Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Proverbs: Learn and Live!

The Proverbs Learn and Live

Proverbs 2.1-8

Wisdom is the very foundation of the earth and heavens. - Proverbs 8.22-31
The plan of salvation was included in this.
The Lamb slain from the foundations of the earth. Revelation 13.8

Proverbs 8.34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the LORD.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

The Proverbs are not like fortune cookies where one pulls out a verse once in a great while for direction, rather they teach a way of life. They make more sense as you experience life, as you get older. You have a growing number of examples of real life situations as you mature as a believer. They become a reflection of your own life.

This is why they are written to "my son" and so many are aimed to young men. They are telling you about life before you experience it, helping you know what is ahead. 
Proverbs 1.4  giving knowledge and discretion to the young

But they are not exclusively for young men. They are for everyone.
Proverbs 1.5 Let the wise add to their learning...

Some have read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Billy Graham's father-in-law, Dr. Nelson Bell, missionary to China did this. When Billy Graham was a young man he picked up and incorporated this practice. Charles Stanely does it as well. If you do this you will read through Proverbs once a month.

Learn and live.
Proverbs 1.4  giving knowledge and discretion to the young

1. The Three "Ifs" in verses one through four

*If you accept my words
Seize it, lay hold of it, fetch it, acquire it

*If you call out for insight

*If you search for it like silver
How does one search for silver? 
In the ground. 
Yo have to dig deep.
It is hard work. It strains muscles and you sweat. Closest thing was carrying rocks in Haiti.

Wisdom does not come to the casual observer nor to the person who does not meditate on God's Word.

Wisdom comes from the study of Proverbs, from crying out to God, from thinking and meditating, from digging deep within your soul and allowing the Word of God to cleanse you.

We have become very wide today but not very deep. With the increase of knowledge and it is growing exponentially, there has been a decrease in wisdom. 

Get to know the Proverbs! Get to know them well. Read them, meditate upon them, live by them!

2. The Result of this Diligent Pursuit. vs. 5-6

*You will understand the fear of the LORD
Most people do not understand this.
It is a reverence along with trembling.
It is a realization of God's character and His power
It is understanding that everyone is accountable to Him! 
Keith Green Song Most People Don't Find Out Til Its Too Late

*You will find the knowledge of God
Higher than just knowledge of this world
*Financial Freedom for instance is found in the Proverbs. But again you have to search for it. Not like the Televangelist at 2:30 this morning spewing out garbage about the so called "wealth" gospel. Go preach that nonsense in Haiti and see how stupid it is!
*Who to become friends with is in the Proverbs.

3. The Benefits of Wisdom -vs.7-8
The first 9 chapters talk about things like the moral benefits of wisdom, avoiding the adulterous woman, warns about the invitation of sinful men and ill gotten gain... gambling... man at the Western Union buying Lotto tickets yesterday. I went out singing. He went out without his dollars and a dream that if it come true will destroy him! "I wish I had never won that 2 million dollars because it destroyed my family."

The Proverbs is full of truth about Money, Sex and Power.

It is not until we get to chapter 10 that we actually get into the Proverbs themselves. The first nine chapters are describing them and telling why they are important. They also discuss the difference between wisdom and foolishness.

4. The Invitation From Wisdom is the Invitation To Come To Christ- c.9

Colossians 2.2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 

Fine sounding= in a bad sense, persuasiveness of speech, specious discourse leading others into error.
God wants you to be rich.
God will heal everyone if they just have faith.
Galatians 4. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,
You don't need to go be part of a church.
There is no hell.
Everyone is going to heaven.

Get into this study of Proverbs. If you are not attending one of our Bible Studies now is the time to begin! Your spiritual life will be enriched.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Post Resurrection Appearances

Post Resurrection Appearances

Luke 24.13-49
John 20.24-29

In Acts 1.3 After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

We are looking this morning at three of those occasions. There is much to be learned about Jesus and His Resurrected Body which is like the new bodies we will have. We are getting a glimpse of what we will have to look forward to. We don't know all, even John wrote about that. We know in part. We will be like Him when He comes.

I John 3.2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

Christ Jesus appeared throughout the Word of God.
There were guest appearances called Christophanies. 
There was the first appearing in the flesh at His Birth.
There was the post resurrection appearances.
He will appear a second time and we will be with the LORD forever

It is a shame we fly through Easter. 
The message of the early church was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 4.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all.

This morning we are looking at Post Resurrection Appearances. 

