01
Oct
14

The Heart Revolution

The Jews were trying to get rid of Jesus once and for all.  Executions could not be carried out since they were under the jurisdiction of the Romans.  Somehow they had to convince the Roman governor of the region, Pilate, to condemn this innocent Man.  Crucifixion was reserved for the worst of criminals.  Enemies of the empire would be crucified as a way of publicly squelching revolutions.  If you had any notions of leading an insurrection, watching someone hang from a cross would make you think twice.  So the Jews bring three charges related to revolution against Jesus in verse 2:
  1. He was subverting the nation (other versions say, “misleading our nation” (NASB, ESV, etc)
  2. He opposed payment of taxes to Caesar
  3. He claimed to be the Messiah, the King of the Jews.
The first charge was partially true because Jesus, in their view, was misleading the nation of Israel.  Jesus was subverting the traditions of the Pharisees and Jewish leaders.  I’m just not sure that picking grain on the Sabbath qualifies as leading a revolution.  It didn’t matter.  They said what needed to be said to try and convince Pilate to fall for their scheme.  The other two charges were patently false.
Pilate goes along with the request of the Jews and he interrogates Jesus.  He was looking for a way out, though.  He was tired of dealing with these troublesome people and didn’t want to deal with Jesus.  After a brief examination, Pilate finds that Jesus is innocent and decides that he will punish Him and then send Him on His way, just in case He was thinking of insurrection.  For the Jews, though, this will not do!  They bring up the fact that Jesus had come from Galilee and Pilate sees his opportunity.  Herod is the governor of that region and he just happened to be in Jerusalem!  Send Him to Herod and let Herod deal with Him!  It was a classic case of passing the buck.
What Pilate did not understand is that Jesus did indeed come to lead a revolution.  It is a revolution of the heart and soul.  A revolution that has changed the world.  Pilate had a part to play.  He was an accomplice in Jesus’ heart revolution and he didn’t even realize it.  Jesus wants to change the world by changing hearts.  He has entrusted us with continuing the work of the heart revolution.  We must never grow weary of doing good or spreading the Gospel.  The revolution must first take place in our hearts as we surrender to the Messiah King Jesus.  Then we spread the message of heart revolution to others so that the whole world hears and has the opportunity to believe and be born again.

Luke 23:1-7 (NIV)

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

30
Sep
14

The Answer Is Obvious

Jesus stood before His accusers in Luke 22:66-71 and they began to ask Him whether or not He was the Messiah.  He answers them in the affirmative, yet in an indirect way.  He does not come right out and say, “I am the Messiah!  Believe in Me!”  Why doesn’t He do that?  It is because Jesus knew their hearts.
The Sanhedrin wasn’t asking Jesus about these things so as to believe in Him.  They were asking Him whether or not He was the Messiah so they could trump up charges against Him before Pilate.  Pilate (whom we will meet in Luke 23) will not even entertain the notion of the crucifixion of a peasant carpenter’s son from Galilee unless there is a good reason.  If the Jews could convince him that Jesus was some kind of zealot leading a revolution against the Roman Empire, then perhaps they could finally get rid of Him.
Jesus does not deny the fact that He is the Messiah when they ask Him.  He points back to the Old Testament when He says that “the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God” (Luke 22:69, NIV).  It was clearly understood that this title, “Son of Man” was a reference to the Messiah in the book of Daniel (chapter 7).  Jesus would not give in easily to their thirst for His blood.  So while He does not come right out and say, “I am the Messiah,” He does not deny it, either.  His statement, “You say that I am” could be translated, “You are right in saying I am” (Luke 22:70, NIV 1984).  He’s saying, “Look, guys.  You say that I am the Messiah and I’m not denying it.”  Jesus was then whisked away to Pilate for the next act in this drama.
The fact of the matter is that Jesus is the Messiah.  He is the Son of God.  He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.  He will fulfill the prophecies of the New Testament, too.  He suffered and He died and He rose again.  No other religious leader ever walked out of his tomb.  Jesus did.  Now, just as He said, He reigns in power and glory at the right hand of the Father.  He will come back again.  Will we faithfully live for Him until that day?

Luke 22:66-71 (NIV)

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

29
Sep
14

He Refused To Go In

The sermon video from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana from September 28, 2014.

24
Sep
14

What Did He Do?

