Monthly Archives: April 2014

Sharing The Love Of God

Luke 6:27-28 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies,do good to them that hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you”.
What would happen if, as Christians, we started actually living out what Jesus taught us? Jesus’ teachings on love attacks several traditions and misinterpretations of scripture that we sometimes use to justify our sinful and unloving nature. While we have learned to love thy neighbor, we sometime seem to exclude our enemies. But Jesus shatters this line of thinking by instructing us to love and do good to our enemies. The love Jesus instructs us to love with, is not based on the other person, but comes solely from the heart of the one loving, and we are to seek the best interest of that person, despite their behavior toward us. Now this love does not result from a weakness or failure to stand up for truth or justice, it is a purposeful love that flows from a heart filled with the love of God, and it seeks the eternal salvation of others. This sacrificial love demonstrates that our purpose for living is larger than ourselves.

Jesus commands us to pray for and bless those that offend us. Our natural response is to strike back when mistreated, but Jesus teaches us to do the opposite. Jesus gave two illustrations to show the extent of how far our love for others should go, there is a blow to the face and stolen clothes, in such cases we are not retaliate. The purpose is to reach out in love instead of satisfying ourselves through revenge. Our love must be strong and purposeful in accepting mistreatment, as it shows our trust in the Lord and his ability to use the situation for his Glory. Jesus not only taught us our love must be strong and purposeful when mistreated, but we must also be merciful to others in our daily lives, as the Father daily pours out new mercy on us. The standard of sacrificial love goes beyond what others might do or what we might feel we should, but it is what Jesus teaches us to do, it is what he did.

 

We must love as God loves us. God showed kindness and love to all humanity regardless of how they treated him.  He gave his only begotten son that we might have everlasting life. When we love others the way Jesus instructed us to, we show the world we are his and we show the love of God to a lost soul that they might receive everlasting life.

God Be With You

2 Chronicles 20:17 ” ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
We fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, but the good news is the battle is not ours it is the Lords. God is absolutely always in control, all he wants from us is a willing vessel. A vessel He can use to do His will and bring Him glory. He tells us we shall not fight the battle, but just to prepare ourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Here in our story Judah was about to be attacked by three enemies, and the king was told fear not that for the battle was not theirs it was the Lords. They were to go, be prepared but stand still and let the Lord fight the battle. Today we are under constant attack by three enemies, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. These are the same three which Satan used to tempt Eve in the garden, Jesus in the wilderness and what he tries to trip us up with today. But we have a keeper, for Jesus said He has power over all flesh, he rose with all power in His hands. We to must be prepared, for the attack, but stand still and let the Lord fight our battle. Let Him work through us as we deny our self in total surrender to His spirit and stand still in His promise that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Jesus said to cast all of our cares upon Him for He cares for us. Jesus wants us to call upon Him in our day of trouble that He might deliver us. He called us and choose us for this life, He knows all that will come up against us, He just wants us to trust that He will do just what He said. After all the battle is not our it is the Lords and He is faithful and just, so just hold your peace and know that God be with you, so who can be against you…..

He Came To Save

Matthew 18:11 “For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost”

 

Jesus is come to save the lost, and He shed as much blood for the lest of man to the greatest of man. All souls belong to Him and His shed blood paid the price that man could be saved. We were saved that we might reach out and share the good news of salvation to a lost world that all might be saved. We must take heed and not tread the blood of Christ under our feet, as we pick and choose who is worthy of this good news.

 

Here Jesus is with His disciple as they wonder who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It is not important as to who is the greatest, it is about Christ dying to save the lost, and we who are saved to take this good news out into a dying world. We should not work to be seen by man, but work to save lost man. Jesus said unless we come as little children, we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. We must come in total dependence upon Christ and Christ alone. We must humble ourselves realizing that we are nothing and can do nothing without Jesus, He is the vine and we are the branch. We are laborers in His harvest field to bring in His lost sheaves. Christ is the greatest He paid the cost to be the boss. There is none greater, so let us just humble ourselves and share the greatest with all who are lost that they to might be saved.

 

Just as the disciples did after the feeding of the five thousand, we are to take the bread of heaven blessed with the spirit of God, and share it with all we see taking up the fragmented and broken lives and bring them to Christ that none will be lost.

Suffering To Glory

Sunday School Lesson                                            

 

Lesson: Isaiah 53:5-8; Luke 24:25-27, 44-47

                                                                                                  

Golden  Text: And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he  expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning  himself (Luke  24:27).

