About these ads

Posts from the ‘Salvation’ Category

YOU ARE CALLED TO ENJOY THE REWARDS OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE

YOU ARE CALLED TO ENJOY THE REWARDS OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE

SATURDAY SUNDAY MORNING OF DEVOTIONAL PRAYER AND PRAISE 79

YOU ARE CALLED BY THE WORD OF GOD

YOU ARE CALLED BY THE WORD OF GOD

Good Morning My Dear Brothers and Sisters, as we all continue to enjoy the 4th of July weekend holiday, it is my hope and prayer that in all our doing that we not allow the evil one to steal our joy and the eternal life that has been planned for us.  Therefore, the Lord placed upon my heart to share with you this weekend His benefits of your Eternal Life.

The word “ETERNAL” means without beginning and without end, denoting a continual existence including past, present, and future, as it is applied to human existence, the Bible indicates that the  spirit or soul is indestructible and eventually returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). This thought is expressed by Paul who attests to God’s overall plan whereby God is “all in all” (I Cor. 15:24-28). Thus, one might well say that eternal life includes the present, or “Today is the first day of the rest of your eternal life.”

Just as there are rewards for followers of Christ, there are judgments of the works of both believers and nonbelievers. Jesus said that all authority to judge the living and the dead is his (John 5:22;17:2; Acts 10:42;I Peter 4:5). In a sense, failure to receive blessings because of failure to ask, asking wrongly, or continued anxiety and fear by not heeding the teachings of the SERMON ON THE MOUNT are all indicative of a present judgment. As the proverbs say, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverb.28:1) and “the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:16). As we have seen, Jesus assured his listeners that a follower of his and a doer of his words is assured of having his or her needs met and eternal life, including the glories of the resurrection-life (Mk. 10:28-30).

The New Testament sets out a concept of a gradation of reward for believers based upon their Christian good works (Matt. 16:27), their works being tested as by fire (I Cor. 3:13-15). In this respect, the epistles frequently warn believers against backsliding and the loss of reward.  [Note the six warnings in the Book of Hebrews 3:7-13;4:1-11; 5:11-14; 6:1-9; 10:26-39; 12; also 11Peter 2:20-22]

A righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward (Matt. 10:41), and one who shows compassion in Jesus’ name will not lose his or her reward (Matt. 10:42;Mk. 9:41). Those who reject the Father and the Son will be judged, and punishment will be meted out for the wrongs which they have committed (Col. 3:25).

They are as “cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13;24:51; 25:30).   Those who seek after the plaudits of men have their reward (Matt. 6:2). One should enter in by the “narrow gate” to life, for “broad is the way which leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Therefore, one should not lay up for himself or herself material treasures on earth, but should lay up treasures in heaven, for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

God is merciful, and Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears his voice and opens the door, he will enter and they shall dine together. But there is a reckoning, and the son of man will separate the “sheep” from the “goats. “Those who have helped the less fortunate and have done it for Jesus shall inherit the kingdom. Those who have not helped others have failed Jesus and will receive punishment (Matt. 25:31-46).

The meting out of judgment is portrayed in Revelation depicting God as sitting on a great white throne judging the dead according to their works. The books are opened including the book of life. Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life is subject to punishment.

It is decreed that the enemies of God and mankind be cast into the “lake of fire.” These include Satan, the false prophet, and the beast who has opposed God, death, Hades, and “whoever was not found written in the book of life” (Rev. 20:10-15).

There is also described a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem in which there reside only those who are over comers and those who are “athirst of the fountain.” These are given the water of life freely (Rev. 21:1-27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:12-13).

My Brothers and Sisters as we close this lesson for today let me leave you with this last very important note from the Preacher.  He says,  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, withevery secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

About these ads

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

This week we will be studying Romans 12:1-2, learning how we can live for Christ when Truth meets Reality.  The Bible tells us to know the Truth and the Truth will set us Free.  How we get to that truth will be the basics of our teaching this week.  Here is what Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  This is the reality of the truth we must come to know if we are to live for Christ.

Now let me share this truth with you as we begin this week in the newness of the Holy Spirit working through us.  There is but one religion, and that religion is the religion of Truth.  There is also but one error, and that error is of self.  Sometimes we allow self to get in the way of Truth.  Where self is, we will not find Truth, where Truth is self is not.  Therefore, let us discover Truth within ourselves about ourselves and move self out of the way and learn to live each day for Christ.  Jesus declared that if any man wishes to be His Disciple, he must deny himself daily.

Finally, let us learn that self is the denial of Truth.  Truth is the denial of self.  As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth.  As you cling to self, truth will be hidden from you.  Now know this,  “LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH WILL MEET REALITY!

 

 

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Good Morning my brothers and sisters, today we continue our teaching on Nicodemus visit with Jesus in the cover of dark and as a teacher finds himself being taught by the Master Teacher. I love this story and I hope you do also.  Now listen up as the truth speaks to your soul.

Nicodemus as a teacher in his own right found himself in an odd position of being taught when he asked Jesus this question: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “Be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”  By his own lack of knowledge, Nicodemus was now in for a rude awaken, and Jesus was about to teach him and all of us a lesson in how to be born again that neither he nor we would ever soon forget.

Now as we have studied the scriptures and heard many sermons preached that Jesus was known for his skills as a Master Teacher, and of course Nicodemus was a respected teacher of IsraelNicodemus was part of a group whose prestige had suffered the most because of Jesus popularity.  The Pharisees were the conservatives in Israel.  They held all the Scriptures in high regard.  They believed in eternal life.  They were the ones most people thought would be able to identify the long-awaited Messiah and announce Him to the people.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees had begun to think of the coming Messiah as one who would elevate and honor them when He came.  But Jesus showed no inclination to do this.  Instead, He called all to repentance, even the Pharisees.  He made it painfully clear to the Pharisees that their devotion to Scripture was undermined by their tendency to apply it wrongly and to exalt themselves over others.  Although they had diligently studied the Scriptures, they had not learned the central truths of Scripture: Justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

In this lesson, we understand that Jesus and Nicodemus had a private conversation late one night.  We do not know whether Nicodemus had an appointment.  We do not know what he wanted to say.  Nicodemus came to Jesus, but Jesus guided the conversation from the start.  In effect, Nicodemus took a step in the right direction, and Jesus met him more than halfway.

Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”  If Nicodemus purpose was to find out for himself whether Jesus was really a teacher from God, he did not have to wait long.  Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. “But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

Jesus take no prisoner’s way of teaching had to one of the toughest teachers Nicodemus had ever had to encounter. He allowed Jesus to challenge his understanding.  He did not shrink from revealing his ignorance about the second birth.  He listened.  In spite of the fact that he was a teacher, he was willing to be taught.  Jesus did not disappoint.