1. The Road to Emmaus Luke 24.13-35

The longest conversation we see Jesus having after His Resurrection
*He walks with us.
*He talks with us.
*He reveals Himself to us 
*He opens the scriptures for us today!

These men had lost their hope. We can get to that place in these last days.
Luke 24.21 but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 

 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing Him.
I think they were kept from recognizing Him because they were talking about Jesus and not to Him... we can do that. We can begin to lean on our understanding if the Word of God does not overshadow all we do, say or think! The Bible is full of examples of God being left out.
Jacob's early life.
Peter in John 21. "I am going fishing."

How about if we asked the LORD:
"Do You think we should have sporting events on Sunday Morning?"
What would He say? What has He said? Hebrews 10.25
The problem is that it had been discussed among people who did not consult hte LORD so we are raising the first generation without Sunday School in America.

Jesus calls us back.

Jesus gives second and third chances.

Over 6,000 views on our Sunday Morning Message Blog the past 30 days
This week France, The United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Germany, The Philippines, Malaysia and Russia.

LiveStream on FB Page of last Sunday's Service: 156 views/ 2 shares

2. Later That Evening In Jerusalem Luke 24.36-49
In the room locked up, perhaps the upper room.

This was the first appearance to the disciples minus 2, Thomas and of course Judas.

We can miss things by our doubts, lack of faith.
-Rewards by God

The faithful are rewarded. Hebrews 11.6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Diligently seeking Him... 
Are you? 

Thomas suffered for a week in despair that was completely unnecessary!
O what needless pain we bear! 

The promise in conversation with Thomas is for us.

3. A Week Later in Jerusalem John 20.24-29
In that room again
Those who come in late... Thomas. Help me LORD to wait with you.

A rebuke and blessing.
Seeing less, believing more and God will show you His glory!
John 11.40 Didn't I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. Hebrews 9.28
He has appeared once to remove sin.

He will appear a second time to bring judgement. 

Christ Jesus is alive today!
There is an empty tomb in Jerusalem.
There is a freedom from the guilt and weight of past sins.
There is a Present joy in the hearts of those who believe.
There is a Hope  for the future of His return.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He Has Risen!

Mark 16.1-7

These are words of wonder. What it must have like for these women that Sunday after Jesus died is beyond description. None of His disciples went at first. They were hiding for fear of the Jews.

Their emotional state was sadness filled with love. What is in your hands often reflects what is in your heart. They were carrying spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They were going to that grave with them to express their grief and love for their Master.

The spices were not necessary. Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of an aloe-myrrh mixture when they laid Him in the tomb. This was an act of love. Many acts of love are not out of necessity but spontaneous. They were probably thinking some fresh spices would help. The fact is none of the spices were needed. They were behaving as is He was in the tomb. They were in for the shock and surprise of their (and everyone who has ever lived!) lives. 

Their conversation on the way shows they expected things to be just as they had left them before the Sabbath began. In their minds Jesus died and His body was in the tomb of Joseph of Arimithea. 

This shows how wrong followers of Jesus can be in their thinking about things.
The church in China after it reopened... Amazing!
The church in Iran. Fastest growing in the world right now!
The church in Haiti.
The church in Egypt.

This morning as we reflect on this account

1. God Keeps His Word.
Jesus always spoke about His death along with rising again.

His disciples were poor listeners.
*Their own ideas
*Their own aspirations
Their ideas were still back on Palm Sunday and what they thought was going to happen. By this time, a week later, they fully expected to Jesus to have redeemed Israel, set up the monarchy of David again and driven the Roman Soldiers out of the Land. Now He was dead, or so they thought.
*Their own desires
*Their own fears

The LORD is faithful to all His promises.
Luke 24.4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered His words.

The Resurrection of the Dead I Corinthians 15
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep

2. Christ Indeed Has Risen
Luke 24.34 The LORD has risen indeed, and He has appeared to Simon.

Many Post Resurrection Appearances 

Acts 1.3 After His suffering, He presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

3.  Death Has Been Defeated.

John 20.19-22

I Thessalonians 4.13-18

The grieving over loved ones who have died in the LORD will be done away with in a moment and replaced with a glad reunion.

A dear lady from the neighborhood I grew up in will be laid to rest this week. I will have the honor of officiating her service. We have faith. Carmen's aunt who died recently in Iran, another dear Christian lady... we have faith.

Yesterday a great niece of a friend of my brother Mark and I was laid to rest. She was 12. They had asked the LORD to take her to heaven because she asked them to. She had suffered so much. Her name was Audra.

Her Mom Mel wrote: Audra is at the feet of Jesus

From Mel:
Around 2:30 this morning God answered our cry for mercy. I am so grateful that Audra is no longer suffering and that she is with Jesus. I know this sounds strange, but I believe Audra won her battle with cancer. She, like the three Hebrew young men, stood before her oppressor and declared, "I will not bow to fear and unbelief." God has proven Himself to her through these last two years as Able, Willing, and Sovereign. Now no more proof is necessary because she sees. I think it's totally fitting that her last words were, "I believe, I believe You are good." Please pray for our family, that our faith can weather the storm of our emotions as we allow God to heal us. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Please do not misunderstand. I have seen God heal people. I have seen Him do it through medicine. I have seen Him do it without any medicine or physician. I have been sensitized lately as I reflect back to the trip to Haiti in January. Pastor Joes' daughter was very sick. Art Alexander said to me during the service (yes she was there1) that we need to get her to a hospital. We prayed for her to be healed. We took her to the hospital. They stopped the bleeding then she went to another one, the Baptist Mission Hospital, the closest one to Bellevue. There they told us that if she tried to walk home from church that day she would not have made it. I have come to understand that God had us there with money to pay for her stay and if we weren't she would have died, which Paul said would be better by far.
All those who have been healed die. All those Jesus healed died! Even those Jesus raised from the dead died! C.S. Lewis wrote that, "Lazarus got the rawer deal." Mary and Martha was thrilled but poor Lazarus had to return!

The church in Egypt
The Pastor
What can we say to those who kill us?
Thank you! You gave us the blessing of dying like our LORD Jesus Christ.
You are helping fill our churches.
We love you. Jesus told us to love our enemies.
We are praying for you. Christ told us to so this.
Pray that they will come to know the love of God.
Those who lost their lives in Alexandria, Egypt last Sunday because they were followers of Jesus are at the feet of Jesus this morning with Audra.

Grief is real. We need to learn to pray our goodbyes. But here is an Eternal Hello ahead.

Jon Courson's daughter, morning devotions. Youth Pastor giving him a slip of paper. "I want to go to heaven."

John 11.25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Been doing funerals for over 38 years now. When we lose someone we are looking at the temporal. It is reality but death for the believer is being wit Christ. Billy Graham, "I wish I could die right now!"
Our faith will be sight one day!

It is not the end of History - His Story.

4. We can live in that Power Today!

"His disciples and Peter". Why was Peter singled out? At this point he needed forgiveness and encouragement. He had denied knowing Jesus just as Jesus predicted. Peter had a huge load of guilt. The angel mentioned Peter by name because he didn't feel worthy at this point to be called a disciple.

Some of you may be carrying guilt over some secret sins today. you may be beating yourself up over past failures and mistakes. Maybe your life is not what you anticipated it would be at this point. 

Jesus died to set us free from all that! Peter denied Christ three times. What was Jesus' response? He wanted Peter to know He had risen from the dead and forgave him and reinstated him. 

Some of you may be living defeated Christian lives. You are struggling over a present problem and it keeps interfering with your walk with the LORD. That all ends today!

Maybe you never have believed. Romans 10.9-10
 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Place Where the Road Goes Down the Mountain of Olives

 The Place Where the Road Goes Down the Mount of Olives

Luke 19.28-44

Here we are another Palm Sunday! We know the story well. I have memories of celebrating more than 50 Palm Sundays, 33 of which we were right here in this place.

We need to hear this account again. We need to commemorate Holy Week. Nearly one third of the Gospels are made up describing the events of this week beginning with yesterday. The events that took place this week are very significant, very important for followers of Jesus.

We will have services each day this week. If you can't be here follow along. I encourage everyone who can to attend the Good Friday Service.

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This is what His disciples and followers longed for. They waited for the Day when He would allow the people to proclaim Him Messiah, King of Israel. Now it was happening! The disciples were delirious with joy.

They were doing it for a crown and how it would benefit them.
Jesus was doing it for the cross and how it would benefit the entire world and generations to come!

Palm Sunday was prophesied all the way back in the Psalms (Psalm 118). 
It was spoken about by Daniel, the prophet.
It was hoped for by the people of Israel ever since the temple was destroyed in 586, B.C.

The timing of this event was precise.
Daniel told when it would be to the day! (Daniel 9.1-9)
It had to happen to fulfill Passover, so it happened at the time people were preparing for Passover, when people were going to Jerusalem to celebrate.

The place of this event was prophesied and determined by Almighty God.

It could not have taken place in Galilee. 

It had to take place in Jerusalem.

Luke 13.34 
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

1. He was riding into Jerusalem.

On a donkey

On the foal of a colt

This was the animal of peace, an animal a conquering King would ride into the capital city after conquest.

Horses were used for war, donkeys for burdens, for a labor. A donkey and a colt would indicate good agriculture in place, abundance.

This is what Israel hoped for.

This is what Judah was judged for. With all these things they forgot God.
Isaiah tells us about in the opening of his prophecy:
Isaiah 2.6-9
6 You, O LORD, have abandoned Your people,
    the descendants of Jacob.
They are full of superstitions from the East;
    they practice divination like the Philistines
    and embrace pagan customs.
7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
    there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
    there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is full of idols;
    they bow down to the work of their hands,
    to what their fingers have made.
9 So people will be brought low
    and everyone humbled—
    do not forgive them.

For the past 30 years Jesus had looked at Jerusalem through his human eyes. Prior to His coming to the earth He looked down from Glory upon the Holy City. He saw the building of it, the dedication (When He filled it with His Presence) and the priests carrying out their duties with the assembled worshippers. He saw the sins pile up around the city and finally withdrew His Presence before Jerusalem's destruction in 586BC. After 70 years the exiles from Babylon returned. Under Nehemiah they rebuilt the walls, under Zerrubabel they rebuilt the temple. Herod expanded the work they did. Jesus came to them. He was rejected time and time again and finally on this day 2,000 years ago He rode in allowing them to proclaim Him King, the Messiah.
Zechariah 9.9 

No wonder...
2. He wept over the city. v.41

Wept= lament, mourn, bewail as one does over the dead

He had wept over the scene at Lazarus' Tomb.
There were similarities. 
This was not God's intent, not His design for man or for Jerusalem.

He could not force the people to wake up to the truth of the Kingdom. They refused to listen to His Love and change their ways.
-Joyce Rupp, Praying Our Goodbyes

Isaiah 5.1-7 Similar conditions from 700 years before
In Isaiah's time it was idolatry that drew them away from the LORD
When Jesus came it was their organized religion, ceremonies and desire to keep the temple that shut Jesus out. His cleansing of it was the last straw.
The Parable of the Tenants and  the Vineyard was against them (Mark 12.1-12)

This was His intent
Psalm 48.9 Within your temple, O God,
    we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
    your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
    your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
    the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments.

But they had made into a den of robbers and killed those sent to them.

3. He went to the end of that Road into the Eastern Gate.

A special gate... only one leading directly into the temple.
Directly across from the Garden of Gethsemane
At the base of the Mount of Olives
Ancient Prophesies in Psalms and Ezekiel

Psalm 24.7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
    The LORD strong and mighty,
    the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is He, this King of glory?
    The LORD Almighty—
    He is the King of glory.

Ezekiel 40 describing the new temple

 Ezekiel 43.43 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with His glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when He came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

Ezekiel 44.2 The LORD said to me, "This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it.

The place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives:
1. Began what we call Holy Week
2. Shows us our LORD's heart for those who reject Him
3. Shows us our LORD's courage and love because He knew what was ahead
4.He will ride into again when He sits on the throne of His father David.
5. Reminds us of Jerusalem's past, present and future.
6. Points the Cross
7. Reminds of the New Jerusalem. He is coming again! The place where the the road Goes down the Mount of Olives is very close to the place where Jesus went up, when He ascended into heaven. When He comes back we are told by Zechariah the prophet that He will set foot on this mountain again.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
-Zechariah 14.4

Pastor Erwin Lutzer of Moody Bible Church in Chicago writes:

The Mount of Olives has a remarkable history, but it will have an even more remarkable future. Jesus ascended into heaven from the top of this mountain, an event seen only by the disciples and perhaps a few bystanders. But when He returns to this mountain, “every eye shall see Him” and He will proceed to establish His kingdom.

And when this spectacular event takes place, we will be returning with Him from heaven to reign on Earth! If you are a believer and have never toured Israel, you can be encouraged, for you shall get the “grand tour” at the return of Jesus.

Today we commemorate His Triumphal Entry as we wait for His Return!