Jesus and the Law of God

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Loving Church,

Today is Friday, June 24th, 2016. Today is the 176th Day of 2016.

There are only 190 days left in this year; and, there ONLY 23 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 184 days left until CHRISTMAS

Today is Patrick Curry’s Birthday

Today is Katie Kilber’s Birthday

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus and the Law of God

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

If the only thing Jesus did was die for our sins, that would not get us into heaven. Jesus had to also live a sinless life the life that Adam failed to live in order to establish a perfect righteousness (which is also “accounted” to us when we repent and believe in HIM) because without righteousness, or, “holiness” no one can see God. (Hebrews 12:14)

If we were sinless, but not holy, we would be where Adam and Eve were before they sinned in the Garden.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law of God; HE came to fulfill it. HE came to keep it; and, HE did.

We cannot be sinless so Jesus died for our sins. We cannot be holy so Jesus lived for our righteousness.

An “iota” is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the “dot” (‘yod) is the smallest part of a letter. The point is that nothing will be lost from the Law of God until all that God decrees will come to pass.

Now we come to “antinomianism”. This means to be “against the Law of God”

It means to teach others that since we are saved that we can basically live any way in which we like.

Jesus clearly points out that this is a serious error.

We do not keep God’s moral Law (specifically, the Ten Commandments) to “get” saved; we keep God’s Law because we “are” saved.

Christians do not keep the “Ceremonial” Laws from the Old Testament which were pictures of how to worship God and were used to teach about Christ. Once Jesus came, there is no further need of them.

Christians do not have to keep the “Civil” Laws from the Old Testament because we are not an earthly Kingdom as was Israel.

But, we do keep the moral Law, the Ten Commandments, because this is how we demonstrate the holiness which God has planted in our spirit to show our love and devotion to HIM.

Jesus said that those who keep the Moral Law of God and teach others to keep them will, “be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Midweek Bible Study Lesson for next Wednesday, 6/29, is “The Judgment Seat of Christ”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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For God’s Glory

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Loving Church,

Today is Thursday, June 23rd, 2016. Today is the 175th Day of 2016.

There are only 191 days left in this year; and, there ONLY 24 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 185 days left until CHRISTMAS

Today is my sister Donna’s 70th Birthday

ON THIS DAY IN 1914: “J. Gresham Machen, Presbyterian educator and defender of orthodoxy is ordained at Plainsboro, N.J.”

Machen’s writings, especially “Christianity vs. Liberalism” are among the best and most important theological books of the 20th Century.

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:16

Glorifying the Father

16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This is an amazing sentence.

Believers are commanded to let OUR light shine before others, so that they may see OUR good works… yet, we must do this in such a way that they will… “give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.”

We do the work; God gets the glory. Simple.

Not really.

Pride is one of the greatest of sins and one of the most potent foes faced by the believer. When we do “good works” it is all too easy for US to accept the praise brought by them.

We must humbly do our good works “before men” but we must do them in such a way as to give all of the glory to GOD.

Sometimes that is as easy as doing these things quietly and anonymously. When that is not possible, we need to be quick to explain that our changed life through Jesus is the source of any human “goodness” that we appear to have.

So, we do the works and God gets the glory.

One of the ways I have found to begin a gospel conversation – or at least attempt to – is to give the glory to God whenever I do something honorable that surprises a person.

For example: I have had occasion to return money to a person who gave me too much change. I sometimes remember to tell them, “Don’t thank me; thank Jesus. If HE had not changed my life, I would be more than happy to take advantage of people.”

That way I am not the hero… Jesus is.

That is the point of this passage.

The Midweek Bible Study Lesson for next Wednesday, 6/29, is “The Judgment Seat of Christ”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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LIGHT in the DARKNESS

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Loving Church,

Today is Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016. Today is the 174th Day of 2016.

There are only 192 days left in this year; and, there ONLY 25 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 186 days left until CHRISTMAS

On this day in 1750:

“Jonathan Edwards is dismissed from his pulpit in Northampton, Massachusetts because he has rejected the “halfway covenant” which allows individuals who have made no confession of salvation to baptize their children. His calls for holiness do not sit well with his congregation either. One hundred and fifty years later, Northampton Church will erect a monument to Edwards.”

For the next several years, Edwards (the greatest Theologian-Pastor ever to live in North America) would spend his time teaching a handful of Native Americans.

However in HIS benevolent providence, God gave him this time to write several of the most important theological books ever published.

Later, Edwards was elected President of Princeton but died within days of that after taking a smallpox vaccination and contracting the disease.

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:14-16

The Light of the World
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

John 3:19-21
19 “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

The greatest heart-break in my life today is watching the certain coming of another “Dark Age.” The light of the gospel is going out in North America and only God knows when (if ever) HE will bring it back again.

Lost people “love darkness” because their deeds are evil.

Western civilization, which was built on the light of God’s Word, has passed into night in Western Europe and now Canada is surely slipping away.

The United States is not far behind.

Here is our challenge! WE are THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. At least, we are supposed to be. If the Light of the World is dim, how great will be the darkness.

Salt; and Light. God’s people.

Here is a haunting limerick for us…

How much light would this world see; if every Believer lived just like me?

The solution? Simple.

16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

The Midweek Bible Study Lesson for THIS EVENING is “THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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Salt and Light!

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Loving Church,

Today is Tuesday, June 21st, 2016. Today is the 173rd Day of 2016.

There are only 193 days left in this year; and, there ONLY 26 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 187 days left until CHRISTMAS

Today is Hunter Priest’s Birthday!

On this Day in 1834: Cyrus McCormick, a Christian inventor and businessman, patents the world’s first truly workable reaper. He will make a fortune from it, much of which will go to charity.

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Salt and Light!

There are not many passages from the New Testament that are better known among Christians than this.

As you have heard many times, Jesus uses this double metaphor to describe our life and the impact we should have on the world around us…

Salt was mostly used to add flavor to a bland world. A world without Christ and HIS people would be dull and deadly.

The Presence of Christ in the life of HIS people should bring joy and happiness and a way of living (even in the hard times) that is a marked contrast from those who do not know HIM.

“Salt” was commonly used as the primary preservative of things that perish; especially for the storage of meat.

The presence of Christians in a culture act as a preservative by showing the culture a living illustration of how living in obedience to Jesus brings blessings and spiritual health to one’s life and family.

“Salt” that had been contaminated and could not be used to either season or preserve food was stored and used to melt snow. It was literally “trampled under people’s feet.”

And so it is with the soiled Christian. The dirtiness of sin in our life soils our life and the world around us knows it quite well.

So, the soiled “Salt” is put away and ignored and only brought out to be trampled under foot.

All Christians ought to passionately desire to bring spice and joy and happiness into their world. We ought to desire to serve God to preserve our culture and our Nation by being examples of how holiness brings blessing.

None of us want to be soiled and ignored.

We do not want to be someone deserving of being trampled under the feet of the world.

We have heard this numerous times: let us seek to be “Salty Saints!”

The lesson for TOMORROW EVENING, (June 22nd) is “THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Loving Church,

Today is Monday, June 20th, 2016. Today is the 172nd Day of 2016.

There are only 194 days left in this year; and, there ONLY 27 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 188 days left until CHRISTMAS

TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER !!!

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:10-12
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Here we are reminded again that the Citizens of the KINGDOM are very different people than the Citizens of the World.

Before I deal with the amazing reaction to persecution given in verse 12, please take note of two “conditions” of the persecution of which Jesus speaks in verses 10-11.

First, HE is speaking of persecution “for righteousness’ sake.” Neither here nor anywhere else does Jesus tell us that all persecution brings blessing. It is when HIS KINGDOM people are persecuted for living like HIM that we are blessed of God.

Sadly, but surely, sometimes our difficulties are due to our own sinful behaviors. Those situations are a case of “reaping what we sow” and cannot be thought of as “suffering for Jesus.”

On those occasions, we are simply suffering for our sins.

Second, Jesus is speaking of being persecuted “falsely.” As hard as any persecution is, it is very painful to be persecuted because of accusations against us that we know are not true.

Again, if the accusations against us that bring persecution are true – that is, that we are guilty of sinful behavior, then such persecution does not guarantee the blessings of God.

BUT, when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; and, or, the accusations against us are false, then we can rejoice because God, HIMSELF, (Who knows all things) will reward us.

Two final thoughts…

First, our promised reward will be in heaven. We may never be justified before men in this world. We may suffer wrongly and continually. God will reward us, but HE may allow us to suffer here to be rewarded there.

Finally, we can rejoice because we are in good company when we suffer for righteousness’ sake and when we suffer for things of which we are not guilty.

“For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” If God allowed Joseph, and Jeremiah, and John the Baptist to suffer undeservedly, what makes us think that HE must deliver us?

HE may deliver us; and, HE often does. But we have no guarantee of that.

When we suffer for following God… when we suffer because of false accusations…

Rejoice!

The lesson for NEXT Wednesday evening, (June 22nd) is “THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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Persecuted for Righteousness Sake

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Glorious Church,

Today is Friday, June 17th, 2016. Today is the 169th Day of 2016.

There are only 197 days left in this year; and, there are only 2 days left until FATHER’S DAY, AND ONLY 30 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 191 days left until CHRISTMAS

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:10
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Here we encounter Jesus, the Christ.

The King of HIS Kingdom explaining the characteristics of the subjects of HIS Kingdom. We are HIS people, the Sheep of HIS pasture.

The next characteristic HE mentions is that of being persecuted.

At first glance, this just does not make sense. Persecuted?

We, HIS people, have already been described as “poor in spirit” “mourning over our sins” “meek” “hungering for righteousness” “merciful” “pure in heart” and “peacemakers.”

Who would want to persecute such people, and why?

The same kind of people who persecuted and crucified Jesus and Paul and the Apostles and all of the faithful followers of Jesus down through the ages.

Those who hate God, holiness, and those who tell them that they must repent and believe in Jesus to be saved.

Note carefully that being persecuted is as surely part of being a new creation as is the transformation into the kind of people described in verses 2-9.

We have always known that our Brothers and Sisters have faced – and face now – much more severe persecution than that which we have faced in North America.

As Western civilization dies, we clearly see the coming of a new “Dark Age” of naturalistic hedonism and its inevitable hatred of Christ and HIS Kingdom people.

Our defense is to share the gospel and teach those who come to believe in Jesus to obey everything HE has commanded us. Another way to say that is, “to live out the Great Commandments and Carry out the Great Commission…”

God can deliver HIS people. But, all over the world and all across the ages, we see that HE often allows them to suffer persecution – even catastrophic persecution – in order to accomplish HIS will in the world.

Let us pray for another “Great Awakening” in our life, our family, our Church, our Nation, and the World.

The lesson for the next time we meet, NEXT Wednesday evening, (June 22nd) is “THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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Peacemaking

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST

Good Morning Glorious Church,

Today is Thursday, June 16th, 2016. Today is the 168th Day of 2016.

There are only 198 days left in this year; and, there are only 3 days left until FATHER’S DAY, AND ONLY 31 DAYS left until VBS BEGINS; and, only 192 days left until CHRISTMAS

ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Here we encounter Jesus, the Christ.

The King of HIS Kingdom giving the characteristics of the subjects of HIS Kingdom. We are HIS people, the Sheep of HIS pasture.

The next characteristic HE mentions is that of being a peacemaker. Indeed.

We must seek to live in peace with all men and do all that we can to facilitate peaceful co-existence between all peoples.

The most important peacemaking we do is when we lead sinners to repent of their sins and trust Jesus whereby they come to be at peace with God.

By the way, Southern Baptists witnessed a great example of peacemaking today at our National Convention. After two votes for President, neither of which provided a clear choice; Dr. J D Greear withdrew his name and made the motion that Dr. Steve Gains be elected by acclamation. That motion passed.

Dr. Steve Gains had also offered to withdraw.

May this wonderful example remind all of us that while unity is not more import than sound doctrine, it is more important than just about anything else.

May our lives and our Church be known as peacemakers, not peace breakers.

The lesson for the next time we meet, NEXT Wednesday evening, (June 22nd) is “THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH”.

Each Wednesday will feature a stand-alone lesson, so even if you can’t make them all; be sure you catch as many of these lessons as you can.

Carpe Diem!

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