Posts tagged ‘Kingdom’

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER A POPULAR TEACHER

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER A POPULAR TEACHER

PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS OF THE SITUATION (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Today as we  think on all the good things Jesus has done for each one of us, and if you were one of those people in the crowd more than 2000 years ago would you make the same choice as they did.  How can you be certain that you would or would not?  On what basics are you making your decision?

Now let us look at how scripture records that event.  We know from our studies that the Jewish leaders clamored for Jesus’ death, while a Gentile woman believed that Jesus was truly innocent.

People of these times placed a great deal of importance on dreams.  God was sending a warning to Pilate through his wife, but he did not heed it.  Pilate’ fear of losing his very prestige job made him not listen to his wife with the warning God had given to her to give to her husband.  Listen to the message she sent to her husband, 19Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him.”  (Matthew 27:19 AMP).

Now Pilate is caught up in a situation is regardless to how he truly feels about it and the fact that his wife is pressing upon him not to go through with it, if he wants to keep his job and prevent a riot from taking place, he must complete the task.  All the religious leaders went among the crowd, persuading the people to call for Barabbas to be released.  This is how the Bible describes the situation; 20But the chief priests and the elders prevailed on the people to ask for Barabbas, and put Jesus to death.  21Again the governor said to them, which of the two do you wish me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas!  Matthew 27:20-21)

The people knew that Barabbas was a revolutionary and a murderer, yet they still chose him over the Son of God, one who had done so much for them.  Faced with the same choice today, people are still choosing “Barabbas.”  They would rather have the tangible force of human power than the salvation offered by the Son of God.  Now think on this for a moment and look at your own life.

The crowd has really been wiped into frenzy and Pilate is caught in one big mess, so he says this to the crowd, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?  23They all replied, Let Him be crucified! And he said, Why? What has He done that is evil? But they shouted all the louder, Let Him be crucified!” 

24So when Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was about to break out, he took water and washed his hands in the presence of the crowd, saying, I am not guilty of nor responsible for this righteous Man’s blood; see to it yourselves. (Matthew 27:22-23 AMP)

This hand washing was performed as a gesture of innocence to show that one had nothing to do with a murder, was a Jewish custom, not a Roman one (Deuteronomy 21:6-9).  In trying to excuse himself and place the responsibility for an innocent man’s death on them, he followed the path already taken by the religious leaders as they dealt with Judas in 27:4, saying, “The responsibility is yours!”  In making no decision, Pilate made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus.  Although he washed his hands, the guilt remained.  How do you feel after you physically wash your hands, of a situation that you have been heavily involved in that you know was wrong?

 

JESUS TURNS HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO A GLORIOUS VICTORY

JESUS TURNS HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO A GLORIOUS VICTORY

HOW JESUS TURNED HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO THE MOST GLORIOUS VICTORY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN (Luke 23:26-35MSG)

Greetings to all My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we enter into the final week of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (which we call Easter), allow me to paint the picture of Jesus’ crucifixion in words and pictures for you. The story is a little longer than we normally present, but because of time constraints I did not want to break it up into two are three parts, just remember, this is not a normal story.

Therefore, I encourage you to listen up and read carefully what I am about to tell you: As they led him off,

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! And Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?”

Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, and the other on his left.

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of GOD—ha! The Chosen—ha!”

At the time of Jesus death, crucifixion was considered the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the ROMAN EMPIRE. It was considered so horrible that it was used by the Romans only for slaves, those from the provinces under their control, and the lowest types of criminals. It was not to be used for a ROMAN CITIZEN. This is in accord with the biblical account of CHRIST’S death and with church tradition, which asserts that Peter was also crucified, but Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded.

Crucifixion as a means of execution probably grew out of the practice of displaying the heads of captured enemies or criminals on a wooden stake, like those used to build a wall or erect fortifications. Later, entire bodies were impaled. By Jesus time, crucifixion was a common sight.

Although methods of crucifixion seem to have varied throughout the Roman Empire, through biblical and historical accounts the basic pattern is known. The condemned person was first scourged with a flagellum, a whip of leather thongs with bits of metal or bone attached. This whipping greatly weakened the victim, who then had to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A sign specifying the crime was often placed around the criminal’s neck or on the cross. The person was stripped naked, laid on the ground with the crossbeam under his shoulders, and tied or nailed to it. Nailing made the victim die quicker, as it did Jesus,

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

whom the Jewish officials wanted dead before the Sabbath. The crossbeam was lifted and secured to a post so that the person’s feet were hanging just off the ground. Some archaeologists think a pin or wooden block was placed halfway up the post to provide a seat for the body so that the nails would not tear open the wounds, causing the body to fall. The feet also could be nailed or tied to the post.

Although the pain was excruciating, some victims survived on the cross for days. As in the case of the two criminals crucified with Jesus, the legs of a crucified person were sometimes broken to make the sufferer die. This caused massive shock, followed by loss of circulation and heart failure.

Although completely innocent of all sin, Jesus suffered the most horrible, disgraceful punishment known. But His agonizing death was not an ordinary death, for it was not the final chapter. Jesus turned this apparent defeat into the most glorious victory the world has ever known. At the Cross, He suffered for the sins of the world. Then after His resurrection from the dead three days later, Jesus empowered His disciples with a new message, the Good News that He had finally defeated the power of sin and death. Through the Cross, Jesus offers salvation to all who will believe in Him.

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now listen to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49 KJV)

As this story clearly shows, there is power in the word for those who believe. God never makes a promise that he cannot fulfilled. It is up to you to always stand on God’s promise, believe it and watch God work in your life.

When the light seems to be the dimmest and the enemy is attacking you on all fronts it is time to stand still and watch God work. With God there is nothing that is impossible. God is truth, he is also the light, when you know the truth, not what you perceive is the truth, but what God has spoken of as truth, you can rest assured that you will have peace in your life, and your soul will be free to experience the manifestation of that truth and the light that God has promised. No weapon that the enemy may train its sights on you with, can penetrate the armor that God places around you. You are a child of God, and God will never allow any harm to come to those who keep his word, stand on faith, and not be swayed like the motions of the ocean, always going back and forth.

Now know this, God wants you to experience victory over all aspects of your life. He allowed himself to experience a horrible death on the cross in order that you might enjoy the fruits of life. He defeated sin and death in order that you may have eternal life. What more can anyone ask for, to know that if you believe in the word, except the word as ruler of your life, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you can have victory over the world.

Now in closing, let me state that believers today should always look to the cross in understanding GOD’S

The Cross is the Symbol of God's amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Cross is the Symbol of God’s amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

PLAN and purpose for their lives. The cross is no joke; it is the reality of Christ’s death for your victory over the world. You can continue to live in this world, partying and having fun, proclaiming that you are a Christian, but remember, your actions speak louder than your words. Jesus was not pretending when he allowed himself to be executed for our sins. We should obey the Lord in every detail as we seek to live a Christian life as we help those that are lost in Christ, find their way and understanding of THE HEART OF THE CROSS and what salvation truly means in their lives. If we truly want to know how to live a perfect life and experience victory over the enemy attacks on our well being, then I say to you right here in now, turn away from the world and look to Jesus as the perfect example.

May this lesson today be a blessing to your life and the people that God has placed in your life as a blessing to your soul.  Now we encourage you to use it, to bless others that we all may receive and experience God’s amazing grace.  I minister to you today from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity. I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

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

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

 

 

 

CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK

CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK

THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD’S SUPPER

WRITTEN BY HAROLD RUSSWURM

Much has been written concerning the Lord’s Supper and its observation. It is suggested that you carefully examine all that is contained in this writing and then study the Bible to get a complete study of what inspired writers had to say about the Lord’s Supper. This writing will address such matters as the institution of the supper by our Lord, the practice of early Christians, some of the written teachings to local congregations by the writers of the New Testament, and what is expected of those of us participating in the partaking of the Supper. We should remember that the teachings of the Bible must always take place over what man may write or say. God‘s Word is truth and we must follow it to be pleasing to Him. Quotations contained in this booklet are taken from the New American Standard version of the Holy Bible.

INSTITUTION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

Jesus, nearing his death upon the cross for the sins of all men, saw the necessity to provide a way whereby individual Christians could look back to the cross and remember Him. This was not the first time that some type of remembrance was used to help man recall a past event. After God had destroyed the world by water, He told Noah that He would make a covenant with man to never again destroy the world by water. To keep this firmly in the mind of man, God placed a rainbow in the sky and each time that man looked and saw the rainbow he would be reminded that God had made a promise to man. Today, many of us vividly call to our mind the occasion of the flood when we see a rainbow in the sky. You can read fully about this event in Genesis chapter 9 beginning with verse 8.

