Suffering For Christ’s Sake

1 Peter 2:13-25, NLT 

13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 
14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 
17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. 
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 
19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 
20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

NASB

Submit yourselves for the LORD’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him [the king] for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor [not worship] the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good to and gentle, but also those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. WHO [Christ] committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to HIM who judges righteously, and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

INTRODUCTION

In our last message, we talked about submitting to authority. Before the flood, there was no such thing as government. God sent the flood because anarchy was destroying mankind. Noah had no institution or power to protect him or his family. After the flood, God instituted Government. We find this in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” This is the basis of our capital punishment laws. Human life is to be protected by the State.

There are three basic institutions that God has ordained to make life blessed: The FAMILY, the GOVERNMENT and the CHURCH. Everyone of these institution is maintained by authority and order. Families have fathers, Governments have kings and such, and the church has pastors. God leads these ordained institutions through these ordained leaders. You must understand that technically speaking Christ is the head of all three but He leads familes through the father, governments through the kings, presidents or whatever and church through the pastors.

The QUESTION before us tonight: does there come a time when legally and morally, we have a right to rebel against these God ordained authorities? Are we to blindly obey our leaders?

First of all tonight: let’s talk about the things we know for sure…

  1. We know that God has called us to suffer {v.21}…For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. [1] Suffering enhances our witness [2] The key component in our sanctification.
  2. We know that God ordained Authority for the good of mankind. Anarchy is brutal; we do not want anarchy. Anything beats anarchy. {v.14} For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 
  3. We also know that rebellion is most instances is evil. The devil is a rebel. We know for sure, we do not want to rebel against God.
  4. We know that God is not honored when we clammor constantly about our “Rights.” God doesn’t want us to be selfish and always looking our for our best interest. He wants us to deny our personal rights for the benefit of others. God is pleased when we suffer for others sake.

NOW, LET’S ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS

  1. Can a husband/father become an abusive bully?
  2. Can a king/govenment become a tyrant? One who enslaves and punishes the righteous.
  3. Can a pastor become a dictator?
  4. Can authority be abused and misused? If so, what are we to do?

NOW, LETS LOOK AT THESE QUESTION IN LIGHT OF OUR PRESENT CULTURE

  1. Paul told the Thessalonians that before Christ returned, there would be an age of REBELLION and sometimes I wonder if we are in it. {II Thes. 23} During this age, there will be a “spirit of lawlessness,” which will produce horror. I don’t think there is any doubt that we see this “spirit of lawlessness” at work today.
  2. Paige Patterson is under attack for telling about a woman he counseled years ago. He advised her to stay with an abusive husband, which she did, and to my knowledge the story had a happy ending, but the press got wind of the story and now Patterson is catching so much heat from the left that he has canceled his speaking engagements.
  3. We know that God doesn’t want us to imulate the spirit of rebellion or to act in the likeness of the antichrist or devil but does this scripture imply that Christians are to take all manor of abuse. Are we do become the doormats of society?
  4. Thomas Jefferson and all our founding father spent hours discussing the tyranny of King George. They understood the gravity of the moment and gave lots of thought and prayer to their decison to revolt. Jefferson said, The two enemies of the people are Criminals and Government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so that the second will not become a legalized version of the first.
  5. These men studied the bible carefully and the last thing they wanted was to rebel against God. Could they rebel against King George without rebelling against God?
  6. They believed that God ordained government in lieu of anarchy: they firmly believed that God opposes anarchy, rebellion, lawlessness and wickedness and that He ordained government to be a terror to the evil doer but a protector of the righteous. So they made a distinction between government and it’s leaders.
  7. How could these men have formed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind had they been anti-government?
  8. They cited scriptual models to support their belief: Moses, Gideon, Ehud, Jepthah, Samson and Deborah…They believed that tyranny can be opposed without one being opposed to government.
  9. The Founding Fathers, all of which were students of scripture clearly believed that they were not in rebellion against God but they were standing up to tyranny and protecting their individual lives and liberty. The bible has always granted man the right to defend himself and his property.
  10. They believed…Rebellion to Tyrants was obedience to God. Of course to the British, we are rebels just as we are referred to as rebels by our catholic friends. You will not hear an old school Catholic use the term Reformation, they will always use the word Rebellion.

CONCLUSION

So how do we conclude. Jesus gave his life voluntarily but He gave protection to His disciples at the same time. He even told them to arm themselves {Luke 22:36}…And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. If you have the grace to suffer redemptively and you choose to do so, I have no problem, only admiration. My problem comes when we do not give protection to those around us and for those who do not have the stamina to endure abuse without it destroying their soul.

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Lostness

Scripture: Luke 15:1-10, NLT

1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 
2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! 
3 So Jesus told them this story: 
4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 
5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 
6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 
7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! 
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 
9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 
10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” 

INTRODUCTION

The Key to understanding Luke 15 is found in the first two verses: Jesus loved sinners, He even ate with them and this infuriated the Jewish Religious Establishment. These Jewish Religious Leaders believed that God hated sinners and could not wait to punish them. Jesus was God and yet He loved sinners; He came to seek and to save the LOST [Luke 19:10]. To reinforce this truth, that God loves sinners and wants to save them, not condemn them, Jesus told three stories. 

Transition

Today we are going to look at what these stories have in common. There are four things that each story has in common:
  1. In each story, something or someone is LOST. [Sheep, Coin, Son]
  2. In each story, that which is lost has VALUE. [Livestock, Money, Person]
  3. In each story, there is someone who CARES about the lost. [Shepherd, Woman, Father]
  4. In each story, there is a CELEBRATION once the lost are recovered.