Now I ask of you, to join Nicodemus here this night and listen to how a Master Teacher teaches the lesson of our New Birth.  He says, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

When we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and here we can see clearly that Jesus provided Nicodemus with the gospel truth, and Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God’s love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night.  What about you, have you seen the light and excepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF DARK

 NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF DARK 

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit with Jesus?  This is a question that has been debated by scholars for centuries, and unfortunately the scriptures do not give us a crystal clear and compelling answer.  However, what we do know is this, “Nicodemus is a Pharisee at the top of his field. Not only is he a member of the Sanhedrin, he is the most renowned Bible teacher of his day.  We also know that the Jewish religious leaders were divided into several groups.  Two of the most prominent groups were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The Pharisees separated themselves from anything non-Jewish and carefully followed both the Old Testament laws and the oral traditions handed down through the centuries.  As a “leader,” he was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  Although the Romans controlled Israel politically, the Jews were given some authority over religious and minor civil disputes.  The Jewish ruling body was the council made up of seventy-one of Israel’s religious leaders.

The question before us is still, “why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit Jesus and

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

what motivated him to come in the first place?”  Under the cover of darkness, this well respected and influential religious man, this prominent national leader of noble decent and inherited wealth, this intellectual man who wielded great religious authority, this designated secret spokesman who represented some of his colleagues from the Jewish ruling council, waits until the cover of darkness to sneak in for a visit with Jesus.  This remains me of the way some of us prefer to do things [under the cover of darkness].

However, this question still rattles our brain, but from what we understand from scripture, we can try and fill in some of the blanks.  First, we know that Nicodemus was both impressed and curious about Jesus and chose to form his opinions about him from firsthand conversation.  Second, it is possible that he did not want to be seen with Jesus in broad daylight because he feared reproach from his fellow Pharisees (who did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah).  Finally, it might not have been fear that brought Nicodemus in the cover of dark; but it is possible that he chose a time when he could talk alone and at length with the popular teacher who was often surrounded by people.

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

No matter how we look at this question, how we think about it as it might relate to us, it still remains that Nicodemus chose the cover of dark to visit with Jesus.  However, what Nicodemus did not know are understand was that his own night was blacker than he knew.  He was living in complete darkness and he did not know that truth, was about to be revealed to him.

Now as he sit before the Master Teacher, this is what Jesus tells him, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

What a tragedy that people have turned away from God’s offer, embracing instead the darkness in hopes of covering up evil actions.  There is probably no more painful moment than when we honestly confront our tendency to love darkness, to twist or withhold the truth.  The Son did not come to judge, but in the light of his character the sharp shadows of our sinfulness stand out.  The people who hate the light are those who want to sin in the darkness.  Evil deeds are revealed by the light, so people who want to do evil must do it in the dark so they cannot be exposed and caught in the act.

According to the context, to do what is right is to come to Christ, the light; the result of coming to the light and living in the light will be clearly seen in believer’s lives.  Christ’s life in us will make our lives able to stand exposure to bright light, for our deeds will be honest, pure, and truthful.  Now we can truly see that Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night under the cover of darkness with a meeting with the Master Teacher.

In closing, I leave you with this question, “Are you a modern day Nicodemus, living in the darkness, and seeking answers?”  Know that it is time to open yourself up and be exposed to God’s shining light.  Know the truth and the truth will set you FREE.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VISIT OUR HOME PAGE: http://wp.me/Pf75v-Uu

 

 

 

FINDING TRUTH IN THE ETERNAL REALITY OF GOD’S MERCIES

FINDING TRUTH IN THE ETERNAL REALITY OF GOD’S MERCIES

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

 

Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God

THE ETERNAL REALITY (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE ETERNAL REALITY (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

A sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.

MEN PASS FROM SELF TO TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

MEN PASS FROM SELF TO TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.  (ROMANS 12:1-2)

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY PART 2

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY PART 2

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

In today’s discussion we will continue to focus our attention on how we are to live daily for Christ by presenting our whole body as a living Sacrifice, because this is how God wants us to live out our lives and the Bible says this to us, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)

Our bodies are the Holy Kingdom of God and that includes our Minds, our Thoughts, our Emotions, our Praise, our Service, it is the entire package of our being.  It is the place the Holy Spirit takes up residents and in order for the Holy Spirit to dwell there continuously we must deny self and allow Truth to become Reality.

How do you understand truth when we allow our negative emotions to take control of our thought process, we speak words that are hurtful and sometimes dangerous to another person’s life, accuse others of thinking more highly of themselves without looking first within ourselves?  Truth is learning to deny self and seek the higher understanding of who God is, who we are and who we are in God.  When we do this we soon discover our own displeasures with our life when we refuse to accept Truth as Reality.  At this point it provides us with an opportunity to re-examine self and place self in its proper perspective for training and future growth in making our bodies holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

In my many years of studying and teaching I have discovered that the hardest thing for a person to do is to let go of self and accept Truth as Reality.  They cling to self by denying Truth, because they believe in self, they love self and really deny truth because truth is too simple for them to wrap their minds around.  It becomes a frighten experience to fully comprehend.  Now I say to you, if you want Truth to be birthed in you, there is only one way for it to happen, and that is, you must let go of self and allow self to die.  It is time that we transform our thinking and begin to live for Christ.

CHILDREN OF GOD, may your day be one of peace, love and joy.  As you live for Christ, allow His blessings to fill you life with the abundantly fruits that He has set aside just for you.  In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!

 

 

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

This week we will be studying Romans 12:1-2, learning how we can live for Christ when Truth meets Reality.  The Bible tells us to know the Truth and the Truth will set us Free.  How we get to that truth will be the basics of our teaching this week.  Here is what Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  This is the reality of the truth we must come to know if we are to live for Christ.

Now let me share this truth with you as we begin this week in the newness of the Holy Spirit working through us.  There is but one religion, and that religion is the religion of Truth.  There is also but one error, and that error is of self.  Sometimes we allow self to get in the way of Truth.  Where self is, we will not find Truth, where Truth is self is not.  Therefore, let us discover Truth within ourselves about ourselves and move self out of the way and learn to live each day for Christ.  Jesus declared that if any man wishes to be His Disciple, he must deny himself daily.

Finally, let us learn that self is the denial of Truth.  Truth is the denial of self.  As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth.  As you cling to self, truth will be hidden from you.  Now know this,  “LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH WILL MEET REALITY!

 

 

JESUS MET THE WOMAN AT THE WELL (PART 2 OF 2)

JESUS MET THE WOMAN AT THE WELL (PART 2 OF 2)

JACOB'S WELL (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

JACOB’S WELL (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

NOW WOMAN, GO AND GET YOUR HUSBAND (John 4:16-26 MSG)

In part 2 of this most important study, we pick up the story of the Samaritan woman who by chance met Jesus at the well.  After Jesus had offered her to drink the living water, Jesus abruptly shifted the subject from his living water to her style of living.  The woman perceived her need for living water at one level.  Jesus knew that her need was far deeper, so he turned the conversation to reveal his knowledge of her personal life, and her sin of adultery.  So here is what Jesus told the woman to do:

He said, “Woman go and get your husband.” Jesus wanted to make this woman see her sin and her need for forgiveness and then offer her the living water, salvation.  She must have realized that this was not a man who could be fooled, for she answered transparently, 17-18 “I have no husband,” she said.”     ”That is nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You have had five husbands, and the man you are living with now is not even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”  The woman spoke the truth without any explanation.