Just prior to the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, God had sent a plague to take the life of every first born unless a lamb had been killed and eaten, then a portion of the blood placed upon the two side posts and the upper post of the door in which the lamb had been eaten (Exodus 12:3-14). The lives of the children of those who fully obeyed the Lord’s command were spared, as were the first born of the animals. Moses had been very careful in his instructions to the children of Israel. As a result, all those that faithfully followed his instructions did not see death come to their households. Many did lose their children and animals since theyrefused to obey God. As the people of that day looked upon the blood that had been placed on the post, they recalled that the Lord had passed over the house since they had obeyed Him. This became a remembrance to them as to how God had been with them.

Very specific instructions were given to the priests under the law of Moses in the offering of sacrifices as to how each sacrifice was to be offered and the purpose for which it was being offered. God was not pleased unless the priest fully obeyed His instructions. Read about Nadab and Abihu and what happened to them for offering strange fire upon the alter (Lev 10:1,2).

A reading of the entire book of Leviticus gives a good background on the expectations of the priest under the law of Moses. As the lamb without spot or blemish was the sacrifice under the Old Law, Jesus Christ become sour sacrifice under the New Covenant which is the law under which we live today. Jesus was totally aware of all that had happened in times past since He was “from the beginning” (John 1: 1) and had known that He would eventually give His life for the sins of man. With His understanding, He instituted the Lord’s Supper as something that would be helpful to man in remembrance of His cross, suffering and death, as well as His resurrection. See Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14- 23 and I Corinthians 11:23-29.

In the three gospel accounts, we find that Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples and told them to “take and eat; this is My body.” Jesus blessed or prayed over the bread before it was broken. This was symbolic of His body as being whole and unblemished as it was offered as a sacrifice upon the cross. It was a perfect sacrifice and would provide many benefits for His disciples of that day and future generations as well as beneficial to all of those that had been followers in times past.

Today we are to express to our Father, through His Son, our thanks for the giving of His Son upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, prior to breaking the bread. This should help us to remember the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s body as it was offered upon the cross. As He underwent great suffering even so we today must be willing to suffer as His disciples. The breaking of the bread will strengthen us to be willing and prepared to undergo the suffering that may come into our lives as we live for Him. Jesus also took the cup and after having given thanks, gave it to His disciples and told them to drink of it, stating that it was to be done in remembrance of Him.

Some today misunderstand the matter of “the cup.” In eating the bread, we do not eat the dish on which it is served and in drinking the cup we do not drink the container. We drink the contents of the cup. It is the contents that Christ is setting forth as the memorial of His blood and not the container. Jesus tells the disciples on this occasion that His blood is given for the forgiveness of sins. He tells them that He will not participate with them in this Supper until He “drinks it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”

This signifies that today as we partake of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we are communing with the Lord. In order for us to receive the benefits, we must be in His Kingdom.

EARLY CHRISTIANS PARTAKE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

“And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7). From this reading, we find that Paul, along with other followers of Jesus, met together upon the first day (Sunday) of the week. Some would try and confuse us as to the day we are to meet, but Paul had no doubt about the meeting day and since he was inspired of God and full of the Spirit let’s look to him as to when we are to come together.

It would appear that since the text does not deal with Paul having to teach them about the Lord’s Supper, that they were already aware of when to observe it from previous teaching since they had come together for this purpose. Each week has a first day, and this being the case, we are to partake of this memorial upon the first day of every week. There are no other teachings in the Scriptures that set out any other day or regularity other than upon the first day.

PAUL’S TEACHING TO THE CORINTHIANS

In I Corinthians 11, we find that even during the first century the Christians were misusing the Lord’s Supper; confusing it with a common meal. Paul rather severely admonishes them in this regard. In fact, in verse 20, he tells them that “when you meet together, it is not to eat of the Lord’s Supper.” Some were eating and leaving others hungry and others were becoming drunk. This was clearly a misuse of the Lord’s Supper according to the inspired Apostle Paul. Therefore, he issues a strong statement condemning this practice, “What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (I Corinthians 11:22).

After Paul has pointed out their unacceptable practice of using the Lord’s Supper, he then proceeded in the next verses of this chapter to teach them the proper way to observe this memorial supper. First of all, he tells them that he received of the Lord what he has delivered to them. This is so they might not have any question as to where this practice had its origin. This was from the Lord. Here again, Paul relates the institution of the Supper by the Lord. He tells them that after having given thanks, He broke the bread and told them to partake of the bread and eat it in remembrance of Him. Likewise, He took the cup in the same manner, and then told them that as often as they drank of it they were to do this in remembrance of Him. Then in verse 26, He tells them that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” To proclaim is to make known publicly. Therefore, we show forth the Lord’s death as we partake of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week. This is not for physical fulfillment but is for spiritual nourishment. How long are we to proclaim the Lord’s death? Paul tells us that it is “until He comes.” Since He has already come one time, this refers to His second coming.

Paul goes on to tell them that it is possible to partake in an unworthy manner and therefore, be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. How would one be found guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? By eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. Examination is to be made by each of us each time we partake of this memorial. We are to guard our thoughts so as to partake of these representative emblems remembering Jesus and His death upon the cross for our sin. Paul in his writing states that many are weak and sickly in this matter, therefore, we today need to give heed so that we will not become such when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

CHRIST vs. SATAN

After having spent some time in looking at the suffering of Christ and all that He has done for us, we should now ask ourselves what has Satan done for us? First of all, he lied to the first humans, Adam and Eve, in the garden and caused them to be driven from a perfect place to live. He has caused misery, suffering, pain, anguish, heartbreak, and all such bad things to happen to men throughout history. He continues today to try and place stumbling blocks in our pathway to cause us to leave the Way of the Lord. His appeal is based upon lies about happiness, joy, peace and all good things that man is seeking. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit base their appeal to us upon a great love that has been and continues to be manifested toward us daily. In view of the contrast should we not choose to remember Jesus and follow Him?

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS

We should guard our minds and the thoughts that enter them in such a way as to allow us to remember Jesus as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We may have difficulty in controlling what thoughts enter our minds but we can readily control what remains in our meditations.

Either memorize the scriptures pertaining to the observation of the Lord’s Supper and use this as a time to reflect upon them or open your Bible and read from these sections of scripture. Many people have find this to be very beneficial in helping to remember Jesus.

Many very good songs have been written that can be used to help us properly reflect as we observe this feast by thinking about the words and their meanings.

In I Corinthians 10:16, we find that the cup is a sharing in the blood of Christ. From this we find that we do share with Christ as we partake of His Supper. This gives us sufficient motive to be willing to suffer physically or mentally and we signify this each time that we engage in the observation of this supper. How more readily could you and I draw nearer to Jesus than to be given a memorial in which we can remember His suffering and death upon the cross for us. It was out of love for each of us that Jesus was willing to be used as the perfect sacrifice upon the cross, therefore, we today need to remember Him and in so doing we will be drawn to Him. Love is the strongest motive that is possessed by man and to be Christ-like, we are to love. No motive will move us to obedience, service, or worship of God like love. Love is a lasting motivation and will bind us together with those of like faith.

CONCLUSION:

It is our hope and prayer that this short booklet will be of help to some in their weekly observance of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. If this is accomplished then this has been time well spent. Since this study is not presented in great detail, it will be necessary for you to go to the Word of God and meditate upon it to become fully aware of His teachings.

God’s Word will stand the test of time as it will be used to judge man in the last day. The Bible is true and following it will prepare us to meet our Savior.

Paul felt strongly enough to correct those at Corinth when they had begun to observe the Lord’s Supper in an improper manner. We must be careful today that we properly participate in this communion service. The partaking is for each individual Christian. Spiritual strength will be gained by proper observation of the Lord’s Supper. This strength can be used to help us live daily for Jesus. Therefore, we should look forward to communing with the Lord in His Supper on each first day of the week.

Summary

WHEN: Upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

WHERE: Where gathered together (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20).

HOW: Worthy manner (I Corinthians 11:27).

WHY: To remember Jesus (I Corinthians 11:23ff).

Written by Harold Russwurm

 

 

JESUS TURNS HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO A GLORIOUS VICTORY

JESUS TURNS HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO A GLORIOUS VICTORY

HOW JESUS TURNED HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO THE MOST GLORIOUS VICTORY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN (Luke 23:26-35MSG)

Greetings to all My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we enter into the final week of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (which we call Easter), allow me to paint the picture of Jesus’ crucifixion in words and pictures for you. The story is a little longer than we normally present, but because of time constraints I did not want to break it up into two are three parts, just remember, this is not a normal story.

Therefore, I encourage you to listen up and read carefully what I am about to tell you: As they led him off,

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! And Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?”

Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, and the other on his left.

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of GOD—ha! The Chosen—ha!”

At the time of Jesus death, crucifixion was considered the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the ROMAN EMPIRE. It was considered so horrible that it was used by the Romans only for slaves, those from the provinces under their control, and the lowest types of criminals. It was not to be used for a ROMAN CITIZEN. This is in accord with the biblical account of CHRIST’S death and with church tradition, which asserts that Peter was also crucified, but Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded.

