Week 1 – The Lamb of God
[John 1:29, Leviticus 17:11]
Here is the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world.
- Behold –to point something out
- Here – to indicate a place … John is drawing attention to Jesus
- Lamb of God – sent by God, provided by God
- Takes Away – removes, blots out
Lamb in a Sacrificial Sense: God is holy and righteous, separate from sin
Atonement – Reconciliation – wipe clean, sacrifice that cleanses from sin
Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement. [CSB]
Leviticus 4:32-35 – “kipper” – make atonement, make reconciliation, to purge, to wipe clean
Leviticus 4:5-6 – The anointed priest will then take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the tent of meeting. The priest is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. [CSB]
Leviticus 16:14-16 – He is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger against the east side of the mercy seat; then he will sprinkle some of the blood with his finger before the mercy seat seven times. When he slaughters the male goat for the people’s sin offering and brings its blood inside the curtain, he will do the same with its blood as he did with the bull’s blood: He is to sprinkle it against the mercy seat and in front of it. He will make atonement for the most holy place in this way for all their sins because of the Israelites’ impurities and rebellious acts. He will do the same for the tent of meeting that remains among them, because it is surrounded by their impurities. [CSB]
Hebrews 9:11-12, 16-22, 24-28
Confession / Costly / Identification / Personal
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read John 1:29. Does John the Baptist’s statement about the Lamb of God refer to sacrifice? If yes, how can you tell?
2) The phrase “sin of the world” is bold and radical. Why? How can we live this out?
3) In what sense is God’s provision of the animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sins an expression of mercy?
4) Were animal sacrifices actually adequate to atone for sin?
5) How is the Lamb of God a more sufficient sacrifice than the previous sacrificial system?
Week 2 – The Lamb Who Takes Our Place
Substitute – a person acting or serving in place of another.
Bears Our Sin (v. 4)
2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [CSB]
Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God. [CEV]
1 Peter 2:24-25 – and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. [NASB]
Receives Our Punishment (v.5-6)
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]
Acts Voluntarily (v. 7)
John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [ESV]
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many [NLT]
Revelation 5:6, 9-10 – Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth… And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Isaiah 53:1-3. How was Jesus a man of sorrows? How is the description of Jesus that we read about in this passage not what was expected?
2) Read Isaiah 53:4-6. List every “our” phrase. What does the list say to you?
3) Read Isaiah 53:6. Are you one of the sheep? Even today?
4) Read Isaiah 53:7. How does this passage describe the Lamb of God?
5) Read Isaiah 53:10. Who killed Jesus? Who was to blame?
Week 3 – The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery
[1 Peter 1:18-19, Mark 10:44-45, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
Intro: Last week we looked at Isaiah 53, which promised One Who was coming to redeem from their bondage to sin and death… tonight we discuss The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery.
Free: Not bound, confined or detained; having no obligations; capable of moving or turning in any direction.
Slave: Held in servitude; completely subservient.
We were REDEEMED from the empty way of life
1 Peter 1:18-19 – For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. [NIV] Redemption – deliverance from captivity by means of ransom price
With the life of Jesus given as a RANSOM for many
Mark 10:44-45 – And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASV]
We were bought with a high price, so we must HONOR GOD WITH BODY
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [NLT]
Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
How to live free?
- Accept God’s Word – 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [ESV]
- Accept God’s Grace – Romans 5:18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [ESV]
- Accept God’s Victory – 1 John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Romans 8:1-4. What does it mean that the law was weakened by the flesh? How did Jesus fulfill the law’s requirement?
2) Read Romans 8:5-9. What are the two types of people? In reading this passage, do you think it is possible for a believer to be living with the mind-set of the flesh and be hostile to God?
3) Read Romans 8:15-17. How is this passage empowering?
4) From tonight’s reading in the book of Romans, what are some of the things the Holy Spirit will help us live out if we live in the Spirit?
Week 4 – The Passover Lamb of Whom We Partake
[1 Corinthians 5:7, Exodus 12:3-14, Matthew 26:26-30]
Passover Lamb – Passover Instituted
Exodus 12:3-14 – Instructions for Passover
The Lord’s Supper Instituted
Matthew 26:26-30 – 3rd cup, Cup of Redemption
Bread – blessed, broken – “Take and eat it; this is My body.”
