Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Daddy Says - Father's Day June 21, 2015

What a fitting title to a Father’s Day lesson that Steve taught us last Sunday in our Life Care Group.  The lesson is about courage and Jesus exemplified strong courage in Matthew 26 as He knew the suffering of the cross was so near.   One thing about Jesus is He is fully God and fully man at the same time.  God loves His people so very much and He put in place a plan that redeem His people from the curse of death.  In order to do that there must be a once and forever sacrifice.  God loved us so much He desired to die Himself for our sins. God could not die for our sins as it had to be an earthly person that could shed blood and die.  He came to us as a man, His Son, born of a virgin, in order for His Son to die for us.  Jesus is the only man that ever lived that was worthy of being the sacrifice.    
Jesus always called God His Heavenly Father.  He only called God by the name God one time and that was on the cross when He quoted the scripture, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)  In Mark 14:36 Jesus called The Father “Abba, Father” which Abba means Daddy.  Jesus loved His Daddy very much and only did what His Daddy told him to do.  He never did anything unless His Daddy had either shown Him what to do or had told Him what to do.  Whenever He preached or taught His words were what He learned from His Father - in essence His words were “My Daddy Says”.  What a wonderful revelation to know we also can talk to our Heavenly Daddy as He is always ready for us to crawl up in His lap and let Him wrap His arms of love around us.   
It was mentioned in class that the prisons are full of people that did not have a good relationship with their earthly father.  Many do not even know who their biological father is.  How sad it is that most all of these lives would probably be so different if they had a loving father to guide them.            

It is also true that there are those that had a father figure around, but there was not a good relationship with their father.  Many of these people are not in prison, but suffer today from the hurt their father caused them as a child.  One such lady I knew was sexually abused by her father as a child.  Late in her father’s life he came to her and asked forgiveness.  This was a very hard thing for her to do and she did forgive him, but she could not welcome him into her life.  He accepted the Lord and was baptized in the same church that his daughter was a member.  He could never sit with his daughter and her family in church.  It was also very difficult for the church family to minister to him as it was a very awkward situation.  I do have to give him credit for his courage because he kept coming to church even though he knew he would never be fully welcome nor fit in.         

Jesus, as a man, suffered the fear and feelings that one must feel when one knows he is about to be executed.  Jesus is a man that expressed maximum courage to accomplish what His Daddy told Him that He must do to save His people.

What Would Jesus Do?  

Jesus always went to His Daddy about everything as an example for us for every situation in life.  Jesus is saying to us, "Listen to My Words and DO what I tell you to do as I only DO what My Daddy told Me to DO.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

HEAR My Words and DO What I Say

Matthew 7 is one of my favorite chapters from the Gospel of Matthew and yet a certain verses are controversial, which I will explain later. I believe Jesus’ teachings from chapter 7, and the preceding chapters, was to correct and undo some of the confusion among to people of that time.

Jesus’ earthly ministry was mostly to the Jews, but He did not limit His love for people to Jews only. Matthew 7:13-23 are the controversial verses in mentioned and especially verses 13 and 14.  The broad and narrow gates are confusing to most people and these verses have been used to manipulate and control people with fear and be uncertain as to whether they are saved or not.

What are the broad and narrow gates?  The narrow gate is an opening or path that is not attractive to the world.  The worldly view is to take the path that is easy, i.e., the view that this is more than one way to get to heaven.  The worldly view does not like the fact that there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ.  Some people prefer to try to make it to heaven through their own good works or deeds.

Verse 12 is a summarization of the previous verses and then verses 24-27 is a summarization of verses 13-23.  As I mentioned there have been some that have used verses like these to cause fear and uncertainty in the lives of believers from the pulpit.  The Church is one body made up of different parts.  There different denominations and the enemy has infiltrated the denominations as wolves in sheep clothing.

I believe the Lord has had me work at different careers in order for me to be exposed to church going people that are so confused they are uncertain as to whether they are saved or not. I think I told you before about one lady that stated she hoped she was good enough to make it to heaven. Another lady told me that the pastors of her particular denomination never taught the scriptures in their sermons. She stated their weekly sermons were about how her denomination was the only church going to heaven and all the other denominations are going to hell. She also stated that every week her pastor would tear down a different denomination and explain why their beliefs would send their congregations to hell. (I think these might be the false prophets or wolves in sheep’s clothing Jesus mentioned in verse 15.)

At one career I worked at I became friends with two men that professed to being gay. They were great guys and fun to work with, but they did not like the fact that I was a Baptist. I tried to talk to one of them about the scriptures and he thought I was going to condemn his lifestyle. He would not speak to me for two weeks. He would not give me a chance to explain I was not his judge nor was it my job to condemn him. I just wanted to share him some things about Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to change a person, not mine.

As you can probably tell I have a burden for the Church as I have been exposed to so much hurt and confusion among church goers because of wrong teaching. My wife has that same burden as she ministers to her clients that suffer from similar confusions.

Jesus’s sermon or teachings, from the Sermon on the Mount, were intended to change the way the people think, to cause them to listen and understand what He is saying. Verses 24 and 25 are the keys to what He’s trying to get across: Hear what He says and do what He says is the secret to a believer’s walk with Christ.

This chapter runs parallel with chapter 25. I call it the “Well Done” chapter as it explains the “DOing” part for the believer, especially verses 31 through 40.   "DOing" for others is an act of of obedience to Christ.

Be a doer of the word and not just a hearer only!

Being and Doing - Read Chapter 7:13-29 from The Message Bible: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7%3A13-29&version=MSG

Please feel free to send me your questions or comments.