Although he confronted the woman’s sinful life, Jesus managed to affirm her truthfulness.  He did not accuse or excuse; he simply described her life so that she could draw some clear conclusions about the mess in which she was living.  The conclusions we reach without knowing the facts will usually err in one of two directions:  We will accuse others and raise their defenses, or we will excuse others and enable their denial.  We see in Jesus communication with this woman that when faced with an accepting confrontation, people will often respond positively.  When we speak to others about themselves, we must limit our words to what we know.

Now the woman’s dandruff begins to rise and she says to Jesus,   “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this:  Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”

The woman acknowledged the truthfulness of Jesus remarks about her life.  At the same time, she recognized that he must be a prophet who had the power to “see” the hidden past as well as the future.  The theme of people “seeing” Jesus appears several times in John (especially in chapter 9).  The persons Jesus encountered saw him many different ways, but he consistently directed their attention to recognize him for who he really was, their Savior.

When we as CHILDREN OF GOD, begin to recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we will begin to worship Him in Spirit as we are commanded to do, we will have been filled with knowledge and power of the truth of who God is, who we are and who we are in Christ.

 

The expression “in spirit” refers to the human spirit, the immaterial, inner being in each person, the God-breathed entity that corresponds to the nature of God himself, who is Spirit.  Using the terms of Jesus conversation, worship involves the person’s awareness of that personal “spring of living water” that God has planted in each believer.  God indwells a believer that is where true worship takes place.  Our body can be anywhere, yet worship occurs as our attention and praise are turned toward God.  We need to consciously focus on God when we are in a house of worship because we easily assume that our presence in church is all that we need in order to worship.  We can usually remember how long the worship service lasted, but can we remember exactly when we actually worshiped the Lord?

In this discussion as Jesus met the woman at the well, Jesus sowed the seeds of salvation in her mind and sent her out to sow seeds in the minds of other Samaritans.  He was preparing the people for a great harvest to come.

We will conclude this discussion in our SUNDAY PRAYER, PRAISE AND WORSHIP SERVICE.  Until then, may the Lord’s blessings be upon each one of you, as you enjoy daily the fruits from His table of Blessings, in Jesus name, AMEN!

 

JESUS MET THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

JESUS OFFERS UP WATER TO THE WOMAN THAT HE HAD NO ROPE ARE BUCKET TO OBTAIN IT.  HOW WAS HE GOING TO GET THIS WATER?  (John 4:7-15 (MSG)

Let us understand the great offer that is set before this Samaritan woman.  If we were a businessperson, in the market to purchase a brand new automobile and this master salesperson was standing before us making us the greatest offer of a lifetime.  Offering to give us this brand new automobile FREE if only we would except His offer of what is not seem but guaranteeing that it would run for a life time and never need go stop at a gas station to be refilled, would you be willing to take Him up on it?  This is the type of offer, that Jesus was making to this Samaritan woman.

We as human beings require water daily because sooner or later we will become thirsty.  Jesus was offering water from Jacob’s well to satisfy the woman’s thirst, but only temporarily.  All type of drinks in this world will never satisfy our thirst.  As a matter of fact, some of them create even more thirst.  The human needs for love, food, sex, security, and approval, even when met, do not give complete satisfaction.  Attempts to find full satisfaction will lead only to disappointment and despair.  But the water Jesus offers takes away thirst altogether.  Jesus’ water continually satisfies the desire for God’s presence because it becomes a perpetual spring within us, giving us eternal life.  The lift that Jesus gives this perpetual spring, suggests the availability, accessibility, and abundance of the divine life for believers.

Now here is this Samaritan’s woman story as she challenges Jesus on how He is going to give her something that she cannot see. This is how Jesus humbly deals with the woman.   “A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

Two facts are unusual about this woman’s action. (1). the woman could have gone to a closer well.  (We have discovered that Scholars have identified wells that were much closer to Sychar);  (2) women generally drew water later in the day, when the temperature was cooler.  This woman, whose reputation seems to have been well known in the small town probably chose the well farther away from home and came to that well at an unusual hour in order to avoid contact with other women.  It was also highly unusual for a man to address a woman, but Jesus said, “Please give me a drink.”

The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days would not be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)  It was known that a Jewish male would not even speak to a Samaritan woman.  This woman in particular had a bad reputation and this was a public place.  To make matters worse, a Jew would not even be caught, drinking from a Samarian’s cup.  The Jewish ceremonial laws described not only certain people as ceremonially unclean, but also anything they touched.  In strict religious terms, many Jews of Jesus time considered the Samaritans permanently unclean.

Now listen to how Jesus addressed the issue, “Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”  This woman was very ignorant of the gift God had for her, the gift of life, represented by living water, and she did not know the giver, Jesus the Messiah.  Jesus makes an extraordinary offer to this woman, living water that would quench her thirst forever.

The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

Jesus’ remark concerning “living water” produced several practical questions in the mind of the Samaritan woman.  Like Nicodemus, she did not immediately sense the depth of Jesus’ words.  Obviously, if this living water was at the bottom of the well, Jesus was in no position to offer it because he had no rope or bucket for drawing it.  She began to wonder if Jesus had access to some source of water other than Jacob’s well.  She asked if he thought he was greater than their ancestor Jacob and could somehow offer better water.  Perhaps the woman sensed in Jesus words a probable dishonoring of the well provided by their great ancestor.  On the other hand, perhaps the woman was beginning to have some inkling of who Jesus was claiming to be.  He certainly accepted her in a way that must have challenged her thinking.

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”  This woman’s response reveals that she took Jesus’ words literally.  The woman must have been thrilled to think that this man could give her water that really quenches thirst and would not have to be drawn from a sell.  Obtaining water was hard work, requiring trips to the well twice a day and carrying heavy jars full of water home.  If she had some of that water, she would never be thirsty again and wouldn’t have to haul water every day.

This concludes the first part of this woman’s story, we will pick this back up in part two when Jesus tells the woman these words, He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”

May God continue to bless each one of you. Today I minister to you from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity in Jesus name. I remain Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

 

HAVE YOU ANSWERED YOUR CALL FROM THE LORD?

HAVE YOU ANSWERED YOUR CALL FROM THE LORD?