We will cover number 4 in a later message: today we are going to focus on the first three AND we are going to combine 2-3 which means our sermon has two major points

I. IN EACH STORY SOMETHING IS LOST

  1. First, there is a lost SHEEP.
    • How did the sheep get lost? {Sheep wandered or just took its focus off of the shepherd. The sheep went astray {Isaiah 56:3}
    • What did it mean for the sheep to be lost? The sheep was more than disoriented, more than separated from the shepherd and flock, the sheep was in a POSITION OF PERIL or extreme danger. {Hell and Judgment}
  2. There is the lost COIN.
    • How did the coin get lost? It is an inantimate object, it could not lose itself. It was lost due to human carelessness, human error.
    • The coin did nothing to get lost. {David in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. NLT,  I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 
    • What do you have to do to be lost? Nothing, it is our default setting. We are lost due to human errror, the error of our grandparents Adam and Eve.
  3. The Lost SON. The Sheep probably wandered, the coin was a victim of human error but the Son was lost because he chose to be lost.
    • There are those who are like the sheep: they know they are lost but they have no idea how to be found. They feel afraid and helpless. They long for the Shepherd to find them.
    • There are some like the coin, they don’t even know they are lost. They need a revelation, a light.
    • There are those like the Son, they are lost, they know they are lost and they have no intention of repenting because they are dead set in living life their way even if that means living in rebellion against God.

II. IN EACH STORY, THE LOST HAS VALUE TO SOMEONE IS PARTICULAR

  1. The lost Sheep has a caring Shepherd. I’m sure you may have noticed the progression: livestock, money, people. The sheep was probably worth about $20, the coin $100 and the Son of course priceless. The sheep might not be that valuable to some but to the shepherd, he was highly valued. {My daddy and his cows}
  2. Coins have little value today but in ancient times, all money was in coins. Even we in America once had valuable coins like a $20 gold piece. So we are not talking about a quarter or a dime. Think of it as a hundred dollar bill. How many of you womem, would turn on the lights and search for a $100 bill?
  3. Then there is the lost Son. Now we are talking about a human being created in God’s image. You cannot put a price tag on a human. This story has a strange twist to it, the FATHER, who we loved the son more than the Shepherd loved the sheep or the woman the coin, did not go in search of His Son. Why? Did he not care? We can coherse fear, we can make someone fear us but we cannot make another human being love us. The Father allowed his son to rebel, to show disrespect, to go to a far country. But he was always at home, waiting, praying, watching for his son’s return.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter why you are lost or who’s fault it is: what matter is that you be found. Since you are a human being, you have to decide for yourself, you have to repent and turn from your selfish ways just like the prodigal. God is the LOVING FATHER who waits for your return.

We know that God is holy, He revealed Himself to Moses as the Holy God, A consuming fire and in CHRIST we have a greater revelation: God is LOVE. You may think He cannot be both but He is can and is: He hates sin but He loves sinners. THIS IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

I want to close with a story about Beth. She was a little 8 year old girl in our WEE Care program and she was acting out to the point that all the worker were frustrated and exasperated. They brought Beth to me to see if I could help; she was one strike away from being expelled. It took me a while to get Beth to open up but finally she told me about the fear she had and I am sure this fear was the motivation of her misbehavior. Beth father had abandoned them when she was six; leaving her, her 4 year old brother and her mom. Beth got up one morning and he was there and she had not seen him since. Her mom was very young; she had children before she was mature enough to be a parent. She was also lonely and she had been inviting male friends to their trailor. Beth was horrified by the prospects. She told me, “I’m afraid me and my brother will wake up one morning and mom will be gone just like dad.” Beth was a beautiful little girl but she acted like a beast and no one wanted to be around her: what was I to tell this 8 year old child. I tried to reassure Beth of her Mothers love but then I told Beth–“I can guarantee you that you are loved unconditionally by Jesus and He will never abandon you.” I wish I could have guaranteed her Mother’s love but I couldn’t but I could guarantee the love of Jesus. He loves you, He died for you and He longs to be your best friend. Would you repent of your sin today and trust Him as your Savior.

Growing Old Gracefully

Scripture Text: 2 Samuel 19:31-39, NLT

31 Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 
32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy [NASB ‘great’]. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim. 
33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.” 
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem. 
35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king. 
36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need! 
37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.” 
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.” 
39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home. 

Introduction

I want to speak to you today on the subject, GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY. Least you feel that the subject does not apply, let me gently remind you that we are all growing old or at least older. But I must confess that I am speaking with Senior Adults in mind. I have no problem admitting that I am a Senior Adult and I do not understand for the life of me why some people are offended by the term. Some 30 years ago, Dian and I started a Senior Adult luncheon at the old church and we had the same problem then as we do now, we had folks in their 70’s and 80’s who would not come. I asked one lady why she did not come and she said, “I am not a Senior Adult.” That’s like me saying, I am not fat, this [pat my belly] is just fluid. Adults at Danville never promote in Sunday School, never, or not in the last 40 years. Charles class was the young married when we came her and Jerry’s class was the middle adults. No one out of either class promotes, we just changed the name on the door. If you are 75, you are 75 no matter what class you go in. Eighty years old is eighty years old even if we put you in the nursery.


Transition: Seniors, we need a good roll model to follow and we find a good in the Old Testament–2 Samuel 19…the story of Barzillai, the Ironman, a highlander from the hills of Gilead and the little village of Rogelim. These highlanders were noted for loyalty, courtesy, hospitality and a passionate love of the hill country.