Cup – “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Cup of Promise – 4th cup “I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” PROMISE TO COME
Handling the Leaven
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
- 3 – Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit.
- 7 – Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
- 8 – Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of SINCERITY and TRUTH.
Remove old yeast – sin/sinner
We are to be the new unleavened batch
- Sincerity of mind & integrity of character (Pure inner motives)
- Truth – divine truth / God’s Truth
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Looking at Exodus 12, in what ways did the Passover lamb protect the families of God’s people?
2) How is the Passover lamb in Exodus similar to the sacrifice of Christ?
3) Read Matthew 26:28. How could these words fill us with sorrow? Why should these words fill us with joy?
4) Read Matthew 26:29. How does the celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipate a future celebration with Jesus? How does this give you hope?
5) Read Exodus 12:11. How is this in relation with how we approach the Lord’s Supper?
Week 5 – The Triumphant Lamb We Worship
Jesus has fierceness & fearlessness of a Lion (v. 5) and tenderness and humility of a Lamb (v. 6).
- Scroll is the action plan
- Scroll is an Action Plan to judge, cleanse, and prepare the nations for Jesus’ rule over Earth, while bringing the Church to maturity and into unity with redeemed Israel.
- Scroll is the Title Deed to the Earth
- By taking the scroll, He accepted responsibility to cleanse and rule Earth.
Jesus is the only Man found worthy, deserving, and capable to take scroll from Father.
- Who is worthy? No one.
- John wept bitterly.
- He hears – Lion of Tribe of Judah – Lion – boldness, strength, fierceness
- He sees – Lamb Slain – Lamb – humility, gentleness, weakness, submission
He alone could redeem us:
- He was related to us (Man of God)
- He was willing to do it
- He was able to pay the price
Highest government council around throne. (Living angels – angelic, elders – human)
They fell awestruck before the worthy Man and boldly proclaimed their agreement with the Father’s decree to make Jesus supreme leader of whole Earth forever.
Because of His obedience to death, God highly exalted Jesus in heaven and on earth
Philippians 2:8-10 – 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. [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Psalm 96:1-9. This Psalm speaks of the King of the earth and provides reasons to worship. What are some of the reasons listed?
2) Read Psalm 96:6-12. This passage speaks of the need to “ascribe to the Lord.” What does it mean to “ascribe to the Lord”? This passage speaks of our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness? In verse 10, it says, “Say among the nations,” which is again pointing to our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness?
3) Read Psalm 96:11-13. How does this passage describe worship? How does this description change the way you think about worship? This Psalm ends waiting for what? How does this relate to tonight’s look at Revelation?
In Mark 7, we read the story of Jesus healing the deaf and mute man. In verse 33, it says Jesus took the man aside and put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. After this, Jesus looked up to heaven and He says, “Ephphatha” which means open. But before the word was spoken, after the touching of the tongue, Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed.
Often we find ourselves overwhelmed, tired, in need of a break, etc. and we let out a sigh. Sometimes we remember something difficult or we find ourselves in a tough situation and we sigh. Sometimes we mess up and let out a sigh. Often before I head up front to preach, I sigh. I sigh and pray for my words to be His Word. I sigh and ask that all of the world, all of the day’s baggage, all of the “everything that is not of God” is booted far away.
Jesus sighed. We read of Him sighing in Mark 8:12, a deep groan because the Pharisees wanted a sign. The word used is “anastenaxas.” In Mark 7, the word used is different. The word is “stenazó” and it is a sigh expressing grief, anger, or desire. It can be intensely pleasant or anguishing. As we look at the steps of this healing, we can consider the ears and eyes—both created by God Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, stood before this sinner in need of restoration, sighed at the state of the man, looked up to heaven, the source of every good thing, where He rules and reigns, and said, “Be open.” Imagine Jesus face to face with you right now, reaching out, sighing and saying, “Be healed my child.” There is no need for brokenness, no need for separation. Allow Him to heal you. Allow Him to open your ears. Allow Him to loosen your tongue.
“And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to Him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’” – Mark 7:34
Look Back – Remember what God has done
Joshua 3-4 – REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE
Remember personal experience
Remember to share faith – John 21:25
NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR TESTIMONY- IT IS YOURS ALONE
Look Back – Remember past events and old life
Dwell on past sins – missing old life – longing for what was
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Leave your old self behind – put on new self (Ephesians 4:17-24)
Old self – “the flesh” is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so (Romans 8:6-7) – old self is all about us
Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19, Luke 17:32-33 – Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it
Harboring unforgiveness towards others / holding grudges
FORGIVE means to NOT TALK ABOUT IT and to NOT THINK ABOUT IT
Forgive just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
FORGIVE LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12)
Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23
Pray for them – But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
Look Back – Remember Past Mistakes
Romans 3:23 – All fall short of the glory of God
Everyone makes mistakes:
- Abraham fled to Egypt because of drought (Genesis 12-13)
- Moses killed Egyptian (Exodus 2) & struck rock in anger (Numbers 20)
- Peter denied Jesus THREE times (Mark 14:66-72)
Today’s Passage: Conception and Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25
“Verse 21 – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Nathan Rebukes David – 2 Samuel 12:1-14
- David – man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
- David commits adultery & plans murder to cover up sin (2 Samuel 11).
- David’s repents – TRUE REPENTANCE – David’s prayer – Psalm 51
Knowing if it is a sin
- Sin is going against God and His Word. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. (1 John 3:4). Know God’s Word. Know His Commands. READ BIBLE & PRAY – REQUIRES AN ACTIVE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP
- Believers have His Spirit (the Spirit of God) to teach (Ephesians 1:17) and convict (John 16:8)
You must admit sins
- To be healed (James 5:16)
- To get another chance (Proverbs 28:13)
- To be changed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
- To share with others
Your sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ
- Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9)
- While you were dead in sin He forgave ALL our sins (Colossians 2:13)
- The debt was cancelled – Jesus nailed it to the Cross – paid in full (Colossians 2:14)
- He blots out our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
- He will not even remember our sins – acts as if they never happened – forgives as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12)
Confession isn’t necessary for forgiveness – Jesus finished that once for all – but it is important
There is NO ONE between you and God.
- Jesus encourages us to confess to the Lord (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
- We were given an Advocate with the Father – Mediator – Holy Spirit (1 John 2:1)
- We should reach out to Him daily for a spiritual washing (1 John 1:9)
- We should confess to each other because it’s beneficial to the body (James 5:16)
- Not only do others realize we all struggle, but there is ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need an accountability partner who will SPEAK TRUTH.
Philippians 1:6 – He will complete the work He began in you – TRUST
[The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37]
Compassion – Deep awareness of the sufferings or misfortunes of another with a desire to relieve it.
Verse 37 – And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” [NASB]
Mercy – eleos (el’-eh-os) – pity, mercy, compassion, tender mercy, kindness
Same – homoiós (hom-oy’-oce) – In like manner, similarly, in the same way, equally
Psalm 86:15 – “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” [NLT]
Compassion – Rachum – (rakh-oom’) – compassionate, full of compassion
Jesus expressed compassion to:
- Weary (Matthew 11)
- Tempted (Hebrews 2)
- Helpless (Mark 9)
- Sorrowful (Luke 7)
- Multitudes (Matthew 15)
Zechariah 7:9 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” [ESV]
Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” [HCSB]
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
Bible Study Questions:
1) Before the Parable was told, Jesus was tested by a lawyer. The lawyer answered correctly about the Law (v. 27). He knew what God’s Word said. Jesus said, “Do this, and you will live.” What was the “do this”?
2) The lawyer intended to justify himself and asked, “Who is my neighbor”? In the last verse of the passage, Jesus asks him who was his neighbor. Which fellow from the Parable was the neighbor? What did he do for the man?
3) What did the compassionate fellow do for the man that can remind us of the unfailing, unending compassion of our God? (See verse 35)
4) What do you think it means to be compassionate toward someone? Was there a time in your life when you did this to another? Was there a time when someone showed compassion to you?
5) Jesus showed compassion to all people, and these people each lived in various circumstances. How can we show compassion to the
- Weary –
- Tempted –
- Helpless –
- Sorrowful –
- Multitudes –
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
Matthew 27 / Mark 15 / Luke 23 / John 18-19
Pontius Pilate – Roman Governor –Procurator.
- He was in charge of appointing the high priest and controlling the Temple and funds.
- He had full control of the province.
- He had full powers of life and death as he could reverse capital sentences passed by Sanhedrin.
- He had a bad reputation with Jews and Samaritans.
- He was guilty of slander, robbery, violence and murder – and at least twice was called to account by the Roman imperial authority.
- Because people threatened Pilate, that they would inform the emperor that Pilate hadn’t eliminated a rebel against Rome, Pilate went against what he knew was right. He didn’t do the right thing.
- He was later removed from his office for unnecessary and brutal treatment of his subjects.
- Pagan historians only mention Pilate when mentioning his authorization of the death of Jesus (Tacitus).
- Historians documented that Pilate was forced to commit suicide during reign of Gaius (AD 37-41).
1) DISCOVER THE TRUTH – What is Truth?
Jesus told Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” John 18:37 (NIV). The question that Pilate and many others have asked is “what is truth?” (v. 38 NIV). The Bible mentions the word “truth” over two hundred times. God revealed truth to us through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (NIV).
I believe absolute truth is God’s truth. The Bible is God’s Word and God’s Word is Truth. The Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), which therefore means that He speaks only what is true. The Psalmist writes “Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT). God is the source of all truth. I believe Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and I believe that Jesus is infinite, living Truth.
When we read the garden scene in Genesis 3, it is quite clear that God presents absolute truth with regard to this tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve. Satan challenges God’s truth, and deceives Adam and Eve into questioning what God says as well. Even today, Satan attempts to get us to challenge God’s Truth, to ask “did God really say” when we encounter His Truth. God’s Truth does not change; though we may attempt to misrepresent or skew His Truth, it still remains as Truth, as absolute reality. We can choose to accept His Truth and live by it, or to deny it and live as a fool, lost and wandering in search for another alternative which just is not there.
Some people believe that there is truth and it can be found through science and logic. Anything claimed of God that has no scientific or logically basis is not seen as being true. Other people reject the idea of absolute truth and believe that what may be true for one person is not necessarily what is true for another person. Truth is what we make it to be and we each will find our own truth. That means one person can claim God to be God and that is seen as Truth for that person. Another person may claim that there are three gods and that is truth for that particular person.
Many people will spend their lives asking the same question as Pilate, and will never get the true answer because they are seeking for answers in the wrong place. I cling to the promise found in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (NIV). Only through a relationship with God, as a result of Christ’s redemption and the working of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand Truth. If only Pilate realized that he was speaking to the Truth, he would have seen the answer was right before him.
Truth is God’s Truth
Jesus is God’s Truth – John 1 says Jesus is full of grace and TRUTH.
God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17) – We find truth when we read & study the Bible. We need the belt of Truth in place (Ephesians 6:14)
We are to correctly handle/explain God’s Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
To be a disciple of Christ, you must continue in His Word and you will KNOW the truth and the truth will SET YOU FREE. (John 8:32)
Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.“ – John 18:37 [NLT]
Every child of God knows the truth as Jesus, and is on the side of truth, and stands by it.
Pilate avoided the truth:
- Tried to get out of the situation? Sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:6-17)
- Tried to get someone to side with him?
- Tried to put responsibility on someone else – Told Jews “judge by your own law” – a mockery (John 18:31)
- Tried to escape – offer to release “criminal” (John 18:39)
- Tried to washed his hands – though it didn’t cancel guilt (Matthew 27:24)
- Tried to compromise – Had Jesus flogged (John 19:1-3)
- Tried to appeal to sympathy – Shall I kill your King? (John 19:15)
All this despite Pilate never having doubt of Jesus’ innocence – 3 x’s said NOT GUILTY!
2) DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN IT COSTS EVERYTHING
When you know the Truth – then you must make a choice – what will you do with the Truth?
James 1:23-24 speaks about person who stares in the mirror and walks away, forgetting what he looks like. The mirror becomes useless after you walk away from it. James was saying that if we simply hear the word but don’t act, it’s useless just like the mirror.
St. Augustine said, “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.”
Right choice could mean
Social Rejection / Career Loss / Public Ridicule
“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT).
Here’s my heart, Lord
Speak what is true
Here’s my life, Lord
Speak what is true
[Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36]
Chronologically in the Bible, before the Transfiguration, we read that Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16b NIV). After Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Christ, we read about the prophecy of the church – the well-known statement, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” Following this prophecy, Jesus speaks to the disciples about the crucifixion and resurrection. Then Jesus, with the Three, headed up to a high mountain.
The Three were Peter, James, and John. They were the first to hear the call of Jesus (Mark 1:16-19). They were present during the healing of the daughter of Jairus, though the others were excluded (Luke 8:51). The Three were invited to come along with Jesus when He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:30-46, Mark 14:26-42, Luke 22:39-46).
High mountains are associated with closeness to God and a readiness to receive His Word. We do not know the exact mountain where the Transfiguration occurred; however, many scholars believe it might have been Mount Hermon. We read about God directing Moses to go up a mountain (Mount Sinai) for Him to give Him the Law (Exodus 24:12-18). We read about Elijah going to Mount Horeb where He encounters the presence of God (1 Kings 19:8-18).
God’s voice echoes the same words on the mountain as spoken during the baptism of Jesus. “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NIV). “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).
1) What is Peter’s focus when Moses and Elijah join Jesus?
2) When we see the glory of God, what should be our response?
3) What do Moses and Elijah represent?
4) Is John the Baptist Elijah?
5) Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone about what they saw?
You are not where you are supposed to be
Each of you is meant to be somewhere else
Yes, it’s true. God has made you for so much more. How do you get there? STRETCH!!
You cannot GROW unless you are STRETCHED!
No Easy Road
God promised He would be with you, not that it would be easy
David Livingstone – Africa missionary – received message from missionary group who wanted to join in his work. They sent letter that they had people who wanted to join and asked if there was an EASY access road to get where he was. His response – if you have people who only will come with good roads, I don’t want them. I want people who will come where there is no road at all.
Moses – Red Sea. During Exodus when Moses was to lead the people out of Egypt. When they actually were leaving, they went the LONG way (Exodus 3:17). Not only did they go the long way, then they reach the Red Sea and the Egyptians had chased after them. There they are – Egypt right there ready to get them and the Red Sea before them. God was with them. But they had to STRETCH. They had to trust in going the long way. They had to trust that God was with them. They had to trust He had everything under control. They had to trust He had a greater plan for His glory.
Exodus 14:21 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” [ESV]
Mark 3:1-5 The withered hand – “Stretch out your hand”
We respond to things by two things:
- What we SEE
- What we SEEK
Movement Means Loss
Matthew 8:28-34 Demons Invade Pigs. They wanted rid of the demons that possessed the two men but they lost their pigs. Those pigs were of great value to them. V. 34 “And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.” [ESV]
Abraham – left his homeland, his family, everything he knew (Genesis 12)
Focus on the Person Not Result
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7 [NLT]
1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. [NIV]
I saw a post today online about the infamous invite-a-friend to church day. It got me thinking about the recent invitations I have extended and the invitations that seem to get excuse after excuse. There are some people I have been inviting to church for years. I get a lot of excuses but the one that goes through me is “I’ll come when I get my life together.” So I guess the idea is that you cannot go to church until you have yourself cleaned up, fixed, repaired, looking good, feeling good, or whatever.
Jesus said He came for who? For the perfect? NO! Firstly, we all have fallen short so no one but Christ alone is perfect (Romans 3:23). Second, Jesus came for the sinners. Luke 5:32 says, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent” (NLT). Remember, it’s not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick (see Mark 2).
I don’t care what you have done or how dirty your hands are right now—Jesus can make anyone white as snow. See it doesn’t rest on what you have done or how you appear or where you are at in life. It rests upon the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood is enough. He has paid the FULL PRICE. By His righteousness, we are welcome before the throne of God. So yeah, perhaps you have a sporting event to attend or you must work. But don’t use the excuse of getting your life together first. The only way to get your life together is through Jesus Christ. Therefore the BEST place to be is in His presence and with His people. Come to church. Today. Tomorrow. Come. I have some good news to share with you.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9 [NLT]