What did Jesus do to deserve such treatment?
He never sinned!  He never…
  • lied
  • cheated
  • stole
  • lusted
  • coveted
  • murdered
  • swore
  • disobeyed
  • hated

Jesus did not lead an uprising against the Roman government.  Jesus ruffled the feathers of the religious establishment and they didn’t know what to do with Him.  So they handed Him over to pagan savages and said, “Do your worst.”  That’s exactly what they did.  This truly innocent Man was beaten and tortured.  He was flogged and whipped.  He was mocked and insulted.  He was spit upon and He suffered more than any human has ever suffered.  Why?  Because His suffering was so undeserved!  So what did He do that caused such suffering?  He loved the world.  So much so that He was willing to endure the beating, the mocking, the torture, the whipping and the cross for every single one of us.  He did it so that those who deserve the punishment He received wouldn’t have to face it.  He took our punishment.  He took our beating.  He took our nails.  He took our cross.  Greater love has never been shown!  So how do we respond to such love?  Faithfulness and obedience.  Not out of obligation, but out of gratitude.  Not out of duty or habit, but out of love.  May we learn to love God and to love this world as Jesus loves so that the world will want to receive His love as we have.

Luke 22:63-65 (NIV)
63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
23
Sep
14

Denial

Peter was so brave when his feet weren’t being held to the fire.  In the comfort and relative safety of the upper room Peter could say, “I’ll never deny You, Jesus!”  At the fire in the courtyard of the high priest’s house, he was far less brave.  When push came to shove, Peter cowered in fear.  When the pressure became too great, Peter buckled.  He denied knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus had told him he would.  Perhaps the saddest part of the story is found in verses 61-62:

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.​ – Luke 22:61-62 (NIV)​

Would we have been any different?  Are we any different?  When it comes to standing up for our faith, are we any different than Peter?  Would we defend Jesus?  Would we identify ourselves as one of His followers?  Do we dare to live in a way that runs counter to our culture as a way of acknowledging Jesus?  Or do we deny Him with silence?  Do we deny Him with our lifestyles?  Is there enough evidence in your life to point to the fact that you are a follower of Jesus Christ?  Can people look at you and say, “She is one of His followers?”  Can they look at you and say, “I know that he has been with Him?”  Too often we’ll walk out the doors of the church building on a Sunday and spend the next 167 hours not giving Jesus a second thought.  We may not say, “I do not know the Man!” but our lives are screaming those words at the top of our lungs.  Let every word you utter and every thing you do today testify to the fact that you know Jesus and that He knows you.

Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

22
Sep
14

Give Me My Share

The sermon from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana from September 21, 2014.

19
Sep
14

Kisses

Kisses can be wonderful.
Think back to your first kiss.  That moment when your lips touched the lips of another person with whom you shared a bond.  Your heart was racing!  Was it everything you thought it might be?
Think back to the kiss on your wedding day.  The words were spoken over you and your spouse, “You may now kiss the bride.”  In front of many of your relatives and friends, you sealed your vows with a kiss.  Your heart was elated with the thought of the commencement of your lives.
Think back to the first time you kissed your child.  You held that precious little gift in your arms and you planted a kiss on their tiny forehead.  Your heart was racing!  How could such an amazing creation be yours?!?
Kisses can be painful.
Think back to the day you sent your child off to camp for the first time or away to college.  You held them for a while and fought back the tears.  This is part of the growing process.  Your heart was breaking!  But you knew this day would come and it was time to temporarily say, “Goodbye.  I’ll see you soon.”
Think back to the day you buried your loved one and the last kiss you gave them.  You sobbed and wept.  This is part of the grieving process.  Your heart was breaking!  But you knew this day would come and that it was time to say, “Goodbye.  I’ll see you soon.”
Think back to the day that Judas entered the Garden of Gethsemane and kissed the Lord Jesus.  His heart was racing/breaking!  What was he doing?  Why would he use a kiss to show the mob that this was Jesus?
I think of these lyrics by Michael Card in a song called, “Why?”

Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for
Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain

It was that kiss that set into motion the events that would bring us salvation and forgiveness.
Think of the day that will come and you will enter Heaven’s gates and you will kiss the Lord with tears of gratitude and joy rolling down your cheeks.  The sweetest of kisses cannot compare with a kiss such as that.

Luke 22:47-53 (NIV)

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him,“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”




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