Verse 32 says…He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy [NASB ‘great’]. The Hebrew word is ‘ga-dole’ and it means to be large in size, power, influence and character. It is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:16 in reference to the sun and moon–two great lights.

Barzillai was great man… 

I. HE WAS GREAT IN TERMS OF WEALTH AND GENEROSITY

You cannot do what Barzillai did without great wealth. In the last part of chapter 17, the bible tells us that when David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted…by three noblemen…and Barzillai was one of the three. These men took care of David and his entire household. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”


Few of us have the resources to provide for a king but Barzillai had great wealth and he was very generous. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:28, He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. The father in the Prodigal Son is our model and what did he do with his wealth? He shared it!


Note Barzillai’s answer to David in verse 34, “No, I am far too old to go” but he was not too old to give. One of the greatest blessing of being a Senior Adult is that I have more time and money to give.

II. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT LOYALTY

Barzillai was not from the Tribe of Judah, he lived in Gilead. Most Israelites treated the transjordan tribes like step children. I am absolutely amazed at this Highlander’s loyalty to David. Barzillai was a KINGDOM MAN. He put the Kingdom of Israel before his own interest. Jesus taught us to “Seek His kingdom first,” and Barzillai is a good example. At a time when David’s popularity had reached an all time low, Barzillai stood with his king. Who knows what would have happened to David had it not been for people like Barzillai. We know one, David was very grateful for what Barzillai had done for the kingdom.

III. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT COURAGE

Chapter 17 tells us that Absalom’s army was already camped in the land of Gilead. The odds were heavily against David. At a time when most men would have been trying to protect themselves, Barzillai took the risk of giving the king sanctuary and supplies. Who knows, this man’s kindness may have made the difference. We know this; Barzillai was not thinking about himself, he literally stuck his neck out for David. If you have a friend like Barzillai, you are rich indeed.

III. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT WISDOM

  1. He had the wisdom to say no…”I’m too old to go.”
  2. He had the wisdom to realize his limitations. He knew he could not do things he once did:
    • Couldn’t enjoy his food
    • Couldn’t hear the voices of singers
    • Didn’t want to be a burden to David…afraid he could not pull his own weight.
    • It is not sad to be a Senior Adult, what’s bad is to be one and not honest enough to admit it. Like 70 year olds buying a sports car, a convertible on top of that, one of these jobs that sits about 8 inches above the pavement. Or one of these 75 year old women wearing short-shorts.
  3. He had enough wisdom to retire. He passed the paton to his son Kimham. He said I am too old to go but not too old to send someone in my place.

Seniors, this is what we need most–wisdom. We need to know when to give and when not to give. We need to know when to go and when not to go. We need to know when it’s time to step aside and pass the torch to someone more capable. This is becoming a sad reality…some people do not know when to quit.

Let me give you two examples: I saw an 84 year old man trying to call a baseball game the other night and he got so confused that he was calling folks out with two strikes and walking them on ball three. When someone corrected him, he got aggitated. It was embarassing for everyone. The best example of not knowing when to quit, is John McCain. He should have retired after losing the election in 2008. At one time, he was nick named John Wayne McCain but that is not how he will be remembered. He will be remembered as petty, vain and a sore loser. He destroyed his own legacy by staying too long.

Seniors, don’t quit living, don’t quit giving but don’t be a hindrance to the next generation. I love retirement, I am busier than I’ve ever been. June and I have put 30,000 miles on an 11 month old Honda and 4 month old truck. We are on track to do 40,000 plus in a year. I love being out of the decision making process. Let the young folks make the decisions because they are going to do most of the work but that doesn’t mean we are to quit ministry. We can give, pray and encourage. We may not be able to go but we can send someone in our place.

There are two kinds of senior adults: the kind and the wrong kind. Actually, it is the bitter and cynical and the happy and supportive.

Glory To God

Scripture: Psalms 143, NLT

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD ; listen to my plea! Answer me because you are faithful and righteous. 
2 Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you. 
3 My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. 
4 I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. 
5 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. 
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Interlude 
7 Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. 
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. 
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD ; I run to you to hide me. 
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. 
11 For the glory of your name, O LORD, preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress. 
12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

Introduction

This is a Psalm of David, written while he was hiding from Saul in either the cave at Adullam or the one at En Gedi. David is being forced to live like a fugitive, like a criminal who has broken the law. He is in a dark place. He feels lonely, depressed and at times paralyzed with fear. Our of the darkness of this experience, he writes this beautiful Psalm that has blessed millions. I am absolutely amazed at the incredible things God did through this flawed man. What a Psalm!
Transition
We have divided the Psalm into four sections:

I. DAVID’S CONFESSION

[v.1-2] Hear my prayer, O LORD ; listen to my plea! Answer me because you are faithful and righteous. Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you. 
  • This is the seventh and last of the penitential psalms [6,32,38,51,102,130]
  • David’s confession here is brief [v.2] Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you. It is an acknowledgement that David, like all men, has fallen short of the glory of God. David was a sinner and he knew it.
  • The GOOD NEWS is that God loves sinners and He uses them. Elisebeth Elliot says, “Who else does he have, since all are sinners.”
  • Secondly, David confesses the basis of his faith, of his relationship with God. David prayed, “Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.” The priviledge of prayer come via the righteousness of Christ. Paul said in Epheisans 2… But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ… 
    For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 
    • Prayer is based on the righteousness of Christ
    • Salavation is based on the righteousness of Christ

II. DAVID’S CIRCUMSTANCES

David’s circumstances were not ideal to say the least. He is was living in a dark musty damp cave.

