20 April 2012

Luke 4:1-13

    1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” 9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

  The tempting of Jesus gives us a glimpse into the life He lived.  As a Christian we say things like “What would Jesus do?”  Well, this tells us exactly what He would do.  Jesus would not give in to the sin and temptation the Devil lays in front of Him.  This is simple enough right?!

  I am a sinner and cannot resist the temptations that are put in front of me, by myself at least.  This is a very discouraging and often times disheartening fact.  We see here that Jesus did not sin in the temptations He was faced with.  The separation we have from Him is based in His deity; Him being the God Man.  Our comfort can come in the fact that “for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2Cor5:21 God sent Christ to be sin and punish Him for our sins. 

  Scripture can be taken out of context to confuse us many times.  There are times when we do not understand things and they can confuse us.  Our faith needs to be strong in the solid foundation the Lord has placed in our hearts.  If I am a Christian than I know that His Word is true and accurate.  The Devil here tries to confuse Jesus by taking Scripture that God has spoke and twisting it for his own gain.  Jesus knows how to properly interpret the Gospel and refutes the Devil with a proper context of the scripture. 

  Another encouraging fact is v.13.  The Devil tempted Jesus with “every temptation.”  This means that Jesus was tempted with everything we are tempted with.  If I ever think that I am tempted with something that God does not understand I am wrong.  If I think that God does not understand the power of this world, I am wrong.  If I think, for one second, that God cannot sustain me, I am flat out wrong.  Jesus, a man, overcame the Devil.  We are not Jesus, and we are not perfect.  But Jesus asked the Father to send the Helper to us in the form of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16.  Let us live in the spirit to resist the Devil and Worship the Lord our God in every way. 

02 April 2012

Luke 3:23-38

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,[e] the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32  the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34  the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

  Genealogies are important.  We all came from God.  God is the one who created man and has kept us since He created Adam.  This is important to note since when God kicked Adam from the garden he told the Serpent in Gen 3:22 “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  God also made the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil from which Adam and Eve ate.  God also made the tree of life. 

  From the context in which God was talking it would seem that the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil was meant for the Angels and for those who belong in the garden.  God clearly states for man to NOT eat of this tree of good and evil.  When man does, God no longer wants man to eat of the tree of life.  Because of this God tells man to leave.  Interesting to note, God provides man with a skin covering prior to them leaving the garden. 

    So God kicks Adam and Eve from the garden for disobeying God in His instruction.  How this all relates to the genealogies and their importance is this.  God provided a way for man to be redeemed and enter the garden.  God created a way for man to fellowship with God again through the God/Man Jesus Christ. 

  John 4:7-15 - 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” ( For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12  Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

  Jesus claimed that He was the way to the living water.  The water that gives life and we will never be thirsty again!  Revelation 21:6 says the same, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  And if that wasn’t enough, Rev 22:1-5 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lambthrough the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

  God did not create life for destruction; He created it for His worship and fellowship with Him.  This was not possible with man disobeying God.  But with the life that God provided in the Man of Jesus Christ, we are able to drink from the river or life and eat from the tree of life.  God has kept us since Adam and has provided Adam’s people with a way to eternal life.  How great is our God?!  God did not create man for destruction; He created man for God’s own worship and fellowship with man.  And, even though we failed, HE provided a way.  Amen!

03 March 2012

Luke 3:18-22

18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

  John was a man who was not afraid of what people thought.  His appearance was not that of a normal leader (Matt 3:4).  He did not eat like a normal leader of the people (Matt 3:4).  Yet he was a man who everyone came to see!  We do not have to be like the “popular people” when the Lord has blessed us.    Fitting in is not what we are called to do when we seek the Lord.  We are called to turn from our ways and follow Him. 

  Many people came to be baptized.  After John had baptized everyone he was arrested.  He was arrested because he spoke out about what was wrong.  In this case it happened to be political leader of the day.  This man had taken his brother’s wife!  Along with this he was evil in other ways and John called him out, as he should.  The final straw for this political leader, Herod, was when John began to preach the Gospel, the Good News of the coming Christ.  At this Herod had had enough and arrested John.