Crucifixion as a means of execution probably grew out of the practice of displaying the heads of captured enemies or criminals on a wooden stake, like those used to build a wall or erect fortifications. Later, entire bodies were impaled. By Jesus time, crucifixion was a common sight.

Although methods of crucifixion seem to have varied throughout the Roman Empire, through biblical and historical accounts the basic pattern is known. The condemned person was first scourged with a flagellum, a whip of leather thongs with bits of metal or bone attached. This whipping greatly weakened the victim, who then had to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A sign specifying the crime was often placed around the criminal’s neck or on the cross. The person was stripped naked, laid on the ground with the crossbeam under his shoulders, and tied or nailed to it. Nailing made the victim die quicker, as it did Jesus,

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

whom the Jewish officials wanted dead before the Sabbath. The crossbeam was lifted and secured to a post so that the person’s feet were hanging just off the ground. Some archaeologists think a pin or wooden block was placed halfway up the post to provide a seat for the body so that the nails would not tear open the wounds, causing the body to fall. The feet also could be nailed or tied to the post.

Although the pain was excruciating, some victims survived on the cross for days. As in the case of the two criminals crucified with Jesus, the legs of a crucified person were sometimes broken to make the sufferer die. This caused massive shock, followed by loss of circulation and heart failure.

Although completely innocent of all sin, Jesus suffered the most horrible, disgraceful punishment known. But His agonizing death was not an ordinary death, for it was not the final chapter. Jesus turned this apparent defeat into the most glorious victory the world has ever known. At the Cross, He suffered for the sins of the world. Then after His resurrection from the dead three days later, Jesus empowered His disciples with a new message, the Good News that He had finally defeated the power of sin and death. Through the Cross, Jesus offers salvation to all who will believe in Him.

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now listen to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49 KJV)

As this story clearly shows, there is power in the word for those who believe. God never makes a promise that he cannot fulfilled. It is up to you to always stand on God’s promise, believe it and watch God work in your life.

When the light seems to be the dimmest and the enemy is attacking you on all fronts it is time to stand still and watch God work. With God there is nothing that is impossible. God is truth, he is also the light, when you know the truth, not what you perceive is the truth, but what God has spoken of as truth, you can rest assured that you will have peace in your life, and your soul will be free to experience the manifestation of that truth and the light that God has promised. No weapon that the enemy may train its sights on you with, can penetrate the armor that God places around you. You are a child of God, and God will never allow any harm to come to those who keep his word, stand on faith, and not be swayed like the motions of the ocean, always going back and forth.

Now know this, God wants you to experience victory over all aspects of your life. He allowed himself to experience a horrible death on the cross in order that you might enjoy the fruits of life. He defeated sin and death in order that you may have eternal life. What more can anyone ask for, to know that if you believe in the word, except the word as ruler of your life, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you can have victory over the world.

Now in closing, let me state that believers today should always look to the cross in understanding GOD’S

The Cross is the Symbol of God's amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Cross is the Symbol of God’s amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

PLAN and purpose for their lives. The cross is no joke; it is the reality of Christ’s death for your victory over the world. You can continue to live in this world, partying and having fun, proclaiming that you are a Christian, but remember, your actions speak louder than your words. Jesus was not pretending when he allowed himself to be executed for our sins. We should obey the Lord in every detail as we seek to live a Christian life as we help those that are lost in Christ, find their way and understanding of THE HEART OF THE CROSS and what salvation truly means in their lives. If we truly want to know how to live a perfect life and experience victory over the enemy attacks on our well being, then I say to you right here in now, turn away from the world and look to Jesus as the perfect example.

May this lesson today be a blessing to your life and the people that God has placed in your life as a blessing to your soul.  Now we encourage you to use it, to bless others that we all may receive and experience God’s amazing grace.  I minister to you today from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity. I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

WHY DID NICODEMUS WAIT UNTIL THE COVER OF DARK TO VISIT JESUS?

WHY DID NICODEMUS WAIT UNTIL THE COVER OF DARK TO VISIT JESUS?

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)

This is a question that has been debated by scholars for centuries, and unfortunately the scriptures do not give us a 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.  I minister to you this day from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity.  I remain your brother in Jesus, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER!

WHAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE

WHAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE

This is what the Kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest his come.  (Mark 4:26-29)

The Heavens in our Minds

The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.  (Matthew 13:31-32)

MY MAXAMIZE PRAYER TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT AS LIGHT

Prayer Blessings for the World

MY MAXAMIZE PRAYER TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT AS LIGHT

Father in the name of Jesus, we as your believing children seek this day the guiding light to shine bright in our lives, with this light we can begin to live in peace with one another.  Showing love, understanding, forgiveness and a spirit of harmony with our fellowman, we realize father that we all have sinned and fallen short of your glory.  There is darkness all around and the light is difficult for most to find.  Our country is in a financial straight jacket, and its citizens are being held hostage, only because our leaders lack of faith, and there in-ability to gravitate towards the true light of day.  However, I know that through you Father, the darkness will give way to the light, through you the blind will see, through you the lame will walk, through you the Kingdom will come, through you there will be victory, through you I am free today, through you I am free to live for you, and who so ever your Son sets free is free indeed.  Now let all God’s children shout with a loud voice, “Glory Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah, thank you Father, for allowing me to be free to live in the light this day, in Jesus name, Amen.

Now may we all find peace, love and forgiveness in our daily prayer lives, as we seek Jesus guidance to take us to the higher grounds.  I remain your brother in Jesus Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher!

WHO ARE THE SONS OF GOD? (Genesis 6:1-2)

WHO ARE THE SONS OF GOD? (Genesis 6:1-2)

Today’s message is a direct response to one of our readers who posted a comment and asked the above question after reading our message last week title, “GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF THE TWO ASPECTS OF GOD.” You can read his entire comments and question by clicking on this message. We thank the reader for this very important question, and we welcome all questions and comments from our members and readers.

Now here is the answer to this very important question from Genesis 6:1-2. When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Genesis 7:23

Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Numbers 13:33

“We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”


First, who are the “sons of God” and the “Nephilim”? There are three proposed interpretations:

  1. “Sons of God” refers to fallen angels who lived on earth and married human women. The Nephilim are giants of extra-human strength who were the offspring of these marriages.
  2. “Sons of God” refers to descendents of Seth, who were godly men who sinned by marrying descendents of Cain, who would have been pagans. The Nephilim were simply “heroes”, not giants, and may or may not have been the offspring of the mixed marriages.
  3. “Sons of God” is better translated as “kings” or “sons of nobles” and “Nephilim” is best translated as “princes” or “great men.” That is, the “sons of God” were royalty or aristocrats who were generally immoral and married common women, possibly against their will or despite their already being married.

Arguments for view 1:

  • The phrase “sons of God” is used in Job 1:6 and 2:1 to describe angels, and apparently early Jewish writers interpreted this passage as referring to angels.
  • In support of the idea that angels came to live on earth and married human women, Jude 6 refers to “angels who…abandoned their own home,” and other passages describe angels as being able to assume human form (Heb 13:2Gen 19:1-3).
  • In Numbers 13:33, the Nephilim are described as giants.

Arguments against view 1:

  • “Sons of God” in the Job passages refers to “good” angels, and distinguishes them from Satan, the fallen angel. Since only fallen angels would be marrying humans, they wouldn’t be referred to as “sons of God.”
  • Mark 12:25 and Matthew 22:30 state that angels don’t marry. (Supporters of this view respond that these passages say that angels don’t marry in heaven, not that they can’t marry on earth.)
  • Num 13:33 could be an exaggeration of the faithless spies.
  • God seems to condemn mankind for the intermarrying in Gen 6:3, but says nothing about the angels, though they were at least as responsible for it as the humans.

Arguments for view 2:

  • Humans are referred to as children of God elsewhere in the Bible (Deut 14:1Is 43:6, etc.)
  • Genesis 5 describes godly descendents of Seth (Enoch, Noah), while Lamech, one of Cain’s descendents, was also a murderer (Gen 4:23).
  • To support the “Nephilim weren’t offspring of the marriages” view: Gen 6:4 doesn’t explicitly say the Nephilim were offspring, only that they showed up at the same time the intermarriage was happening.

Arguments against view 2:

  • The Sethites don’t sound very godly, since only Noah and his family were spared from the flood. (However, “sons of God” may refer to generations previous to those whose sin brought about the flood.)
  • This interpretation requires that the phrases “men” and “daughters of men” have two different meanings within the same sentence. “Men” and “daughters of men” in v.1 would refer to all mankind and their daughters, but “daughters of men” in v. 2 would refer to Cainite women.