 My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.  I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. 
I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. 
  • David was in a fix due to Saul’s anger and hatred: David was innocent. He had not done anything deserving of death.
  • David had been knocked down to the ground: Saul had taken his rank and his riches. David had nothing. 
  • Saul forced David to live this way: this is not a choice for David. If David does not hide from Saul, he will be killed.
  • God uses difficult situation and people to hone and polish us. God uses people. He has always used people: [1] Imperfect people [2] Hateful people [Saul] [3] Crazy people [Saul] and obedient people.
  • One way are the other, God is going to use you for His glory but it is best for you to be obedient. God will get glory either way but you will benefit more by being obedient. Your happiness is directly linked to your obedience.

III. DAVID’S CRY

6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. 
7 Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. 
  • Desperate circumstances call for desperate prayer. David is crying out to God like a dry thirsty land cries out for rain.
  • David feels like he is in a life threatening situation. If God does not come through for David, he is history.
  • David is depressed and he feels that his depression is getting worse: he cries out for help and hope.
  • All of God’s servants get depressed from time to time. Job, Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah and even John the Baptist all got depressed. The only people who do not get depressed are those who never do anything. We have an entire population of professing believers who have never fired a shot. Like Saul, they are hiding among the baggage. They are passive, do-nothing Christians who live in the saftey of their comfort zone. There is not much danger of getting wounded when you stay in retreat mode.

IV. DAVID’S CONCLUSION

8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. 
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD ; I run to you to hide me. 
  • The thing that kept David going was God’s grace, His unconditional love. God’s love is based on His character, who He is not what we are or what we have done. God’s love is 100% Grace.

The Good Samaritan

Scripture: Luke 10:25-37, NIV

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 
27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 
35 The next day he took out two denariiand gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

INTRODUCTION

Everyone loves stories and Jesus was the master at story telling. Luke records at least four stories that are not found in the other gospels: The Good Samaritan, the Rich Fool, The Prodigal Son and the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Story of the Prodigal is the most renown in all the world and the story of the Good Samaritan is not far behind. Everyone knows what it means to be a good Samaritan. There are hospitals name GOOD SAMARITAN. Franklin Graham relief organization is the SAMARITAN PURSE.


This is a simple story with a simple meaning. Origen, the Catholic scholar, interpreted it as an alegory but it is not an alegory. It is a simple story that even a lost man can understand. Jesus told it for the benefit of a Jewish Lawyer who was lost in religion. This story is a favorite for the left because they think Jesus was advocating socialism and the distribution of wealth but nothing could be further from the truth.


A very simple way to understand the story is to see the four groups or four kinds of people involved:

  1. There is the man who fell among robbers–he is the victim
  2. There are the robbers or thieves–they represent the villians
  3. There are the religious leaders, priest and Levite–the apathetic
  4. There is the Good Samaritan–the compassionate

The story center around the victim, the man beaten and left to die and how the other three respond. In their response, we see three philosophies of life.

I. THE ROBBERS–WHAT YOURS IS MINE AND I AM GOING TO TAKE IT

In spite of what our friends say on the left, there is evil in this world and there are vicious people out there who will do you bodily harm. One liberal said, “The problem here is not the crime, it is the deeper social ills behind the crime. We must uncover and dig out the roots of social injustice that made these men steal. There is a Greek word for this thinking…Balogna. These men were not stealing in order to feed their starving families and I can prove it. Look at verse 30… A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A man is singular, robbers or thieves is plural. There was more than one robber. Thieves and robbers have always run in packs so they over powered this man. Had robbery been their only motive, they would have tied him up and left him but not only did they strip him, they beat him and left him to die.


Folks, I don’t care what the liberals say, there are mean, evil and violent people in our world and they will hurt you for their own sick pleasure. Are we so niave to think that criminals are concerned about hurting others. First of all, being robbed is painful but being beaten half to death is worse.


A liberal was debating Dr. Jerry Falwell on national TV. He told Dr. Falwell there was no such thing as evil and that men are not depraved. Dr. Falwell asked him, “Do you have locks on your doors at home?” The lib said, “Yes, of course I do.” Dr. Falwell said, “Then you must believe in evil, why else would you lock your door.”

II. THE PREIST AND LEVITE–WHAT MINE IS MINE AND I AM GOING TO KEEP IT

Sad to say, both of these men were church men and probably on their way to the temple. Priest were the religious leaders of the day, the descendants of Aaron. They were your teachers and worship leaders. The Levites were the temple care takers. Both were involved in the activities of the church. Both should have been concerned about the hurting man but both passed by indifferently. The priest barely slowed his pace. The Levite did go closer for a better look but he too, hurried off to church.


There is an old adage–put a mouse in front of a cat and you will find out if you’ve got a cat. Put a hurting person in front of a Christian and you will find out if you have a Christian. As Christians, we are supposed to care.


I want you to picture the victim as he lies beside the road in his own blood. He may be semi-conscience but he is dying. The beating and the lose of blood have taken its toll. Without intervention, he will die. What if his eyes were open, like when they do a root canal: you can see and hear but can’t move. What if he saw the priest out of the corner of his eye or the Levite. He was bound to think…help is coming but they looked and passed on by.


Have you ever had your heart broken? Perhaps you suffered through a painful divorce. Maybe you were the rejected one. When the people who are supposed to love us and care for us don’t care, it hurts. 


Hurting people want help but they don’t want to be exposed. The man was laying there naked; they had taken his clothes. He was lying in his blood and shame. He wanted help but he did not want to become a spectule or a side show. Let me tell you what can hurt worse than the clubs of the robbers, the indifference of those who are supposed to care.