  Before John was arrested he baptized Jesus.  Jesus came to him wanting to be baptized and praying the Holy Spirit came to dwell in Jesus.  Through the Holy Spirit Jesus was able to minister here on Earth.  This is also the only way that we can do ministry here on Earth as well.  We are sinful human beings.  Jesus never sinned and yet had the Holy Spirit to minister and guide Him.  We are sinful people, yet Jesus, in His mercy sent the Holy Spirit to minister to us in our worship of God with our lives.  What a blessing that is!  Without His ministry to our hearts we are lost. 

  If we are seeking God the best thing to do is to pray to Him.  Pray that He will reveal Himself to us.  He is faithful to do this.  It may not be what we imagine it “should” be, but it will be what it should be.  Something we need to come to grips with is that God is out for His Glory.  He is the only one who deserves it.  When we give our life up we may look like John did.  We may not be the most popular.  But God will Glorify Himself through our lives when we submit to Him.  John did this and so did Jesus.  Their lives took dramatically different paths and ended in the same place.  They both Glorified God with their lives.

21 February 2012

Luke 3:15-17

 15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  Authority.  What an interesting concept it is to teach with authority.  People are perplexed when it comes to definites.  John the Baptist taught this way.  Jesus also taught this way.  Matthew 7:28-29 talks about this “28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”  This was how the people felt with John the Baptist.  He taught them so powerfully they were debating if he was the Christ, the Messiah. 

  John squelched those thoughts quickly.  He tells the people who are there following him that he is not the Messiah.  Not only this, they are following a man who is not even worthy to untie the strap of His sandal!  What kind of a man would point to another man?  Not many people would be willing to be lowly like John the Baptist.  Furthermore, not many people would be willing to point to another man when people are giving him the credit and praise.  We can take a LARGE lesson from this.  Our society is centered around the “American dream.”  We focus on the bigger, better, and more expensive thing.  It is very rare that we rid ourselves of the things that are convenient for us for a hardship in which we can serve the Lord.  John did these things.

  Baptism is something the church today practices.  We do this as a visual representation of what Jesus came to do.  This is the purpose.  When I was baptized I wanted to show the people who were at the service visually what had already taken place in my spirit.  When I accepted Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit to come and guide me.  I was Baptized that day with the Holy Spirit.  The physical dunking under water was simply a representation of that.  Nothing more. 

  The Lord will come as John says here.  When He does He will choose who is the wheat and who is the chaff.  Chaff is the outer casing of wheat, which is inedible to humans.  The chaff the Lord will throw into the eternal fire where He is not present.  The wheat, however, will be harvested and used by the Lord to glorify Himself.  Can we see as Christians realize that the Lord has chosen us?  Are we willing to be about His business as John was about His business or are we desiring to be the chaff; which, will result in us being separated from the Christ for all eternity?  This is a choice we all make in our lives. 

09 February 2012

Luke 3:10-14

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”  14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

  Remember that the people that were following John the Baptist were just told that they are not guaranteed to enter heaven just because of their ancestry, they attend church, or who their parents are.  There are many instructions that John gave to us through His ministry here on Earth.  It is vital we takes these lessons and apply them to our lives.  In these verses John references two specific careers, as well as people as a whole.

  Tax collectors in that day were given a certain amount they were to collect.  Anything above and beyond that they collected was their wage.  This was a desired job by many because of the amount of money they were able to make.  John addresses this with advice, “collect no more than you are authorized to do.”  It is very important to look at the context of this because it can be misconstrued.  This does not mean that the Tax collector cannot make any money for his family.  It means that we need to be reasonable with what we are requiring.  If the government is requiring a tax then pay the tax.  If there is more that is necessary to pay for those who collect the tax then so be it.  But if you are collecting and hindering those who you are collecting from, then you need to reevaluate your motivations.

  Soldiers asked something similar, “And we, what shall we do?”  John simply replied “Do no extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusations, and be content with your wages.”  This would seem like common sense, but it was not in this period!  The military had a lot of power.  They were the force behind the leaders for the Roman Empire.  But, again, this can also apply to us.  If we are in a position of power then we are not to abuse that!

  Again, these people were just told that their heritage does not guarantee them fellowship with the Lord.  This is what they desired and thought they had through who they were as a people.  They are confused and ask what they should do.  John the Baptist says to share.  Give to those in need.  If I have extra food or clothing and someone is struggling, then provide for that person.  There are many people who work hard and make a lot of money.  Then there are others who work very hard and make very little money; some to the point of not being able to feed their family.  If that is the case and you want to know the Lord’s will, here it is!  Provide for those families if you have the means. 

