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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?

 

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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.

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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.

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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)

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