Monthly Archives: December 2014

New

John 3:3″ Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, Verily ,I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Birth, the sign of Life; it is a symbol of new life, a new creation. If you want to see King Jesus, you must be born again. It is a must if you want to walk on this journey. Jesus said you must be born again. Every sincere Christian purifies his soul to rid it of the uncleanliness and the defilement of sin, which pollutes the soul. Whoever is seeking salvation, must be purified thru the truth of the gospel, for we are clean by his words. The word of God says at our best we are but filthy rags. Jesus said “except a man be born again”. We must have a new life; birth is the beginning of life, so the walk must start here. Just as physical life begins at birth, so must our spiritual life begin with the birth of our spiritual man.

The old foundation has faults and short comings, it can’t support the glory or the treasure of this new building. We must have a new nature, with new principles, with new affections and new aims. We must be born another, a different person than the first; like the birth of Israel from Jacob and Paul from Saul. We will have different traits, different desires, doing different things. all Christians are born again. The first birth was after the first man Adam, corrupt, born in sin and shaped in iniquity, born to die, lost in need of a savior. So we must under go a second birth,  a spiritual birth to take on the nature of our adoptive Father.

Born again, changed from a dead soul into a life giving quickening spirit. Walking in the spirit and not giving way to the flesh as it has been crucified with Christ on the cross, as we now live in a resurrected body, a temple not made with hands, now we are a new creature in Christ, sons of the most high Gods.

In Jesus Alone

1Peter 4:18 “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear”?

“Scarcely saved” points out the difficulty of salvation. Some think it easy to believe, but the prophets cries, ” who hath believed”? and Jesus asks, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth”? Some may also think it easy to persevere to the end, but the godly are hard put to it to keep their faces toward Zion. It is no light thing to be saved; omnipotent grace is needed. It is no trifling thing to be lost, but it can be done by neglect.

 

The fact is the righteous scarcely are saved. The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God. It can be hard to lay hold to and hold on Christ simply as sinners. There is a challenge to give up and overcome the desires and lust of the flesh day after day, and moment by moment. To resist the world with its blandishments, threats, and customs. To vanquish Satan, his horrible temptations, and all the false hoods he promises.  It will not be easy to perform duties in a humble and holy spirit, to forsake the earthly in search of the heavenly, and continue in them. When the apostle uses the phrase if the righteous scarcely be saved, he does not doubt salvation, he is speaking of the difficulty of making it through the fire and the water, coming through many trials and tribulations, and staying faithful to the call. It wasn’t easy to get Lott out of Sodom, and Israel out of Egypt, and it is no easy matter to get man out of his state of corruption.
Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? IF the saints scarcely reach heaven, what of the ungodly? What can they do who have no God? what can they do who have no savior? What can one do who are without the spirit of God? What without prayer, the word, the promise of God etc. What without truth? If the saints be sorely chastened, what will the justice be to the openly defiant sinner? Surrender unto Christ rest in the peace of the savior of the world. Jesus never fails….

In Awe Of Christ’s Power

                                                        Sunday School Lesson

                                             

 

Lesson: Matthew  14:22-36                                                                                                  

Golden  Text: And when they were come into the ship, the wind  ceased. Then they that  were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of  God” (Matthew  14:32-33).

I.   INTRODUCTION.   Generally people are in awe of demonstrations of  power.  Spectators at an air show are fascinated by the power in  the jets that fly overhead.  We are a people who love powerful  things.  However, instead of being so captivated by the power of  engines, we should be in awe of the power of the omnipotent Christ.   This week’s lesson focuses on the true story of Jesus walking on the  water.  This incident left a lasting impression on the disciples  resulting in true worship.

II.  BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON.  It is commonly accepted that  the events in this week’s lesson occurred during the third year of Jesus’ ministry.  By this time, it was clear that the religious leaders in Israel would never accept Him (see Matthew 12:22-45; Mark 3:22-30).   Prior to the incident presented in our lesson text, Jesus miraculously  fed a multitude (see Mathew 14:13-21) which was another confirmation of His  messiahship while using the demonstration to teach His disciples.   Our lesson begins here after Jesus had satisfied the crowd’s  hunger.

III. PRAYER  ON THE MOUNTAIN (Matthew  14:22-23)     

A. Instructions given  to the disciples (Matthew 14:22).   After feeding the five thousand (see Matthew  14:15-21), this verse says And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get  into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the  multitudes away.”  The word “constrained” means “to force” or “to  compel,” suggesting that Jesus gave His disciples a very forceful  command.  The command was for them to “get into a ship, and  to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.”   The “multitudes” refer to the five thousand  that Jesus fed.  The feeding of “the multitudes” took place near Bethsaida which was at the northeastern end of the Sea of  Galilee.  One would think that Jesus intended to walk the six or  seven miles around the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and meet His  disciples later on the other side at Gennesaret (see Matthew 14:34).   However, as we shall see, Jesus had other  plans.

B. Jesus  prayed (Matthew 14:23).  In this verse, Mathew writes  And when he had  sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the  evening was come, he was there alone.”   After sending the crowd  away, Jesus “went up into a mountain apart to pray.”   The word “apart” indicates that He went alone.   As the evening and darkness came on, Jesus was alone on a  mountainside.  Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, but in becoming man  He was dependent on His Father just like we are.  According to  John’s version of this story, the crowd that He sent away wanted to “take him by  force to make him a king” (see John 6:15).  With this on His mind  as well as the hatred of the religious leaders, Jesus had much to pray  about.

IV. TROUBLE  ON THE SEA (Matthew 14:24-33)       

A. The storm (Matthew  14:24).   This verse goes on to say  But the ship was now in  the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”   According to John’s version  of this story, the storm came up after they had rowed twenty-five or thirty  furlongs or between three and three and a half miles (see John 6:19).   While in the sea, their boat was being “tossed with waves”  or battered by the waves of the sea.  Matthew describes  the winds of the storm as “contrary” or against them coming  from the opposite direction.             

B. The Saviour (Matthew  14:25-26).

1.  (vs. 25).  In this  verse the writer continues to say And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto  them, walking on the sea.”  We don’t know how long it was from the time that Jesus  compelled His disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, but it  must’ve been a few hours because this verse tells us that “in the fourth  watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.”   Under the Roman Empire the Jews, like the  Greeks and Romans, divided their nights into four military watches instead of  hours, with each watch representing the period during which sentinels or  soldiers remained on duty: the first watch was between 6pm and 9pm; the second  watch was between 9pm and 12am; the third watch was between 12am and 3am; and  the fourth watch was between 3am and 6am.  Since the action in this  verse took place “in the fourth watch” or between 3 and 6am,  the disciples could’ve been battling the storm for as much as 12 hours when  “Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.”  Note:  Jesus was the One who  sent them out on the sea and was no doubt praying for them so the disciples  really were in no real danger at all.  But they didn’t know  that.  The Lord may send us into difficult places and situations,  but He never abandons us.  As the Master, he sends us, as the  Intercessor He prays for us, and as Saviour He delivers  us.

2. (vs.  26).  At this point Mathew writes “And when the disciples  saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they  cried out for fear.”  When the disciples saw Jesus  “walking on the sea, they were troubled.”  The  word “troubled” here means that they were unnerved and couldn’t  believe what they were seeing.  You don’t see people walking on  water every day.  No, the truth is you never see it at all!   The disciples didn’t immediately recognize the figure on the water to be  Jesus.  They all said “It is a spirit” or a  ghost.  Of course coming to this conclusion they “cried out  for fear.”  In other words, thinking they were seeing a  ghost caused them to scream in terror.

C. The assurance (Matthew  14:27).  This verse says  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying,  Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”  As the  disciples stared at the figure walking on the sea, Jesus spoke to them with  words of assurance saying “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not  afraid.”  The phrase “Be of good cheer”  means to “take courage” or “be comforted.”   Then Jesus identified Himself saying “it is I; be not  afraid.”  There was no need for the disciples to continue  to be afraid because the One walking on the water toward them, in the midst of  the storm (see verse 30) was Jesus Himself.  

D. The  test of faith (Matthew 14:28-29).  

1.  (vs. 28).  At this point, Matthew writes  And Peter  answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the  water.”  Peter spoke to Jesus saying  Lord, if it be thou, bid  me come unto thee on the water.”  In essence Peter was saying, “Lord if it’s really you, tell me  to come to you walking on the water.”  Peter’s request was not to  prove that this was Jesus and not a ghost, his request was an act of  faith.  His fear was gone and all he wanted was to be with Jesus.   This should be the desire of every believer, to be with Jesus no  matter the circumstances.  For sure, anybody can sit in the boat  and watch what’s going on, but it takes someone with great faith to get out of  the boat and walk on water.

2. (vs 29).  This verse says “And  he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the  water, to go to Jesus.”  Peter’s full attention had been  focused in faith on Jesus and now the Lord answered his request saying  “Come.”  In other words, Jesus granted Peter His  desire to come to Him.  Responding to Jesus’ call to come, Peter  got out of the boat, in the midst of the storm and “walked on the water,  to go to Jesus.”  The Lord honored Peter’s faith by giving  him supernatural power to walk on the Sea of  Galilee.

E. Peter’s failure (Matthew  14:30-31).

1. (vs. 30).  Now Matthew writes  “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to  sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”  We see here  that Peter’s faith soon began to fade because  when he saw the wind boisterous, he was  afraid.”  For some reason Peter turned  his attention to the boisterous wind around him causing him to fear for his  life.  Focusing on the storm and not on Jesus, Peter was  “beginning to sink” in the sea.  Just as soon as  he focused his attention on the storm and his circumstances, Peter’s faith  wavered.  Even though his faith wavered, he was not completely  without faith.  As he began to sink “he cried, saying,  Lord, save me.”  Peter called out in prayer to the only  One who could save him from drowning—Jesus.   Note:  One lesson Peter’s experience teaches us is that as  long as our attention or focus is on our circumstances and not on Jesus who  controls our circumstances, our faith will not grow nor will it keep us over the  long haul.  When Peter’s faith faltered, he reached out to Christ,  the only One who could help him.  Yes he was afraid and we may be  too, but he still looked to Christ.  It’s very unlikely that we may  ever walk on water, but we do walk through tough situations.  If we  focus on the waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to Jesus  for help, we too may despair and sink.  In order to maintain our  faith when situations are difficult, we must keep our eyes on Jesus’ power instead of our own inadequacies.

2. (vs. 31).  This verse continues to say  “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and  said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”   Responding to Peter’s cry for help, Jesus immediately  “stretched forth his hand, and caught him.”   Christ’s time to save is, when we sink.   Even today His hand is still stretched out to all believers, to  keep us from sinking.  Those whom he hath called as his own, He  will catch out of the storms of life too.  When Jesus saved Peter  from sinking, He also rebuked Him saying “O thou of  little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  Those  whom Jesus loves and saves, He also reproves and chides (see Proverbs 3:12;  Hebrews 12:6).  Faith can be true, and yet weak.   Peter had faith enough to bring him upon the water, but not enough  to carry him through.  Christ tells him that he had “little faith.”  According to Jesus,  Peter’s problem was “doubt.”  The Greek word used  here is a combination of two words that literally mean “pulled in opposite  directions.”  Peter’s faith was pulling toward the Lord, but his  doubt pulled him into the sea.  Our discouraging doubts and fears  are a result of the weakness of our faith.  Therefore we  doubt, because we are of little faith.   Note:  The point of faith is to resolve doubts: the doubts  caused by the storms in our lives. Truth is, if we could believe more, we would  doubt less.  The weakness of our faith and the prevalence of our  doubts, are very displeasing to our Lord Jesus.  It’s true, He does  not cast off weak believers, but it’s also true that He is not pleased with weak  faith, no not in those that are nearest to him.  So Jesus asks us  all in times of doubt and little faith, “Wherefore didst thou  doubt?”  What reason was there for it?  When we  consider all things, there is no good reason why Christ’s disciples should be of  a doubtful mind, no, not in a stormy day, because he is always ready to be to  them a very present Help in times of trouble (Psalms 46:1).   It takes a strong and growing faith to keep us walking in the paths of  righteousness, and faith comes from the Word of God.  The best way  for us to grow in our faith is to constantly read, learn, and apply Scripture to  every area of our lives.

F. The result (Matthew  14:32-33).

1. (vs. 32).   This verse says And when they were come into the ship, the wind  ceased.”  After Jesus  saved Peter, they both entered the boat and “the wind ceased.”   The sudden end to the storm was yet more evidence of the power  of Christ (see Matthew 8:26).

2. (vs. 33).  This verse goes on to say  “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a  truth thou art the Son of God.”  In the last 24 hours the  disciples had witnessed Jesus feed five thousand men not counting women and  children (see Matthew 14:19-21), walk on the Sea of Galilee, and finally calm  the raging storm.  There was only one proper response:  “they that were in the ship came and worshipped him.”   This indicates that the disciples fell down at His feet as a  sign of reverence and devotion to Jesus.  We know that this was a  real act of true worship because the disciples declared “Of a truth thou  art the Son of God.”  Therefore, we see that the miracle  of Jesus walking on the water was meant to teach the disciples more about the  Lord Himself.  Even though the disciples had identified Jesus  earlier as the Messiah and the Son of God (see John 1:41, 49) they may not have  fully understood Jesus’ deity.  But here they correctly acknowledged Him as God in an appropriate way—through  worship.

V. MINISTRY ON THE SHORE (Matthew  14:34-36)

A. Arrival in Gennesaret (Matthew 14:34).   Matthew at this point  simply says And  when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.”   In John’s version of this  story, he says that when Jesus and Peter entered the boat it was immediately at  Gennesaret.  This may indicate another demonstration of Jesus’  power.  “The land of Gennesaret” was a fertile  plain along the Sea of Galilee south of Capernaum.  The Sea of  Galilee was also called the Lake of Gennesaret (see Mark 1:16; Luke 5:1) and  sometimes referred to as “the lake” (see Luke  5:2).

B. The response in Gennesaret (Matthew  14:35-36).

1.  (vs. 35).  This verse  says And when the  men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country  round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased.”   The phrase “when  the men of that place had knowledge of him” means that there were men  in Gennesaret who recognized Jesus.  Maybe they had seen or heard  of Him during His ministry in Galilee.  Regardless of how they knew  Jesus they were aware of what He could do.  As a result they sent  word throughout the area that Jesus was there and people “brought unto  him (Jesus) all that were diseased.”  People who were  suffering from various diseases were brought to  Jesus.

2. (vs. 36).  Our final verse says  “And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and  as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”  People  were brought to Jesus so that “they might only touch the hem of his  garment.”  Undoubtedly, these people believed that all  they had to do was just touch the “hem” or edge of Jesus’  garment and be healed.  Maybe they had heard of the woman who had  been healed in Capernaum when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (see Matthew  9:20).  The results of these sick people touching the hem of Jesus’  garment was “as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”   In other words, all who simply touched the border of Jesus’  clothes were healed.  Their faith was shown in their  actions.  They asked for no special favors from Jesus, but they  believed that the slightest contact with Him was all they needed.   Even if they didn’t fully understand who Jesus really was or even put  their faith in Him personally, the people of Gennersaret believed He had the power to heal.  It should be noted that these diseased people who  simply touched the edge of Jesus’ clothes were “made perfectly  whole.”   Christ’s cures are perfect  cures.  Those that He heals, He heals perfectly.  He  does not half do His work.  Note:   Though spiritual healing may not be  perfected at first, yet He that has begun the good work in us will perform  it until Christ returns (see Philippians 1:6).  There is an  abundance of healing virtue in Christ for all that give themselves to  him.  The healing virtue that is in Christ is provided for the  benefit of those who by a true and lively faith touch him.  Christ  is in heaven, but his Word is with us, and He Himself is that Word.   When we mix faith with the Word, apply it to ourselves, depend upon it,  and submit to its influences and commands, then we are touching the hem of  Christ’s garment.  It is with this touching that we are made  whole.  The miracles on the Sea of Galilee and  the healing miracles that took place in Gennesaret reveal to us once again the  mighty power of Christ.  We should stand in awe of His power and  the way He used and still uses that power to minister to people.

 

       

VI.  Conclusion.  Our  Scripture lesson for this week should cause us to stand in awe of the power of  Christ.  He can help us meet any challenge we may face.   We never know how Christ will use His power to help us.  He  may choose to reverse a life-threatening illness, or choose to help us to endure  it.  No matter what happens, we can have confidence in the power of  Christ to work on our behalf.  When we face challenges and trials  in the days ahead, may we agree with the disciples that “of a truth, Jesus is  the Son of God.”

Come To Jesus

John 4:29″ Come,see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ”.

Here Jesus’ interview with the Samaritan woman establishes, for all the readers of John’s Gospel, that salvation is for everyone, regardless of social, or racial, position. If we want to be an effective witness for the Lord, we must be willing to cross all barriers. The wall of separation has been destroyed, God is now accessible to all through Jesus Christ. Let us invite all to come to Jesus.

 

In this scene at Jacob’s well, the metaphor of water that satisfied the woman’s physical thirst represents the need for spiritual nourishment that can satisfy the thirsty soul. Jesus initiated the conversation by asking for a drink. He then offered her living water that would meet her eternal needs. We must realize that Jesus is that one thing that meets our most basic need. Jesus did not rush His discussion with the woman. He began where she was, drawing water. We too should share at the other person’s pace, meet them where they are in Christ. We all have a story to share, if Jesus has changed our life.  When Jesus told the woman that He was the Messiah, the woman immediately went to share her experience with those in her town. She invited all to come to Jesus, she challenged them to answer for themselves:  “could this be the Christ?”

 

What will you do with Jesus? God has given him to us all, now will you invite all to come and see? When a Christian shares his or her story, they never know how far the gospel will reach, and they never know how much one changed life can change the world. Remember Jesus started with twelve, look how far their testimony have come. Let us tell all that we see to come to Jesus.