Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Pharisee and the Publican

Luke 18:9-14
Publicans = tax collectors.
Justified = in right relationship with God.
Pharisee = religious sect of Judaism - very intent on keeping of the law and the traditions of man - VERY strict.  Separatist.

To whom this parable addressed?  Luke 18:9
1)  self-righteous = confidence that MY deeds, actions, lifestyle, HEART = good enough to please God and gain heaven.   (all about me)
2)  disdain = looking down on anyone who does not share my views, opinions, standards, lifestyle

Note #1:  This = common malady!! - example:  just get in to a discussion with anyone about politics!

Note #2:  This uses a ridiculous standard of rightness!!! - ie:  ME/SELF!!  - everything is measured by this!

Question:  by what should I measure 'self?
Answer:  God's Law which = "here's how ought to act, live, etc.

Problem:  we fall miserably short of what we ought to be.  Example:  "love the Lord God with ALL your heart, mind, soul, AND, your neighbor as yourself"  (How you doing with that?)  Rom.  3:23
All fail to live up to standard He has set or that we know exists.

The irony:  if Anybody should have understood this, it should have been THE PHARISEES!!    (compare  the Christian)

The Result??  The Pharisee did NOT please God.... and was NOT justified.

the Publican - Luke 18:13 who displays: 
1) admission - of his sinfulness
2)  confession - says the same thing as God about it
3)  contrition - more than aware of sin but = SORRY for sin.
4)  request ---- for MERCY

The Result??  Luke 18:14 (a) - Publican was justified.  The Moral? :  Luke 18:14 (b)


God wants you to see your sinfulness.

Why??  So you'll  1)  Come to Him - Gal. 3:24 - the Law was a teacher to instruct the ppl as to what they were NOT doing vs what they should do.
                            2)  Correct yourself.  (not continue in self-righteousness)
If judge self, God won't have to.

Objection!!  all this "sinfulness" stuff de-values man!!
Answer:  NO - it declares our value, demonstrates our value - Rom. 5:8 - it's out of love that God shows us our sinfulness.

Expanded Application How do I achieve, acquire this justification?  This rightness?

The need initially = come to God through the Sacrifice of Christ - 1 Pet. 3:18 - Admit   Believe   Confess - Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

The need continually - don't believe you'll lose your standing - do believe you can lose focus!!
Example:  David w/Bathsheba

So:  Psm. 51:1-12, 16-17

New Testament Summary:  1 John 1:8-9

So, where do you stand?
      who do you resemble?
      what is your response?

Remember:  Luke 18:14 (b) - by God

Monday, April 21, 2014

Following the Risen Christ

Luke 24:13-53 - men were downcast.  They thought that Jesus was the one they had expected and looked for for the last 1500 years.  They were confident he was the Christ, the Messiah.  Then he was dead!

On one hand, the disciples had advantage over us - ie:  they SAW, heard, touched the Risen Lord!!
However, people continue to encounter the Risen Lord even now - usually in combination of 1) the Word and 2) the Holy Spirit - Compare Luke 24:27 and Luke 24:32

Personally, I'd rather see, hear the bodily Christ.
However, 1)  That IS NOT His plan for most people - John 20:29.
It's not like we're believing with blind faith.  A number of things make Him known to us.
2) there is no evidence that the disciples continued to encounter Him after the ascension.  They went on doing what they had to do based on these first encounters.
3) they were expected to continue to witness, follow, serve, learn, etc. based on the evidence they had.

Some questions and applications for us!!

Question #1) - have you ever encountered the Risen Christ? 
(ever experienced His Presence, calling, concern, comfort, etc. - maybe correction)

This is subjective, open to interpretation (so.... do you think/believe you've experienced)
However, few come without some experience or encounter with Him.
John 6:44, 12:32 - "draw"  James 4:8 - KJV - "nigh to you"

Question #2.)  (if yes....) Did you interpret that as a confirmation?  or a call?
Because in His bodily ministry = both!!!
ie:  confirmation - "believe that I am the Christ, messenger, Son of God"
call - "come, FOLLOW ME" - He didn't do all He did just so we could know He was the Christ.
We fail a lot when only see it as confirmation.

Question #3)  - 2 parts - How did you Respond?  - not just "I believe" but "I will".
                                      How are you Responding? -
                                             example:  parable of the sower and the seeds - Luke 6:46

Question #4) - Can you expect further visitations? (presence) answer:  Don't know
Example:  Paul
On one hand, Phil. 3:7, 8, 10
On the other hand, example:  epistles - did not mean "wait for a word", but meant "do what you know to do"
Example - book of James - "Draw nigh" but = WORKS!!
We're to be about doing!!

Question #5) - Do you require further visitations?
On one hand, should be open to His Presence.
However, should be accepting of His Absence.
If God never moves on you again, never speaks to you again, etc., will you continue to serve Him???

Ultimate measure of faith is NOT - will you follow in the light!
But, is - will you follow in darkness, or will you serve just because He is God!!!

Examples:  test of Job, ministry of Jeremiah, disciples years after the Resurrection.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper was born amidst Passover meal (the night of the 10th. plague on Egypt - were 9 previous plagues)

Ex. 11:1, 4-8  12:1-14, 21-32
Setting:  400 years earlier - Israel down to Egypt - new Pharoah - oppression, bondage, etc. for years and years.  God brought Moses to deliver.

Ritual changes with time - examples:  reclining instead of standing with sandals on feet, ready to move.  No lamb sacrificed as temple was gone.  Celebrated as freedmen, not slaves.

