Sunday July 15, 2012

Matthew 26:1-13

Jesus firmly commanded us all to serve Him by serving others (25:31-46) and then reminded His disciples of His death in two days, but they still didn’t get it. Meanwhile the religious officials were plotting that same death. A despised woman though was thinking of Jesus. The dispicles were indignant at her act of service, but Jesus reprimanded them.

What service have you rendered to Him that He will cause to be remembered? How many opportunities have you missed? How will you live so as to take full advantage of all opportunities He puts before you?

Sunday July 8, 2012

Matthew 25:31-46

Salvation is not based on anything we do, it is a free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, Jesus says that if we love Him we will obey His commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3). In our present passage His commands are that we serve those around us who have needs, “even the least of these.”

Who are “the least of these” around you who need a cup of cold water, a visit, a kind word, respite from the weather, or a meal? Are you providing? “Freely you have received, freely give!” (Matthew 10:8). Like the Ten Commandments, that latter too is a command from God, not merely a suggestion.

Sunday July 1, 2012

Matthew 25:14-30

The talents mentioned in this text are actually a measure of weight, 75 pounds, and not “gifts,” although these are a part of that which God has entrusted to us. Notice that each of the slaves was given “according to his abilities.” God does not give us tasks which He does not also give us the ability to handle. Note also that He expects us to use what He gives us in order to get more for Him.

The word slave should remind us that it is not up to us to choose the agenda, nor to choose to be lazy. We are to serve Him daily. We serve Him by serving others. Burying what He has given us is not an option. This would lead to being cast into the outer darkness, a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Service to Him will keep us in the light, where there is the opposite: joy in the Lord!

You do not know when He is returning for you, so you’d best life your life so that He finds you serving him when He returns, rather than goofing off. It’s your choice. What will it be?

Sunday June 24, 2012

Matthew 24:42-25:13

Our verses today continue to remind us to be ready. We do not know the time or the day on which the Lord will return for any one of us. We have a number of duties as Christians. One of these is to remain vigilant. We are not to become complacent in our lives, but are to contstantly live for Christ. There are opportunities for us each day to serve Him. How many small ones do we miss because we are only looking for big ones? Like a jigsaw puzzle it takes many small pieces to make up the big picture.

Will you be one of the faithful and sensible servants the Lord finds serving Him upon His return (24:45)? The choice is yours.

Vigilance in the Christian life may also entail planning ahead and being prepared for life. There are many lessons for us to learn from Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins. How many can you count? Will you apply them to your life? Christ is the bridegroom, we, the Church, are His bride.   On the one hand, we are to live and plan our lives as if humanity will be around for many centuries to come.  Yet, on the other hand, we are to be ready if He should come for us today, at this moment.  Are you ready?

Sunday June 17, 2012

HappyFather’s Day! Hope you didn’t forget your heavenly Father!

June 7 & 8 three of us attended our annual conference in Findlay, Ohio. Since the 10th was our community service in the park, we shared this morning about conference. Delegates were excited about what they heard and saw. Pray that excitement carries to the rest of the congregation and that we reach out to our community for Christ in the coming weeks.

Matthew 24:32-41

God gives us signs in the changing of the seasons about the season to come. In the same way Jesus told of signs that would indicate the soon destruction, not only of Jerusalem, but also of the people who would reject and crucify Him.

I shared that there are two negative particles in the Greek language, “ou” and “mh” (long a sound like “may”). These are generally used with indicative and non-indicative verbs respectively, or to indicate a positive or negative answer in a question (also respectively). However, in verses 34 and 35 they are used together, along with the aorist subjunctive. This use indicates the strongest negation possible in the Greek language. Jesus is indicating the nearness (and the certainty) of the time of the end of the Old Testament era and does not want His audience to be mistaken about it. The “this” of “this generation” can only mean that generation which He was addressing. He was NOT speaking of any future group of people. But just as in Noah’s day, many of these folks He was warning would ignore Him.

As we read our Bibles we cannot help but notice that we as a nation are commiting or at least allowing many of the sins which God has promised to punish. AND, we continue to ignore the signs that He is punishing us. We need to wake up and as individuals and as a nation get back to Him. He calls us first of all to faithful obedience, and that “daily.”

Sunday June 10, 2012

This was our Community service in the park under the tent. Matthew 12:38-41 was read and then I preached on Jonah. The above verses point out that the book of Jonah is not myth, but fact backed up by the Son of God Himself, just as the entire Bible is fact.

Jonah did not want to preach to the Ninevites because he hated them and he also knew that God would give him success, the Ninevites would repent, and God would relent on His pronounced judgment. He wanted God to kill them all and send them to hell.

Pastor Don read Matthew 12:37 and pointed out that the Gospel message requires “response.” Jonah had to respond, as did the sailors, and the people of Nineveh. We must each respond daily to God’s call on our lives How will you respond as He calls you to action (whether that action is seemingly great, . . . or small)?

Sunday June 3, 2012

Matthew 24:14-31

Remember that the “end” spoken of in verse 14 is not the end of all things, but the end of the Old Testament era, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (including the sacrificial system) in the years surrounding 70AD.

The “Abomination of Desolation” was the desecration of the Temple by the Romans.  Jerusalem was surrounded by the Romans, but then the Romans left for a time before they came back to destroy the city and Temple; hence the warnings.  Compare this with the parallel in Luke 21:20-22:  20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. 21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”

Christ’s return to judge the generation which rejected and crucified Him, like lightning flashing across the sky from east to west, would be evident to all.  Therefore one could discount all accounts of the presence of the Messiah anywhere else.

In verses following our selection He will give indications that the event is very near (in time).  Until then our duty is to remain faithful to Him.  That means being in His Word often so that we know how to obey, and spending time often with Him in prayer so that we can obey.

Sunday May 27, 2012

Matthew 24:1-14

Far too many of the Jews of Jesus’ day focused attention on the temple itself, and many probably worshiped that building instead of God Himself. Jesus’ disciples pointed out to Him the temple along with that which Herod had built too. He told them that not one stone of the temple would be left on another, all would be torn down. Later the disiples asked Him when this would happen and what would be signs of it.

The “end of the age” mentioned in verse 3 does NOT mean the end of the world. The end which Jesus (accurately) predicts is the end of the Old Testament era and the sacrificial system, as well as judgment on those who in between would crucify Him.

His command to them, and which is definitely applicable to us, is “See to it that no one misleads you.” In order to be obedient to this command we (and they) must be alert, study the Word, and spend time with Him . . . as well as obey ALL His commands.

The Gospel WAS preached to all the known world before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. Are we holding up our end?

Sunday May 20, 2012

Matthew 23:29-39

Jesus pronouces His final woe upon the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees and reminds them that their actions make them just as guilty as their forefathers who killed or at least mistreated all the prophets He sent to them. He will, in fact, hold them responsible for the deaths of all these prophets, retribution is coming upon them for this and for their soon rejection and murder of Him as well.

In the Bible a generation is roughly forty years. His reference to “this generation” HAS to refer to those with whom He is speaking. He uses the near demonstrative (this). Had He meant a future generation He would have used the far demonstrative (that). Every instance of “this generation” in the Bible refers to the generation being addressed (just as the words would seem to indicate). This did in fact come to pass: Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Temple along with it, in the events surrounding 70AD. There is much fulfilled prophecy in these events – but our ignorance of history (and the Bible) often keeps us from seeing that fact.

Jesus would prefer that Jerusalem (the nation) repent, but He has given them free will. We must remember that along with free will comes the responsibility of its exercise.

Sunday May 13, 2012

Matthew 23:23-28

The Pharisees and their scribes were diligent to tithe (give ten percent of) off of the increase of even the small plants in their gardens. These would also have been of the smallest of plots as these plants were seasonings and not food crops. But Jesus said that they should have been paying attention to “tithing” in the “weightier” areas of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. They were seeming to be so pure as to strain out a gnat, but were in fact swallowing camels.

The examples that follow are much the same; they may appear to be good and clean, but inwardly they are vile, evil and filthy.

We choose what we are and how we act. We need to look to Christ and follow His example faithfully. This will entail much prayer for help, it also entails constant obedience; but it avails much satisfaction of a life lived right!