Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:9-11, NIV

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.


First of all, I want you to notice the transition between verse 10 and 11. The first part of the prayer is ADORATION: It is about the FATHER, notice the pronouns…Your Name, Your Kingdom, and Your Will and then in verse 11, the petitions begin and the first request is for our daily bread.

Jesus is teaching us how to pray and the right way to pray is to begin with a focus on the FATHER. We praise HIM and of course, one of the ways we praise Him is by giving Him thanks or credit for what He has already done. My tendency is to jump right into petitions so I have to think, I have to discipline myself to begin with praise and adoration.

I love to hear people pray who follow this model. Several years ago, our educational director always began his prays with a litany of praise and I loved hearing him pray. Then when Joe David came on staff, he picked up on this and he always followed this model and began with praise. I got convicted about my selfish praying.

By the way, there is nothing selfish in this prayer. Jesus didn’t say, “Give Me,” He said “Give us.”


What did Jesus mean by the phrase “Daily Bread.”


The church fathers, Jerome, Origen and Augustine believed that Jesus was talking about Himself.

John 6:35–  “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

I don’t see how we can go wrong by praying for more Jesus but I’m not convinced that this is what He meant.


We cannot live without eating. Bread is essential to the body and God is not antibody or antimatter. Charles L. Allen, the great Methodist preacher, said…

The God who made our bodies is concerned about the needs of our bodies and He is anxious for us to talk to HIM about our physical needs.

Jesus spent a lot of His time healing the human body and feeding it as well. It is not a sin to eat: we have to eat to live. I get it backwards: sometimes I live to eat.

We forget that Jesus lived in a culture where the vast majority were poor, as a matter of fact, Jesus grew up in poverty. Most of us know very little about hunger but in the life and times of Jesus, hunger was a major problem.


Bread is a symbol for “Need” and this encompasses everything both literal and figurative. Since we desperately need Jesus, our church Fathers were not in error in a sense but since we need nourishment to live, bread in the literal since is also meant.

Physical bread is a need but I’m relatively sure, Jesus was thinking about more than bread. There is a huge list of other things that we need on a daily basis: too many for me to cover in one sermon.

Many times when I pray this prayer, I am thinking about GRACE, I need grace. God give us grace just like He gives us breath, water and physical bread–as we need it.

Notice what Jesus did not say…GIVE US TODAY OUR MONTHLY BREAD or GIVE US TODAY OUR ANNUAL BREAD. That is not how He prayed and it is not how we pray. The FATHER wants us to come back to Him daily.

I grew up thinking it was wrong to pray about your needs but I was wrong in my thinking: children are always needing something. It is the FATHER’S will that we trust Him for every need, no matter what the need. It could be financial, it could be for food, it could be for wisdom to make a hard decision. It could be for direction or even inspiration.

Paul told the Philippians, “Pray about everything and don’t worry about anything.” Anything big enough to create anxiety is worthy of prayer. Last Thursday morning, I asked God to help me tear out an old floor and put in a new one. No, I am not kidding. I was worried about the project and I asks for His help.

I grew up thinking like the church fathers, that it was wrong to ask God for material things but it is not wrong. The law of prayer is to ASK.

Matthew 7:7-11–Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!

God is pleased when we asks. June and I got married in August of 1971 and two months later, we packed up what little we had and moved to New Orleans. This is a story within itself but I want to fast forward one year to the fall of 1972. We were behind two months on our rent [lived on campus] and they will not allow you to start a new semester if you are not paid up to date. June and I both worked but we had no scholarship money and we had to pay our tuition, rent and living expenses out of two minimum wage jobs. I want to think it was $1.25 per hour. We began praying about our situation. A man by the name of Wheeler Kidd, from Town Creek, Alabama called. He had a small rural church in Madison County {Carter’s Grove}. He asks me if I could come preach a REVIVAL {August} and of course, I said sure.

Remember, this was in 1972 and most revival paid less than $200.00 and we lived 7 hours away. Gas was less than a dollar per gallon so traveling expenses were not all that great but we needed a little of $500 to get back in class. Long story short, on Wednesday night of the REVIVAL: the Pastor stood before the church and said, “We are going to give Bro. Jack and honorarium as we normally do but since he is a student at Seminary, why don’t we take a love offering to help him out.” So on Friday night, they take a love offering and the total was over $400. We were blow away; less than $100 dollars from what we needed. We had to return to New Orleans ASAP so were loaded and ready to travel as soon as the Friday night service concluded. We had to go right by my folks house to get to the interstate and so we stopped to tell Mother bye. Daddy followed us to the car. He had been to the revival service, I rolled my window down and he said, “Son, I want to give you something and he handed me a bill.” As is my custom, I took it without looking to see what it was but of course we looked as soon as we got on the road. It was $100 which gave us more than $500 and was exactly what we needed to get back in class.

God used Wheeler Kidd and Carter’s Grove but I have always given HIM the credit for supplying our need.


Whatever you need is today: ask God to meet that need. Don’t turn to the world, don’t try to meet that need yourself: ask God, He is your heavenly Father and He want to give you good things.