Arguments for view 3:

  • Contemporary rulers referred to themselves as sons of God – the Egyptian king was called “son of Re.”
  • The Hebrew word in the phrase “sons of God” is Elohim, which is elsewhere in the Bible translated as “judge” or other human authority (Ex 21:6Ps 82:1)
  • Early translations of “sons of Elohim” rendered it as it as “sons of nobles” or “sons of kings”
  • The word “Nephilim” is associated in Gen 6:4 with “gibborim”, which means “mighty man of valor, strength, wealth, or power.”

Arguments against view 3:

  • While pagans referred to royalty as sons of God, Israelites did not, and nobles were not referred to as “sons of God.”
  • This interpretation seems “forced” – a stretching of the meaning of the text.
  1. It seems unlikely to me, especially considering the last argument against it. In addition, it seems clear that “sons of God” does not have to refer to angels, fallen or not.
  2. It further seems the most natural, but the arguments against it do present legitimate problems.
  3. It does seem rather strange, but the arguments against it are not very strong.

Regardless of which interpretation one accepts, there is no contradiction in the Nephilim appearing both before and after the Flood. Genesis 6:4 does say, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward.” If the Nephilim were giant offspring of humans and fallen angels, the fallen angels could have come back after the Flood and had more offspring. If the Nephilim were heroes or nobles, society after the Flood could produce heroes and nobles just as well as society before the Flood.


THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM IS THE WAY TO THE CROSS

THE KING OF THE JEWS (MARK 15:25-27)

THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM IS THE WAY TO THE CROSS (MARK 15:25-27)

25And it was the third hour (about nine o’clock in the morning) when they crucified Him.(A) 26And the inscription of the accusation against Him was written above,

The King of the Jews.

27And with Him they crucified two robbers, one on [His] right hand and one on His left. 28[a]And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, He was counted among the transgressors.

Jesus was placed on the cross at nine o’clock in the morning.  A signboard stating as a warning.  Because Jesus was never found guilty, the only accusation placed on his sign was the “crime” of calling himself King of the Jews.  This sign was meant to be ironic.  A king, stripped and executed in public view, had obviously lost his kingdom forever.  But Jesus, who turns the world’s wisdom upside down, was just coming into his kingdom.  His death and resurrection would strike the deathblow to Satan’s rule and would establish Christ’s eternal authority over the earth.  Few people reading the sign that bleak day understood its real meaning but the sign was absolutely true.  Jesus is king of the Jews, and the Gentiles, and the whole universe.

When James and John had asked Jesus for the places of honor next to him in his kingdom, Jesus had told them that they did not know what they were asking (Mark 10:35-39).  Here, as Jesus was preparing to inaugurate his kingdom through his death, the places on his right and on his left were taken by two criminals.

A person who wants to be close to Jesus must be prepared to suffer and die as he himself was doing.  The way to the kingdom is the way of the cross.  If we want the glory of the kingdom, we must be willing to be united with the crucified Christ.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST

Photo Album. Read more…

THE LORD’S SUPPER

THE LORD’S SUPPER

by Ray C. Stedman


The Apostle Paul deals at some length with the institution of the Lord’s Supper in the eleventh chapter of First Corinthians, to which we have now come. In an earlier message in this series, I quoted someone who said, “The main thing is to see that the main thing remains the main thing.” When you hear that, of course, the question you want to ask is, “What is the main thing that must remain the main thing?” The answer in the Christian life is that clearly, all through the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament alike, the “main thing” is what the person and work of Jesus Christ really mean to you.

I do not mean what you say he means to you when you are talking about your faith, or what you sing about when you sing the hymns of the church in a service like this. I mean what Jesus really means to you when the hour comes for you to make a decision for right against wrong, or for good against evil, and what he means to you when you are under pressure and tempted to explode with anger, or succumb to lust, or whatever. It is very fitting that Paul ends this long section where he has been dealing with the troubles going on at Corinth by holding up a mirror, in effect, before these people and allowing them to see how they were behaving at the Table of the Lord. Nothing is more revealing than to see what your attitude is when you come to this central act of Christian worship, and this is what Paul is doing . In this section, beginning with Verse 17, he is showing them that they are approaching the Lord’s Table with a totally wrong spirit. There were two things, he says, that were wrong: First, they were dividing up into very destructive divisions, cliques, within the church. Verse 17:

But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, [Actually that should be translated: "I believe it, in part"] for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. {1 Cor 11:17-19 RSV}

When Paul speaks of the church “coming together,” or “assembling as a church,” he is not primarily talking about a morning service such as we have here. He has in view the agape, the feast of love and of sharing they held that grew out of that atmosphere in the early church (described in the book of Acts), where no one counted anything as belonging to himself alone but shared with one another the resources and riches that God had provided so that no one was left out. This rapidly grew into a common meal which they all shared together. We would call it a pot luck supper. (I do not like that term because I do not believe in luck and I am sensitive to the word pot!) I prefer the title “multiple choice dinners.” We have multiple choice dinners here from time to time, especially during the summer. They are wonderful occasions where everyone brings something, and then we put it on a table and we all share together. This is what the early church was doing too.)

It was a perfectly proper and beautiful thing to do, but unfortunately, here in Corinth it was being spoiled by cliques, by divisions among them. The cliques and divisions that Paul mentions earlier in this letter had ruined the gathering of the church together, so that he could say, as he does here, “It is not for the better that you come together, but for the worse. You are actually injuring one another and destroying the character of the church by the way you are conducting yourselves at these love feasts which terminate in the celebration of the Lord’s Table together.”

Now, in Verses 18 and 19, Paul reminds them that it is not wrong to have differences in a church: “There must indeed be factions [really the word is heresies], among you.” He is not surprised at that. Everybody does not have the same point of view; everybody does not have the same background; everybody has not had the same training and upbringing, and so there are bound to be points of view that are different, and that is normal, Paul says. In fact, it is healthy, he says, for it allows those who are approved, who are mature, to become manifest.

About a year ago I was speaking to a group of youth leaders in the state of Missouri. We had an open question and answer session, and one of the things they asked me about was our Body Life service. I had told them that we encourage people to share freely, that anyone who wants to can stand up and speak on any subject. Now some of them were rather threatened by that, and someone asked me, “Are you not afraid that somebody will say something that is false, and heresies will spread in the church?” I told him that we do not see it that way. Then I quoted this verse, “There must indeed be heresies among you.” “We like heresies,” I said. “We encourage them to be expressed because they are great teaching opportunities. How are you going to know who in your congregation is able to handle heresies unless they have some heresies to work on?”

That is what the apostle is recognizing here. There is nothing wrong with differences of opinion. They ought to be freely aired, because that gives the opportunity for those who are instructed in the things of God and the Word of God, and who understand the mind of God through the teaching of the Word, to answer these and help people with these struggles. Paul says he understands that, but unfortunately in Corinth it had gone much further. No one had answered these heresies; no one had controlled these utterances, so they had broken into harmful divisions in their love feasts that were creating chaos within the church. Now Paul goes on to describe the disorderly practices that came from this, Verse 20:

When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in” Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this” No, I will not. {1 Cor 11:20-22 RSV}

Clearly he describes here the harm and the danger that was coming from these divisions among them. What he says, in effect, is, “When you get together for your love feasts you cannot call that the Lord’s Supper even though it terminates in the familiar ritual that we now call the Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Supper is an expression of the unity of the church, and what you are doing is a far cry from that. You are acting selfishly with one another.”

Paul goes on to describe this. Some were bringing a lot of food and gathering in their own little family group to eat it, while others who had hardly anything, or nothing at all, were left hungry. One would have a crust of bread, perhaps, to chew on, and over here would be a family group eating Kentucky Fried Chicken, or steak and lobster, perhaps, while others were completely left out. Paul says, “That an absolute parody of what the church ought to be. Instead of caring for one another, you are excluding one another, and even worse, some of you are eating and drinking so much that, unfortunately, you are actually coming to the Lord’s Table intoxicated.”

That is hard for us to conceive of, but that is what was happening. (Incidentally, that answers the question that many have asked as to whether the wine that the early Christians drank was alcoholic. I remember Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse being asked on one occasion, “Don’t you believe that the wine the early Christians drank was really grape juice?” In his brusque way he said, “Well, they got drunk on it at Corinth.” This certainly is the answer to that question.) But even worse, in the eyes of the apostle, some of them seemed to shrug off any rebuke along this line. They were indifferent; they exhibited a careless defiance of the need to minister to one another.

When Paul asks, “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?” he is not saying it is wrong to have church suppers, multiple choice dinners together. That is a good thing. What he means is, “If all you are coming together for is to eat and drink, you can do that at home. If that is all it means, if you are not going to manifest a concern and care for those who are without among you and be concerned to meet the needs of those who are hungry, then you might just as well stay home and eat and drink there. When you come together you ought to be concerned about the needs and the hungers of all.” Thus, fragmented, selfish, uncaring, indifferent to human needs, the church was hurting the cause of Christ rather than helping it. By sharp contrast, the apostle now goes on to draw the picture what he had taught them about the Lord’s Table, Verse 23:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. {1 Cor 11:23-26 RSV}

There is an amazing claim on Paul’s part here in Verse 23, where he says, “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you.” By these words the apostle clearly means that the One who told him what went on in the Upper Room on that dark betrayal night was Jesus himself.