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE AND READY FOR HARVEST (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE AND READY FOR HARVEST (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

THE HARVEST IS RIPE BUT THE LABORS ARE FEW (MATTHEW 9:36-38)

We begin our lesson today and for the rest of the week praying for labors to go forth and gather in the Gospel Harvest.  We asked the question, “HAVE YOU ANSWERED YOUR CALL FROM THE LORD?  Now we set before you the path in which it all must unfold by asking this next question; “How can we be in real sympathy with Christ unless we love the work of laboring in this Gospel harvest, and long to be commissioned to go forth and put in our sickle with our own hand?”  “THE HARVEST IS RIPE BUT THE LABORS ARE FEW!”

Most certainly, if we were in Christ‘s spirit we should say — I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I strengthen till it be accomplished? We should cry out, Lord, let me go! Let me go — for dying millions are just now perishing in their sins. How can I pray God to send out others if I am in heart unwilling to go myself? I have heard many say — O that I was young; how I should rejoice to go myself. This seems like a state of mind that can honestly pray for God to send forth laborers.

The spirit of this prayer implies that we are willing to make any personal sacrifices in order to go. Are not men always willing to make personal sacrifices in order to gain the great object of their heart‘s desire? Did ever a merchant, seeking goodly pearls, find one of great value but he was quite willing to go and sell all that he had and buy it?

Moreover, an honest heart before God in this prayer implies that you are willing to
do all you can to prepare your selves to accomplish this work. Each young man or young woman should say God requires something of me in this work. It may be God wants you as a servant in some missionary family; if so, you are ready to go. No matter what the work may be no labor done for God or for man is degrading. In the spirit of this prayer, you will say — If I may but wash the feet of my Lord‘s servants, I shall richly enjoy it. All young person’s especially, feeling that life is before them, should say — I must devote myself, in the most effective way possible, to the promotion of my Savior‘s cause. Suppose a man bows his soul in earnest prayer before. God, saying, “O Lord, send out hosts of men into this harvest-field,” does not this imply that he girds himself up for this work with his might? Does it not imply that he is ready to do the utmost he can in any way whatever?

Again, this prayer, made honestly, implies that we do all we can to prepare others to go out. Our prayer, will be, “Lord, give us hearts to prepare others, and get as many ready as possible and as well prepared as possible for the gathering in of this great harvest.”

Of course it is also implied that we abstain from whatever would hinder us, and make no arrangements that would tie our hands. Many young Christians do this, sometimes heedlessly, often in a way which shows that they are by no means fully set to do God‘s work, first of all.

When we honestly pray God to send out laborers, and our own circumstances allow us to go, we are to expect that He will send us. What! Does God need laborers of every description, and will He not send us? Depend on it, He will send out the man who prays right, and whose heart is deeply and fully with God. And we need not be suspicious lest God should lack the needful wisdom to manage His matters well. He will put all His men where they should be, into the fields they are best qualified to fill. The good reaper will be put into his post, sickle in hand; and if there are feeble ones who can only glean, He puts them there.

One indispensable part of this preparation is a heart for it. Most plainly so, for God wants no men in Hisharvest-field whose hearts are not there. You would not want workmen in your field who have no heart for their work. Neither does God. But He expects us to have this preparation. And He will accept of no man’s excuse from service that he has no heart to engage in it. The want of a heart for this work is not your misfortune, but your fault, your great and damning sin.

 

WHERE WOULD WE BE TODAY WITHOUT GOD’S AMAZING GRACE?

WHERE WOULD WE BE TODAY WITHOUT GOD’S AMAZING GRACE?

As we go through life day by day, trying to understand our amazing lives, our purpose for being here which includes our destination, and how we are able to travel towards that goal we have set for ourselves, although we stumble and fall, we soon discover that we all have a story to tell.

Our stories on the surface may seem to be different, but when we look deeply at where we are and how we got to where we are, the story lines begin to merge and we all begin to repeat the same line we “are saved” by “grace.”  It was nothing but God’s amazing grace that brought me through the darkness of this wilderness and into His marvelous lightGrace is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a true spiritual gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to us humans for our regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.

I have come to see the doctrine of the God’s Amazing Grace  as one of the dominant themes of the Bible. In musical terms, God’s Amazing Grace is like the melody line of a beautiful song, and the greatest song of all that comes to my mind is, “Amazing Grace.”  As a rule, only one note carries the melody, and all of the other notes serve to compliment that note with a harmony. I believe that grace is the dominant note in God’s dealings with man. His justice, His holiness, His omnipotence, and His omniscience are all an integral part of the music of His character and activities, but grace stands apart and above them all.

Now pause with me for a moment and let us listen to one of my favorite songs that really tell the true story of God’s redeeming quality for all of us who have accepted Jesus, as our Lord and savior, and then we will continue this discussion on the other side of this beautiful melody.

When I look back over my life, I know that it was nothing but God’s amazing grace that brought me through my trials and tribulations, and I am certain you will say the same.  This amazing grace comes only from the Lord and is simply the God-given desire and the power to do God’s will.

In order to help us truly appreciate and understand the value that this one song has done to help transform our lives and the lives of people all over the world, let me share with you the history of this great song.  Now please take note of this next video because it does provide us with a deep understanding of the History of this song Amazing Grace as this part of the lesson is taught by Dr. Wintley Phipps.  We will join you in words once again when Dr. Phipps has concluded.

Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779. With a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins people commit and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. “Amazing Grace” was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses, and it may have been chanted by the congregation without music. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns, but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States however, “Amazing Grace” was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named “New Britain” to which it is most frequently sung today.

Author Gilbert Chase writes that “Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually.  It has had particular influence in folk music, and become an emblematic African American spiritual. Its universal message has been a significant factor in its crossover into secular music. “Amazing Grace” saw a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and has been recorded thousands of times during and since the 20th century, sometimes appearing on popular music charts.  Now let us pause again, and listen to one of the world’s greatest singers, “Mahalia Jackson.”

I know deep in my soul that this song has had an impact on your thought process.  It has made you pause and think for a moment just why God has allowed you to be where you are in your life today.  When we understand and can comprend in our thought process the deep meaning of these words, we know in our hearts that it was only by His grace, we were spared, the wrath we deserve.  Instead, we receive the favor we do not deserve. Why is this true? The answer is found in the two words: through Christ. It is because of Christ’s death in our place that we do not experience the wrath of God, which we so richly deserve. Jesus satisfied God’s justice and turned away God’s wrath from us by bearing it Himself on our behalf. Now God can extend mercy to us without subverting His justice. Mercy and justice meet together at the cross.

Jesus did more, however, than satisfy God’s justice and turn aside His wrath. By His perfect obedience, He earned for us all of God’s favor, all of His blessings. To use my kid’s illustration, they would say, Dad, “He mowed the grass, trimmed the hedges, washed the windows and painted the porch. He did it all. He perfectly obeyed all the law of God, and He did it in our place.”  Just as He died in our place, so He also obeyed in our place. That is why those two words “through Christ” are so critical to the definition of grace. Without Christ’s work for us, there could be no grace.

Therefore, when we speak of God’s grace, we mean all the good gifts we enjoy freely in this life, and there are so many. We could spend a lifetime celebrating them, and there is no need to attempt to list them here.  Your own life is a mirror of them all. A summary approach is to affirm that life itself is the fundamental gift, with all its delights. For us, the gift of life includes the wondrous gift of being human, finding ourselves plopped down in the midst of the larger gift of creation. That is the bedrock of gracecreation, life, and human being. As humans, we are given a unique place in the created order.

Now please allow me to conclude with this thought, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.  Do you believe it was grace and nothing but grace that has brought you through many dangers, tolls and snares.  Do you believe that it was nothing but grace that has brought you safe thus far, and it will be nothing but grace that will lead you home?  Grace, God’s Amazing grace; how sweet the sound that saved a wretch, the likes of me! WHERE WOULD WE BE TODAY WITHOUT GOD’S AMAZING GRACE?  I have ministered to you today from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity.  I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

HOW YOU CAN ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE

HOW YOU CAN ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE

THE HEART OF THE CROSS IS KING JESUS HE DIED UPON THE CROSS THAT WE MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (Photo by Pastor Davis)

THE HEART OF THE CROSS IS KING JESUS HE DIED UPON THE CROSS THAT WE MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The word “eternal” means without beginning and without end, denoting a continual existence including past, present, and future. As applied to human existence, the Bible indicates that the spirit or soul is indestructible and eventually returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). This thought is expressed by Paul who attests to God’s overall plan whereby God is “all in all” (I Cor. 15:24-28). Thus, one might well say that eternal life includes the present, or “Today is the first day of the rest of your eternal life.”

Just as there are rewards for followers of Christ, there are judgments of the works of both believers and nonbelievers. Jesus said that all authority to judge the living and the dead is his (John 5:22;17:2; Acts 10:42;I Peter 4:5). In a sense, failure to receive blessings because of failure to ask, asking wrongly, or continued anxiety and fear by not heeding the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount are all indicative of a present judgment. As the proverbs say, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1) and “the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:16). As we have seen, Jesus assured his listeners that a follower of his and a doer of his words is assured of having his or her needs met and eternal life, including the glories of the resurrection-life (Mk. 10:28-30).

The New Testament sets out a concept of a gradation of regard for believers based upon their Christian good works (Matt. 16:27), their works being tested as by fire (I Cor. 3:13-15). In this respect, the epistles frequently warn believers against backsliding and the loss of reward.  [Note the six warnings in the book of Hebrews 3:7-13;4:1-11; 5:11-14; 6:1-9; 10:26-39; 12; also II Peter 2:20-22] A righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward (Matt. 10:41), and one who shows compassion in Jesus’name will not lose his or her reward (Matt. 10:42;Mk. 9:41). Those who reject the Father and the Son will be judged, and punishment will be meted out for the wrongs which they have committed (Col. 3:25). They are as “cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13;24:51; 25:30).   Those who seek after the plaudits of men have their reward (Matt. 6:2). One should enter in by the “narrow gate” to life, for “broad is the way which leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Therefore, one should not lay up for himself or herself material treasures on earth, but should lay up treasures in heaven, for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

God is merciful, and Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears his voice and opens the door, he will enter and they shall dine together. But there is a reckoning, and the son of man will separate the “sheep” from the “goats. “Those who have helped the less fortunate and have done it for Jesus shall inherit the kingdom. Those who have not helped others have failed Jesus and will receive punishment (Matt. 25:31-46). The meting out of judgment is portrayed in Revelation depicting God as sitting on a great white throne judging the dead according to their works. The books are opened including the book of life. Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life is subject to punishment. It is decreed that the enemies of God and mankind be cast into the “lake of fire.” These include Satan, the false prophet, and the beast who has opposed God, death, Hades, and “whoever was not found written in the book of life” (Rev. 20:10-15). There is also described a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem in which there reside only those who are over comers and those who are “athirst of the fountain.” These are given the water of life freely (Rev. 21:1-27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:12-13).

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Nicodemus as a teacher in his own right found himself in an odd position of being taught when he asked Jesus this question: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “Be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”  By his own lack of knowledge, Nicodemus was now in for a rude awaken, and Jesus was about to teach him and all of us a lesson in how to be born again that neither he nor we would ever soon forget.

Now as we have studied the scriptures and heard many sermons preached that Jesus was known for his skills as a Master Teacher, and of course Nicodemus was a respected teacher of IsraelNicodemus was part of a group whose prestige had suffered the most because of Jesus popularity.  The Pharisees were the conservatives in Israel.  They held all the Scriptures in high regard.  They believed in eternal life.  They were the ones most people thought would be able to identify the long-awaited Messiah and announce Him to the people.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees had begun to think of the coming Messiah as one who would elevate and honor them when He came.  But Jesus showed no inclination to do this.  Instead, He called all to repentance, even the Pharisees.  He made it painfully clear to the Pharisees that their devotion to Scripture was undermined by their tendency to apply it wrongly and to exalt themselves over others.  Although they had diligently studied the Scriptures, they had not learned the central truths of Scripture: Justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

In this lesson, we understand that Jesus and Nicodemus had a private conversation late one night.  We do not know whether Nicodemus had an appointment.  We do not know what he wanted to say.  Nicodemus came to Jesus, but Jesus guided the conversation from the start.  In effect, Nicodemus took a step in the right direction, and Jesus met him more than halfway.

Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”  If Nicodemus purpose was to find out for himself whether Jesus was really a teacher from God, he did not have to wait long.  Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. “But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

Jesus take no prisoner’s way of teaching had to one of the toughest teachers Nicodemus had ever had to encounter. He allowed Jesus to challenge his understanding.  He did not shrink from revealing his ignorance about the second birth.  He listened.  In spite of the fact that he was a teacher, he was willing to be taught.  Jesus did not disappoint.

Now I ask of you, to join Nicodemus here this night and listen to how a Master Teacher teaches the lesson of our New Birth.  He says, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

When we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and here we can see clearly that Jesus provided Nicodemus with the gospel truth, and Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God’s love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night.

FREE FROM THE ENSLAVING POWER OF SIN

FREE FROM THE ENSLAVING POWER OF SIN

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

 

The Saving Powers of the Cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Saving Powers of the Cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who are faithful.  God loved us so that he sent his Son to break the Enslaving Power of Sin on our lives through his redemptive death on the cross. Though we humans are weak and unworthy God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The fact is that no human being can break the power of sin and stand righteous before a living God. God in his grace choose to reign over those guilty who surrender, and put their trust in him, through Jesus we become innocent, children of the King, the power of sin and death is broken.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus fills our hearts with hope, love, joy and peace. When we face the

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Se...

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free (Photo credit: ashley.adcox)

Powers of Darkness we are encouraged to stand firm in faith, the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of.  If God is for us, who is against us? In all creation nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

As Jesus prayed for his followers his main concern was that they follow the pattern and to genuinely show love and concern for one another.  He knew that they would face stiff opposition because he himself had. Even so, he didn’t live according to the world standards or his chosen followers; he prayed that God would guard them from the Evil One because he knew the competition for their souls would be fierce.

The ultimate goal was and is for all to become one heart and mind in Christ so that the world might  desire to know him and his teachings, to  encourage others by making known to them Gods’ word, that through Jesus Christ the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of.

Jesus was faithful to the end (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus was faithful to the end (Photo by Pastor Davis)

So, take a good hard look at Christ Jesus, the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in all God gave him to do. The Holy Spirit prompts us to listen and watch our step, make sure we remain faithful so that we are not easily sidetracked by the Evil One.  For as long as it’s still God’s today, stay alert and keep a grip on the sure thing, Jesus, because we are in the race committed to the call, reminded that the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of and that we are free in Christ Jesus.

Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let us not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest that is out of touch with reality. He has been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but sin; so let’s walk right up to him and get what he is ready to give. Take the mercy, and accept the help (Hebrews 4:14-16, MGS).

The Enslaving Power of Sin conquered once and for all to those whose desire is to know who the Savior really is and one’s purpose in life. Let us live life with an attitude of praise, prayer and thanksgiving, a life in which we are able to share love, joy and peace with genuine concern for one another.

Today, I leave you with my peace, that God will bless your life abundantly and provide you with the desires of your heart.  Now live in expectances of the moment, for God is watching over your life and has provided you with unknown powers to grow in His grace and move higher in the providence of this life.

 

HOW JESUS DEFEATED SATAN IN OPEN COMBAT

HOW JESUS DEFEATED SATAN IN OPEN COMBAT

We all will face temptation of some sort in our lives.  How we deal with it will be a test of our faith and determination to always be obedient to the word of God.  In today’s market place with so many people facing poverty, and their faith being tested by the devil daily from lack of the basic necessities of life, such as not enough food to eat, unable to pay their mortgages and car notes, not being able to find a job, the prices of everything continues to rise and the income of so many people remain unchanged.

TEMPTATION (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

In our quest to rise from the jaws of defeat and grow in God’s grace by living a righteous life and not subsuming to Satan’s temptation, we will do well to learn how Jesus took Satin on in open combat and defeated him.  After Jesus baptism, he left the Jordan River to go out into the wildernessJesus then took the offensive against his enemy, the Devil, by going into the wilderness to face temptation.  Now I ask you, would you put yourself in the same situation, knowing today how cunning the Devil is?

Now let us be under no false elusion concerning the Devil.  He is a real being, a created yet rebellious fallen angel, and not a symbol or an idea.  He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey GodSatan is not omnipresent, nor is he all powerful.   Through the evil spirits under his dominion, Satan works everywhere attempting to draw people away from God and into his own darkness.

It was the Holy Spirit that compelled Jesus into the wilderness where God put Jesusto the test not to

THE BEAUTY OF BEING AND EXISTENCE IN THE WILDERNESS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

see if Jesus was ready, but to show that he was ready for his missionSatan, however, had other plans; he hoped to thwart Jesus mission by tempting him to do evil.  Why was it necessary for Jesus to be tempted?  Temptation is part of the human experience.  For Jesus to be fully human, he had to face temptationJesus had to undo Adam’s workAdam, though created perfect, gave in to temptation and passed sin on to the whole human race.  Jesus, by contrast, resisted Satan.  His victory offers salvation to Adam’s descendants.

We can assume from our studies that during those forty days, Jesus ate nothing; therefore at the end he was very hungryJesus status as God’s Son did not make this fast any easier; his physical body suffered the severe hunger and pain of going without sustenance.  The three temptations recorded in the scriptures which we will now discuss here was at his most a physically weakened state.

Now let us look at the first temptation, what was said and how Jesus handled it.  The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread. “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”  (Luke 4:3-4 AMP)  On the surface, this might seem to be a fairly harmless act, even a compassionate suggestion.  Jesus was very hungry, so why not use the resources at his command and change a stone into a loaf of bread?  In this case, however, the sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it.  The Devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve his immediate problem at the expense of his long range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his disciplineSatan often works that way—persuading people to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time.  The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for someone at a given time.  Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God’s will or ahead of his timetable.

As we stated in the beginning of this lesson, “we will all face some sort of temptation at some point in our lives, how we deal with them at the moment we are confronted with it will be the test of whether we fail are if we endure to fight another day.  Jesus understood that obedience to the Father’s mission was more important than food.  Making himself bread would have shown that he had not quite set aside all his powers, had not humbled himself, and had not identified completely with the human race.  But Jesus refuse, showing that he would use his powers only in submission to God’s plan.

GOD’S VAST RESOURCES (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in their entire splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”  (Luke 4:5-7 AMP).  Now the Devil truly does have his game face on, and by offering Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, he figures he has him right where he wants him and Jesus seeing that the Devil can offer him the world that was once his, Jesus will more than jump for this grand offer.

The Devil’s grand plan was to succeed in his rebellion against God by diverting Jesus from his mission and winning his worship.  Satan tempted Jesus to take the world as an earthly Kingdom right hen, without carrying out the plan to save the world from sin.  For Jesus, that meant obtaining his promised dominion over the world without experiencing the suffering and death of the crossSatan offered a painless shortcut.  But Satan didn’t understand that suffering, and death were a part of God’s plan that Jesus had chosen to obey.

The fact that Jesus could see all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time supports the view that this experience was visionary.  The focus is not on the mountain, but on those kingdoms that were (and are) under Satan’s dominion (John 12:3).  Satan offered to give dominion over the world to Jesus.  This challenged Jesus obedience to God’s timing and will.  Satan’s temptation was, in essence, “Why wait?  I can give this to you now!”  Of course, the offer had a catch:  “If you will bow down and worship me.”

We know Jesus was not about to do this, so what was he to do?  Jesus once again following scripture, backed  his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”  For Jesus to gain rule over the world by worshiping Satan would not only be a contradiction (Satan would still be in control), but it would also break the first commandment, “You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him: (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 13).  To accomplish his mission of bringing salvation to the world, Jesus would take the path of submission to God.

Now as we come into the home stretch of Satan trying to out for nest the master, scripture says this,

Upon this Rock Satan commands Jesus to Jump (Photo by Pastor Davis)

“For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”  (Luke 4:9-11 AMP).

Whether the Devil physically took Jesus to Jerusalem, or whether this occurred in a vision is unclear.  In any case, Satan was setting the stage for his next temptationJesus had quoted Scripture in response to ‘Satan’s other temptations.  Here Satan tried the same tactic with Jesus: he used Scripture to try to convince Jesus to sinSatan was quoting from Psalm 91:11-12 to support his request.  The psalm describes God’s protection for those who trust him.  Obviously Satan was misinterpreting Scripture, making it sound as though God protests even through sin, removing the natural consequences of sinful acts. Jumping from the roof in order to test God’s protection for those who, while being in his will and serving him, find themselves in danger.  It does not promise protection for artificially created crises in which Christians call to God in order to test his love and care.

An artificially created crisis is what we as the people of America and the world find ourselves in today with our government leaders.  This is causing hardship on many people, providing Satan with powers to set us up for destruction and disobedient of God’s will, but Jesus would have none of this and we as faithful servant’s should study Jesus mode of face to face combat with this powerful enemy, and perhaps we could learn a thing or two in how we can face Satin down when he attacks us.

Remember, the Bible clearly teaches us, to study in order that we may gain the knowledge to activate the powers God has already provided to us in order that we may fight Satin with the same tools as Jesus did.

Wide-margin Study Bible

Wide-margin Study Bible (Photo credit: agent_mikejohnson)

Now this is how Jesus handles Satan’s third and final attach at this time.  He said, “ [The Scripture] says, You shall not tempt (try,test exceedingly) the Lord your God. (Luke 4:12 AMP).  Jesus used the Scripture with an understanding of the true meaning.  The facts were that while God promises to protect his people, he also requires that they not test him.  In the passage in Deuteronomy 6:16, Moses was referring to an incident during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, recorded in Exodus 17:1-7.  The people were thirsty and ready to commit mutiny against Moses and return to Egypt if he did not provide them with water.  Jesus knew that for him to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple, would have been a ridiculous test of God’s power, and it would have been out of God’s will.  Jesus knew that his Father could protect him; he also understood that all his actions were to be focused on fulfilling his Father’s mission.

Jesus remains to this day obedient to his Father’s will and not to Satin’s temptation.  Now my question is to each one of you again, how would you have handled Satin’s attempts to provide you with money, fame and power over the world in light of your present situation?

We encourage you, to be obedient to God, and do not allow Satin to take you out of God’s will.  It is the only will that can provide you with eternal life.  So please stop taking it for granted.  The choice is clearly yours to make.  No one forces you to do wrong.  So chose this day, whom you will serve.  We minister to you from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity.  I remain your brother in CHRIST, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER!

HOW SIN AND THE LAW WILL TRIP YOU UP

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOW SIN AND THE LAW WILL TRIP YOU UP

CHILDREN OF GOD, understand this one truth if you never understand anything else in your entire life that we teach you here daily, and that is, “Sin is Sin,” there is no little sin and there is no big sin. “SIN AND THE LAW WILL TRIP YOU UP,” and send you straight to hell, you want be able to pass GO and collect your $200.00 or receive a get out of HELL FREE CARD.

Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, it was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God’s good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.

I can already hear your next question: “Does that mean I can’t even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?” No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.

I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

THE ANSWER, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. (Roman 7:10-25 MSG)

CHILDREN OF GOD, now is the time to be obedient to the word of God, understand the truth that is in this message, study to show yourself approved and know without a doubt that, “ SIN AND THE LAW WILL TRIP YOU UP!”

GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO BELIEVE

English: Saint paul arrested

English: Saint paul arrested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO BELIEVE

We are living in trouble times, in a world where physical death is certain.  However, for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior will receive the gift of eternal life.  This is a free gift from God, and Jesus told us about this gift in (John 3:16 NKJV) when he spoke these words.  Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  The Apostle Paul further confirms this in (Romans 10:9-13 ESV) when he says this, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”

God never makes a promise that He will not fulfill. “GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO BELIEVE!

Our lesson today finds Apostle Paul locked away in prison for the crime of preaching the gospel. When he is brought before the judge to face trial for his actions, he soon discovers how much alone he stood.  No one at all came to speak in Paul’s defense or to stand by in his support; everyone had abandoned him.  Although sorely disappointed, Paul seemed to understand; for he hoped that this would not be counted against them that he had clearly stood with and preached the gospel too that they might be saved by the word of God.

Now listen to how Paul describes the situation, Paul said, “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever.  (2 Timothy 4:16-18 ESV)!”

Have you ever been in this situation where you were condemned for speaking the truth and at the time, it seemed that the entire world was against you?

Although no human being had come to support Paul at his hearing, the Lord had stood with him, where Jesus promised help to those arrested for preaching the gospel.  Paul had sensed both the presence and the power of Christ giving him strength.  Christ had helped Paul not just for Paul’s benefit alone.  He had supplied Paul with spiritual power, wisdom, and preaching skills in order to preach the Good News in all its fullness for all the Gentiles to hear.  Even at the trial before the Roman authorities who were ready to execute this Christian leader, Paul had proclaimed the gospel!  That Paul was saved from certain death most likely described his deliverance from extreme danger.  Paul knew he wouldn’t get out of prison alive, though he was experiencing a temporary reprieve due to a delay in the Roman judicial system.

We as Christians are persecuted daily for our beliefs in Jesus Christ, and like Paul we will feel at times that everyone has abandoned us, we can find strength and comfort in Jesus words when he tells us that he will never leave us are forsake us. “GOD REWARDS THOSE WHO BELIEVE!”

OUR SALVATION IS PROVIDED FOR BY GRACE

OUR SALVATION IS PROVIDED FOR BY GRACE

Salvation (Photo by Pastor Davis)

In our studies today, we want to focus your attention on two words, and those two words are SALVATION and GRACE.  In all of our studies, if we don’t comprehend the importance of these two words, we will fail to achieve the eternal life that God has promised.

QUESTION 1:  WHAT IS SALVATION?

SALVATION IS a personal encounter with Jesus Christ Himself! Even though others may help you and pray for you, it is your personal prayers that must be, to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. No human being has the ability to absolve you from your sins! Confessing to a PASTOR or some other lay person may help relieve the guilt of one’s transgressions, but only MASTER JESUS can wash away your sinful past.

SALVATION IS true repentance! It is far more than “being forgiven.” In fact true repentance involves at least the following steps:

Admitting that you are a sinner and acknowledging that you need a Savior.

Asking God for Jesus sake to forgive you of all sins that are past!

Faith to believe in Jesus and that you are truly forgiven for your years of living in wickedness.

Thanking the Lord for His marvelous grace that redeems your poor lost soul.

Forsaking all known sin that had, for so long, been a part of your existence.

SALVATION IS a total commitment to Jesus Christ! In the “saved” condition you will continually seek and pray for new ways to live while being “in this world, but not of this world.”

SALVATION IS growth in grace! A brand new saint will find that he or she is saved from sin, and has a deep desire that drives one to grow more like Jesus every day. There will in time come a gradual realization that initial SALVATION rids one of all the “bad” things of life; but there is a need to consecrate everything to Him to the point that we are free of the bondage of the “good” things as well.