If you need patience…ask Him for patience.

If you need wisdom to make a hard decision, ask Him.

If you are behind on your rent, ask Him.

If you need to be forgiven for sin, Ask HIM!


Still Waters

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters


I grew up on the King James so it doesn’t sound quiet right unless I say, “He leads me beside still waters.” The Hebrew word can mean an abode–comfortable and quiet resting place, a place that is still.

Again, I remind you that sheep [like humans] are very insecure and restless and they are terrified by swift or deep water. It is amazing how all animals seem to be able to swim instinctively but sheep are not good swimmers and deep or swift water poses a threat. The fleece or the wool on the sheep absorbs water like a sponge making it very difficult for the sheep to swim in any water but especially difficult in water with a current.


Knowing the nature and the weakness of the sheep, the Shepherd leads to to a place where they can drink without fear. As David said, “The LORD is our shepherd,” and He knows our weakness.

Psalms 103:14– For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

I don’t know about you but it is refreshing for me to know that my shepherds knows my every weakness: He knows that I am restless and insecure, that I allow my fear to get the best of me. The thing I love about our Good Shepherd, the LORD Jesus, is HIS GENTLENESS.

This week, I have been meditating on the patience He had with His disciples. He never screamed at them, never beat them, never used force, never embarrassed them in public. Our GOOD SHEPHERD knows what disturbs us and He intentionally leads us to quiet places.


Sheep must drink to stay alive and they cannot drink when they are afraid: thus the shepherd leads them to still waters and if he has to, he created still waters so that they sheep can receive, take in what they so desperately need. Just as sheep need water, we need Living Water. We NEED WORSHIP, PRAYER, AND REST.

What hinders our worship, prayer and spiritual rest?

Busyness, activity, noise, traffic, crowds, etc. We live in a fast moving culture. Everyone is in a hurry. We have the ability to go any place in the world in less than 24 hours. We can go anywhere in the lower 48 in less than 4 hours. For men like Thomas Jefferson, the 100-mile journey from New York to Philadelphia demanded two days hard travel in a light stagecoach. This is with changing horses. Jefferson actually envisioned rail travel though he never saw a train in his life time. In 1869, the first transcontinental line linking the coasts was completed. Suddenly, a journey that had previously taken months using horses could be made in less than a week. That was reduced to 83 hours when the invention of better trains. Now we can go around the world in less than 83 hours. Ironically, with all this technology, we have less time.

Sometimes the best advice you can give someone is to “SLOW DOWN.” Most of us make better grand parents than parents and it is for one reason: we have learned the hard way to slow down.


The LORD has said, “BE STILL and know that I am God.” When we are to busy to be still, to find that quiet place, we are too busy. Rushing, hurrying, moving from activity to activity will hinder our worship. Some thing you cannot rush.


You cannot rush worship. While was in Seminary, I tried to pastor a small congregation in central Mississippi. One Wednesday night, we were a little tardy in getting started and one of the men spoke up, “Let get this show on the road and get it over with.” With that attitude, it is over before the show gets on the road. God will not be rushed and we can’t worship without HIM.

I like to start on time and I kid about getting out on time but I begin with this in mind…The Holy can hit the override button and take over and when he does, I’m not going to try to stop HIM. The few times I’ve seen this happen, no one was worried about time. I know my limitations and I’m not going to keep you but I have no problem with HIM keeping us here all day.


You cannot rush your quiet time. You may as well not have a QT as to rush. It simply will not work. You need a place of solitude and quiet. You need a place of stillness and you need to be ready to wait.

Psalm 37:7– Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.


A lot of people say, “I would read the bible but when I do, I don’t get anything out of it.” The problem is not the CONTENT OF THE BIBLE, the problem is your rush. Speed reading is good but there are two things that we do not speed read or skim over and that is LOVE LETTERS and the BIBLE [which is a love letter].


In conclusion I want to tell a story that will illustrate tonight’s point. It is the story of Mary and Martha, sisters but different as daylight and dark.

Luke 10:38-42–

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was a Type-A personality, heavily driven, task oriented, busy, busy, busy…like me. She was a pot-banger, a server, she had to be active, doing something and she was upset when others were not doing something. Mary was the opposite. She was quiet and contemplative. They both loved Jesus but it was Mary who sensed His heavy heart. She sat at His feet and hung on to every word, while Martha is in a tizzy, in the kitchen banging pans and fussing about her having to do this alone.

Jesus was just a few days from a cross: He did not have that big of an appetite. He was not worried about supper. Mary ceased all activity and sat at his feet. She heard everything He said, Martha got very little because she would not stop, sit down and rest. You cannot absorb, take in what Christ has for you until you cease your activity and wait at His feet.

Martha not only complained to the LORD, she tried to give Him instructions. Mary sat and listened. Mary got blessed and Martha got blessed out…Martha, Martha, you are worried about things that don’t matter. What you are doing may be good but there is something better and you have missed it.

Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:9-10, NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


NOTE: Jesus said, “This is HOW you should pray.” Technically this is NOT the LORD’s prayer, it is the model prayer. It is a guide for us as we learn to pray. Jesus never needed to ask forgiveness for sins–He never sinned–so this prayer is for our benefit. Unfortunately, we have misunderstood the prayer, especially the part we will discuss today.


We Americans have a bad taste in our mouth when it comes to kings. Our very nation was conceived out of the pangs of tyranny. Kings and kingdoms would be a great thing if not for human depravity. The problem is finding the right king: one that is wise, competent and has the welfare of his subjects in mind. Our forefathers believed that “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” They got this phrase from Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

Our forefathers, and rightly so, were afraid of a totalitarian government. I wish Trump could be king but only for a year or so. If he had the power of a king, he would pull the plug and drain the swamp but given time, he might do like Napoleon and declare himself emperor.

Bottom line is: We Americans find it difficult to relate to or visualize a good kingdom. This is very unfortunate in a way because we do live in a KINGDOM and God is the king. I’m not talking about future, I am referring to the present. God is in absolute control and He has absolute power. It is HIS LAW that governs the universe. The wages of sin is death and this law is woven into the fabric of the universe. One of His laws that helps govern the earth is the law of gravity. You don’t have to respect this law. If you have a mind to, you can jump off of a ten story building but you cannot break this law without this law breaking you. God will always have the last word.

So God is already Sovereign: we are not praying that He will become KING, He is the KING of kings right now. We are praying for His KINGDOM to come to earth, just like it is in heaven. I assure you IT IS COMING. I am not an expert on prophecy and I don’t know much about the millennial reign but I do know that God will get history right and in the end Christ will be exalted as KING and every knee will bow and every tongue confess. It’s coming folks, it is coming. Everything that is wrong in this world will be set right when the KING of righteousness returns.

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

I don’t know about you but that thrills my soul.

“My Jesus, my King, my life, my all, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.”

David Livingston


“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”

Every kingdom has subjects and subjects submit: we bow before the King. Our will is lost in His presence. No subject is their right mind would approach a king with a list of demands…“Listen king, if you will do such and such for me, I will give some consideration to doing something for you.” It would be this fools last audience with the king.

The Subject has no will…

Let me ask you something: Are you doing God’s will? What comes to your mind when you think of God’s will? It is something hard, difficult, foreboding? Do you have a fear that God’s will for you will be something very unpleasant? I think we have negative images concerning God’s will as though it is something hard, unpleasant or even impossible. Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done and He was crucified. Job was the best man on the earth and look what happened to him. Joseph was the only decent son Jacob had, the only truthful one in the bunch and look what happened to him.

All this is true but look at the outcome: Jesus saved us from our sin. Job was restored and blessed greater than before. Joseph went from being a despised shepherd to the Prime Minister of a global power. Do you think Joseph, while sitting in that comfortable office chair in his penthouse office with servants attending to his every need that he thought…I wish I hadn’t done God’s will.

Reminds me of a story that happened the middle of last century. A man without a job is walking down the street and he sees a help needed sign on the First Baptist Church so he goes into the office to apply for the job. The opening was for a janitor. He told them he would like the job and they handed him an application. He graciously handed it back saying, “Sorry, I can’t read or write.” The secretary then said, “Sir, if you can’t read or write, you can not apply for the job.” Frustrated and disappointed he walked back out into the streets where he noticed a man peddling wares on the street corner. It gave him an idea. He found a supplier and bought some fruit with what little money he had and then set up a fruit stand on the street. He did so well on that street that he opened up a second stand in a different part of town. His business continued to grow and he opened stands in other cities until he became a millionaire. A newspaper heard about this man who couldn’t read or write and his fruit stand business and they came for an interview. They asks him how many stands he had, what cities he was in and finally how much money he had made. Finally the reporter said, “Just think where you would be if you could read and write.” He said, I would be the janitor of the First Baptist Church.

God’s will for you life is not some nefarious, abhorrent or vile thing: it is the very thing you would choose if you had God’s foreknowledge.


Our present culture thinks that submission is awful, they have made it a dirty word. Masculinity is under attack in this country and any thought of a woman submitting to a man in any context is outrageous. Can you imagine a happy marriage being birthed from that philosophy? These ignorant souls think the bible is antiquated and sexiest. They do not understand the joy of submitting to a good master.

I retired in January of 2017 and got a job working for a contractor. I hired on as his goffer but I soon learned he had other intentions. When he sent me on a job, I did exactly what he told me to do. If the customer said something, I would say, “You have to call my boss, I can’t make those changes without his approval.” The only concern I had was obeying him. The customers happiness was not my responsibility. It was a refreshing change for me. I had rather be under authority as in authority–there is far less pressure.

My wife has lots of freedom. I don’t micro-manage her, she is highly competent. She only comes to me when there is a hard decision to be made. If I make the wrong decision, that is on me, not her…she simply did what she was told. Life is much simpler when you have a master rather than you being the master.

