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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Message

There are a lot of ways that we need Christ to come into our lives.  And most of them have to do with the way we will allow Him in.  I think God crated a LOT of different people, and had to allow for a lot of different ways to reach them.  Thus, many denominations, among other things.  Yes, that's right, something that non-believers usually term a failing is actually a strength.  God works like that too.  For example...

Monday's reading was Paul's discussion of his conversion in Galatians 1.  Here was a man zealous but for the wrong beliefs.  In his actions, he was a lot more like the Boston bombers than, say Mohammed.  Because he was an "I am right and disagreement means death" type- although perhaps not with the innate homicidal bent those whackjobs had.  Still, a whackjob is a whackjob, and Paul had to be, as he put it, called through grace, which in his case meant being jabbed in the proverbial butt by the goads.  In this case, Jesus came to him in the only way he would receive Him- a direct visit.  How direct your visit might be depends on how zealous you are in getting away.

Tuesday brought me to the other pillar of faith, Simon Peter, in John 21.  He was elated to know his Savior yet lived; but he wasn't getting anywhere with the knowledge because he couldn't forgive himself for the three denials.  For those not up on the story, as Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin and Pilate, Peter denied he knew Jesus three times- "Before the cock crowed twice," just as Jesus had predicted.  So Jesus asked him three times, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"  After the third one, the light went on in his head that Jesus was helping him to forgive himself.  Because just like when Elijah was down because of his despair, He gave Peter a task- "Feed My sheep."  Our tendency is to allow our sin to separate us from what God wants us doing (which is just why Satan tempts us in the first place).  Jesus comes to us and says, "Never mind that, we've work to do."  In other words, He reaches us in this situation by taking us past the sin, which He has already forgiven.  And if He has, we should as well.

Wednesday takes us to the dedication of the Second Temple in Ezra 2 and 3.  The people had sinned, and God had allowed everything to be destroyed- just as He promised.  But also, just as He promised, He brought back the remnant.  They sang in worship of why God allowed them to return:

"For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever towards Israel".

But you know what, there was a caveat- a subtle one- to that.  Just because He had forgiven them, it didn't make it all the same as it was...

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.

The old and wise realized that their sin had caused something to be lost.  Sure, they had been forgiven- but sin had cost them.  Sin always costs us, despite Christ's atoning blood.  That cost, though, varies significantly.

Thursday brings us to Luke 13 and the woman crippled for eighteen years.  It was her infirmity that brought her to Him, and His healing that linked them together.    Jesus, in fending off the Pharisees who objected to His healing on the Sabbath (because that was "work"), described what He did as loosing her from Satan's bonds.  These days, we see Satan's bounds as more spiritual than physical, but still expect healing to be just physical.  Jesus sees both the bonds and the healing as physical AND spiritual, and heals what brings you out of Satan's hold. Not necessarily what we think needs healed.

Friday Takes us to Luke 24 and the pilgrims walking to Emmaus.  Jesus walked with them- though they didn't see it was Him- and moaned to Him about the death of their messiah and the rumours about His resurrection.

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

A friend of mine posted a couple days ago about how we are getting lost in simplifying the Gospel to make it easier to understand, rather than teaching it as is until it is understood.  Using programs, and music, and meetings, and crosses, and a million other things to feed the world (and ourselves) on something less than the "solid food" of the Bible.  Jesus, on the other hand, took these men right to the source and MADE them understand.

So we have seen that Jesus reaches us through direct means, forgiveness through a call to work, pure mercy, healing, and Scriptural knowledge.  But Saturday took me to Hosea 13-14.  Here, the prophet moans the coming destruction of Israel for its sins.  Here, the sin was explained simply in verse 6: "they were filled and their hearts were exalted; therefore they forgot Me."  Where Paul hadn't exactly forgotten Him, but was on the wrong path to Him, Israel had flat out went their own way without Him.  Therefore the "direct" approach was handled a different way- Assyria became the hammer by which God destroyed them.  Even then, though, as you read on, this wasn't the end; look at verse 9:

O Israel, you are destroyed;
But your help is from Me.

This total disregard of God forced Him to use all these methods to bring them around:  direct intervention, forgiveness, mercy, healing ( "I shall heal their backsliding", 14:4), a job to work on (14:8, "Ephraim shall say... I am like a green Cyprus tree; Your fruit is found on me"), and knowledge ("Who is wise, let him understand these things", 14:9).

Point being, how God reaches us depends on how we let Him in (didn't I say that once?)  The unfortunately, the usual way we let Him in is through our failings.  The fortunate part is, that He'll come in that way, too.


  1. CWM:
    Another very GOOD message...and one thing just jumped out at me on it.

    When you mentioned about your friend and the simplification of the Gospel to better understand it.
    Some things you simply CANNOT "dumb down", and at the top of that heap IS THE GOSPEL (Bible).

    You neither TAKE FROM IT...nor (and more importantly) ADD TO IT, and many times, making it "easier" does "add" in ways the Gospel was not inteneded.
    I even have issues with the new testament in "modern English"...gimme the good old-fashioned Gospel (KJV).

    I ALWAYS taught from the KJV in Sunday school or preached from it exclusively.

    If I'm listening while reading the Bible, God will work (speak) with me to figure out what I'm having problems with.

    Stay safe up there.

  2. Mine is an offshoot of the NKJV, and when I use Biblegateway to cut and paste, that's what I usually use/