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul says he did not learn what he knew of Christ and Christianity from any man. No apostle taught it to him. He had never read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. They were not even written when this letter was written; they came later. And Paul had never been told what went on in the Upper Room by any of the other disciples either. In fact, he uses here the same language he uses later, in Chapter 15, where he says that he delivered unto them the gospel which he also received from the Lord, which in Galatians he says clearly he did not receive from any other man. Therefore, we have here what amounts to the earliest description of the Lord’s Table when it was instituted in the Upper Room coming from none other than the lips of Jesus himself.

What the apostle passes on to them, and passes on to us, is our Lord’s emphasis upon two remarkable symbols, the bread and the cup. Deliberately, after the Passover feast, Jesus took the bread, and when he had broken it, in order to make it available to all the eleven disciples (Judas having gone out), he said to them. “This is my body.” Now unfortunately some have taken that to mean that he was teaching that the bread becomes his body, but I think it is very clear, as you look at the story of the Upper Room, that he meant it in a symbolic sense. If it was literal, then there were two bodies of Christ present in the Upper Room, one in which he lived and by which he held the bread, and the bread itself. But clearly our Lord means this as a symbol. “This represents my body which is for you.”

Not “broken for you,” as the Authorized Version has it. That is not a very accurate rendering. It is not broken for us. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that not a bone of his body would be broken. Rather it is intended for us to live on; that is the symbolism. Thus when we gather and take the bread of the Lord’s Table, break it and pass it among ourselves, we are reminding ourselves that Jesus is our life: He is the One by whom we live. As Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” {Gal 2:20 KJV}.

This is what the bread symbolizes — that he is to be our power by which we obey the demands of God, the Word of God, to love one another, to forgive one another, to be tender and merciful, kind and courteous to one another, to not return evil for evil but to pray for those who persecute us and mistrust us and misuse us. His life in us enables us to be what God asks us to be. We live by means of Christ. Jesus said it himself in John 6, “so he that eats me, even he shall live by means of me,” {cf, John 6:57}. One of our teenagers wrote a song the other day, and these verses are part of it:

You brought me back to yourself.
I had tried to go my own way,
Thinking I didn’t need your love.
But you showed me the light of day.

I need you to keep me strong.
I need you to keep me from falling,
I want to keep growing closer to you.
I want always to hear you calling.

That captures very accurately what the bread symbolizes to us. Following that, our Lord took the cup. The wine of the cup symbolizes his blood which he said is the blood of the New Covenant, the new arrangement for living that God has made, by which the old life is ended. That is what blood always means: Blood is the end of a life, and the old life in which we were dependent upon ourselves, and lived for ourselves, and wanted only to be the center of attention is over. That is what the cup means. We agree to that; we are no longer to live for ourselves. That is why, written across the front of this auditorium, it says. “You are not your own. You are bought with a price.” You do not have final rights to your life, and the price is the blood of Jesus. Therefore, when we take that cup and drink it, we are publicly proclaiming that we agree with that sentence of death upon our old life, and believe that the Christian life is a continual experience of life coming out of death. That is what it says.

Power with God only comes when we die to the wisdom and the power of man. We give up one in order that the other may be manifest within us. “God cannot be glorified,” we are saying, “as long as we insist on being glorified.” Thus we are surrendering our right to take credit for things, surrendering our right to have people praise us and affirm us, etc., in order that God, who is working in us, may have that glory and that praise. That is what the cup means. It is a beautiful picture of what Jesus said of himself, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone,” {cf, John 12:24 KJV}. I do not think anything is more descriptive of the emptiness of life than that phrase “abides alone” — lonely, restless, bored, miserable, unhappy. That is the life that tries to live for itself and its own needs and its own rights, but the Christian life is one in which that is freely and voluntarily surrendered. And if the corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, Jesus says, it will bring forth much fruit, and by the participation in the cup this is what we are declaring. Thus, every celebration of the Table tells us the old, old story all over again: We are consenting to follow our Lord, to go to death as he went to death that we might rise again in the new life of the spirit. And this, as Paul tells us, is to go on through the whole age, from the first coming until he comes again. This is a constantly repeated feast by which we, in symbol, tell over and over the heart of our Christian faith, that the old life dies in order that the new life might live. In the last paragraph of this section, Paul makes very clear how seriously God himself regards the Lord’s Table, Verse 27:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cop. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. {1 Cor 11:27-28 RSV}

These are sobering words; they indicate that God guards the Table from unworthy partaking. Now, what that means, of course, is what Paul has just been rebuking these Christians at Corinth about. They were partaking in an unworthy manner because they were careless, selfish, and indifferent to the needs of others. They were coming to the Lord’s Table in a kind of an empty ritual, just going through it in a mechanical, ceremonial way. That, Paul says, is a dangerous practice, because it is acting as though the death and the life of Jesus mean nothing to us, and he warns against that. We become sharers of the guilt of those who put the Lord to death when we participate without our heart-interest and our heart-concern involved in the Lord’s Table. Therefore, according to the apostle, a proper participation involves a careful self-examination. That is why he says let someone examine himself or herself earnestly and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

The word examine means “to prove,” or literally, “to qualify” oneself. In Chapter 10 Paul said he buffeted his body and pummeled it in order that, having preached to others, he himself would not be “disqualified,” set aside, {cf, 1 Cor 9:27}. Now that is the negative of this term and, therefore, someone who examines himself is qualifying himself to eat the Table of the Lord. How do you do that? Well, it does not mean to try to live an absolutely flawless, perfect life, because no one can do that. Even with all the help that the Spirit of God gives us, there are failures and weaknesses, times of frustration and outright, sometimes deliberate, evil come into our existence.

What does it mean when it says to examine yourself? It means, of course, to handle your sin honestly. Do not try to cover it over; do not try to persuade yourself that it is not there. Admit it; call it what God calls it and repent, that is, change your mind about wanting it in your life. Bring it to God and let him cleanse you. David writes in the 51st Psalm, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” {Psa 51:17 KJV}. When you look at the things that are wrong and say, “Lord, I’m sorry. Those things are wrong. I must not act that way any more,” then you have qualified to participate in the Table of the Lord. That is what he says. You have proved yourself in the right way, and so, Paul adds, “so let him eat.”

Some people want to refuse to eat. They pass by the elements. That is basically a cop-out, thinking that God is only going to bring some subsequent judgment if you eat. But God pays no attention to those surface things. He reads the hearts, and what he is after is a heart that does not lie to itself, that is honest about its misdeeds and is willing to put away a wrong spirit. As Paul says to the Ephesians, “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you,” {Eph 4:31 KJV}. Attitudes of lust and of selfishness and misdeeds of dishonesty and lying and all these things are what we face when we come to the Table of the Lord. We acknowledge them and thank God for his cleansing grace and then partake, forgiven by the grace of God. That is why Paul goes on to add, in Verse 29,

For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. {1 Cor 11:29 RSV}

What does “discerning the body” mean? It means two things: First, it means understanding the meaning of the symbols. The Body of Christ is involved, his death on the cross for us, his life made available to us. But then it means also our concern and care for others who are members with us in this Body. We are members one of another, and we recognize those ties. In the next two verses the apostle indicates that God guards this with using physical judgment. Verse 30:

That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. {1 Cor 11:30-32 RSV}

God knows that pain often makes us stop and think. Have you found that to be true? Many of us have suddenly become aware that we have been drifting away from our closeness with Christ because we have been laid aside for the time being, maybe with nothing more than a bad cold, but it gives us a chance to think and to review our lives. That is God’s hand. That is what was happening at Corinth. Some were weak, some were sickly, because God was enabling them to take a look. It was a red flag of warning saying, “Watch out now. You are going too fast. You are being tripped up by the world around you. You are reflecting some of their attitudes and their reactions and adopting some of their ways. Watch out. Slow down. Think it through.”

And, as Paul says, some of them had even died, that is, they had rejected God’s tender, loving warnings; they had persisted in their evil to the point where they were “disqualified,” as he says in Chapter 10 {cf, 1 Cor 9:27}. God had to say to some of them, “Look, I can’t trust you any more down there. Come on home where I can keep an eye on you.” This still happens today. God is no different. Some among us, perhaps, are weak and sickly because we need time to think through what is happening in our lives.