Obvious, the real MASTER is Jesus. No one can love you more than Jesus and yet people refuse to submit to HIM. Why? Because that think their way is better. They think they know more than He does. The truth is: He knows you better than you know yourself and HE HAS A PERFECT PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.


Pleasure has a lot of sources. There is pleasure is sin. The world can give you pleasure but there is only one source for JOY and that is Jesus.

He Makes Me Lie Down

Psalm 23:1-2, NIV

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters


Some may question David’s choice of metaphors but not I: the similarities between sheep and humans are many and amazing. Sheep by nature are restless creatures. They are very insecure, easily frightened and are in dire need of the comfort that only a good shepherd can give.


You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.


We may not want to admit it but we humans are very restless creatures, just like sheep. The most prominent form of mental illness in America is anxiety. Over 40 million Americans are on some form of medication for anxiety. I don’t want to be misunderstood at this point…I have battled anxiety…including full blown panic attacks and unfortunately, it runs in my family. So don’t get the idea that I am making light of the problem: I am simply stating a fact: WE HUMANS ARE FEARFUL, INSECURE AND RESTLESS.


Let me further state: I am thankful for doctors and for medication. There was a time in my life when I needed both. The most often prescribes drugs for anxiety and depression are:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)

So I make this disclaimer: do not through you anxiety medicine away until you clear that with your doctor. I have discovered that humans have different levels of anxiety: SOME ARE MORE ANXIOUS than others. Don’t be critical of those who are hyper. People with a phlegmatic temperament rarely struggle with anxiety. Both introverted temperaments {Phlegmatic and Melancholy} are usually calm and collected. They look at those of us who are extroverted with disdain—“What an idiot.” I know, I am a Sanguine married to a Melancholic.

My Friend the Camel

My neighbor and very good friend, the one person I could confide in, was a Phlegmatic {Camel} and he never got in a hurry. He was an EMT and a good one but he never hurried. How does an EMT not hurry? This absolutely blows my mind.

My Point

If you have an introverted temperament; it is because God made you this way; so do not swell with pride and do not be judgmental toward those with the extroverted temperaments who are more prone to anxiety than you. You are not calm, cool and collected because you are “more spiritual,” you are this way because it is your temperament.


We humans are like sheep, we are restless and insecure and we are in dire need of a good shepherd.



Sheep need rest to be healthy. Their digestive system does not work properly with they are anxious and restless. Human are no different–We need REST. We don’t need to be like the guy who said when asks what he did, “I don’t do anything Monday through Saturday and then I rest on Sunday.” There is no true rest a part from labor. {Granny on Beverly Hillbillies}


The LORD understood this basic need and that is why we have a SABBATH, a day of rest. If you work hard for six days, you will appreciate a SABBATH. The worse beating my daddy got was for running the mules on Sunday. In the old days, both men and animals rested on the sabbath. If you followed a mule for six days, you would be ready for a Sabbath.


“He makes me lie down…”


Philip Keller was a sheep rancher who wrote a book on the 23rd Psalm. He says that four things keep sheep for resting:

[1] FEAR–Their anxious restless nature and the threat of danger.

[2] RIVALRY–infighting over pecking order [leadership]

[3] PEST–Flies especially

[4] HUNGER–empty stomachs or even the fear of an empty stomach.

Of these four, I want to address the second–OUR AMBITION or RIVALRY, striving to get ahead of others. Joking for positions. It is a huge problem in churches–I’m talking about the pecking order. All this striving and contending for power, position and prominence is wasted energy. Be still and know that He is God. The word be still is one word in Hebrew that means to cease, take your hands off, to stop striving.


I have lived on both side of the track. Regrettably, I have spent most of my life striving, contenting, bumping, shoving, trying to get ahead of someone else then a few years ago, something in me clicked [I know it was due to His grace] and I took my hands off. I began to pray sincerely, “Thy will be done.” I wish I had understood 40 years ago what I understand now.


Like humans, sheep can be hard headed and a bit rebellious and sometime the shepherd has to make them lie down. Don’t doubt or question God’s ability to make you lie down. He can put you down in a heart beat. He can put you flat of your back where you have to look up.

If we don’t come apart, we fall apart.

~Vance Havner


I sing this song every Sunday morning before I come out… Lord, I come, I confess, Bowing here I find my rest 
Without You I fall apart; You’re the One that guides my heart.

Many a flock has grazed in green pastures surround by predators lurking in the bush. On this earth, there is no safe place from the predators; they are everywhere. The shepherd is able to make the sheep lie down in green pastures surrounds by wolves in the wild by getting the sheep to focus on HIS PRESENCE, not the presence of the enemy. As long as the sheep trusted the SHEPHERD for their salvation and protection, they could rest. If they lost sight of the shepherd, they were restless and prone to wander which put them in even more danger. The safest place for sheep is with the shepherd.

Don’t focus on your fears or your problems: keep your eye on Jesus {Peter walking on the water}.