III. THE GOOD SAMARITAN–WHAT IS MINE IS YOURS AND I AM GOING TO SHARE IT

Folks, the key to abundant living is good stewardship. Paul told the Ephesians in 4:28,  He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who is in need. Jesus said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Let me give you the JEV…Life is a lot more fun when you are on the giving end rather than the recieving end. I had much rather be Santa as the kid.


Ministry always involves a sharing of resources and the Good Samaritan was lavish in his ministry. He used his time, his energy, his resources [oil, wine, animal] and his money to help this hurting man. He has no concern for the cost or for being reimbursed for his expenses.


If you go back up to verse 2 in this chapter, Jesus says, “The harvest is truely great but the laborers are few.” The harvest is great, it is just not the harvest we envision. We are looking for folks who are hungry for the gospel and want to be saved: these folks are hard to find but there is a harvest…the fields are littered with hurting people. They are everywhere. Hardy a days goes by that I don’t encounter a hurting person.


The time to express the love of Christ for our friends and relatives is when they are down. This man was lying there helpless–he was open to someone lending a hand.

CONCLUSION

A junior high students approached his teacher in the hall way with a problem, as he was telling the teacher his problem: the teacher pulled a quarter from his pocket and said to the kid, “Here is a quarter, go call someone who cares.” All the other kids laughed but the kid needing help just ducked his head and walked away. I am sorry to say, that I witnessed this event and did nothing about it. I already had a bad reputation for meddling in school affairs and I kept silent.

I’m not picking on school teachers, there are preachers who don’t care. Of course we preachers and teachers are held to a higher standard, we are supposed to care. Every believer and follower of Christ is supposed to care.

The Rich Fool

Scripture Text: Luke 12:13-21

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” 
14Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 
15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” 
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 
17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 
18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 
19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” 

INTRODUCTION

Luke 12 begins with Jesus teaching the multitudes. The crowd has grown into thousands, so much so, that they are stepping on one another. Worse than an Alanta Braves game on the 4th of July. Jesus is teaching on the integrity, judgment, stewardship, profession of faith and persecution when suddenly, from the crowd, He is rudely interupted by a man who is unhappy with the way his families inheritance has been settled.


This man wanted to make Jesus an arbitrator of the will, a judge to decide a fair settlement. Immediately Jesus senses the man’s greed and he tells the story of the rich fool to illustrate how foolish it is for us to put too much stock into earthly treasures.


We refer to this story as the Parable of the Rich Fool because it was God who called him a fool [v.20] and God knows a fool when He sees one. We can fool some of the people some of the time but we can never fool God. No one ever fooled Jesus because He could see our hearts.

There are at least THREE REASONS God called this man a fool…

I. FIRST OF ALL: HE THOUGHT LIKE A FOOL

Jesus enables us to get into his mind: He allows us to see the man’s thoughts. This is something that is normally hidden from us. Look at what the man thinks about and better still, what he does not think about.

Look again at verses…17-19

He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 
  • This man is what we would call an ego maniac…He thinks of no one other than himself. 
  • Today we call this egotism a sickness…Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Notice also what he does not think about…
    • God
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Children or grandchildren

No wonder God labeled him a fool…

II. HE LIVED LIKE A FOOL [just look at his plans]

  • Solomon said–Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. [Proverbs 27:1]
  • Jesus said–So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. [Matt. 6:34]
  • James said–How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like a vapor—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil

Any man is a fool who leaves God out of his plans.

Now, consider this fools plan–‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 

  • What motivates this plan is his greed: He wants to get on he can, can all he gets and then sit on the lid so no one can get anything.
  • He is attempting to keep everything for himself
  • It is going to cost him money to tear down his old barns and more money to build new barns. The fool is blinded by his own greed.
  • Get out your pencil and paper and do the math, would it not have saved him money to have filled all his barns and gave the rest away. [Would have been the best thing]
  • Even so, it would have been better economically just to build a few extra barns but he doesn’t think because he is blinded by greed.
  • Jim Elliott: He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.
  • C.S. Lewis–Nothing becomes permanently ours until we first give it away.
  • Jesus said–“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
  • Hoarding is foolish: The earth is the LORDs and the fullness thereof…You are not going to keep your house, farm, toys, etc.

III. HE DIED LIKE A FOOL

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” 
  • We are not  prepared to live until we are prepared to die. This fool made no preparation for death.
  • There are at least two Greek words that are translated fool: [1] aphrōn[found here in v. 20] without reason, senseless, foolish, stupid, without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly. [2] But the word Jesus used most in reference to a fool is mōros from which we get the word moron. For example, the man who build his house on sand, Jesus called him a moron. In Matthew 23, He called the Pharisees morons twice and He also refers to the foolish virgins in Matthew 25 as morons.
  • Folks it is senseless, foolish, stupid and yes even moronic to make preparations to live and not to make any for death.

CONCLUSION

[Story of Herbert Harris]

 

The Test

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-17

1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 
2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” 
3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 
4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 
5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 
6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 
7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 
8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. 
9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 
10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 
11 At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 
12“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 
14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 
15 Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. 
16 “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. 

Introduction

I was driving to the hosptial and listening to a song that providentially popped up on YouTube and the words of the song sparked the flame of inspiration and I wrote the outlne down on an old receipt that was laying in my truck. What we have here is an old, old story that ends with our Savior getting glory. When I read this story, I see some beautiful pictures. This story is an object lesson that teaches.

I. THE FIRST PICTURE IS THAT OF AUTHENTIC WORSHIP

Of course you have the elements of O.T. worship in the story, the Altar and the Sacrifice but we will come back to those symbols later. Our worship today is not what it should be and I think I know why. On Mount Moriah, Abraham gave God the best that he had. He gave God his most prized treasure, his son Issac. Our worship today is not about our giving to God, we come here to get, not to give. I’m not talking about the offering although that is a central part of worship and another area where we fail–I’m talking about our attitude. We have the idea that we are supposed to get something out of worship and we are so focused on getting a blessing, a fuzzy feeling, inspired, convicted, etc. that we forget that worship is not about us recieving from God but giving to God. Worship is about HIM, not us. We have made it about ourselves and have thus corrupted the entire process. The result is: we come in here and expect someone to do something for us. We don’t enter thinking, what can I do for Christ. What kind of praise can I offer my Savior. We are probably better at giving our money than we are our devotion, attention, praise and adoration. Think about it, how many of you give your absolute best when we stand to praise the LORD?


I wonder if Jesus would say the same thing to us that He said to the Pharisees… You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ ” 


Abraham experienced authentic worship because he was focused on pleasing God, not himself.

II. I SEE A PICTURE OF TOTAL COMMITMENT 

Abraham waited a long time to be a father and in a manner of speaking, Issac was his only son. His only child by his beloved wife Sarah. There is no question that he loved this boy dearly, more than life itself. Abraham’s future was bound up in his son. It is not hard for me to understand what was going on. Abraham was beginning to put more faith in his son that the One who gave him the son. He was allowing Issac to become his idol, the chief object of his love and devotion. This can easily happen to any parent, we begin living for the child instead living for the ONE who gave us the child. Abraham fully believed that God wanted the child and he was willing to make that sacrifice although it was killing him. But God didn’t want the child, He wanted Abraham’s full commitment.


What we have here is a picture of Abraham giving to God his most prized treasure. God knew and so did Abraham, that if he was willing to give his son, there was nothing that he would withhold because the son meant more to him than life.
  • What do you love more today than Jesus? God wants it…
  • What object or person have you put before God? God wants you to lay it down!
  • Who are you living for? Who are you trying to please more than Christ? God wants you to lay it down today.

God wants you to pray the Jame L. Nicholson prayer

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

God did not want Issac’s physical life…He wanted Abraham total devotion

III. I SEE A PICTURE OF SAVING FAITH

Jesus disciples had a problem, they had a little faith. Matter of fact, Jesus nick named them “Little Faiths.” Do you remember what Jesus said to Peter when he failed to stay above the waves, when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink in Matthew 14…this is what Jesus did and said, Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”  [Remember, Peter is the only one who had enough faith to get out of the boat but Jesus assessed his faith as “very little.”


Father Abraham had big faith. The writer of Hebrews said… It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. 


We see this incredible faith not only in what Abraham did but in what he said…[v.4-5] 

On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 


This leads us right into the next picture…

IV. I SEE A PICTURE OF THE RESURRECTION

First of all, the writer of Hebrews says that Abraham did experience a resurrection in type. I believe that Abraham believed that even if he took the boys life, God would raise him up. Why else would he tell his servants, “We will return to you.” I also believe that Abraham entertained the thought that Issac could possible be the Messiah. Issac is the most Lamb like figure in the Bible other than Jesus. How many 14 year old boys are going to carry the wood for their own sacrifice. When I was 14, I could run like a deer and you can bet your last dollar that had my dad been leading me to the slaughter, I would have broke and run. My daddy was 40 years older than me: he could not outrun me at that age. Abraham was 100 years older than Issac. What I am saying is this…The boy was willing to die just to please his father.


Of course, God does not approve of Child Sacrifice.  God said through Jeremiah the prophet,  “Such a horrible thing has never entered My mind.” The only Child Sacrifice that God approved was that of His own Son. Thus God stopped Abraham from slaying his own son but it was like a resurrection because Abraham had already went through the agony and grief of giving his son up.

V. FINALY, IT IS A PICTURE OF THE ATONEMENT

God does require a sacrifice but that sacrifice has to be His doing. Adam and Eve learned this lesson the hard way. They tried to cover their sin and shame with a puny fig leaf apron but God would not accept that as a suitable sacrifice because it cost them nothing and it was the work of their own hands. Folks, no one has the ability to save themselves and no one can present a worthy sacrifice for their sins. THE LESSON ON MOUNT MORIAH is….GOD MUST PROVIDE THE SACRIFICE.


This is exactly what God did in Christ…

  • Romans 8:3–God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins
  • Hebrews 10:4-5–It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 
    That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer
  • I John 2:2–He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world

Like it or not, Jesus love you and He died for you…there is absolutely nothing you can do about it…it is an accomplished fact. Perhaps this does not impress you but it should. The old hymn ROCK OF AGES comes to mind…

  1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
    Let me hide myself in Thee;
    Let the water and the blood,
    From Thy wounded side which flowed,
    Be of sin the double cure,
    Save from wrath and make me pure.
  2. Not the labor of my hands
    Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
    Could my zeal no respite know,
    Could my tears forever flow,
    All for sin could not atone;
    Thou must save, and Thou alone.
  3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to Thy cross I cling;
    Naked, come to Thee for dress;
    Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
    Foul, I to the fountain fly;
    Wash me, Savior, or I die.

Burdens

Scripture: Galatians 6:1-5 and Matthew 11:28-30

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

INTRODUCTION

I was reading a devotion written by a Pentecostal brother who had taken a verse from Isaiah {9:6}….”The government shall be upon His shoulder.” The one thing that he and I agree on is that this is a prophecy concerning Jesus who will one day rule this earth as King of kings. His point of view had nothing to do with the future reign of Christ. He was implying that Christians need not concern themselves with anything related to government. In his opinion, that is a burden that Christians are not called to bear. He and the reforms are in agreement, both believe that the followers of Christ should stay out of government.