But, in the Passover celebration, the Jews continued to:
1)  look back - Exodus, deliverance from Egypt
2) look forward - final deliverance, Messiah

Fast Forward 1500 years - Jesus celebrating Passover with disciples
Matt. 26:17-21, 26-30
In midst of Passover meal - Jesus
   A)  changes the order/ritual/liturgy
   B)  institutes a new celebration/commemoration - Vs. 26-28 - something different and new

So, as Israel celebrated deliverance from bondage to Egypt, SO Christians celebrate deliverance from bondage to Sin.

Many parallels to Jesus and Passover Lamb - (without spot/blood applied/deliverance from judgment)

So - Paul ---> 1 Cor. 5:7

But, the Works of Christ go far beyond what the Passover lamb did for the Jews at that time.
He not only died for us, delivered us -- also,
Bore our sin(s) - Passover lamb did not
Paid for our sin(s) - Passover lamb did not
Removed our sin -  Passover lamb did not

Examples:      John 1:29 - (example - scapegoat of Lev. 16) - removes the sin
                     1 Pet. 1:18-19 - redeemed - (example:  Hosea and Gomer)
                     Heb. 10:3-7 - substitutionary sacrifice - (example:  sin offering)
                     1 Pet. 2:24
                     2 Cor. 5:21 ---> 1 Pet. 3:18-19

all of this (and more)  to be remembered in the Lord's Supper - John 19:30

But, this is more than His general work for the Corporate Body,
This = His personal concern for the individual  - 1 Tim. 1:15 - that we might personally receive from Him

So - tonight we gather, partake personally, individually, But we celebrate corporately.

1 Cor. 11:23-26

Theologians debated the nature of the elements for centuries (from transubstantiation to symbolism)

BUT, all agree on:
      1) the importance
      2) this Presence is special
      3) our Participation - not just remembering the season

So, as we take Lord's Supper - 1) remember His work (for you)
                                                 2) display your faith (visual testimony)
                                                 3)  Renew your commitment (vows)
                                                 4)  fellowship with one another

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Christianity and Society - Patrick Brown, Youth Pastor

Christianity should transform society.
what we see is Society transforming Christianity.   Shouldn't be this way.

Why is this?
Is Christian faith not capable of transforming society?
OR, perhaps
people who claim Christianity are not actually entering into the faith.

How do you enter into the Christian faith?
Answer:  Rom. 1:1 - hearing and accepting the gospel.

To understand the gospel, must understand that Jesus is the only way!

Often people accept Jesus as Savior but are missing obedience to the faith and to Jesus' teachings.

Rom. 1:16 - how to enter the true faith - believe the Gospel has the power to save.

Question:  Why would people claim to be Christian when they are not?

What is the means of entering into the true faith?    Ans.  Hearing and accepting the gospel.

So.... Maybe people are accepting a false gospel or don't understand the true gospel.

Two Gospel Presentations:
#1.  Subjective - private, personal, proven by appeal to internal evidence such as feelings, or state of mind known only to the person.
The best ice cream in the world is chocolate almond.  This is personal truth - just ask me - this is what I believe - this is what I feel.  It's all about me!

#2.  Objective - public, not merely personal, proven by appeal to external evidence such as facts of history, reasonable arguments, evidence provided by science, evidence provided by Scripture.
Nobody is special in this case.

Possible results of the Two types of Gospel presentations:
#1.  Subjective gospel may result in:
        a)  an emphasis on the person instead of God, God including all three persons of the Trinity.
       b)  a "one time experience" due to proof being derived from personal experience
       c)  feelings
       d)  a lack of security due to changing of person's feelings

#2.  Objective gospel may result in:
       a)  emphasis on God rather than the person
       b)  a focus on growing in the faith as opposed to focus on the "salvation" experience
      c)  closer look at the evidence as opposed to feelings
      d)  a greater confidence and security due to a growing understanding of the faith

Paul's support of Gospel is objective type of claim:  Acts 17:1-4, 6, 7, 16-17

Paul's Gospel = power to save because people forced to make a decision.
What separates Christianity from other religions is subjective feelings vs objective evidence!

Understanding Christian faith in objective/public way enables Christianity to be communicated to the public.
 Three benefits:
       1)  Christianity shapes culture
       2)  Strengthening of the believer's faith
       3)  Communicating the gospel and evangelizing unbelievers

Example of objectively communicating that the Bible is God's Word:
Skeptic:  Why do you believe that the Bible is God's Word, and the Book of Mormon or the Koran is not?

Six reasons to believe Bible is God's Word.  (going to use hand to help remember)

#1.  Pinkie - Prophecy - especially those concerning birth of Jesus   Isa. 7:14, 53:2-12

#2. Ring finger - Bible has tremendous unity.    God's covenant with Abraham is carried right through to the New Testament and fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth.

#3.  Big finger - the Bible answers the Big questions of life
                  - where did the universe come from?
                  - what is our purpose in life?
                  - what is wrong with the world?
                  - what is the solution?
                  - what happens when we die?

#4.  Index finger - the Bible = historically accurate index
                        - many claims of the Bible are supported by historical evidence
                        - Christianity's main claim, that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and resurrected from the dead is supported by history

#5.  The thumb - the Emperor giving the "thumbs up" signal after a gladiator won his battle meant life for the gladiator.
                - the truths found in the Bible give life

#6.  The fist:  the Bible is a fighter
                - many people have tried to destroy the Bible through the years
                - the Bible's answers to the big questions are still accurate today

(study to be continued as opportunity arises)