My struggle with anxiety began in Seminary. At first it kind of came and went but by the time I graduated and moved to our first full time church field, it had gotten much worse. I would not wish insomnia on a dog. I would go for days without sleep and of course, I was a zombie in the day time: it is a depressing state of mind. I was ashamed and embarrassed. Finally I took a mystery trip and checked myself into a hospital for every test imaginable. The doctor told me, “Jack, your are as healthy as a horse but you are a ball of tension: if you don’t relax, you will eventually be sick. I am going to give you something for the tension. He did, it was Valium. I tried to take it but it slowed me down to a crawl: as soon as I caught up on my sleep, I laid the valium aside [didn’t through it away] but decided I would only take it after prolonged insomnia. In the meantime, I got with the LORD and told Him the truth and He told me the truth. My problem was my fear of death. I had to call it what it was to get victory. Calling it something else would not have worked.

Disclaimer #2

Don’t be offended if you are on Valuim: it is used for spastic colon and other disorders. I have friends who take it everyday and you would never know. I didn’t have a physical problem, my problem was spiritual. I had to get my focus on the SHEPHERD.

I don’t want to get into a competition over who has the most problems but just let me say, the BAILEY’S are by no means problem free but our problems have a spiritual base, we brought them on ourselves and they could be fixed if we would look to the shepherd.

The Law: Here To Stay

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


Wow, I am overwhelmed by the topic and I don’t know where to start. Jesus very first words…DO NOT THINK are critical to our understanding. The law had been grossly misunderstood and Jesus is attempting to correct our faultily thinking. I myself admit that the law can be easy to misunderstand. I grew up thinking it was a savior that failed in its mission and so God’s plan B was Jesus. Of course this is wrong. THE LAW WAS NEVER A SAVIOR OR AN INTENDED SAVIOR.

Unfortunately, this is not the only misconception about the LAW. After Paul introduced the concept of GRACE, the false teachers came up with what we called Antinomianism. Now that we have grace in Christ, the law has no importance. Jesus fulfilled the law so we don’t have to. On a part of this is true: Jesus did fulfill the law because we cannot. He did live a perfect life in our behalf but that doesn’t mean the law can be set aside. We are to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as our self. ULTIMATELY in God’s kingdom, everyone will be law abiding. CHRIST IS NOT OUR EXCUSE TO VIOLATE THE LAW, HE IS OUR MOTIVE AND ENERGY FOR KEEPING IT.

Jesus said, Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 

In is future but the LAW will eventually become the standard, the norm. I don’t know whether this will be in the millennium or in heaven but it is coming. The law is going anywhere: Jesus didn’t come to do away with the law or to set it aside. If that is what you think–you have misunderstood.

Verse 20 is the key verse of the entire sermon… For I tell you that unless your righteousness [virtue, inner goodness] surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Before this verse comes our VERTICAL RELATIONSHIP…our attitude toward God and our being rightly related to Him. From verse 20 to the end of the sermon, Jesus deals with our relationship with others. The six illustrations He is about to give all deal with our HORIZONTAL RELATIONSHIPS.

  • Anger/Murder–21-26
  • Lust/Adultery–27-30
  • Divorce–31-32
  • Swearing–33-37
  • Personal injury–38-42
  • Relating to our enemies–43-48


Lets go back to verse 20 and look at it closely: what was wrong with the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees?

The first thing we need to understand is the Jewish mindset when it comes to the LAW. The LAW meant four things to the Jews:

  • The TEN COMMANDMENTS–Decalogue
  • The TORAH–Pentateuch, first five books, or books of Moses
  • The entire Old Testament–Law and Prophets
  • The Scribal Law–Mishnah {Commentary on the Mishnah was the Talmuds} These were layers of law on top of the original law of God. The Scribes had actually created a law within itself and it did not resemble the original in letter or intent.

EXAMPLE: The Sabbath laws of the Scribes were brutal. In the case of Sabbath laws, Jesus was a law breaker because He put human need before their laws. The Jews didn’t believe in showing mercy on the sabbath, not if it require any labor or effort.

Jesus scolded them: He reminded them that God made the Sabbath for man’s good and not vice versa. When Jesus healed the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, they had a meeting and began conspiring to kill Jesus.


So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. [Romans 7:12]

So God’s law is good, it is perfect and holy. It has a central place in God’s kingdom. It is only bad when man tampers with it as the Scribes did which is why we are warned not to tamper with the word of God.


The Scribes focused on the LETTER of the law, the outward requirement. Jesus first two illustrations bear this out: to them murder was not to act in a violent way toward another human being, not to take their life. But Jesus was concerned about more than then man’s life so he dealt with the root of the problem which is anger. {Cain and Abel}

Did any of the scribes take part in the Crucifixion? No, not a single Jew took part in the crucifixion–the Romans carried out the crucifixion. Were they guilty of the death of Jesus, you better believe it. Why? They didn’t drive a nail. No they didn’t, but it was their anger and envy that got the ball rolling: the Romans simply got out foxed and did their dirty work.

The religious Jews are worried about the social implication of the law. They were meticulous about keeping the law because they wanted to be known as law abiding but their hearts were corrupt and filled with envy, hatred, greed and lust.