  When we are searching for who the Lord is we are given direction.  He will not leave us to stray for long.  These people wanted to follow John because he was clearly sent from the Lord.  They wanted to follow the Lord, most simply did not know how.  John lays this out for them.  This was laid out, however, in the Old Testament commandments!  When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied “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 your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27.   These instructions He has given in Luke 3:10-14 are specific ways to accomplish the Love the Lord deserves.  Love His people as you love yourself and He will be honored.  Isn’t that our goal?

03 January 2012

Luke 3:7-9

7He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

  John, called “the Baptist” is out in the wilderness baptizing those who come to him.  He is living the calling that the Lord has set out for him from before birth.  He is living what the Lord has set before him, which is what he is calling others to do.  “Repent,” “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”  We know now what we need to do with our lives in order to live as the Lord has told us, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”  Christian, if you ever wonder what the Lord has for you, this is it:  “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”  It is very simple.  We will expand on what exactly that means next time, but this point should not be overlooked Christian, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.”

  For those who grew up in a Christian home or going to Church: now let’s be very very clear here.  You will stand in front of God when you die and He will ask why you should be allowed in the Kingdom of Heaven.  If you answer is you went to church as a child, you know the truth; or, you grew up in a Christian home, and your parents go to church, you will be very sad to see that this is NOT the way to Heaven.  The Jews have already tried this v.8 “Abraham is our father.”  “We are Jewish, why wouldn’t God accept us?” they would say.  Because, if you are not devoted to God and those whom He has sent then He is not just to allow you to be with Him forever. 

  For those who go to church on a regular basis: let’s be perfectly clear.  You will stand before God when you die and He will ask why you should be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  If you answer is simply, you go to church every Sunday, you will be very sad when He tells you to go away and that He never knew you.  The Jews tried this, also, already when they said “Abraham is our father.”  You say you are a part of His bride, His Church; however, if you do not know Him now, you will not fellowship with Him then.

  The point is this, no matter where you come from or what your locale is on Sunday, the Lord does not care.  v.9 states that the “axe is laid to the root of the trees.  Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  You can do and say what you want to but if your life does not reflect that of a repentant one then you will not be allowed to fellowship with and worship God forever.  God can call anyone He wants to His kingdom, v.8. 

  Understand He does not need us and if we are called it is only by His grace.  But, lest you be discouraged, there is a way.  God has provided a way.  He has told us know to have a relationship with Him.  It is His son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  There is no other way, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  This is pretty exclusive.  So repent and accept Christ.  God is able to forgive us through the death of His son, Romans 8:9-11

30 December 2011

Luke 3: 1-6

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
   “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
   and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
   and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the see the salvation of God.’”

  We come to the section where we are no longer talking about what will come, but what has come and has been fulfilled.  Luke was a doctor; therefore, he wrote with detail that the other Gospel writers did not.  What a wonderful thing to know that the Lord uses us individually.  It is not right to think that we are all the exact same and should worship the same, in the same place, like the same music, or even like the same activities.  God created each one of us individually and therefore He will use that to glorify Himself in what way is right.  He knows that, not us.  Because of this detail we heard about the angel that came to Elizabeth and Mary projecting the birth of John and the birth of Jesus.  This was followed by some detail of the childhood of Jesus.  Now we are seeing the life of John and understanding his life was not something of an epiphany; rather, it was prophesied long ago by Isaiah. 

  What is prophesied about him?  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness.  Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”  That is it.  That is all that is said about him.  The rest of the prophesy in Isaiah is about the Man whom he came to prepare the way for.  John was faithful to God and the call to repentance he was to make before the Christ would appear. 

  What we learn about Christ is that no matter how great or how lowly we may seem, the Christ is greater.  Whether we are on the wrong path or in hard place in your life, the Christ is greater.  Not only that, but everyone will see the Christ and know who He is.  We all know who the Christ is.  We will have no excuse when we stand before God for our sin.  The Christ has been prophesied in all of the Scriptures, by all of the prophets.  He came in the form of a man.  We know this.  If we turn to Him for the forgiveness of our sins then He is just to forgive us.  John taught this, he taught the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  How wonderful it is to know we can be forgiven!