02
Sep
14

They Were Delighted

Luke tells us that the chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for a way to “get rid of Jesus” (Luke 22:2, NIV).  That’s a nice way of saying that they wanted Him dead.  Judas must have known that something was up because Luke says that he went to them and had a discussion about his betrayal of the Lord.  What is most disturbing to me is what Luke says in verse 5: “They were delighted…” (Luke 22:5, NIV).  When Judas approached them about handing Jesus over to them, they were delighted.  They gave him some money and they Judas began to wait for the perfect time.
Many pages have been written over the past nearly 2,000 years to try and discern Judas’ motivation for betraying Jesus.  Was it greed?  Was it a zealous desire to force Jesus’ hand and prove that He was the Messiah who had come to deliver Israel from their Roman oppressors?  Was it something else?  No matter the reason, Judas had done the unthinkable.  He betrayed a friend.  His betrayal of Jesus caused emotional suffering for the Lord and set into motion a terrible/wonderful string of events that led to the death of Jesus and the forgiveness of sinners like us.
May we not be so full of pride as to think we would not have done the same thing.  Instead, let us faithfully live lives of devotion to Jesus.  Let us keep our eyes on Him and not on the things of this world that seek to pull us away from Him.
Luke 22:1-6 (NIV)
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot,one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
01
Sep
14

Worry Is (NOT) For The Birds

The video of the message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana from August 31, 2014.

28
Aug
14

Distracted By The World

Jesus continues at the end of Luke 21 by talking about the signs of His return.  I am particularly intrigued by verse 34:

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap​. – Luke 21:34 (NIV)​

Look at this list of three things that can weigh our hearts down and distract us from the return of Jesus.
  1. Carousing – this word can also be translated as dissipation, which is a word we don’t use much.  It means amusement or mental distraction.  Jesus is saying not to get distracted by the amusements of this life.  Don’t get so focused on reality TV, movies, sports (guilty as charged!), celebrity gossip or music that you miss the signs of His return.
  2. Drunkenness – Jesus also says not to be weighed down by drunkenness.  In other words, don’t party so much that you are distracted and dulled by that lifestyle.  Jesus says to “be careful.”  If you live for the party on Earth, you might just miss the banquet of Heaven.
  3. Anxieties of Life – Finally, we are not to be so worried about the cares of this life that we lose our souls and our place in the next life.  We can get so worried about material things that we work ourselves to death trying to secure them and what we’re really doing is losing our souls.  

Jesus is coming and we need to be prepared.  The things of this life and this world are temporary.  They will not last.  The season will end and the shows will get cancelled.  The party will come to an end eventually.  The things we break our backs for will fall apart, become too small or get stolen.  The things of this world just aren’t worth are undivided attention.  They are mere distractions that pull our hearts away from our first love.  Don’t get distracted by this world.  As the Scriptures say:

For this world in its present form is passing away.​ – 1 Corinthians 7:31b (NIV)​

Luke 21:29-38 (NIV)
29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
27
Aug
14

Stand Firm And Win Life

In Luke 21:5-11, Jesus talks about the signs that would accompany the fall of Jerusalem.  In verses 12-28, Jesus begins to talk about the signs that will accompany His return to earth.  He died on a Roman cross and was raised to life on the 3rd day after His crucifixion.  He ascended into Heaven where He sits and reigns at the right hand of the Father.  One day soon He will return to do away with sin and evil once and for all and to take His followers to their long-awaited home.  This passage begins with words of encouragement for His disciples about what would happen to them.  Verse 19 is the key:

Stand firm, and you will win life. – Luke 21:19 (NIV)

No matter what happens, we must stand firm in order to win life.  We don’t know what kind of persecution will come our way in the last days, but we know that it will.  Jesus’ words are not mere possibilities.  His words of warning are a certain reality for His followers.  We who love the Lord Jesus will be persecuted for our faith in Him.  There will be signs of His coming that many will ignore and try to blame on other things . But the fact of the matter is that when we see signs that cause others to worry and fret, we should:

…stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. – Luke 21:28 (NIV)

Jesus is coming and we must be ready to face whatever will come our way.  Will you stand firm until the end?  Will you have faith enough to win life?  Now is the time to make up our minds and sturdy our hearts.  Stand firm until He returns!
Luke 21:12-28 (NIV)
 

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

26
Aug
14

Destruction

Jesus and His disciples were walking in Jerusalem and the disciples were commenting on the beauty of the temple.  Jesus takes the opportunity to talk about the end times.  According to one commentator, Luke 21:5-38 can be divided into two sections (Black, The College Press NIV Commentary, 1996).  The first section is about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (Luke 21:5-24) and the second section is about Jesus’ Second Coming (Luke 21:25-38).  In the first part of the first section, we see that Jesus is less than impressed when it comes to the beauty of the temple.  He knew what was going to happen to it when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The city of Jerusalem would be a sign of punishment for the rejection of the Messiah.  Jesus gives them signs of when Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed.
God’s punishment is real.  Just as Jerusalem was destroyed for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, so too will those who reject Him now be punished.  They will be punished for all of eternity in the fires of hell.  I believe that this makes our job as Christians so important!  We must tell people about Jesus Christ and His love!  People need the Lord in their lives.  They need to experience His love and peace and joy.  They need His forgiveness and grace.  If we won’t tell them, who will?  We must resolve ourselves to sharing and spreading the Good News of the Gospel with all who will listen and accept Christ’s offer of salvation before it is too late.

Luke 21:5-11 (NIV)

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

25
Aug
14

To Want For Nothing

The sermon from August 24, 2014 at Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

21
Aug
14

A Remarkable Gift

How do you make Jesus take notice of your offerings?  Give from the heart and not from your wallet.  Give with an attitude of gratitude and not begrudgingly.  Give with joy and not out of obligation.  It’s not the size of the gift, but the love for God and your trust in Him that counts the most.
The poor widow woman had no one to take care of her.  She had nothing to live on and no one to provide for her.  Yet she in her poverty gave a gift that made Jesus take notice.  The wealthy people giving their gifts would have been very noticeable.  The sounds of large metal coins striking the metal boxes into which people put their offerings would have clang-clanged loudly.  The two small copper coins would have barely made a sound.  Yet Jesus remarked on her gift and not any of the others.  Why?  Because she gave all that she had to live on.  Why would she do such a thing?  Perhaps she trusted in God to provide more than in her money.  Maybe she had such a deep faith that she knew God would take care of her.
Sometimes we try to bargain with God.  “If I give this offering, then You have to take care of me!”  Our attitude should be, “Since You have provided for me, I gratefully and joyfully give this offering, Lord!”  God has provided in so many ways.  But, we put Him last instead of first.  Too often God gets the leftovers instead of the firstfruits.  He provided the job.  He provided the energy.  He provided the paycheck.  He provided the home.  He provided the car.  He provided the clothing. It all comes from Him.  Let us be cheerful and joyful as we give Him the first and best fruits of our labors.  After all, God loves a cheerful giver and takes notice when we give faithfully.
Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

 




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