III. The Jewish Religious Establishment need a Heart Change

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.


True conversion is a change of heart that results in a change of behavior not simply a change of behavior that convinces others that we have had a change of heart. The heart must change.

The Power Of Words

Scripture: Psalm 12, NIV

1 Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts. 3 May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— 4 those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?” 5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” 6 And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. 7 You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked8 who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.


America is running on the momentum of a godly ancestry. When that momentum is gone, America is in trouble.

~Gresham Machem

It is a bit ironic, but when David looked around, he saw what we are seeing today: moral absolutes questioned, the godly minority shrinking, culture crumbling and paganism prevailing. David cried HELP! He felt like Elijah, alone and vastly outnumbered. One of David’s concerns was the POWER OF WORDS. The old adage, “STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME,” is false. Words can be very destructive. Hitler’s Mein Kampf was 615 pages. For each page approximately 10,000 people died; somewhere around 500 deaths for each word. Do not underestimate the power of the media. They are students of Hitler. Hitler said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep telling it over and over and eventually they will believe it.” Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda said, “If you repeat the lie often enough, people will believe it and eventually you will believe it yourself.”

First: Davids discouragement

LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts. 3 May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— 4 those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?

Second: The devices of the wicked

David gives us a brief list of the ways the wicked use the tongue for destructive purposes: [1] They lie, they fabricate, they do not tell the truth. [2] They use flattery. Wiersbe says, “Flattery is not communication, it is manipulation.” The flatter plays to the ego: he basically tells you what you want to hear and sometime that is no where near the truth. [3] David mntions deception. Although deception is a form of a lie, it can contain some truth. Many have the gift of decieving others withoug telling an out right lie. Decieving others is wrong period. [4] The arrogant or boastful tongue. David was dealing with some folks who were good at speaking, Absalom would be a good example but they felt no sense of accountability to God. They basically said, “We will say and do what we please. We don’t have a master.” This will be the spirit of the antichrist.

A comforting Truth: The Word of God is Perfect and Powerful [v.6]

Model Prayer…Part Two

Matthew 6:9

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.


First, I want to remind you that this is the MODEL PRAYER. Jesus is teaching His followers how to pray. In Luke 11 we are told that this came at the request of the disciples themselves…

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

I find it interesting that of all things; they asks Jesus to teach them to pray. They didn’t ask, “LORD, teach us to preach so that we might draw huge crowds like You do.” NOTE Jesus exact words, “This, then, is how you should pray.” He is teaching us how to pray and you will see this before we are through, I hope.

A second NOTE: It is a prayer for disciples, for folks who are serious about following Jesus. To pray THY KINGDOM COME AND THY WILL BE DONE and no mean it, is sacrilege or a form of profanity. Insincerity and prayer do not mix. Do not say this prayer if you don’t mean it. Jesus is giving us a model prayer not a rabbit’s foot. There is no magic is saying this prayer.


Last week we talked about the FATHER and we intended to cover the entire verse but we ran out of time. When we think of the father image: we think about someone who [1] Cares. I care about my children. They know they can talk to me because I love them. Intimacy and prayer go together. [2] Not only do I care, I am accessible. My children don’t have to get an appointment: they don’t go through protocol. They come directly to me day or night. In my opinion, Pete Rose is one of the sorriest humans to walk on this planet. He was an unfaithful husband and a absent father. One of his sons tried to reach him and he was told to go through Pete’s agent. Pete no longer needs a agent: he is a dismal failure and the world knows it. My children do not go through an agent and neither do yours. TRADITIONAL STORY: A Roman emperor had just won a war and he and army was returning to Rome in parade fashion. As the Emperor and his army marched down the avenue, a small boy darted through the guards and toward the Emperor’s chariot. A guard arrested him by saying, “Don’t you know better than to approach that chariot; that is the emperor’s chariot.” The boy said, “He is the emperor to you but to me he is my father.” The third image the father conjures up is [3] Someone greater than ourselves. This is where we take up today.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Lord willing we will talk about Heaven, Hallowed and His Name.

Our Father in Heaven

When we think HEAVEN, we think ABOVE, HIGH, LOFTY. Heaven, the place of the FATHER’S abode teaches us that our Father is transcendent: He is above us and beyond us. He is infinitely greater. We will get to His righteousness in a moment but right now I want to focus on HIS POWER. When it comes to power, to might, there is no comparison between us and the Father. We deal with impossibilities everyday but NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD. Man has manufactured many powerful things: we have made huge earth moving equipment–trucks, cranes, boats, machines that can move tons. We have even created a rocket that will send men to the moon but this is pure anemia compared to God. Our FATHER IN HEAVEN is the Almighty. There are no limits to what He can do. There is nothing impossible with HIM.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed

The Greek word for ‘hallowed’ is hagiazō which comes from the root hagios meaning HOLY or MOST HOLY. Hagiazō is the verb form meaning to render or acknowledge as HOLY. The temple was holy because it had been sanctified or set aside for worship of Yahweh. The seventh day was a holy day, different from other days, because it was set aside for the LORD, called many times the LORD’S DAY.

The first part of prayer is PRAISE and ADORATION for the Father. When we think of his attributes, we begin with His holiness. No one can pray effectively without acknowledging that the Father to whom we pray is HOLY. Everything rises and falls on God’s integrity or His holiness. A little girl was saying her nightly prayers: almost everyone in her family was sick…this is how she prayed: “God, please don’t You get sick: if you get sick, we are all in trouble.”

The little girl is right: if God gets sick, we are all in trouble. Likewise, if God fails, if God lies, if God does anything to destroy His holiness, we are in trouble. I am convinced that the universe is sustained by His holiness. We wrestle with the problem of evil: how can a good and all powerful God put up with evil? People asks: “If God is, why is their evil? Augustine ask, “If God is not, why is their good?” He also said, “God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to have no evil exist.” God desires to be loved by individuals who freely choose to love HIM. This is why He created men instead of robots. The bottom line is: GOD IS HOLY and our first act of wisdom should be to acknowledge this fact. {Israel’s relationship would be a good example: they blamed God for their misfortune when it was in fact, them reaping their own sins. They refused to acknowledge their sin and His HOLINESS}

Hallowed be Your name…

To the Jews a name was more than a name. The Jews believed that the name must match the character. This is why they changed names all the time. Jacob means deceiver or trickster; after an all night wrestling match with God, his name was changed to Israel {Prince}. This is because Jacob got converted: God changed his nature and his name. Jesus did the same thing with Simon, Andrew’s brother. When Andrew introduced his brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus said,  “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas”  (which, when translated into Greek means Peter [Stony].

God’s name means something: It means perfect holiness, almighty power and incredible love. When I say God or Jesus, certain words should come to mind like…Holiness, power and love.

My children come to me with all sorts of request. As a matter of fact one came to me and interrupted me when I was preparing this sermon. He wanted to borrow something, he just walked into my office and started talking. What gives him the confidence to approach me with that kind of boldness?

…He knows I love him

…He firmly believes I am a good man

Robert E. Lee was a great man of noble character which is something you cannot say about Sherman or Grant or the man who employed them. He was devastated by the war: the all powerful federal government robbed him of all his possessions. If some of them had gotten their way, they would have hanged him. Two young men came to the humble cottage where he spent his last days, they wanted to do his biography. They promised him money which he desperately needed but in the course of events, they wanted to change the truth about his life in order to sell more books. He ran them out of his house. His last words were: “All I have left is my name and it is not for sale.”

The FATHER’S NAME stand for pure goodness. Would you recognize the fact today, that HE IS HOLY…He does not sin but you and I do. If you want a meaningful relationship with HIM, that is the place to start.

The LORD Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23

Psalm 23:1 [NIV] The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:1 [NRSV] The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.


We are skipping Psalm 22 for the time being: I have decided to use it in our communion services over the next couple of years. I don’t want to attempt it in one message so we are going to Psalm 23 and we are running into the same problem but it is a much shorter Psalm.

Psalm 23 is the Nightingale of the Psalms. The nightingale sings it most beautiful music in the darkest part of the night. David wrote this Psalm in the twilight years of his life; after he had walked through the valley of death many times.

Most consider it David’s masterpiece and it is without doubt the most familiar passage in the Old Testament if not the entire bible. It has been a comfort to millions; perhaps billions. It has brought comfort to dying soldiers on distant battle fields, to slaves and prisoners, to the grieving, the heartbroken, and the lonely. I myself have used it on numerous occasions for the purpose of giving comfort to the broken hearted.

Spurgeon called it the ‘Pearl’ of the Psalms. James Montgomery Boice said, “This Psalm is, indeed, a masterpiece of inspired poetry and praise: testifying to the abundant goodness and grace of God to His people.”


Tonight we will look at the first verse: The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”


You will notice the LORD is in caps: that is because it is the sacred name Yahweh. When the bible was translated into Greek [Septuagint], the sacred name was Jehovah. Most translation translate in LORD is small caps. Elohim is the common word for God but it is also used of men and angels. The prefix of Elohim is El and would be used to reference any god. When God spoke to Moses about going to Egypt, Moses said, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  I AM is the Hebrew verb for being [hayah] and it contains every tense imaginable. God’s personal name {Yahweh} is a verb because He is a God of action. It means…

…I AM that I AM…because I AM…Since I AM…What I AM


I heard about a black preacher many years ago and he said it better than I’ve ever heard…THE LORD IS, HE ALWAYS HAS BEEN IS AND HE ALWAYS WILL BE IS.

He is the infinite, eternal, self-existent God. He is without beginning or end.

David wants to make sure everyone understands clearly, who his shepherd is…It is Yahweh, the One and only.

Perhaps your thinking…it is a mute point…what difference does it make? It makes a lot of difference. The Normans have a god or gods. Ophrah and the new agers have a god; the Muslims have a god but it is not Yahweh. God is a generic term that is universally excepted but try using the name of Jesus and see how much acceptance you get.

We have to be clear: The LORD who is our Shepherd is Jesus!



This is David’s affirmation of faith, THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. The LORD Jesus is my Shepherd. In John 10 Jesus said, “I AM the good Shepherd.” A play on words. He said, I will give my life for my sheep and He also said, “I know My sheep by name.”

The word “My” is a possessive pronoun. A possessive pronoun indicates a relationship of possession in a broad sense.

To put this in perspective, think of it this way…THE LORD IS NOT MY SHEPHERD. Then read the entire Psalm in the negative.

The LORD is not my Shepherd, I shall want. He will not make me lie down in green pastures nor will He lead me beside still waters. He will not restore my soul. He will not guide me along the right path; I will be my own guide. When I walk through the darkest valley, I will be afraid because He is not walking with me. He will not prepare a table for me; He will not anoint my head with oil and my cup will not overflow. Goodness and mercy will not follow me and I will not dwell in His house ever.

Pretty disturbing is it not!

III. THE PROVISION…”Shall not want.”

I love various translations…The NIV…”I lack nothing”…. Holman… “I have what I need.” ERV…I will always have everything I need.”…NCV… “I have everything I need.” The Hebrew word implies… to lack, be without, decrease, be lacking, have a need.

We Americans often confuse “Want” with “Need.” Philippians 4:19 states… And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

As Spurgeon points out in his commentary, there are different levels of want: want here is not base desires for wealth or worldly pleasure. Spurgeon said if you gave me ten million dollars, one reversal of misfortune and it is all gone but give me the assurance that the LORD IS MY SHEPHERD and I shall want for nothing. Spurgeon said, “I don’t want cash, give me the check book so I can get what I need when the need arises.”

Lets think for a moment about the deeper wants, desires, what your heart really longs for…would it be love, peace, joy, sanctification, glorification [freedom from the presence of evil]. JESUS will give you all these things and more. “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” [Psalm 84:11]

Sheep are timid and fearful creatures. They lack the courage and tools to fight. They lack judgement in the smallest matters. Sheep need a shepherd: left alone they will not survive. The Middle Eastern Shepherd was everything the sheep needed in one person. He feed them, he lead them, he protected them, he disciplined them. He went after them when they wandered: he doctored them when they were sick. HE/SHE WAS EVERYTHING THE SHEEP NEEDED.

The pagan had multiple gods, they had a god for rain, one for sunshine, fertility, war, love, wisdom…you name it, they had a god for it. We have Jesus and He is all we need.

Jesus is the alpha and omega and everything in between. He is the ALMIGHTY, the BRIGHT and morning Star, He is the CHRIST [the Anointed One], He is our DELIVERER, EMMANUEL {God with us}, He is the FAIREST OF TEN THOUSAND to our soul. He is the GOOD SHEPHERD, HEAD of the body the Church, the great I AM, the KING of kings, LORD of lords and LIGHT of the world, He is our MAKER and our MASTER and MIGHTY God. He is the NAME above all names, the ONLY begotten of the Father, the Prince of Peace. He is our REDEEMER and our ROCK, our SAVIOR, SHEPHERD and SHIELD. He is the TRUTH, the UNDISPUTED CHAMPION of the world. He is our Victorious Savior and the WAY to heaven. Hey, I’m just scratching the surface: He is much, much more.

Nine times out of ten, when I ask a question, the answer is JESUS. I’m like the SS teacher who always answered every question with JESUS. He taught 7-8 grade boys. One Sunday he ask, “What is brown, has a long fuzzy tail, lives in trees and love nuts.” One of his smart alic students said, “It sounds a lot like a squirrel but we know the answer is Jesus.”

The Victorious Christian Life

Psalm 21

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 The king rejoices in Your strength, Lord.
    How great is his joy in the victories you give!

You have granted him his heart’s desire
    and have not withheld the request of his lips.

3 You came to greet him with rich blessings
    and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
    length of days, for ever and ever.

Through the victories You gave, his glory is great;
    You have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

Surely you have granted him unending blessings
    and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

For the king trusts in the Lord;
    through the unfailing love [chesed] of the Most High
    he will not be shaken.

Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
    your right hand will seize your foes.

When you appear for battle,
    you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.

The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and his fire will consume them.

10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    their posterity from mankind.

11 Though they plot evil against you
    and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.

12 You will make them turn their backs
    when you aim at them with drawn bow.

13 Be exalted in Your strength, Lord;
    we will sing and praise Your might.


This is a great Psalm…I love it. The only people who could possibly not like this Psalm are those who are living in rebellion against God. David was Israel’s Warrior King. In that sense, there was never another king like him. Solomon was not a warrior. Josiah, who might have been the purest of all the kings, lost not only a battle, he lost his life in that battle. David is the type of CHRIST our Warrior King–the ONE who leads us to victory.


In this message, we are going to FOCUS on the VICTORY we have in JESUS and we are going to look at this VICTORY from three angles…


David would tell us point blank…There is no victory a part from the LORD.