Now not all sickness comes from the disciplinary hand of God. Sometimes it can be a ministry that God deliberately gives us in order to open up a door that nothing else would open. So do not think that every time you are sick it may be the judging hand of God, but it is always a time to ask yourself, “Is God trying to slow me down? In his loving concern for me does he see me drifting into something dangerous that I ought to stop and rethink — my relationships with others, my attitudes about life, habits that I am forming? Are these wrong or right?” The apostle tells us, if we truly judged ourselves, God would not have to judge us.

Therefore, when something like this happens, take a good look, a careful look, is what he is saying. Be honest with yourself. You can avoid this chastening of God by honest dealing with yourself because God will always give you a chance to change. But, if those are passed by, then God must judge you further in order to make it clear what is happening to you. Then do not see it as something terrible and evil that God has sent into your life to punish you. Oh, no. Hebrews tells us, “whom the Lord loves he chastens,” {cf, Heb 12:6 KJV}. A loving Father is simply putting up some barriers and saying, “Look, you are getting into trouble. Now stop and take a look.” It is his love that has brought that into your life.

The apostle clearly implies by this that if you, as a professed Christian, can go on week after week and month after month doing something — living in a relationship or holding an attitude that you know is wrong — and nothing ever happens to you in the way of judgment, then it is very likely you are not a Christian at all. You may well be headed for that final condemnation which the whole world will ultimately face. But Paul says when judgment comes it is the loving hand of your heavenly Father stopping you and telling you, “Look, you are mine. I will not have you involved in that condemnation with the world. You need to straighten up some things in your life, and this is your opportunity to do so.” The last two verses simply indicate how God is concerned that this be done in such a way as to bring out the acts of love and courtesy one for another. Verse 33:

So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. {1 Cor 11:33-34 RSV}

God’s purpose in any form of judgment of his children is that they might begin to act differently, begin to be more thoughtful and courteous toward one another, especially their immediate families. That is where this has to begin to show — not with your friends, but with your family. And when he says, “wait for one another” he does not necessarily mean at the Lord’s Table, though that is a good thing to do. What he means is, “Be aware of the needs and the problems of others and do something to meet them, to help in that area, so that, when you come together, your meetings are not a curse but a blessing, that your coming together is a delight to everyone who comes, because your attitudes and your reactions with one another are right, and love prevails within the assembly.”

This is what the apostle has been aiming at all along. Paul says, “That is the central thing. There are some other little things that I will set to right when I come, but those can wait. The important thing is that you begin to act out of the central meaning of the Christian life. The old selfish ways are ended. the new life which thinks of others is to be expressed. The blood and the bread are indications of that.”

“…now go forth into the world. And we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are your leaders in the Lord and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work, and be at peace among yourselves,” {cf, 1 Th 5:12-13}. Amen.


Title: The Lord’s Supper
By: Ray C. Stedman
Series: Studies in First Corinthians
Scripture: 1 Cor 11:17-34
Message No: 24
Catalog No: 3594
Date: December 10, 1978

Library

Copyright © 1978 Discovery Publishing, a ministry of Peninsula Bible Church.

 

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING

JESUS RIDES AN UN-RIDDEN DONKEY INTO THE CITY     (Mark 11:1-10 AMP)

1WHEN THEY were getting near to Jerusalem, to Bethpage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, He sent ahead two of His disciples

2And instructed them, Go into the village in front of you, and as soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied, which has never been ridden by anyone; unfasten it and bring it [here].

3If anyone asks you, Why are you doing this? answer, The Lord needs it, and He will send it back here presently.

4So they went away and found a colt tied at the door out in the [winding] open street, and they loosed it.

5And some who were standing there said to them, What are you doing, untying the colt?

6And they replied as Jesus had directed them, and they allowed them to go.

7And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their outer garments upon it, and He sat on it.

8And many [of the people] spread their garments on the road, and others [scattered a layer of] leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.

9And those who went before and those who followed cried out [[a]with a cry of happiness], Hosanna! [Be graciously inclined and propitious to Him!] Praised and blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!(A)

10Praised and blessed in the name of the Lord is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna (O save us) in the highest [heaven]!

ARE YOU PREPARED TO FIGHT AND WIN? (PART 4)

LEARNING TO WALK BY THE SPIRIT

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] (Galatians 5:25) AMP

In lesson three, we were treated with the unique prospective of how the Holy Spirit has worked as a personal trainer for us to become physically fit as well as spiritually fit.

Now let us look at just how we can obtain that goal:  You have heard the expression, he are she is just a couch potato.  There is no need for you to allow this to happen to you.  You can start by pushing the off button on that remote that lays beside you in the bed are on the couch.  You see the T.V. has become Satin’s greatest avenue of convincing you that he is in control of your life. He acts out your life for you; he carries on the conversation in your house for you.  He thinks for you.  Finally, when he has total control of your mind and body, he zaps your physical strength by keeping you in bondage as a couch potato where he can watch over you.  You never seen to have the strength are desire to do any type of physical exercise.

Now it is time that you begin to fight and fight to win. You can beat Satin at his own game if you would only stop being a couch potato, learn to walk by the Spirit, step outside and rediscover the beauty that God has blessed you to be able to observe.  Begin to take a daily walk 30 minutes to an hour will do.  You will soon discover your physical strength returning to you, your spiritual mind has taken control and now you are beginning to walk by the true spirit of God.  You see your body is an electrical and mechanically flesh and blood piece of machinery.  It responds to the signals given to it by the minds energy field.

Its batteries need to be recharged regularly in order for it to function at its maximum capacity, and one of the ways to recharge those batteries is a daily walk.  Do not just stroll down the walkway in a hurry to return for more of satin games.  Make your walk meaningful by looking around, relaxing and becoming one with God, the universe is there waiting for you to re-discover.

God ideal for the believer is that we live our lives in the realm of the Holy Spirit.  Walking in the Spirit, the exercise we should strive for refers to one’s lifestyle.  In other words, we are to live a lifestyles characterized by the Person and work of the Spirit of God.  To be led by the Spirit suggests that same Spirit directs our lifestyle.  It means we allow Him to point the way, to navigate us through the turns and intersections of life.

When you are truly walking by the Spirit, in line with the Spirit, maintaining your cover and alignment, you cannot be seen; only He can be seen.  When people look at you, they see Him.  When you speak, He speaks.  Walking in the Spirit is not so much you becoming an extension of God the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit of God living in you, living through you, touching lives through you, and blessing others through you.

Walking by the Spirit means you stay in line with God.  It means you do not break the line.  It means you do not get out of line.  You do not move until it is your turn.   It means you live your life following the lead of the Holy Spirit.

Some of you are losing battles you should be winning because you are not in shape.  It is not just that Satan and his pimps are on your trail.  Some demons cannot be cancelled out.  They have to be cast out.  Jesus said some demons come out only by fasting and prayer.  Fasting and
prayer are essential exercises.  Some of you are holy but ungodly.  You come to church every Sunday, but you are not in shape.  You cannot work out once a week and expect to see results.  Walking through the gym once a week does not get you in shape.  God has called you to be a godly woman or a godly man.  He wants your relationship with Him to be manifested in your conduct and actions.  Godliness is not measured by your behavior in church or the way you conduct yourself in the spotlight.  God wants you to leave your church seat, walk out of the door back out into the world, and do what He has called you to do, the way He has called you to do it.

Few pastors are calling the people to godliness.  Pastors are tailoring their sermons to fit
the exercise of their congregation, showing them how to access the riches of God, making the aim the blessing.  The aim should be the One from whom all blessings flow.  People of God are working to get stuff, more money, bigger houses, and nicer cars.  However, effective ministry, ministry for the kingdom of God, can only flow out of a godly lifestyle.  All gain beyond Christ
is not true gain, but a weight that hinders our progress toward God.

It is time to get in shape.  Sign up for a heavenly gym membership.  There is open enrollment.  And what a deal!  Jesus paid the price in full at Calvary.  But don’t be satisfied with just signing
up.  Go on and work out.  Stick with the program.  You will soon see the results you have been
looking for.  Remember, winners never quit and quitters never win.  Now is the time to get up off that couch, stop being called a couch potato and begin to fight to win.  Learn to walk by the
Spirit and be counted among the stars.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). (Galatians 5:16 AMP) DO IT NOW!

 

 

JESUS BLESSES THE CHILDREN

CHILDREN HAVE THE KIND OF ATTITUDE NEEDED TO APPROACH GOD Matthew 19:13-15 AMP

13Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.

15And He put His hands upon them, and then went on His way.

Jesus wanted little children to come to him because he loves them and because they have the kind of attitude needed to approach God.  He did not mean that heaven is only for children but that people need childlike attitudes of trust in God.  The receptiveness of little children was a great contrast to the stubbornness of the religious leaders who let their education and sophistication stand in the way of the simple faith needed to believe in Jesus.