Of course, the man is wrong. What we want to avoid is extremes. I’m not advocating that we make government our primary interest but the bible does not teach that we are to be irresponsible citizens either. There must be a healthy balance so let’s look at what the bible teaches about bearing burdens. Do we have some responsibility in this matter?

…Let’s start with Galatians 6:5…

I. EACH ONE MUST BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN

No where is scripture does the bible teach us to be irresponsible

  • Work–Ephesians 4:28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. First of all, it is wrong to steal. It is wrong for the government to steal and the greatest motive for stealing is laziness. Our socialist comrades are very subtle: they don’t come to our house and take our possessions, they confiscate them through the government by unjust taxation.  Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10…For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
  • Give–Same verse…but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
  • Think-I John 4:1 {Message}… My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. Half of America is not only too lazy to work, we are too lazy to think.
  • Cross bearing–Matthew 16:24… “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

II. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 

  • We do live in a world of need: a fractured, hurting world, still suffering from the pain of the fall. We are going to encounter people with legitimate needs. These are not lazy and irresponsible people. They are people like Job. Life has thrown them a curve and their burden is weighing them down.
  • My next door neighbor had a massive stroke some ten years ago. He is confined to his home and lives between a wheel chair and a hospital bed. He is a good man. A much better man than myself. He does not wait to be dependent on others but he has no choice. The stroke paralyzed his left side which means he has one leg and one arm that works. He cannot walk at all and now he cannot move from his wheel chair to his bed without help. I don’t have to go far to do my daily act of kindness, just across the yard.
  • I guarantee you, there is someone near you that needs your help. The longer I live, the more clearly I understand what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 and following. Someone came up to Jesus and asked…“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” 
  • To fulfill the LAW of CHRIST, we must love our neighbor as we do ourselves and this means to help them when they need help. Our word for this is MINISTRY and I believe it is the key to EVANGELISM.

III. THERE ARE SOME BURDENS WE CANNOT BEAR

  • Jesus is our great, our infinite BURDEN BEARER…Wow! What a Savior! 
  • Listen to Him speak…28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  • Isaiah 55:22– Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.  
  • Psalm 38:4– David said…My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.
  • Beautiful story of redemption in the book of Ruth. Boaz is Naomi’s kinsmen redeemer {ga’al}. As such he has the legal right to redeem her estate, to essentially buy back her freedom and life but two requirements must be met: [1] It is legal but not binding, therefore, he must be WILLING. [2] Not only must he be willing but he must be ABLE.
  • JESUS is our Ga’al, our Kinsmen Redeemer: He was both willing and able.
  • Isaiah said, 800 years before the fact–He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. 
  • No one is all of creation is equipped to deal with your sin other than Jesus.
  • No one is willing or able to take your sin other than Jesus.

The Celebration of Life

Scripture: John 11 {Selected}

INTRODUCTIONS

Those of you who have attended COLS that I am involved in know that John 11 is my favorite chapter and I use it a lot at Celebration of Life Services but I have always had a desire to share it with the Sunday morning crowd…so here goes.

I. A COMMON PROBLEM

1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 
2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 
3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” 

II. A STARTLING PROPHECY–“Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.”

 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 

III. AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE–“Lazarus has fallen asleep.”

11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 
13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 

15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” 


We humans have a problem: we view everything through the lens of time… We even project time into our thoughts of heaven but there is no time in eternity…if there was, there would be a starting time and finishing time. Jesus had His feet on earth but His head was in heaven: He could see both worlds. He could see the future as well as the past. Think of it as a continium…At present [Lazarus is sick]…then Lazarus dies…Future, Lazarus is alive and well. Death is a barrier for us–we can’t see beyond it–but it was not barrier for Jesus. What appears to be death to us is simple sleep to Jesus…a temporary state of repose…everyone dies but we do not stay dead. Yes, from our perspective, death seems and appears to be final but not from God’s.

IV. AN INFINITE POWER–“I AM the resurrection and the life.”

Notice the focus of Mary, Martha, the disciples and the mourners. They are focused on circumstances, problems, grief, sickness, mystery of unanswered prayer, dates, promises, prophecies about the future. There is nothing sinful about focusing on the great resurrection day in the future unless we are more focused on the date than we are the person of Christ.

Look with me if you would at these verses…

  • Verses 2-27–Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 
  • Verse 33–When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. [NASB,  He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled] The first of these two words [anger in NLT] means to snort with anger, to groan with displeasure or to sigh with chargrin. The second word means to be agitated, stirred up, troubled or distressed. To my knowlege, used only here in reference to Jesus.
  • Verse 38 —Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 

Over the years, hundreds have tried to discount Jesus emotional state at the tomb: some have even said that it was due to his grief that Lazarus was dead and others believe that he felt emphathy for Mary and Martha but this is clearly not the case. JESUS IS RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNATED over the unbelief of the entire bunch. No one there believes a thing He has said…He told Martha plainly, “Your brother will rise again.” He told His disciples plainly, “This sickness will not end in death.” And yet no one believes. Martha did not believe…When Jesus told them to roll the stone aways…she protested…”By now he stinks.”

What does this tell us? Unbelief is offensive to God. Hebrews 3:12–Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heartof unbelief in departing from the living God.

  • It was unbelief that kept Israel from the land of promise.
  • It was unbelief that caused the Jewish Religious Leaders to call for the crufixion of Christ.
  • It is offensive to God when we mistrust His word or even doubt it.