 

 INTRODUCTION.   Without doubt, the Old Testament prophets pointed to  Jesus.  When the directions and descriptions are given in advance  that will enable you to identify a particular person, it’s foolish to miss that  person when he arrives.  Even with prophecy, the ancient Jews  couldn’t grasp that their Messiah would have to experience suffering.   They expected Him to be a great Conqueror, but couldn’t accept Him  hanging on a cross.  Even His most loyal disciples, as this week’s  lesson shows had to have their minds changed to understand the full scope of His  mission.  In this week’s lesson we will look at Isaiah’s prophecy  of the Suffering Servant and at Jesus’ meetings with His disciples during which  He explained the Old Testament prophecies of His sufferings, death and  resurrection.

A DESCRIPTION  OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (Isaiah 53:5-8).   Isaiah 53 is part  of the fourth Servant Song of the Book of Isaiah.  It begins with  Isaiah 52:13 and continues through Isaiah 53:12.  The other three  Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13, and 50:4-9.  In  the fourth Servant Song in Isaiah 53, plural pronouns are used (see Isaiah  53:1-2 for the pronouns “our” and “we”) to either indicate that Isaiah was  speaking for the remnant of Jewish believers or they were speaking for  themselves.  At any rate, this week’s lesson text is preceded by  Isaiah 53:1 which asks the question “Who hath  believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”  This question indicated how difficult it would be for  Israel to accept the message about a suffering Messiah.  Isaiah’s  report or message actually describes the life and death of our Lord as if it had  already happened as seen in the use of the past tense.  In verse 2,  Isaiah’s message stated that the Servant would grow up before the Lord, but  there would be nothing special about His appearance that would attract people to  Him.  He would be a normal looking human.  In verse 3,  the prophet said that God’s Servant, the Messiah would be despised, rejected and  familiar with suffering.  Still speaking in the past tense, verse 4  says that He had borne our sorrows, and the Jews failing to understand the true  nature of Jesus’ suffering, concluded that He was “stricken, smitten of God, and  afflicted.”  In other words, they assumed that Jesus suffered  because of His own sin.  This is where our lesson  begins.

A. The reason for His suffering (Isaiah  53:5-6).

1.  (vs.  5).  This verse  says But he was wounded  for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of  our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are  healed.”  Verse 4 which is not part of our text, says  that the people would think that Jesus was “smitten of God” because of His  sins.  However, the word “But” in this verse  indicates that such reasoning was incorrect.  Since Jesus would be  sinless, the real reason for His suffering was substitutionary, because  he was wounded for our  transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.”   Jesus died for our sins and  took the punishment that we deserved.  The word  “Wounded” in Hebrew means “pierced” referring to Jesus’ wounds  on the cross caused by nails and a spear (see Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34;  20:25).  “Transgressions” are any acts of  rebellion against God and His Word.  The word  “bruised” means “crushed” and here it means to be pulverized by  beatings.  The term “iniquities” refers to  crooked, perverse behavior.  The phrase “the chastisement  of our peace was upon him” means that the punishment that brought us  peace with God, fell on Christ instead of us (see Ephesians 2:14-17; Colossians  1:20).  The word “stripes” refers to marks caused  by scourging (see Matthew 27:26) and beating (see Matthew 27:30).   The term “healed” refers not to physical healing but to  our spiritual healing from sin sickness and the gift of spiritual life that the  Servant provided for sinners by dying on the cross (see Romans 6:23; II  Corinthians 5:21).

2. (vs. 6).  This verse says “All  we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the  Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us  all.”  The focus of  this Servant song briefly changes from the Servant’s death to the behavior that  caused His death.  First, it’s because “All we like sheep  have gone astray.”  The words “All we”  includes everyone, both Jews and Gentiles (see Romans 3:10-12).   The phrase “like sheep have gone astray” pictures all  sinners as straying sheep, helpless and unaware of their need for help.   Because we imitate the first parents (Adam and Eve), it’s not natural for  the human race to seek fellowship with the true God.  But instead,  sinful man prefers to follow paths of their own choosing (see Romans  5:12).  The second behavior that caused the Servant’s death was  that “we have turned every one to his own way.”   This refers to personal responsibility.  We disobey  God of our own free will, not because someone or something forces us to  sin.  There is no truth to the saying that “the devil made me do  it!”  We willingly choose not to enjoy the blessings of God’s green  pastures.  The last part of this verse says “and the  Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”   The verb translated  “hath laid” means to hit or strike violently.  So  the terminology here sees “iniquity” or sin as being capable of  causing serious injury as it did to Christ.  Each of us carries a  load of iniquity that makes it impossible to have peace with God on our  own.  We deserve to be punished if we are going to enjoy peace with  God.  But the Lord chose to lay “on him (Christ) the  iniquity of us all.”  We must be mindful that this was not  just a shifting of our load to Christ.  As noted, the term  “hath laid” means to hit or strike violently which perfectly  describes the suffering Christ endured as our divine  Substitute.

B.  The manner of His suffering (Isaiah  53:7-8).

1. (vs. 7).   This verse says He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened  not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before  her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”   The Servant  patiently endured being “oppressed” and “afflicted”  by His tormentors.  Both high priests, Annas and  Caiaphas (see Luke 3:2; John 18:13-14), Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee (see Luke 3:1; 23:11) and Pontius Pilate, all misused their  authority in condemning a righteous man to death.  The soldiers  abused Him physically (see Matthew 27:27-30), and the crowds mocked Him.   Through all of this, the Servant opened not his mouth.”   He didn’t defend Himself  before Pilate (see Matthew 24:14) and Peter wrote that Jesus “when he was  reviled, reviled not again” (see I Peter 2:23).  In His  submissiveness, Christ is likened to a lamb being brought out quietly to be  slaughtered and a sheep being sheared without any resistance.

2.  (vs. 8).  In this  verse Isaiah continued to describe the Servant’s suffering.  He  said He was taken  from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was  cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he  stricken.”  Since Jesus was never imprisoned, the term “prison”  can mean “unjust restraint.”  However, Jesus did face  “judgment” at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders, as  well as Herod and Pilate.  The question  and who shall  declare his generation?” is best  interpreted as “And who can speak of His descendents?”  The idea is  that since Jesus was killed in the prime of life, He left no descendents.   This is supported by the phrase “for he was cut off out of the  land of the living.”  In Scripture, the words “cut  off” always refers to a violent and premature death (see Exodus 12:19;  Numbers 9:13).  The last part of this verse says “for the  transgression of my people was he stricken.”  This phrase  brings us back to the theme of substitution.  The use of the words  “my people” indicate that either Isaiah or God is  speaking.  But either way, it refers to Israel.  They  had transgressed or violated God’s law and deserved His judgment.   However, the Servant took their place and was “stricken” with God’s punishment (see Isaiah  53:10).

III. AN  EXPLANATION OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (Luke 24:25-27,  44-47).   This portion of our lesson takes place on the day  of Jesus’  resurrection.  On that day after He  arose, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, Peter and then His  disciples.  However, Thomas was not present at that time (see John  20:18-20).  Later that day, two followers of Jesus were walking  from Jerusalem to Emmaus which was about seven miles away.   However, the Scriptures give us the name of only one of those disciples,  Cleopas.  They were disciples as in followers of Jesus.   They were not part of the Eleven.  As they walked along,  these two disciples were discussing the things that had happened during the  previous three days.  While they were talking, Jesus came up and  began to walk along with them, but they didn’t recognize Him.   Seeing that they were downcast, demoralized and confused, Jesus asked  them what they were talking about.  They then questioned if He was  aware of the things that had happened in Jerusalem.  Jesus replied,  what things?  At that point they went on to tell Him everything  that had happened to Jesus in the last three days including finding His tomb  empty (see Luke 24:13-24).   This is where the next portion of our  lesson begins.

A. A rebuke for  unbelief (Luke 24:25-26). 

1. (vs.  25).  This verse says  Then he said unto them,  O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”   After hearing their sad  story, Jesus took over the conversation.  The Greek word for  “fools” means “lacking in understanding.”  Their  lack of understanding caused these two disciples to be “slow of heart to  believe all that the prophets have spoken.”  Because of  unbelief, these disciples failed to consider and understand the things the  prophets, including Jesus had said (see Psalms 16:8-10; Luke 24:9).   It appears that they only focused on the Scriptures that foretold the  Messiah’s glorious reign and not His death and  resurrection.

2. (vs. 26).  Jesus went on to ask  “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his  glory?”  The words “Ought not” means  “Wasn’t it necessary.”  For sure, nothing in Jesus’ life happened  by accident, not even His death (see Luke 2:49; 4:43; 19:5; 21:9).   In order for Christ to “enter into his glory” it was  necessary that He “suffered these things,” referring to all the  things that Jesus endured, from His betrayal to His crucifixion.   Jesus had to die before He was glorified (see Philippians 2:5-11), and  His disciples, like the prophets, should have believed this even though they  didn’t understand.  Note:  Christ’s glory began with His  resurrection (see Acts 17:3) but also includes His ascension into heaven where  He would take the most exalted position in the universe (see Psalms 110:1; Acts  2:33-36; Hebrews 8:1; 12:2).  He will reach the fullness of glory  when He returns to reign on earth (see Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-16).  However, none of this would have been possible without His death.

B. An  exposition of messianic prophecies (Luke 24:27).  This verse says,  And beginning at  Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the  things concerning himself.”  The term “expounded” means to explain the  meaning, or to interpret the significance of something.  In order  to explain to these two disciples the things “concerning  himself,” Jesus started with “Moses and all the  prophets.”  This was Luke’s way of referring to the entire  Old Testament Scriptures, but the Hebrew Scriptures were actually divided into  three sections, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.  The  phrase “he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things  concerning himself” means that Jesus went through the entire Hebrew  Scriptures and covered all the passages that referred to Him.  As  previously mentioned, these disciples didn’t recognize Jesus, but we can be  assured that  Jesus’ teachings had a tremendous effect on them  because later when they thought about what Jesus had taught them they said “Did  not our heart burn within us…while he opened to us the scriptures” (see Luke  24:32).

C. A reminder of Scripture’s  fulfillment (Luke 24:44).  As they approached Emmaus, Jesus acted as if He was going farther.  But since evening was near, the two disciples urged Him to stay with them.   Jesus agreed and went in and sat down to eat with them.   However, after Jesus gave thanks for the food, their eyes were opened and  they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight (see Luke  24:24-32).  They immediately got up to return to Jerusalem to share  this good news with the Eleven and others who were present with them (see Luke  24:33-35).  But while they talked with the other disciples, Jesus  appeared in their midst.  This frightened them because they thought  they saw a ghost.  Jesus calmed them and reassured them that it was  Him.  As further proof, He showed them the wounds in His hands and  feet and ate food in their presence (see Luke 24:36-43).  The  second portion of our lesson begins here.  Verse 44 then says  And he said unto  them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that  all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the  prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”   Jesus reminded the group  that when He was with them He told them that everything that happened to Him  “must be fulfilled” meaning it was the necessary fulfillment of  God’s plan.  The things concerning Him were “written in the  law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms.”   The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (or Writings)  were the three major divisions of the Old Testament.  Therefore,  all parts of Scripture bore witness of  Christ.

D.  An enlightenment of understanding (Luke  24:45-47).

1.  (vs. 45).  This verse says Then opened he their understanding, that they might  understand the scriptures.”  Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples making clear  the spiritual truths of Scripture about Him.  Jesus did for this  group of believers what He had done for the two disciples who had been  travelling to Emmaus.  He illuminated their minds so that they  could see Him throughout all of the Old Testament Scriptures.   Jesus had the power to enlighten the minds of believers and would later  assign that same power to the Holy Spirit (see John 14:25-26;  15:26).

2. (vs. 46).  This verse says “And  (Jesus) said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to  suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”  With  the words “Thus it is written” Jesus summed up the things  written about Him in the Old Testament that “it behooved Christ to  suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”  The  word “behooved” means necessary and reminds us of verse 44,  that “all things must be fulfilled.”  Jesus pointed out two things  that were necessary for Him to fulfill.  First, it was necessary  for “Christ to suffer.”  His suffering and death  were prophesied with great detail in the Old Testament (see Psalms 22:14-18;  Isaiah 43:7-9).  It was also necessary for Christ to “rise  from the dead the third day.”  Christ’s resurrection was  also prophesied in the Old Testament (see Psalms 16:10-11; Isaiah  53:11-12).  This is the essence of the gospel message.   The Apostle Paul described the gospel as the good news that Christ died,  was buried, and rose on the third day” (see I Corinthians  15:3-4).

3. (vs. 47).   Jesus stated here in our  final verse that the Scriptures also taught “that repentance and  remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at  Jerusalem.”  This is a reference to the gospel  message.  The term “repentance” means “to change  one’s mind.”  In repentance we change our minds from a desire to  live in sin to a willingness to live for Christ.  Simply put, when  one repents, he or she turns away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and turns  toward God.  The Greek word translated “remission”  in the New Testament is often rendered as “forgiveness.”   In the Greek, “remission” means “to send away” or “to  cast away.”  Throughout Scripture, this is the fundamental meaning  of forgiveness—to cast away sin from the sinner.  As we preach  the gospel, people who believe it repent of their sins, and also receive  forgiveness for their sins.   Jesus also stated that this gospel  “should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at  Jerusalem.”  The gospel was not for Jews only.   It was for people from every nation.  No one is to be  excluded from hearing it (see Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).   Even the Old Testament speaks of salvation being extended to Gentiles or  non-Jews (see Isaiah 49:6; 56:6-7).  The spreading of this good  news was to be preached in the name of Jesus to all nations  beginning at  Jerusalem.”  It was in Jerusalem  that all that happened to Christ took place so it was fitting that the gospel of  salvation would begin there.  Note:   Verses 48 and 49 are not part of our  printed text but we should note that in those verses, Jesus concluded talking  with His disciples by reminding them that they were witnesses to everything that  had happened.  They were also ordained, or chosen to spread this  good news (see Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:32).  But Jesus also  encouraged them that God would give them the power to perform this task (see  Luke  24:49).

 

            

IV.  Conclusion.  In order  to understand and grasp Christ’s glory, we must have a deep appreciation for His  suffering.  In a very real sense, before He took on the form of man  and came into this sin-cursed world, He understood that suffering would dominate  His ministry.  However, He willingly endured affliction and  humiliation at the hands of His despisers to rescue man from the clutches of the  enemy.  Because of His love for us, we can share in His  glory—that great reward awaiting the faithful.