It was customary for people to bring their children to a rabbi for a blessing.  Thus people were bringing children to Jesus so that he could lay his hands on them and pray for them.  The disciples thought the children were unworthy of the Master’s time.  In the first century, Jewish households were patriarchal; men came first, followed by women and children.  The disciples apparently viewed these parents and children as an intrusion and a drain of time and energy.  So they told the people not to bother Jesus with their children.

Jesus told his disciples to let the children come because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  The disciples must have forgotten what Jesus had said about children earlier.

Now listen to Jesus speak truth to power, “4Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.

6But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in and [a]acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin [that is, who entices him or hinders him in right conduct or thought], it would be better ([b]more expedient and profitable or advantageous) for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:4-6) AMP.

Anyone of any age who exhibits such faith and trust is promised access to Jesus and to the Kingdom.

THE CHURCH NEEDS MEN WHO WILL TESTIFY BOLDLY

THE CHURCH NEEDS MEN WHO WILL TESTIFY BOLDLY

We are in great need of pastors and teachers who will come boldly before the throne of grace and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is only the minister who stands forth as a personal witness and living proof of the ministry of the Spirit whose word will have full entrance into the hearts of the people and exercise full sway over them.  The first disciples obtained the baptism on their knees, and on their knees they obtained it for others.  It will be on our knees also that the full blessing will be won today.  Let this be the attitude in which we await the full blessing of our God.

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?  To be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and to have the full enjoyment of the Pentecostal blessing is the will of God concerning us.  Judge your life and your work before the Lord in the light of this question and return the answer to God.

Do not be afraid to confess before your Lord what is still lacking in you. Do not hold back, although you do not as yet fully understand what the blessing is or how it comes.  The early disciples called on their Lord and waited with prayer and supplications.

Let your heart be filled with a deep conviction of what you lack, a esire for what God offers, and a willingness to sacrifice everything for it. Then you may rest assured that the marvel of Jerusalem and Samaria, of Caesarea and Ephesus, will once again be repeated.  We may and we will be filled with the Spirit.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE (PSALM 27)

OVER COMING YOUR FEARS IN THE MIST OF A CRISIS

When we think about the financial crisis that the world is facing, and then consider our own individual financial situation, no job to meet the family budget, no money to buy gas for the car to go interview for a job, our health is failing and no health insurance to help offset the doctor and medical expenses. Do not have enough money to pay for prescriptions. For those that do have jobs and are bringing in some income, you are faced with the rising cost of higher food prices, continuing rising gas prices, increases in energy cost for heating and cooling your homes.  For some of you, your mortgages are under water, and your income is not rising fast enough to meet the high demand of the rising cost of everything that is demanding more and more of your income.  If that is not enough to disturb our spirits, every time we turn on our televisions sets and no matter what news channel we tune into the only thing we can listen to is about the nuclear melt down of the nuclear power plants in Japan, the wars in the middle east and the budget crises in Washington, D.C. Every day we become more and more fearful of not being able to survive in the land of the free.  A land that is flowering with milk and honey, a land where opportunities are suppose to be plentiful and anything we desire, we should be able to have.  Our minds have become so engulfed with fear, lack and limitation that we are unable to see any more, our blessings that are right in front of our eyes.  We find ourselves complaining about God not caring about us, and how the enemy is trying to destroy us and we have nowhere to turn for help.

As I have read and pondered this scripture, (Psalm 27) [A Psalm of David], I thought of just how much joy and comfort these words had filled my heart, and how I personally have been able to overcome many difficulties, trials and tribulations from understanding what these words were saying to me.  I knew I needed to share them with you, although you might have read them and they have provided some of you with the same understanding and comfort.  However, so many others need to be relieved of their fears and this scripture can be a powerful source of inspiration.

Now may I suggest you take time out from your busy schedule of worrying about the problems of the world that are staring you in the face?  Make yourself comfortable in a quiet and relaxing manner without the noise of the T.V. and your children screaming.  Read and meditate on each word and what it means in your life and your present situation.  The Bible teaches us that we must meditate both day and night.  This is the moment for you to do just that.

[A Psalm] of David.

1THE LORD is my Light and my Salvation–whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?

2When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.

4One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.(A)

5For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.

6And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!

8You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].

9Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!

10Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].(B)

11Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies [those who lie in wait for me].

12Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.

13[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

14Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

 

 

 

LIVING IN THE MOMENT BY THE CHOICES YOU MAKE

"Seek first the kingdom of God "

Image by E.Herrera|Photography via Flickr

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Come now, you who say, today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city, spend a year there, carry on our business, and make money.

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].

You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].  (James 4:13-15)  AMP

For now is the time to realize, that this is the day, that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Let us learn to live one day at a time. Yesterday has passed and tomorrow is definitely, not promised.  God has blessed you with His marvelous light of life that you have this great opportunity to make this day anything that you want it to be, what are you going to do?

The choice is yours, nothing or no one is standing in your way of you achieving your desired goals. Whom will you serve this day? Whom will you give the praise and glory to for allowing you to be exactly where you are?

For the choices you made yesterday and all the yesterdays before has led you to be right where you are today. You may or may not like where you are, but you are where you are because of the choices you made early on in your life.

Now, do you have to stay where you are? Absolutely Not! Today you have been given another opportunity to make a different choice.

There is a story about a miner that was prospecting for goal many years ago. He had been digging in this same mine for more than twenty years, and had very little to show for all his many years of labor, One day two young college graduates came alone and offered to buy the old miner out, giving him a nice retirement for his many years of labor. The old miner decided to take the two lads up on their offer. He packed up all his personal belongings and moved on. The two lads set up camp and then they begin digging. After digging just a few feet down, they hit the mother lube and now they were super rich.

You see, the old man had to make a choice that day, to stay and continue digging or except the offer from the two lads. Was it a bad choice or a good choice? You decide.

The Bible tells us to seek the kingdom of God first and all the other riches of life will be added unto you. It also tells us not to store up our treasures here on this earth because they can easy be stolen are taken away.

You see each day you awaken, you have the choice to do right are do wrong, go left are go right, be a success are be a failure, except the ways of God are except the ways of Satan. The choice is always yours to make. Whatever choice you make, you can, rest assured that you will be rewarded for your choice, just as the old miner and the young lads were given their rewards while still in their earthly garments. What rewards are you seeking when you make your choice this day?

When we think about all the disasters that are taking place in the world today, and they are all around us, we must remember, our lives are uncertain, like the morning fog that covers the countryside in the morning and then is burned away by the sun.  Life is short no matter how long we live.  We should not be deceived into thinking we have plenty of time left to live for Christ, to enjoy our loved ones, or to do what we know we should.  There are choices to be made; Today is the day to live for God!  Then, no matter when our lives end, we will have fulfilled God’s plans for us.

Now let me close with this final thought for each one of you who have taken the time to read this entire lesson and the many lessons we teach here daily, “Think globally, and work locally.  Looking beyond ourselves in the real and on line world, to reach out to others who might be in need, for we all are truly our Brothers Keeper, salvation is FREE for the asking.  Take a moment wherever you may be, and ask the Lord to come into your heart.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and if you have spoken these few simple words in truth, you are saved, and now have eternal life.

 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.

 

YOUR FAITH IS VICTORY OVER THE WORLD (PART 2 OF 2)

Your Faith is Victory over the world (Part 2 of 2) 1 John 5:4

In lesson one we finished by answering the question, “Who are those that overcome the world?”  Today we begin with question III. Why do believers overcome the world? On what principle is this result affected?

I answer, this victory over the world results as naturally from the spiritual or heavenly birth, as coming into bondage to the world results from the natural birth.

It may be well to revert a moment to the law of connection in the latter case, viz., between coming into the world by natural birth and bondage to the world. This law obviously admits of a philosophical explanation, at once simple and perceptible to every one’s observation. Natural birth reveals to the mind objects of sense and these only. It brings the mind into contact with worldly things. Of course it is natural that the mind should become deeply interested in these objects thus presented through its external senses, especially as most of them sustain so intimate a relation to our sentient nature and become the first and chief sources of our happiness.

Hence, our affections are gradually entwined around these objects, and we become thoroughly lovers of this world ere our eyes have been opened upon it many months.

Now, alongside of this universal fact, let another be placed of equal importance and not less universal.  Namely, that those intuitive powers of the mind which were created to take cognizance of our moral relations, and hence to counteract the too great influence of worldly objects, come into action very slowly, and are not developed so as to act vigorously until years are numbered as months are in the case of the external organs of sense. The very early and vigorous development of the latter brings the soul so entirely under the control of worldly objects that when the reason and the conscience come to speak, their voice is little heeded. As a matter of fact, we find it universally true that unless divine power interpose, the bondage to the world thus induced upon the soul is never broken.

Nevertheless, the point, which I particularly desired to elucidate, was simply this, that natural birth, with its attendant laws of physical and mental development becomes the occasion of bondage to this world.

Right over against this lies the birth into the kingdom of God by the Spirit. By this the soul is brought into new relations — we might rather say, into intimate contact with spiritual things. The Spirit of God seems to usher the soul into the spiritual world, in a manner strictly analogous to the result of the natural birth upon our physical being. The great truths of the spiritual world are opened to our view through the illumination of the Spirit of God; we seem to see with new eyes, and to have a new world of spiritual objects around us.

As concerning natural objects, men not only speculate about them, but realize them; so in the case of spiritual children do spiritual things become not merely matters of speculation, but of full and practical realization also. When God reveals Himself to the mind, spiritual things are seen in their real light, and make the impression of realities.

Consequently, when spiritual objects are thus revealed to the mind, and thus apprehended, they will supremely interest that mind. Such is our mental constitution that the truth of God when thoroughly apprehended cannot fail to interest us. If these truths were clearly revealed to the wickedest man on earth, so that he should apprehend them as realities, it could not fail to rouse up his soul to most intense action. He might hate the light, and might stubbornly resist the claims of God upon his heart, but he could not fail to feel a thrilling interest in truths that so take hold of the great and vital things of human well-being. Let me ask, is there a sinner in this house, or can there be a sinner on this wide earth, who does not see that if God‘s presence was made as manifest and as real to his mind as the presence of his fellow-men, it would supremely engross his soul even though it might not subdue his heart.

This revelation of God‘s presence and character might not convert him, but it would, at least for the time being, kill his attention to the world.

You often see this in the case of persons deeply convicted you have doubtless seen persons so fearfully convicted of sin, that they pared nothing at all for their food nor their dress. O, they cried out in the agony of their souls, what matter all these things to us, if we even get them all, and then must he down in hell!

But these thrilling and all-absorbing convictions do not necessarily convert the soul, and I have alluded to them here only to show the controlling power of realizing views of divine truth.

When real conversion has taken place, and the soul is born of God, then realizing views of truth not only awaken interest, as they might do in an unrenewed mind, but they also tend to excite a deep and ardent love for these truths. They draw out the heart. Spiritual truth now takes possession of his mind, and draws him into its warm and life-giving embrace. Before, error, falsehood, death, had drawn him under their power; now the Spirit of God draws him into the very embrace of God. Now he is begotten of God, and breathes the spirit of sonship. Now, according to the Bible, “the seed of God remaineth in him,” that very truth, and those movings, of the spirit which give him birth into the kingdom of God, continue still in power upon his mind, and hence he continues a Christian, and as the Bible states it, “he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The seed of God is in him, and the fruit of it brings his soul deeply into sympathy with his own Father in heaven.

Again, the first birth makes us acquainted with earthly things. The second with God; the first with the finite, the second with the infinite; the first with things correlated with our animal nature, the second with those great things which stand connected with our spiritual nature, things so lovely, and so glorious as to overcome all the ensnarement’s of the world.

Again, the first begets a worldly, and the second a heavenly temper. Under the first, the mind is brought into a snare, under the second; it is delivered from that snare. Under the first, the conversation is earthly; under the second, “our conversation is in heaven.”

But we must pass to inquire,

IV. How this victory over the world is achieved.

The great agent is the Holy Spirit. Without Him, no good result is ever achieved in the Christian‘s heart or life. The text, you observe, says, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” But here the question might be raised: Does this mean that faith of itself overcomes the world, or, is this the meaning, that we overcome by or through our faith? Doubtless the latter is the precise meaning. Believing in God, and having realizing impressions of His truth and character made upon our mind by the Holy Ghost given to those who truly believe, we gain the victory over the world.

Faith implies three things. 1. Perception of truth. 2. An interest in it. 3. The committal or giving up of the mind to be interested and controlled by these objects of faith.

Perception of the truth must come first in order, for there can be no belief of unknown and unperceived truth. Next, there must be an interest in the truth which shall wake up the mind to fixed and active attention; and thirdly, there must be a voluntary committal of the mind to the control of truth. The mind must wholly yield itself up to God, to be governed entirely by His will, and to trust Him and Him alone as its own present and eternal portion.

Again, faith receives Christ. The mind first perceives Christ‘s character and His relations to us — sees what He does for us, and then deeply feeling its own need of such a Savior, and of such a work wrought in and for us as Jesus alone can do, it goes forth to receive and embrace Jesus as its own Savior. This action of the soul in receiving and embracing Christ is not sluggish — it is not a state of dozing quietism. No; it involves the soul‘s most strenuous activity. And this committal of the soul must become a glorious, living, energizing principle — the mind not only perceiving, but yielding itself up with the most fervid intensity to be Christ‘s and to receive all the benefits of His salvation into our own souls.

Again, faith receives Christ into the soul as King, in all His relations, to rule over the whole being — to have our heart‘s supreme confidence and affection — to receive the entire homage of our obedience and adoration; to rule, in short, over us, and fulfil all the functions of supreme King over our whole moral being. Within our very souls we receive Christ to live and energize there, to reign forever there as on His own rightful throne.

Now a great many seem to stop short of this entire and perfect committal of their whole soul to Christ. They stop short perhaps with merely perceiving the truth, satisfied and pleased that they have learned the theory of the Gospel. Or perhaps some go one step further, and stop with being interested — with having their feelings excited by the things of the Gospel, thus going only to the second stage; or perhaps they seem to take faith, but not Christ; they think to believe, but after all do not cordially and with all the heart welcome, Christ Himself into the soul.

All these various steps stop short of really taking hold of Christ. They none of them result in giving the victory over the world.

The true Bible doctrine of faith represents Christ as coming into the very soul. “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with Me.” What could more forcibly and beautifully teach the doctrine that by faith Christ is introduced into the very soul of the believer to dwell there by His gracious presence?

Since my mind has been drawn to the subject, I have been astonished to see how long I have been in a purblind state of perception in respect to this particular view of faith. Of a long time I had scarcely seen it; now I see it beaming forth in lines of glory on almost every page. The Bible seems to blaze with the glorious truth, Christ in the soul, the hope of glory; God, Christ, dwelling in our body as in a temple. I am amazed that a truth so rich and so blessed should have been seen so dimly, when the Bible reveals it so plainly. Christ received into the very soul by faith, and thus brought into the nearest possible relations to our heart and life; Christ Himself becoming the all-sustaining Power within us, and thus securing the victory over the world.  Christ, living and energizing in our hearts — this is the great central truth in the plan of sanctification, and this no Christian should fail to understand, as he values the victory over the world and the living communion of the soul with its Maker.

Let us pray, Father we thank you for the victory in Jesus Name.  Thank you father, for allowing us to be in the world, and at the same time providing us with the tools, and power to overcome the world.  Thank you for bringing us into the fullness of your love for all your children.  Thank you for truth and allowing us to fulfill our purpose on this earth.  Father we honor you and give you all the glory.  We are here today because of your love, mercy and grace.  We thank you for grace in Jesus name.  Amen.

 

 

MY MAXIMIZED PRAYER FOR SUPERNATURAL POWERS TO BE UNLEASHED

Father I thank you for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I thank you for the opportunity to be your servant and a leader in a time and place such as this.  I know that I am unworthy to walk in your footsteps, but I know that I can lean and depend on you to strengthen me in such a way that I can and will overcome my weakness.  I thank you for your love, your mercy and your grace that has brought me up on the rough side of this mountain and planted me here in the mist of trouble times to make a difference in the lives of the people that you have placed in my path way.

Father anoint each one of your precious children with the power to conquer their fears and move the mountains in their lives that are keeping them from fulfilling their destiny in Jesus name.

Father I know that we all are facing some very difficult times with budget cuts, job losses, unable to meet our mortgage notes, car notes, pay our college tuition, put enough food on the tables for our families and the list goes on and on.  However, in the mist of these troubled waters, you said for us not to worry because you would never put on us more than we can bear, so today Father, my prayer is for those among us who are facing difficult times that you unleash a supernatural miracle in their lives.  Here their cries and their prayers heaven father that their tears will be no more.

Father humble the hearts of our leaders throughout the world that are facing some very difficult decisions in these troubled times.  Provide them with the wisdom of your word to stand up and be true leaders and not lead your children to the slaughterhouses, but lead them in the path of righteousness for your name sake.  Lift them up in the name of Jesus that they may see your glory and come into the knowledge and understanding that we are all in the crisis of this world together, and it is together that we will all rise above it.

Father I pray that you will unleash a supernatural miracle throughout the world, that the world may come to know that you are not the God of ciaos, but the God of love, peace and forgiveness.

Father, in the name of Jesus I thank for all that you are doing in the lives of all your children right now.  I know that miracles are flowing into the lives of all those who are believing in you and the possibilities that you have open unto them.  I believe that supernatural things are happening all over this world as I speak and lives are being saved and people are being blessed.

I thank you father for hearing my prayer on behalf of your people.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 945 other followers

%d bloggers like this: