Monthly Archives: November 2018

Common Sense Christianity

This is a far stretch, exaggerated example: bit a human notion is that God should or will bail us out of certain pains or woes. Yet so many people both Christians at times and often non Christians are angry at God for not intervening to bail them out of a bad spot. Not all our suffering is caused by us but more of it is then we may enjoy to admit. So when that be the case we bring pain on ourselves and get foolish in praying to God expecting he should quickly deliver us. Yet sometimes God says “Eventually” but “You made a situation and I will let you learn from this”

It has happened many times in my life and glad for it in this way: because that is sometimes the best way we learn not to do sinful or foolish things that will harm us.

Think about it, God could bail us out when we make a mess of this or that and in his grace he may at times cut us some slack yet he often lets us learn from it. He often lets us make a choice and bear the consequences. Like any good parent wont just always bail their child out of hard consequences, God also does not coddle people. If he did we would get negative reinforcement to poor behavior. We would think there was no negative reprecussions for wrong we do, and that is not how life works at all.

Advertisements

Reconciled Peoples

Christ’s death on the cross brings restoration sin has taken. First remember early on in Genesis sin divided Adam and Eve, both man and the woman hid from one another and the Lord.

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ” The man said, “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

[Genesis 3:9-13]

Sin also divided the people of Israel, the kingdom was seperated in to two kingdoms, the southern kingdom Judah and norther kingdom Israel. This came about from King Solomon’s sins and unfaithfulness to God by turning away to follow other gods as a result of marrying foreign women.

So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” [1 Kings 11:11-13]

Then we see how sin drove a wedge between the Jews and Gentiles (All non Jews in descent, not of Israel)

But,

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.” After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God. “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ [Hosea 1:6-10]

The time Hosea was written was in the Old Testament when the Jews saw themselves as God’s chosen people and that they were however, they began to sin just as much as the nations around them,

But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left,

[2 Kings 17:14-18]

Judah the southern kingdom also followed in the footsteps of the northern tribe Israel a little later and was taken by the Babylonians. Israel was taken earlier by Assyria but Judah takes no heed and later also goes into captivity as well

God gives an allegory to depict these two kingdoms as two loose sisters that prostitute themselves (See Ezekiel 23)

So what later events unfold through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ who enters into His-story to win back his beloved people and the world also

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that, whomsoever will believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life”

Jesus came to save many divided parties, man and woman (How long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? The Lord will create a new thing on earth— the woman will return to the man.” (Jeremiah 31:22)

-Jews and Jews that were hostile toward eachother in Israel (So often there were wars between Israel and Judah)

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the descendants of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And Israel will take possession of the nations and make them male and female servants in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors. [Isaiah 14:1-2]

Do we understand this? “Foreigners will join them in their own land”

Jews vs Gentiles

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! (Romans 11:11-12)

God saw fit to bring salvation to the world and adopt people from every tribe tongue and nation to also be included as “My People” even though this came through The Jews rejection of the Christ by hanging him on the cross. As a result many people now serve Israel’s God through the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ

For it is written: It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance. ”

(Isaiah 19:20-25)

In our times, many Iraqy (Assyrian) and Egyptian (Coptic) Christians are around today, they suffer terribly for the faith and we must keep our brothers and sisters in our prayers. Yet the prophesy of Isaiah 19 is unfolding before our face as many in the middle east turn to faith in Jesus also.

Man vs offended man

Because Jesus reconciled us and forgave our offenses before God. We as believers should be also willing to forgive other’s transgressions against us.

Mankind vs offended God– Most critical and important, Jesus settled our debt before an offended God.

Reunion

Ezekiel 37:15-22 Sermon:

(Reunion of Israel and Judah)

15 Again a message came to me from the Lord: 16“Son of man, take a piece of wood and carve on it these words: ‘This represents Judah and its allied tribes.’ Then take another piece and carve these words on it: ‘This represents Ephraim and the northern tribes of Israel.’ 17 Now hold them together in your hand as if they were one piece of wood. 18 When your people ask you what your actions mean, 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take Ephraim and the northern tribes and join them to Judah. I will make them one piece of wood in my hand.’ 20“Then hold out the pieces of wood you have inscribed, so the people can see them. 21 And give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. 22 I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations or into two kingdoms.

This is a fascinating prophesy no doubt and it ultimately points to a time where Christ reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. History behind these two kingdoms- they split into two seperate kingdoms after David’s son Solomon died and it started with two kingdoms divided between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. The kingdoms were divided from then on until both nations went into captivity.

Before captivity the Lord warned:

“‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’ (Ezekiel 21:25-27)

The kings and princes of Israel and Judah became no more and even to this day Israel has no king but has a Prime Minister, yet we look at Acts chapter 1

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

(Acts 1:4-8)

Seeking Great Things?

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’” (Jeremiah 45:2-5)

Shall we seek greater things then what Christ Jesus had to endure? For he said “20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:20)

Baruch in the time he was in grieved over the city of God’s own that God uprooted for their sin, yet God said, “This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself?”

God obviously grieved over what he had to do to his own treasured nation poses Baruch with the fact that He was God and was displeased by doing a not so great and ideal thing. Yet I upon reading this I saw the correlation between what God says here and what Jesus teaches later on, “43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)

Though in Jeremiah 45 we see God say,

“For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord,”

Which means God will judge the World, yet Christ came to save people from the world, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —John 1:11-12 –

Rewind to Jeremiah 45 again and realize God is judging Israel for her sinninng against him as a people- to captivity she went. Yet fastforward to John 1:11 “He came to that which was his own, but his own did nor receive him” (Who is his own? Remember then Jesus first came to Israel and taught in her cities and shared his news in her streets) Yet what did so later happen, she shouts as a people “Crufify him! Crucify him!” His original people, most rejected Him as Lord and Messiah and some believed and faithfully followed but more then not for time rejected Her King and Messiah. John 1:12 adds “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” Meaning, Jesus came to receive not just His Jerusalem to himself through reconciling blood but through her rejection of Him he offers others salvation by this same sacrifice, for as it says;

—-What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

(Romans 3:9-24)

Yet Jesus did not seek great things for himself in the sense that as it is written:

—-Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)

Now as his disciples, shall we “Seek great things for ourselves” – meaning, shall we seek to go the way comtrary to how Jesus laid out as his example? Jesus was meek and served. Then he calls us to be meek and serve. Jesus willingly suffered rejection and pain for us! Shall we then begrudge when God calls us to suffer for His sake and Gospel so others may believe and be saved? Shall we “Seek great things for ourselves” by seeking God’s promotion to great places without accepting the cross he calls us to bear? For as Jesus said “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled but whoever humbles themself will be exalted”

Husbands, what about you? “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25) Yet for us who are married men, shall we “Seek great things for ourselves” by not wanting to sacrificially love our wives yet insist on her respect or admiration? What better way to earn that willing love and respect for her then to sacrifice yourself to love her. What better way to win her heart then to suffer her worst yet still love and still serve her your very best.

“Shall we seek great things for ourselves” by promoting ourselves as great leaders and people to follow when we fail to submit and listen well to our Teacher and Lord, and Savior? Should we seek greatness; without great sacrifice, and shall we seek honors, without humility, and should we chase after high places of ministry when we fail to be faithful ministers where God has placed us that we feel are at times dull, unexciting. Jesus says “He who is faithful in that which is least will be faithful in that which is much, and whoever is not faithful in that which is least will not be faithful in much”

Many want to get promoted to higher service, there is a price tag to great ministry and service for the King- that is be faithful as a servant and slave of him and he may promote you to manage greater things of his House. The greatest leaders are even greater servants, they sacrifice much to see they that they lead, thrive, flourish, and excell. Yet how does Jesus model this? He lays his life down for us, he loved us at our worst and still gave himself totally up to God’s will to save us, though it cost him suffering and death. He still yielded himself over in love for his faithfulness to His Father above. Yet we must not grumble when Christ calls us to walk in his example, though suffering and pain, their is eternal worth and gain!