CONCLUSION

Let me tell you what I love about this story….No one in the cemetery that evening believed that they would be eating supper with Lazarus that night: no one but Jesus. Not even Mary or Martha believed that Jesus was the Resurrection and the Life. When Jesus commanded them to roll the stone aside, Martha protested….”By now there is a stink.”


It doesn’t matter what you think or what you believe about any given situation. The Jewish mourners believed that Jesus had failed his friends. The disciples believed that Jesus was committing suicide by returning to Jerusalem. Not one soul in this story believed that Jesus was going to raise Lazarus by the power of His spoken word. Practically all believed that Jesus was a healer but even Mary and Martha believed that He had showed up too late.


Here is what is important: God had a sovereign plan and Jesus carried that plan out. God intended to get glory this day and He did…in spite of the unbelief.

ARE YOU NOT GLAD THAT OUR IMPOTENCE AND FAILURE PUTS NO RESTRAINT OR RESTRICTIONS ON GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE.

Hallelujah, HIS Kingdom is going to come and His will is going to be done because it has been spoken and in spite of man’s sin, wickedness and unbelief—it will happen.

An Old Fashioned Foot Washing

SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17, NLT

1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved His disciples during his ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end
2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. 
4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 
5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. 
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 
9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” 
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 
11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 
13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 
14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 
15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 
16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 
17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. 

INTRODUCTION

I am your guest today. I am filling in for Bro. Chris your Pastor. I don’t really know you that well and you don’t know me. There have been occasion where my reputation proceeded me but I hope that is not the case today.

TRANSITION

Today, I want to ask you a simple question: Would you like to be blessed? Would you like to go home with your cup filled? I am serious: how many want to be blessed today. I am not talking about me blessing you; I am talking about God blessing you but I do guarantee you that you can be blessed if you so desire.


I’m going to let the cat out of the bag by telling you how you can be blessed this morning. Look with me at verse 17…Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them


You don’t need to write this don’t, just listen carefully to these three words and never forget them…GOD LOVES OBEDIENCE. I hear those words fall from the lips of a preacher over 40 years ago and I have never forgotten them…I can almost hear his voice right now…GOD LOVES OBEDIENCE. Here is a little secret: God blesses what He loves. In just a moment, I am going to suggest four things that you can do to be blessed but it will take some courage and conviction to do them.


NOW: Jesus has not commanded us here to raise the dead, has He? He has not commanded us to heal the sick? His command is for us to love and serve each other.


I want you to look at your bible and make sure I am not misleading you. What did Jesus do on this occasion? Look in verse 5-6…

He got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him

WHAT WILL IT REQUIRE FOR YOU AND I TO FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE?

I. WE NEED TO KNOW WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST

How many times do you see these two words in the text…Jesus knew? Some translation may read…Jesus knowing… do you count three…verse 1,3,11…this is important…

  • Jesus knew that his hour had come…
  • Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that He had come from the Father and would return to the Father… 
  • Jesus knew who would betray Him…

All three are indications of His deity…Jesus was God and He knew it. He knew where He was from, what He was here to do and where He was going when He finished the task. JESUS HAS NO INSECURITIES–NONE. Unfortunately, you and I do and one of those fears is rejection. We are afraid of what others think.

Folks, I know who I am. I am a death and hell deserving sinner that has been saved by the marvelous Grace of Our Loving LORD. I found my identity in Christ. At one time in my life I was a people-pleaser and miserable at it. You may reject me today but my courage comes from Jesus who will never reject me. Psalm 34:22…The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. Paul said in Romans 8:1, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If you don’t know who you are in Christ…you are going to have trouble with the command to wash feet.

II. YOU MUST HUMBLE YOURSELF

Once again, I want you to notice what Jesus did…So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

  • He got up from the table…the initiation of action
  • He took off His robe and wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water in a basin…prepared for ministry
  • He began washing the disciples’ feet. Can you wash feet standing up? No, He got on his hands and knees.

I’ve shared this message many times in many places and I am going to tell you up front: you can’t do it if you are filled with pride. Perhaps, the most moving service I’ve ever been a part of was a “Foot Washing” Service.

III. YOU MUST PUT LOVE INTO PRACTICE

Love was more than a word to Jesus, it was an action. Jesus got up and girded Himself for action. John 13:1…Jesus loved His disciples…He loved them to the very end…even Judas. Not only did Jesus know that Judas would betray Him, He knew that Peter would deny Him and that the other ten would flee the scene like scared rabbits.


He did not love them because they were lovely…or because they were great men…He loved them because He chose to love. It was his sovereign choice.

CONCLUSION

Do You want to be blessed? Here is how you do it…whatever the Holy Spirit prompts you to do in the next few minutes, obey…If you obey, you will be blessed. BECAUSE…GOD LOVES OBEDIENCE.

We are going to wash some feet…

I am going to give you four suggestions but the Holy Spirit may go a different direction: You obey HIM, not me.

  • There are people here today who are going through a crisis and you know who they are…I don’t…in just a few moments…I’m going to ask you to go to that person and affirm your love for them.
  • There is someone here today who has been a blessing to you…possibly a mentor. It could be a parent or a teacher or your boss at work….go to them and thank them.
  • [getting a little harder] Perhaps you need to rededicate your life to Christ…I want you to come and let me pray with you.
  • Perhaps, there is someone here that you have held a grudge against…I want you to go to them and make it right.

This not for show…no one other than the person whose feet you wash is going to know what you are doing. You don’t need to shout but feel free to talk above a whisper. Don’t worry about what others think…that is pride…just obey the LORD right now.