you like, but rest in faith knowing that He will do it to His glory above all things.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Luke 10:38-42

Luk 10:38-42  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  (39)  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  (40)  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."  (41)  But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  (42)  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Going over old sermon notes and seeing if the lesson still sticks.

God gives all of us a chance to meet Him in our lives.  He gives us opportunities to serve in His will, but we must learn to recognize and take them.  We have to learn to listen for Him to know to invite Him in.   "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalms 46:10

When we do go to meet with Him and do His work, the cares of this world will try to distract us, even from among well meaning fellow believers who are very "reasonable" about their advice.  Demands for workers to work at what is needed: to be "proper" (Mary should have been assisting as hostess), to be "fair" (why should Martha have to do all that alone), to be "polite" (why was Mary monopolizing that spot by Jesus), etc.  Many, many distractions in this world to take us away from laboring for the harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)

We must learn to focus on where God is taking us to attain the best for us.  We must learn to spend time sitting at the Master's feet, no matter what the distractions to grow.  Reading the Bible, praying, meditating on His Word, praising, all are good.  Serving as hostess for Jesus and the apostles was good and honorable, but do we want to hang on desperately to what is merely good or do we want to strive for what God knows is best?