QUESTION 2:  WHAT IS GRACE?

Paul says in Romans chapter five, that we are justified by faith (v. 1). Faith means trusting God to love us, because of what he did in Jesus Christ, and entrusting ourselves wholeheartedly to that divine love. Salvation is by grace–we do not deserve God’s favor toward us and we can never earn it. We access this grace by faith, which means that we must always look outside ourselves for our SALVATION (2 Tim. 1:12).

We cannot perform the work which results in our salvation, for Jesus has already done that, once for all time. We cannot add to that finished work, or improve on it. We can only trust God to be gracious to us as he promises in Christ. If we picture grace as the room of God’s favor, we may think of faith as the door into that room (Rom. 5:1-2).

God accepts us because of Christ’s work on our behalf. We enjoy that grace by accepting it as fact, trusting it as sufficient, and throwing ourselves on it in total and eternal abandon, to become servants of righteousness and true holiness in Christ. We do not earn God’s favor. We cannot ever please Him enough to be given His blessings. We certainly could never pay for our own sins and be saved. But in Christ, God has brought together the justice that is his nature and the weakness that is ours: Christ became a man and took our place.

God’s grace deals with the weakness of our flesh because salvation does not depend on our weak flesh — Jesus has earned it for us already! It also takes into account God’s holiness, because sin is punished–by the death of God’s sinless Son! And so Paul can say to the Ephesians Christians For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

Therefore, let us attune our minds to the truth of God’s word, and get understand and know without a shadow of doubt that,  “OUR SALVATION IS PROVIDED FOR BY GRACE!”

 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHAMPION IN A GIVEN SPORT PART ONE

Headgear and boxing gloves are mandatory in Ol...

Headgear and boxing gloves are mandatory in Olympic boxing and amateur boxing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHAMPION IN A GIVEN SPORT

As a believer, we must have a champion mindset to compete the Christian life. The race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for is the calling of God. What does it take to be a champion in a given sport? For one, it is necessary to have a dedication to succeed no matter what the cost.  A passion for the game is certainly essential, as is a single-minded determination to accomplish the task.  A willingness to train incessantly is required.  In addition, a burning desire for the trophy or prize awarded to the one who wins is an absolute must.

In (1 Corinthians 9:26, Paul illustrates the “champion” mindset required to faithfully complete the Christian life with this statement, “I run thus; not with uncertainty” and “Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air.”  We understand from studying this verse that Paul was not an aimless competitor.  He had a clearly defined goal.  Like an athlete preparing for a race or a boxing match, Paul knew that he had to discipline his body; he had to force himself to maintain the strenuous, consistent practice needed for success.

The race that Paul prepared himself for, the race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for was the calling of God.  Paul taught, that Christians are rewarded for the calling that God gives them.

One weekend I was watching the sports news and heard something I had never heard before.  A sportscaster was covering a Las Vegas boxing match.  He reported that the match was stopped because one of the fighters had quit fighting in the middle of a round and started crying.  This burly brother just broke down in the middle of the fight.  They later learned that the fighter was physically, mentally, and emotionally unprepared to fight.  The promoter said he had tried several times to convince the fighter’s coach and trainers to cancel the bout because of concerns that the fighter had not completely recovered from a recent struggle with drug abuse.  He told them that the man wasn’t in any shape to box, but his camp insisted the fight go on as planned.  So they put him in the ring, and shortly thereafter, this out-of-shape athlete gave what he had.  When that ran out, he quit.  Moreover, he cried.

Obviously, he lost the fight.  If he had won, it would have been a significant step in his career, putting him on track toward the championship.  If his trainers had postponed the match, he might have won.  But they didn’t, and he lost.  He lost because he was out of shape.

Many of you are losing the fight.  You are losing spiritual battle after spiritual battle, not because you don’t know Jesus, or because you doubt the promises of God, but because you’re not spiritually fit.

In 1 Timothy, Paul painted a picture of an athlete who trained his body for competition.  He counseled Timothy, his rookie minister, to train and prepare himself for spiritual competition.  Paul said to be an effective minister; a true servant of the Lord, Timothy needed to exercise himself on a spiritual level.  Paul said, by comparison, that bodily or physical exercise is good, but its benefits are limited to the body, which is purposed to serve us only temporarily, only in this life.

However, spiritual fitness, or godliness, has lasting value.  Its benefits carry the believer through this life and the life to come.  As believers, we should prepare ourselves spiritually for the challenges and battles of our Christian walk.  Paul urged us to get in shape and stay in shape.  The choice is yours, what will you do, and how will you prepare yourself for Spiritual Fitness?

Now this concludes part one of this two part lesson.  In part two we will discuss with you, your options of training.  I remain as always, your brother in Jesus Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher!


NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Nicodemus as a teacher in his own right found himself in an odd position of being taught when he asked Jesus this question: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “Be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”  By his own lack of knowledge, Nicodemus was now in for a rude awaken, and Jesus was about to teach him and all of us a lesson in how to be born again that neither he nor we would ever soon forget.

Now as we have studied the scriptures and heard many sermons preached that Jesus was known for his skills as a Master Teacher, and of course Nicodemus was a respected teacher of IsraelNicodemus was part of a group whose prestige had suffered the most because of Jesus popularity.  The Pharisees were the conservatives in Israel.  They held all the Scriptures in high regard.  They believed in eternal life.  They were the ones most people thought would be able to identify the long-awaited Messiah and announce Him to the people.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees had begun to think of the coming Messiah as one who would elevate and honor them when He came.  But Jesus showed no inclination to do this.  Instead, He called all to repentance, even the Pharisees.  He made it painfully clear to the Pharisees that their devotion to Scripture was undermined by their tendency to apply it wrongly and to exalt themselves over others.  Although they had diligently studied the Scriptures, they had not learned the central truths of Scripture: Justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

In this lesson, we understand that Jesus and Nicodemus had a private conversation late one night.  We do not know whether Nicodemus had an appointment.  We do not know what he wanted to say.  Nicodemus came to Jesus, but Jesus guided the conversation from the start.  In effect, Nicodemus took a step in the right direction, and Jesus met him more than halfway.

Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”  If Nicodemus purpose was to find out for himself whether Jesus was really a teacher from God, he did not have to wait long.  Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. “But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

Jesus take no prisoner’s way of teaching had to one of the toughest teachers Nicodemus had ever had to encounter. He allowed Jesus to challenge his understanding.  He did not shrink from revealing his ignorance about the second birth.  He listened.  In spite of the fact that he was a teacher, he was willing to be taught.  Jesus did not disappoint.

Now I ask of you, to join Nicodemus here this night and listen to how a Master Teacher teaches the lesson of our New Birth.  He says, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

When we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and here we can see clearly that Jesus provided Nicodemus with the gospel truth, and Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God’s love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,106 other followers

%d bloggers like this: