16
Apr
14

The Question

The Roman governor, Pilate, asked Jesus one of the most fundamental questions of life.

What is truth? – John 18:38​a​ (NIV)

People are on a quest for truth.  They want to know what is genuine and real.  They want to know what is authentic and not fake.  I believe that Jesus is truth.  He said in John 14:6 (NIV), “I am the way and the truth and the life…” (emphasis added).  If you’re searching for truth, your search will lead you to Jesus.  Pilate’s question was in response to Jesus’ statement in verse 37:

You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

​ – John 18:37 (NIV)​
If you are on the side of truth, you will hear Jesus’ voice calling out across the centuries leading you to Himself.  People are tired of lies and half-truths.  People are tired of hypocritical Christians condemning them based on some misinterpretation of God’s Word.  People want the Truth!  Rather than giving them our take on things, we need to give them Jesus.  They need to see that Jesus is the Truth for which they are looking.  People need to see Jesus and His love in action.  They need to know that Jesus makes a difference in our lives.  They need to know that Jesus is real and that He can and wants to be known.  The time has come for the followers of Jesus to stand up for the Truth!  We must give people what they desperately need – the truth of Jesus Christ.  Nothing else will satisfy the question, “What is truth?”

John 18:28-40 (NIV)

Jesus Before Pilate

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

15
Apr
14

Denying Jesus

We’re going to take a little break for the rest of this week from the book of Luke and turn to John’s Gospel for a few days.  We’re going to be looking at the story of Jesus up to His crucifixion.  We’re starting today in John 18 with Peter’s denials of Jesus.  We talked about this story the other night at Fuel (our Jr/Sr High Youth Group).  We got into a great discussion about this passage.  We were debating what it means to deny Christ.  Does denial only come in one flavor?  Is it doing what Peter did and saying, “I don’t know the man!”?  Or do we deny in other ways?  When people are bashing our faith and we don’t speak up, are we denying Christ?  When we live like hypocrites and our lifestyles don’t match our faith, are we denying Christ?
We concluded the evening by talking about forgiveness.  There will be days and times in our lives when we deny the Lord Jesus Christ.  We’ll say things we shouldn’t.  We’ll do things we shouldn’t.  We won’t do or say the things that we should.  It is in those moments when we need His grace all the more.  Pray for the strength today to stand up for what and for Who you believe in.  May today be a day that we do not deny the One who stood up for us.

John 18:15-18, 25-27 (NIV)

Peter’s First Denial

15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

 

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

 

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

14
Apr
14

Bringing Joy To Jesus

When the seventy-two followers Jesus had sent out returned to Him, they were filled with joy at the ministry that they had been able to accomplish.  Jesus was filled with joy because of what the Father had done through these seventy-two people.  I believe that when the church is functioning at maximum effectiveness and reaching people for Jesus that it brings joy to the Father’s heart.  It puts a smile on Jesus’ face.  When everyone is pitching in and doing their part to help the church accomplish her God-given mission, then the Father is pleased.  When lives are transformed by the power of the Gospel, then Jesus rejoices.  Our work as Christians is about more than just drawing in crowds to be entertained for an hour on Sunday.  The work of the church is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ so that lives are changed for the glory of God.  So how can you get involved in your church to make this happen more effectively?  How can you volunteer so that the church can reach more people who don’t know Christ?  How can you pitch in to help ensure that more people go to Heaven?  How can you partner with God to build His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven?  Let’s get out there and do it!

Luke 10:17-24 (NIV)

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

13
Apr
14

Purpose Despite Doubt

Today’s message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

11
Apr
14

The Harvest Field Is Ready For You

As we come to Luke 10, we see that Jesus appoints 72 followers of His to go and prepare the way for His arrival in towns He would be visiting.  In verse 2, He makes a famous statement:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2 (NIV)

We must continue to pray for workers to go into the harvest field.  But more than that, we must be willing to go into the harvest field ourselves.  It is one thing to expect others to do something and another thing entirely to get out there, make a difference and change lives for God’s glory ourselves.  We can’t wait around for God to send people out into the harvest fields.  We must go and make disciples as Jesus called us to do in Matthew 28.  The harvest field is not on another continent or in another country.  The harvest field is right next door.  The harvest field is across town.  The harvest field is here and the time is now!  Yes, we should pray and ask the Lord to send out workers.  But we should be willing to be sent ourselves.  Don’t wait around for someone else to do it!  Go into the harvest field and share the love of Jesus with those who so desperately need love, hope and peace in their lives today!

Luke 10:1-16

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

08
Apr
14

Whose Terms?

You can’t follow Jesus on your terms.  There were three men who were willing to follow the Lord, but they wanted it on their terms.
  • Jesus knew the heart of the first man.  He was willing to follow Jesus, but he didn’t want it to cost him anything.  Following Jesus means that we have to be willing to do whatever He asks, even if it costs us everything.  Jesus was homeless.  Following Him was not the road to comfort.  Following Jesus means following Him no matter the cost.
  • The second man was willing to follow Jesus, but he wanted it on his own time.  His father wasn’t dead yet.  He wanted to wait until his father passed away and after an appropriate amount of time for grieving, he would go and follow Jesus.  Jesus tells him that the time to follow Him is NOW!  When you hear the call of the Savior, don’t put it off.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Following Jesus means following Him now.
  • The third man said that he wanted to follow Jesus, but he wanted to go home and say goodbye to his family first.  This isn’t a terrible request, right?  He was willing to go, but he needed to tie up a few loose ends first.  He wanted to turn around, take care of things at home and then follow Jesus.  Why can’t Jesus understand that this man needs to say goodbye?  Because Jesus comes first.  Following Jesus means following Him first.

Following the Lord Jesus Christ was never meant to be the easy road.  It was never meant to be the popular thing.  Kyle Idleman talks about this in his book, Not A Fan.  It is about the difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t want fans, He calls for followers.  Fans are fickle.  Followers are committed.  Fans want it on their terms.  Followers accept Jesus’ terms.  Fans are quick to flee when the going gets tough.  Followers are in it for the long haul.  So what are you?  A fan or a follower?

Luke 9:57-62 (NIV)

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

 

07
Apr
14

Resolutely

Luke makes a very clear point about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem to be crucified and resurrected.  Jesus was determined to go.  Verse 51 says:

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. – Luke 9:51 (NIV)

In other words, Jesus had made up His mind.  He knew what had to be done and He was going to do it.  There was still ministry to be done before His triumphal entry into the city.  There were people to heal and demons to cast out.  There was teaching that needed to continue.  There were lives that needed to be touched.  But make no mistake about it, Jesus was born with a purpose and as He continued in His ministry, nothing was going to deter Him from His purpose.
What is keeping you from your God-given purpose?  Maybe you’re not clear on what it is that God expects from you.  Maybe you’re not sure what your purpose is in this life.  Maybe you’re distracted by the things of this world.  Perhaps your priorities aren’t aligned with the priorities of God’s Kingdom.  God has a purpose and a plan for your life.  Are you resolute about accomplishing His purpose?  Are you determined to follow His plan?  Jesus was and so should we.
Luke 9:51-56 (NIV)
 
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.



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