Sermons 16

June 29, 2014

Where is your Bethsaida?  Mark 8:22-8:26

An Audio Sermon

Jesus has come to a town called Bethsaida. And while He's there some people bring their blind friend to Jesus to be healed.

The verses we just read tell us that Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ˜Do you see anything?'
He looked up and said, ˜I see people; they look like trees walking around.'

When we go to an eye doctor and get new glasses we expect to see perfectly immediately.

But this guy didn't see perfectly so, Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

I had never noticed this before but why did it take Jesus two times to heal this guy! NOBODY has ever had to be touched twice by Jesus to be healed.

So why does this man need to be touched twice?
I mean, was Jesus off His game that day? 
Did He get up on the wrong side of the bed?
Had He not had His morning coffee?

Or was there something else going on here?

Upon closer inspection we see that before Jesus healed the man He took him outside of town. Mark 8:23 says: He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.

Then after Jesus healed the man, He told him not to return to Bethsaida
Jesus sent him home, saying, ˜Don't go into the village.' (Mark 8:26)

What's this all about? Why heal the man OUTSIDE Bethsaida and then tell him not go back there?

Well, Bethsaida doesn't have a very good reputation with Jesus. In Matthew 11:21 says: " Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 

Woe to Bethsaida? What on earth was wrong with Bethsaida?
Well, we're not told, but it's apparent that they need to repent and they're not doing it.

But for some reason if this man was going to be healed he needed to be taken out of Bethsaida And he needed to stay out of Bethsaida.

I believe Bethsaida was not a good place to be healed because it was not a place of faith.

If you want to grow in your faith there are certain places you shouldn't go. 
If you want Jesus to do something powerful in your life there are places you shouldn't be. 

And you have to decide those places and those people that are dragging you down in your faith.

You see, that was the problem for the blind man in our story today.
He'd been in Bethsaida way too long.
And he'd been around the citizens of that town way too long.
He'd allowed himself to be influenced by their lack of faith and their lack of morality. So in order to do anything in that man's life Jesus had to get him out of Bethsaida and keep him out.

If you want Jesus to do anything powerful in your life there are certain places and certain people you need to get away from.

The 2nd thing I noticed in this story of the blind man, was how he grew in his faith. Now personally, I don't think this man had any faith to begin with. I don't think it was his idea to come to Jesus.

Mark 8:22 tells us that some people brought to him a blind man and begged Him to touch him.

His friends brought him to Jesus
There's nothing in this story that says it was his idea.
I think he's only there because his friends brought him with them.
And I think that's part of the reason it took two times for Jesus to heal him.

Matthew 13:58 tells us (Jesus) did not do many mighty works (in Nazareth), because of their unbelief.

You see, Jesus can't work in our lives if we do not have faith. 
But over and over again in the Gospels Jesus tells people that it was their faith that healed them (Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:52; Luke 17:19). Hebrews 11:6 tells us without faith it is impossible to please him

But if I'm right, this man doesn't have any faith of his own.
If I'm right this man is there because his friends brought him.
He's not there because HE believes Jesus can heal him.

But then Jesus spits on his eyes and puts His hands on him and asks: What do you see? Jesus knows what the answer will be

The man replies: I see men, but they look like trees, walking.
He could see for the first time in years.
It was like a light bulb went on inside the man's heart. 
And at that moment, I believe the man realized Jesus COULD heal him.
And once he realized that Jesus could heal him THEN he had the faith for Jesus to heal him completely.

There are certain places and people you don't want to be around if you want get close to Jesus. But one place you DO want to be is church.

Okay so we have established that if I want to grow in my faith I don't want to be in a Bethsaida kind of place.

But if that's true “there's one verse that puzzles me. Mark 8:22 tells us And they came to Bethsaida  WHO came to Bethsaida? (Jesus and His disciples)

But we just got done saying you shouldn't be in Bethsaida. We want to stay out of that place. What on earth are Jesus and His disciples doing in this place that we shouldn't be?

Because that's where the sinners were. Jesus had come to that city because that's where the people were who needed what He had to offer.

You see, there are places I'm not going to find God.
And there are people who do not encourage my faith in God.
But those are the places I should be if I want to share God's love and talk about God's peace.

When Jesus went to Bethsaida, He didn't go there for His own personal benefit.
- He didn't go there for the fine restaurants.
- And He didn't go for the great movie theatres.
- And He didn't go for the vast shopping malls.
Jesus did not go to Bethsaida for His own personal fulfillment.

Jesus went to Bethsaida because that's where the people needed His message of hope and salvation.

Bethsaida is not a place we want to go to increase our faith.
Bethsaida is the place we should go to share our faith.

These men went into Bethsaida. Not because it was a place they had come to gain wisdom or faith, but because it was a place to serve God. And because they were willing to go to their personal Bethsaida to serve their God, they made a difference in the lives of people who had no God.

Where is your Bethsaida?

June 22, 2014

No Excuses          Luke 9:57-62

When a child is absent from school, his or her parents must write an excuse so that the school will know why the child was absent. Sometimes the excuses are pretty hard to believe

I have some notes this morning that are good examples of excuses that parents have written for their children:

"Please excuse Josh for being absent. I forgot to wake him up and I did not find him until I started making the beds -- by then it was too late for him to go to school."

"John didn't come to school yesterday because he was feeling like he was going to be sick. Thankfully, he wasn't!"

"Please excuse Janet's absence from school. It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Since I don't have a job, I made her stay home and do housework."

"Please excuse Ricky from school yesterday. He spilled gasoline on his stomach and I was afraid he might explode."

This one is my all-time favorite!

"Please excuse Mary for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday."

Making excuses is not new. People even made excuses in Jesus' day As we read in this morning's scripture Jesus was walking along the road with a group of people He turned to one of the men and said to him, "Follow me."

The man answered, "First let me go and bury my father."

That sounds like a good excuse, but we don't even know that the man's father was dead. He may have wanted to wait until his father died before he began to follow Jesus. Jesus answered him, "Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Jesus then turned to another man in the crowd and said, "Follow me."

The man answered, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go back home and say goodbye to my family." Jesus did not like this man's excuse either. He said to him, "No man who starts to plow and then looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Jesus was calling those who would give up everything -- family, friends, their job -- and follow him. What he got instead was excuses.

Jesus is still calling today, "Follow me!" Will you follow, or will you make excuses?

I want to briefly take a look at some of the excuses we make today, and explore what they really mean. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves to avoid dealing with unpleasant truths. But as long as we buy into our own excuses we can never move past them.

I am just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to making excuses, so here are a few that I sometimes struggle with.

Excuse #1: I don't have enough time. Whenever you hear yourself making this statement you know deep down it isn't the truth. When we say, we don't have enough time, we are really saying, That just isn't important enough to me compared to everything else.

I don't have time to exercise. I don't have time for church. I don't have time to serve God. I don't have time to volunteer. Of course you have time. You have as much time as anyone else does, and other people are already doing these same things.

I have time to exercise, I just prioritize something else in my life as more important. Like TV. But If I don't have time to exercise, then surely I don't have time to watch any TV at all. It's easier to blame the problem on a lack of time, but the real problem is a lack of will.

Excuse #2: I don't know how. This is one of the feeblest excuses of all. When you were a baby and learning to crawl did you stop and complain I don't know how to walk? No, you learned to walk. The truth behind I don't know how is I'm unwilling to learn.

The worst 4 letter word in our house was the word can't. I hope my kids don't hate me for it but I used to tell them, Don't tell my why you can't show me how you can. (expound-never done cheap and we're not gonna start now)

The last excuse I'll use today is this: But you don't understand. I grew up in a dysfunctional household, or I have this/that.

Now, maybe that sounded a little mean But probably every one of us could say we grew up in a dysfunctional family. If they had people in them, they were dysfunctional. Yes, maybe we had a bad childhood or maybe we have a medical condition or a mental health label, but if that is who you are, then go with it.

I believe that each and every one of us has something in their life that we could use as an excuse for not doing what God wants us to do. Maybe it's the fact that we didn't grow up like the Hilton's and have ample cash. Maybe it's because life dealt us a bum hand.

And I also believe that if we continue to use the excuses available to us, we will never really know how to walk on our own and be happy. What we're really saying when we give an excuse is, My life is not my fault.

The verses that we read together are about accepting the call of discipleship. How is your Christian walk? Sometimes my Christian walk feels more like a Christian Crawl.

Sometimes it feels like a Christian run! And other times, I feel like I'm still on the couch thinking about getting up.

But Christ calls all of us to walk with Him. To grow in Him, To learn from Him, To lean on Him, To become more like Him With no excuses.

June 15, 2014

What Does God Want?      Micah 6:1 - 8

An Audio Sermon

The book of Micah contains many important passages. It is in Micah that the prophecy is made that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. It is in Micah that we find the famous statement, What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

But basically throughout Micah you get the same sense as with most of the prophets. Micah has a great concern about the moral lives of the people.

Most of you know that our grandson's name is Micah He just turned one last Friday And just started walking in Monday! So his birthday is June 6th or 6:6.

Eva and Ben were actually hoping he would be born on June 8th so he could be Micah 6:8 which is the verse I just read that says:   What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

It was fairly easy to pick out a gift for Micah Marla wanted him to have a red Radio Flyer Wagon. But There are some people who are hard to buy gifts for”what do you get for someone who doesn't want or need anything? You'd like to give something meaningful, but it's hard.

Perhaps this is how the prophet Micah was feeling. What can I do for God? It's a question we should all ask. What could God want from us? Is anything good enough? The name Micah means, Who is like God? Face it God is unique, how can we hope to please Him?

Micah and the nation of Israel”both felt guilty; both were filled with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. God's people had sinned; they were like a kid sent to the Principal's office. They knew they were in trouble but couldn't figure what to do about it.

Micah prophesied during the eighth century BC, when Israel and Judah had risen to heights of economic affluence but were spiritually bankrupt. There's certainly nothing wrong with financial prosperity, as long as it doesn't interfere with our devotion to God. 

Micah sees the insufficiency of sacrifices and offerings. External rituals aren't enough to please God. In fact, the nation has been inactive, out of practice; they've forgotten how to pray, they've lost touch with the Scriptures. They've forgotten the Law of God and have become ignorant on how to approach the Lord.

With efforts to remove any mention of God from our schools and public life in general, our nation could eventually become like the Israel of Micah's day.

I wonder If we separate ourselves enough from God, when we need Him, will He listen? How do we repair the bond of fellowship with God? Micah calls God exalted”the word means high, lifted up. For some people, God seems far away, remote, inaccessible. Yet God is as close as a prayer.

What can we offer God? Verses 6-7 offer some suggestions, (Burnt offerings, with calves a year old, Thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil ) but these external things are not what God requires.

How would you like an appoin'ent with God? That would be pretty intimidating. Appearing before God might seem somewhat like a job interview”you want to make a good impression.

But when we approach God, He's not concerned about what's on our resume or whether we're dressed for success; He's concerned about what's in our hearts.

He accepts us even though we may think we're not very wise or important. No matter what we bring when we pray, we have God's attention and full acceptance.

Verse 8 tells us what God does require of us. It says: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humblywith your God.

We cannot earn salvation”-we can only receive it. Verse 8 is not the plan or path of salvation. God is stating what He wants from those who are already His people. Acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly are the outgrowth of genuine faith.

Charles Spurgeon once stated, If faith does not make a person honest, it is not an honest faith.

These things show us what God's people do”not how we become His people. A living faith is seen by godly behavior. Our actions reveal whether our faith is true or not.

Micah lists three characteristics of a life that is pleasing to God. Authentic faith produces personal holiness because it comes from God, along with the power and desire to live for Him. These things can't be done without God.

First To act justly...President Lincoln said, To sin by silence when one should speak makes cowards of men. There is no place for injustice, inequity or unfairness in our lives.

Are you honest? Do you treat people fairly? You know we can fool people, but we can't fool God. We can even fool ourselves for a little while, but in our heart of hearts we know when we are not being honest and fair.

First To act justly...Second To love mercy...A businessman needed to have a professional photo taken. When the photographer was done, the man looked at his photo and complained, This doesn't do me justice. The photographer responded, With a face like yours you don't need justice”you need mercy.

We all need mercy, and we need to offer it. We are compelled by Christ to offer unconditional acceptance of others, in spite of their faults, idiosyncrasies, sins and shortcomings.

We need to approach people without pre-conceived notions; we should give others the benefit of the doubt. We should ask ourselves: How can I show mercy to others? Who is in need, and how can I help?

And number 3 To walk humbly...Humility means being precisely the person we actually are before God. A humble person can be authentic, no masks, no facade.

If we're humble we can be ourselves”we don't have to mimic someone else's experiences or spirituality. We should ask ourselves: Who am I trying to be like”instead of myself? How can I be more genuine?

I hope our neighbors, friends, co-workers can see Christ working in us. I hope they see us acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly before God.

People we know may not read the Bible, but they will read us. It's been said, A Christian is; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; and a hand through which Christ helps.

June 8, 2014

Pressing In     Luke 22:39 - 46

An Audio Sermon

A dad was walking by his son's room and heard his son talking to someone, so he opened the door just a little and was surprised to see his son kneeling by the bed repeating the word, "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo." 

After the boy finished praying the dad stepped in and said, "Son, I was very pleased to see you praying so devoutly, but I couldn't help but overhear you saying something like 'Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.' What was that all about?"

The boy replied, "Well, I had a geography test in school today, and I've been praying as hard as I can that God would make Tokyo the Capital of France."

How many of you think that boy's prayers will change the Capital of France to Tokyo? Not going to happen is it?

I want to make it very clear that I'm a strong believer in prayer. I believe that prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have, and that prayer can give us the power to change the circumstances of our lives.

But I also know, there are going to be times when prayer will NOT change what's going to happen. I mean, God can do whatever He wants to do, and He can change whatever He desires to change.

But let's face it, unless God really has a good reason to do otherwise: Tokyo will always be the capital of Japan not France.

In our scripture reading this morning we see Jesus praying "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me..."  a prayer that wasn't going to be answered by the Father. So

What happens when God doesn't answer my prayers the way I want them answered? What do I do when God says no? What good does it do for me to pray if I'm pretty sure those prayers may not change my circumstances all that much?

Jesus prayed "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me..."

If Jesus knew the Father was going to deny His request 
If Jesus knew the Father was going to tell Him NO
If Jesus knew His prayer wasn't going change His destiny on the cross
Why pray the prayer???

It's because prayer isn't always about changing our circumstances and fixing our problems Sometimes prayer is about laying hold of God Laying hold of His strength, Laying hold of His comfort, Laying hold of His Will for our lives.

Too often people see prayer as if it were a magic incantation If I say the right words, in the right way, at the right time “ Abracadabra, presto chango, everything becomes better.

So why pray if I can't always get what I want when I pray if I can't always avoid danger or pain or sorrow or death Why pray?

Well, the easiest answer is that sometimes prayer does change our circumstances.
I've seen times when prayer has brought healing,
I've seen times when prayer has brought people back from the brink of death,
I've seen times when prayer has defied the belief that NOTHING will change

But I've also seen times when prayer has a different kind of purpose. A purpose that stands strong in the face of circumstances that MAY NOT change.

This purpose of prayer is best summed up by the following poem:
Sometimes God stills the storms of the sea
At other times, He stills the storms within me.

That night in the Garden, Jesus felt a need for that kind of calmness. He HAD to talk to His Father. He HAD to share the anxiety of what was being laid upon Him.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Peter, James and John are sleeping Why can't He approach this ordeal with the calmness and confidence of His 3 sleeping friends?" 

And yet when the time for the test finally came, Jesus walked to the cross with the courage, and His 3 friends fell apart and ran away.

What made the difference? 
It was that time of prayer.
It was that time of prayer that gave Jesus His strength
It was that time of prayer that gave Jesus His courage
It was that time of prayer that gave Jesus His power to face the pain, the humiliation and the horrors of the cross.

That's the kind of prayer that we need to learn how to pray. It's a type of prayer that can give us ability to face the hard tests of life.

When Jesus prayed in the Garden He was brutally honest. There were no religious platitudes, no sugar coating what He knew was about to occur. 
Jesus prayed: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me..."

Some people believe that they'll offend God by being too honest with Him, by telling Him their fears and their disappoin'ents. They're afraid to be open with God about their questions and fears.

I mean, life has already turned against them. The last thing they need is for God to turn His back on them. 

A lot of Christians will say, Don't ask why. But I think its okay to ask why. In the Bible Jesus asked why. King David asked why. The psalmists asked why. The Bible is full of people who had questions.'

Honesty in prayer is like a release valve. Jesus' prayed: Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; Then He said: YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE.

"'Why?' is a statement of faith not an expression of doubt. It presupposes that God exists, and that He loves us and is in control of our destiny.

"God is to be wrestled with." Suffering causes you to be desperate for God and to press into Him."

Jesus' prayer was a prayer that PRESSED INTO the Father. His prayer had power to give Him strength because it hinged on accepting the Father's Will. Not my will, but yours be done.

The prayers that can transform our times of weakness into times of strength are the ones that are less concerned with moving God to our will as they are in moving us toward God.

Billy Graham once wrote: I watched the deck hands on the great liner United States as they docked that ship in New York Harbor. First they threw out a rope to the men on the dock Then, inside the boat the great motors went to work and pulled on the great cable. But, oddly enough, the pier wasn't pulled out to the ship; but the ship was pulled snugly up to the pier. Prayer is the rope that pulls God and us together. But it doesn't pull God down to us; it pulls us to God. We must learn to say with Christ: ˜Not my will; but Thine be done.'

We need to realize that Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane was not a prayer of hopelessness and defeat. It was a prayer of surrender to His Father's Will. And in that surrender, Jesus found the strength to overcome.

It was when Jesus prayed that prayer that the Father reached down and comforted Him. Luke 22:43 tells us: An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

It's that kind of supernatural strength from God that I want in my life. But first we must be willing to pray the way Jesus did.

June 1, 2014

Milk or Meat?       1 Corinthians 3:1- 6

An Audio Sermon

In our Scripture this morning, Paul begins by telling the Corinthians that there are two levels of Christian living. 

Some believers are living in the flesh... in the world, and some are living in the spiritual. 

Through the discernment of the Holy Spirit it was made clear to Paul that the Corinthians were living in the flesh. 

Paul was convinced that it would be useless to speak of spiritual things to those in the church who were walking in the flesh. 

The Corinthians were Believers but they were babes in Christ; ...they were still living in the flesh. 

He seems to be saying: "I cannot teach you spiritual truths about the spiritual life for you have chosen to live as the world in a fleshly state. 

It was not because they were an ignorant or stupid people. 

They were a people full of knowledge, yet a people who were unwilling to change from their worldly ways. 

Each one of us must make a decision as to which level of Christian life we desire. Do you seek the world or do you seek the spiritual. 

Paul had started his ministry in Corinth around 50 AD. And He wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church from Ephesus in 56 AD about 6 years later. 

Paul states that by this time you should have reached early adulthood, but you are still babes you have not matured in Christ. 

Yesterday Marla and I were in Indianapolis for Micah's first birthday party! It was great. Eva set him on a plastic table cloth on the ground dressed only in a pair of jeans and set his birthday cake in front of him.

He was cute and immediately put his finger in the icing and ate some of it. Then he put his left foot in the cake and started smooshing the icing with his toes Then he added the other foot it was so darn cute!!!

But suppose we go back in 6 years and Micah takes off his shoes and puts his feet in his birthday cake It won't be so cute in fact it would be strange. We expect him to grow to mature   

Sadly that is the state of many Churches today. They are like small babes. 

They choose to be spoon fed...if they choose to be fed at all. They do not know how to feed on the Spiritual Word.... they do not know how feed themselves.

The carnal Christian has become stagnant in their relationship with God. 

They have stopped growing or in some cases spiritually reverted back to infancy. 

They may desire to be spiritual. Yet they do not even set aside time to be with their Lord. 

They reject or ignore Christ's instructions,

They seldom pray and they rarely pick up Gods word and read on their own. 

They have lost their first Love. 

They reject or ignore Christ's instructions to be faithful "If you love me, keep my commandments"

Often The carnal Christian has lost the spiritual joy ....that permeates a mature relationship with God.

For a baby to be carnal, to not understand, is natural. 

But when a follower of Christ continues year after year to not grow or mature....something is radically wrong. 

What proof does Paul give that these men and women are worldly? 

In verse 3 Paul says: You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?

He is saying You act like those in the world; you are not acting like one spiritually renewed. You do not act as one who is filled with the Holy Spirit....You are carnal" 

We must yield to the Holy Spirit in order to break from this state.

We must yield to the Holy Spirit to fully experience, to fully share in God's love ...To share in His Joy.

Now most of us, If not all of us, have fallen back into this fleshly state sometime in our Christian walk. 

Maybe this is where your relationship with God is at this very moment.

Yet those who are mature in the faith repent and seek a right relationship with God. 

Those that are mature  yield to God for they seek to be in His presence. 

They yield to his commands for they truly yearn to abide in His Love. 
Jesus said "If you love Me, keep My commandments"

 We must keep his commandments....we must abide in his love. 

May you abide in his love, And may you seek his will as you begin each day. 

God calls us to leave this carnal state and be transformed into the image of his Christ.

Hear God's word to us once more: "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  (I Cor. 3:2)

God wants us to grow! God wants us to mature!

He wants us to move beyond the elementary stage, to move on from milk, to move into maturity and to receive the meat...the solid food of the Gospel. 

It is essential to grow in our relationship with God. 


 

May 25, 2014

God Loves You!      Romans 5:6-5:8

An Audio Sermon

This morning I would like to remind us of the simple yet profound truth that God loves you.

If you were to do a search for the word love in the Bible, you would come up with over 550 references. Here are just a few of the verses:

Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 36:7: How priceless is your unfailing love!

1 John 3:1: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!

Psalm 63:3: Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Without a doubt, there is no attribute of God that is so widely believed as the love of God. At the same time, there is no attribute of God that has been so badly misunderstood as God's love.

Many non-Christians have the idea that when they get to the gates of heaven, God will smile and say, Oh, you've been a pretty good person, come on in.

While this certainly sounds attractive, it's completely at odds with what the Bible teaches. Only those who put their complete faith and trust in Christ will be saved.

So what is the love of God? How do we define it? Human love is generally a response to the circumstances around us. We love because someone pleases us or because they're good looking or because they make us laugh.

By contrast, God loves us because that's the kind of God He is. Period. Nothing about us causes Him to love us. Matthew Henry has said that, The great God not only loves His saints, but He loves to love them.

One of the clearest passages in the New Testament on God's love is Romans 5:6-8, that we just read together. 

In these verses, Paul focuses on the death of Christ as the supreme manifestation of God's love: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

Verse 8 ­ says that we are sinners, meaning that we were desperately in need of a change that we couldn't make and didn't want to make. We were neither righteous nor good when Christ died for us. We had totally missed the mark.

Verse 10 goes on to say we were enemies of God. In light of these verses we don't have any claim on His love ­ we don't deserve it.

There is no reason for God to love us. You are not a naturally lovable person ­ and neither am I. (I know Hard to believe)

And so, there is no reason for God to love us, except this: That's the kind of God He is. He loves us because God is love and He can't help loving us even when we are His enemies. His love is greater than our sin ­ and He loves us in spite of our sin.

If you find all this discouraging, remember this: If God loved you only when you were lovable, then when you stopped being lovable, then God would have to stop loving you!

God loves us in spite of our unloveliness. We can count on His love because it doesn't depend on anything we say or do.

Biblical love always leads to action. Love is always incomplete alone, ­it requires some kind of movement. It's impossible to just say you love someone without demonstrating that love in tangible ways.

God loves you so much that He was moved to action ­ He did something on your behalf. Remember John 3:16 -- God so loved the world that He gave  What are we to do in response?

1. Love Him Wholeheartedly. Matthew 22:37-38 raises the bar for us. If we say we love God, we need to demonstrate it with everything we've got: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

The Bible makes it clear ­ if we say we love Him, then we better put Him first by obeying Him.

2. Love Others. 1 John 4:11: Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Our love for God should lead us to love others who have been created in His image and who are the objects of His affection.

3. Love Ourselves. Matthew 22:39: And the second is like it: ˜Love your neighbor as yourself. God loves you and accepts you as you are ­ there is no reason to dislike yourself when your Creator has demonstrated unconditional love for you. You are complete and have tremendous value and breath-taking dignity as a child of God. You really do matter to the Almighty!

Friends, on the authority of the Bible, you need to know that God loves you! You matter to God more than you will ever know.

I want to close this morning by reading part of Romans 8 which says:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The first step in getting to know God is to respond to Him in salvation. You won't know Him until you've received the free gift of Jesus Christ.

There's no way you can earn God's love because it's not for sale. Nothing we do can make God love us any more than He already does and there is nothing we can do to make Him love us any less.

May 18, 2014

Graduation Day 2014     Ephesians 3:14-21

An Audio Sermon

I have known our graduates since they were born and so today's message is for them but I'm sure there is something here for every one of us.

What would you ask for if you found a genie-in-a-bottle and were granted three wishes?

A guy is walking down the beach and he comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie. 

The genie says, "Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes." The man says, "Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want.

First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account." Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand.

He continues, "Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari." Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him.

He continues, "Finally, I want to be irresistible to women." Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates. 

As Christians, we know that there are no genies in a bottle. But, we have the awesome privilege to come before our Heavenly Father in prayer to ask him for what we need.

In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul provides us an excellent model for our praying.
Paul makes three essential requests. We should be praying for these things as well:

First he prays for strength through the power of the Holy Spirit. Verse 16 says: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

Christ only comes into the life a person through faith. The Bible teaches that faith is not just a head-knowledge but it is also a heart-acceptance that is evidenced in a lifestyle commi'ent. 

Paul uses a word for "dwell" which means to live permanently, not a temporary resident but as a full-timer! 

Robert Boyd Munger wrote, "My Heart- Christ's Home" in it he mentions that this verse reminds us that, Jesus Christ himself, through the Holy Spirit, will actually enter a heart, settle down and be at home there. Christ will live in any human heart that welcomes him.

Boyd uses the imagery of a home with many rooms to bring out the full meaning of what it means to have Christ actually residing in our lives. How would you react if you got a phone call tomorrow from Jesus asking if he could move in? Would you have to do some house cleaning first?

So first Paul prays for strength through the power of the Holy Spirit Then he makes a second request He says: I pray that you, grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

A man in Dayton, Ohio found a unique way to propose to his girlfriend. He hired an airplane to fly over the city towing a banner that read, "Judy, I love you. Will you marry me?" Judy accepted his proposal by asking, "How can you say No to that?" 

When we look at God's love for us, especially as it is expressed in Christ and his cross, "How can you say No to a love like that?"

When we see that Christ died on the Cross FOR ME Then, how can we say no to the love of Jesus which goes to such great lengths to get my attention?

Then last through the use of some interesting phrases Paul highlights that God wants to bless us in ways we cannot even comprehend or fathom:
He prays that we are "Filled to the fullness of God", because God "can do more than we ask or imagine"

In light of this, what will the yardstick of your life be? Will you be a person who lives by God's expectations and standards? or...Will you be a person who lives by the worlds standards?

In 1928, at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, there was a meeting of the world's most successful people.

The following were present: 
- The president of the largest steel company, 
- The greatest wheat speculator, 
- The president of the New York Stock Exchange, 
- A member of the President's Cabinet, 
- The greatest investor on Wall Street, 
- The president of the Bank of International Settlements,
- The head of the world's greatest monopoly.

Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the U.S. Treasury, and for years newspapers and magazines had been printing their success stories and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples.

Twenty-five years later, where do we find each of these powerful and successful men.

- The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died broke. 
- The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, also died broke. 
- The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, served time in Prison as did 
- The member of the President's Cabinet, Albert Fall, who was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.
- The greatest investor on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore,
- The president of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser, and
- The head of the world's greatest monopoly, Ivar Drueger, all three committed suicide. 

You see All of these men had learned how to make money, but not one of them had learned how to live."

Here is the bottom line: Far more important than WHAT we do with our lives, is WHO we become in our living.

Maybe you graduates are asking, Is God interested in the career I choose? Absolutely!

But, no matter what it will be the far more important question is: WHO will I become. Will I let Christ rule my life?

Will I be a person rooted and established in the love of Christ? And will I be the kind of person who see the God-sized possibilities?

May 11 ,2014

The Cup    John 21:1- 6

An Audio Sermon

May 4 ,2014

Two Fishing Trips    John 21:1- 6

An Audio Sermon

Okay I want you to keep the story we just read fresh in your mind as I read us another story found in Luke 5.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.  He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.

Simon answered, Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

We have almost identical details in these two passages. Both events take place on the Sea of Galilee, Both stories have some of the same characters involved. Both events involve the same occupation. Both record the same failure.

 However, there is time difference of about 3 1/2 years. In Luke 5,(that I just read to you) Peter, James, and John were on the shore washing their nets after fishing all night and catching nothing.

The Lord appears and borrows their boat as a platform to preach from, and after He is finished He commands Peter to launch out into the deep and catch a bunch of fish. After doing so we find in verse 10,11 that Jesus calls them to be fishers of men.

Three and one-half years later we find some of the same men on the same sea doing the same thing and having the same results as before. If one is not careful, you might make the mistake of making the two narratives the same because of their similarities. However, the main difference among other things is the TIME element.

Luke 5 took place at the beginning of the Lord's earthly ministry while John 21 took place after His resurrection some 3 1/2 years later.

Now listen closely because here is the main point I want to make.

After 3 1/2 years some of the disciples of the Lord were back where they had started from. 

For three and 1/2 years these men had heard Jesus teach. They had seen His miracles, observed His life, and witnessed the Father's verbal approval of the Son on the mount of transfiguration.

Isn't it strange that they are found 3 1/2 years later back at fishing?  After 3 1/2 years of input from Jesus they are right back where they started.

After 3 1/2 years they are back at the same fishing hole and with the same results. I want to share a couple of thoughts with you... 

First There is no experience sufficient enough to protect us against backsliding.

Think of the experiences Peter, James, and John had. They had beheld the glory of the Son of God on the mount of transfiguration. They heard a voice from heaven that declared that this was the beloved Son.

They had seen miracle after miracle as he healed the sick and calmed a storm with words

They had seen the risen Christ in the upper room, and yet here they are right where they started. 

So I guess we can forget having an experience so large that will enable us to never have to fight the temptation to backslide.

Think about David who had slain a giant and had experienced over and over again God's protection from Saul. And still later we find him committing adultery with Bathsheba and plotting to murder Uriah.

I have heard many sermons on the idea that if you hang around with only super good people you will never backslide Well that sounds good, but 
Peter was around the Lord for 3 1/2 years, and yet he returned back to fishing.

He was exposed to the greatest teacher, greatest preacher, greatest example, and the greatest miracle worker who ever lived; yet, he denied the Lord and went back to fishing.

Now I believe that we ought to be around good, godly people, but exposure alone is not sufficient to protect you from backsliding.  Judas was exposed to the greatest man who ever walked on the earth, and yet he betrayed the Lord.

John Mark traveled with two of the greatest missionaries this world has ever seen, and yet he forsook them on their missionary journey. 

This world is full of people who have been exposed to that which is right, and yet they are not doing right.

One last thing I want us to see In our text When Peter said, I go a fishing, others said We'll go with you. When Peter went fishing, he took six other men with him. 

How we act affects those around us. Everyone affects others for good or for bad. We need to be careful with our example. We need to think about our influence. Others are hanging on our influence. How we act has an impact on others! 

Romans 14 encourages us to be careful about putting a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in our brother's way.

Let us guard our influence. We need to be vigilant with our example and testimony. 

So what do we do? Think again of Peter, James, and John. Who later wrote the book of John? One of those who went fishing John. Not a trick Question I'll give you another chance

Who wrote I and II Peter? YUP! Who was preaching in Acts 2 when 3,000 souls were saved? Peter One of those who went fishing again after 3 1/2 years. And yeah...James was used to write James!

Here these same men are after they have gotten right with the Lord. What an encouragement to keep on keeping on. Stay faithful even when others are not Your faithfulness may reach them.

Two different fishing events with many similarities. Some of the same men doing the same thing with the same results.

The main difference is time. Three men are back where they started after 3 1/2 years. However, the Word of God gets hold of them and when it does things change.

April 27, 2014

Hosea    Hosea 3:1-5

An Audio Sermon

April 20, 2014

Easter 2014    1 Corinthians 15:1 - 7

An Audio Sermon

Today is Easter Sunday and, as Christians, we have gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

On Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, a woman by the name of Ruth Dillow received a very sad message that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was dead.

She later wrote, "I can't begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I wept. For 3 days I expressed anger and loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great."

But 3 days after she received that message, the telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it's me. I'm alive." She said, "I couldn't believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive." The message she had received was all a mistake!

She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive.

Perhaps the disciples experienced the same emotions. One day they watched their best friend and teacher being nailed to a cross. They witnessed His pain as He cried out, "I thirst!" and "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

They listened as He bowed His head and said, "It is finished!" and "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." They watched as His body was taken from the cross and buried and all their hopes and dreams were buried with Him. 

Friday and all day Saturday they mourned, until finally, on "the first day of the week, early in the morning," the scripture says, some women made their way along the path that led to His tomb, wondering who would roll away the stone for them.

But when they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. And an angel there told them, "You're looking in the wrong place. You're looking for Jesus among the dead. He is not dead. He is alive. He is risen, even as He said!"

"He is risen!" That is what we celebrate this morning. When all the evidence is in we are convinced that Jesus Christ is alive.

Dale Evans once said, "I spent most of my life searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Then I finally found it at the foot of the cross."

All our lives, it seems, we work and struggle to accumulate things that we think are important. But when we're dealing with death and what happens after death, then all these things seem so unimportant.

What difference does it really make what kind of car we drive? Or what kind of house we live in? Or what clothes we wear? If we're talking about eternity, then what difference do things really make?

Have you been listening to the messages of the world lately? Have you been hearing the voices of hopelessness and despair that seem to be so pervasive today?

Suddenly we have become so painfully and personally aware of the presence of terrorism on our planet. The men and women of our armed forces are on the other side of the globe engaged in what has been a prolonged battle against the forces of hatred and evil. And the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continues on and on. 

There are diseases for which we have no cures. There are problems in the home. Children are being abused. People are sleeping on the streets.

If you watch and listen very long, you can be filled with despair. And if the only hope that we have is the hope that this world offers, we have no hope at all.

In contrast, Jesus said, "I have come to bring you life, and that more abundantly, to show you how to live, to bring you hope and joy and peace and love, to give you a reason for living."

Even if life is wracked with pain, even if there is loneliness and sorrow, you'll be able to go on, you'll find the strength that comes through Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

The story is told of a rich man who owned a great estate. One of his favorite pastimes was riding horseback through his valley, looking at everything he owned and congratulating himself on his great wealth. 

One day, as He was riding along, he came up over a hill and in the distance saw one of his tenant farmers, an old man named Hans. It was lunch time, and Hans had set a little table under a shade tree and was getting ready to eat. But before he ate, he bowed his head in prayer to thank God for his food.

The wealthy man watched the old Han's as he prayed. Then he looked at his meal. It was only a slice of bread and a piece of cheese. With a sneer the wealthy man said, "If that's all I had to eat, I wouldn't even bother to pray." Hans replied humbly, "It's enough, and I'm thankful that God has provided it."

Taken aback by the old man's answer, He turned his horse and prepared to ride away. But before he could leave, Hans said, "Wait a minute. I need to tell you something. I had a dream last night. In my dream I saw a beautiful scene, and then I heard a voice saying, `Tonight the richest man in the valley will die.

"Poppycock!" said the wealthy man, as he rode off toward home. But as he was riding, the words of old Hans haunted him, "Tonight the richest man in the valley will die." Up until then he had felt quite well, but now he was beginning to experience pains in his chest. He wondered, "Could it possibly be true? Am I going to die tonight?" 

When he reached home he called his doctor and told him of old Han's dream and of the pains that he had been feeling. The doctor said, "Well, it doesn't sound like anything you ought to be concerned about, but just to put your mind at ease, I'll come over and examine you."

So the doctor did. After the examination was over he said, "you're as strong as a horse. There's no way you're going to die tonight." The wealthy man said, "Well, I feel mighty foolish that I paid any attention to the old man's dream about the richest man in the valley dying tonight. But I just wanted to be certain."

The next morning there was a knock on his door, and the messenger said, "Old Hans died last night." Truly, the richest man in the valley died last night.

Before, things seemed so important. But now they have become pretty insignificant. Before, time was so limited. But now there is all eternity. Before, life was filled with despair. But now it has purpose and direction and meaning. Before, death was the end. But now it is just the beginning.

Paul wrote, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord." 

April 13, 2014

We Would Like to See               John 12:12-12:19

An Audio Sermon

It is a rare thing that all four gospels record the same event in Jesus' life.

The crowd gathers as Jesus rides into the city on the colt of a donkey and they begin to wave palm branches and shout their welcome to Jesus. But who were the faces in that crowd that day? If you were there, who would you see? And what were they thinking? 

First, the Roman soldiers were there.

As the crowd begins to honor Jesus, I'm sure it got the attention of the Roman soldiers. There were probably a large number of soldiers who gathered to see what was going on because they were charged with keeping the Jewish people under control. After all, the Romans were the ones in control of this country. Maybe they were expecting to have to quell a riot.

But then here comes Jesus, riding on a donkey's colt. I imagine that some of the Roman soldiers must have smiled at the Triumphal Entry, because it was nothing like their own triumphal celebrations back in Rome. I'm sure the Roman soldiers who were there were smiling and laughing a little.

Whenever a Roman general was victorious on foreign soil, killing at least 5,000 of the enemy, and gaining new territory, he was given a Roman triumph celebration when he returned to the city. It was the Roman equivalent of the American ticker-tape parade, only with much more splendor. 

The general would ride into the city in a gold-covered chariot with white stallions pulling it, a symbol of a warrior.

Yes, I bet some of these soldiers probably laughed at the antics of the Jerusalem crowd that day, and at the sight of this so-called King. What real king would ride on a dumb donkey?

What powerful leader would stoop so low? They probably found it amusing.

Isn't that how some people treat Jesus today? They are amused by the stories about Him. They laugh at Him and at people who worship Him. How could sophisticated people be so ignorant they say?

After all, what educated person would believe some of the things that people say He did? Make the blind to see. Walk on water. Calm storms with a word. Feed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish! Who in their right mind would believe such things? So they just laugh at Christians who have faith in Jesus. 

There were probably some of those in the crowd that day.

And then there was probably another group of people there that day. If we go back to some earlier verses in John 12, we see those people.

John 12:9 tells us that a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

John says they were there, not just to see Jesus, but to see this man Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. 

This crowd wanted to see what was going on there. These people were there to see the show, not to see the Master. They wanted to know what was going on, they weren't really interested in why Jesus was there.

They're there to get what they can, not to worship the King. They're there to see the miracles, not to see the King.

John 12:18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.

John 6:30 So they asked him, What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?

That's the attitude of some. What will you do for me Jesus? What will you give me?

In Mark 7:6 Jesus says , Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ˜These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

How many want the miracles, but miss the Master. There were probably some of those in the crowd that day.

And then there was another group of people there that day. The religious leaders were there.

John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!

Wherever the power was, that was where you'd find these Pharisees. Wherever the prestige was, you could be sure they would be there. They wanted the praise. They wanted the glory. They wanted to be looked up to and they wanted to be the ones who had all the influence. They were fine as long as they were the center of attention, but look out if someone else received the praise.

People were beginning to come to Jesus and follow Him. And the Pharisees knew that this meant their powerful political positions were in jeopardy. 

These church leaders, were only interested in themselves. They were only interested in the prestige of their positions. And they were going to oppose anyone and anything that threatened their power.

These were the people in the crowd that day. 
- The ones who were amused and laughed at Jesus.

- The ones who wanted to join the party and get what was in it for themselves. 
- And there were the ones who wanted the power and the prestige. 

But, there was one more group there that day.

John 12:20-21 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. Sir, they said, we would like to see Jesus.

We would like to see Jesus.

Oh that we would all say that. Oh that we would all come into His presence to glorify and honor Him. Oh what a difference it would make in our lives if we would say, We would like to see Jesus.

For when we see Jesus and worship His Holy Name, God is glorified. When we recognize that this Jesus represents the love that God has for us, a love that would send Him to the cross to die for us, we can be changed.

When we come to the realization that God gave His only Son to die for you and for me that we might not perish but have everlasting life, it changes our perspective.

When we see and believe this glorious truth; then we really begin to worship Him. We begin to surrender our whole beings to God. We begin to follow and obey His will, to honor and praise Him for all He has done and is doing for us. Yes, when we really seek Jesus, that's when the name of God is glorified. That's when real worship occurs.

Those people in the crowd that day were shouting something that was far more significant than they realized. 

Hosanna, they shouted. Hosanna. 

This Hebrew word means he who saves. They were welcoming their King.

But this was not a king that would reign over Israel. No, this King was far more important, far more powerful than any king on earth. 

For although they didn't realize it, they were honoring the King of heaven. They were honoring the King of kings and Lord of lords. They were honoring the King that would triumph over death. They were singing praises to the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world. 

And it's my prayer that that is why we are all here today.

April 6, 2014

Caring and Sharing   Mark 2:16-17, 6:30-34

An Audio Sermon

In our verses this morning we read that Jesus was ridiculed by the religious folks for being a friend of sinners I don't know about you but I am glad that Jesus has compassion on sinners.  - Compassion is more than being sympathetic; it also involves a desire to help. 

Sadly, many religious people today have a serious lack of compassion. Some of the people that Jesus sat and ate with would be shunned in most modern day churches. 

It is high time that we lose our self-righteous ways and grasp the fact that the people we are judging are lost and on their way to an eternity without Jesus Christ.

Not one person here today, including me, deserves the salvation that we have received. Just like Jesus, we need to see people as lost souls who need a savior! I want to look at this portion of scripture and see just how to do that: 

Jesus was taking the disciples away from the crowds for a while so that they could rest. But the crowd followed them. I want you to notice that Jesus didn't tell these people to go away

He didn't set a future appoin'ent with them, He didn't become frustrated because they were hindering their time of rest ....Jesus stopped and took the time to teach them! Why? Because He had compassion on them! 

There is a lesson for us in this simple verse. It is a lesson about compassion. Do we really have compassion on lost souls? Do we care that people are dying and going to Hell?

Today I want to ask this question Do you care? - In verse 34 there are 4 elements found in the life of Jesus that should be found in His followers as well. 

I. DO YOU SEE WHAT JESUS SAW? “ Our verse says:  When Jesus landed (He) saw a large crowd

Jesus did not see people who were hindering a much needed rest in His life! Jesus did not see a bunch of heathens that He did not have time for. Jesus saw a mission field. 

All we have to do is open our eyes and we will see the same thing that Jesus saw. We will see many people who need Jesus. 

The United States now ranks third, following China and India, in the number of people who are NOT professing Christians.

Lost people are everywhere we go.
Where is our concern? 
Where is our passion? 
Where is our burden for the lost? 

We need God to break our hearts & open our eyes! 
Many times we don't see them simply because we are not looking.

Many times we don't see them because we don't want to see them.

Many times we don't see them because we are so consumed with ourselves.  

Let us cry out to Jesus to help us See What He Saw. As we move further I want to ask another question: 

II. DO YOU FEEL WHAT JESUS FELT? “ Our verse goes on to say: He had compassion on them  

Not only did Jesus see a large crowd of people who needed help He felt compassion on them!

We do not have to agree with someone's lifestyle, beliefs or actions but we must have compassion on their souls! Where would you and I be if Jesus had not had compassion on us?

Our prayer should be that Jesus would help us see what He saw, feel what He felt and that He would help us care like He cared. That is the 3rd thing I would like us to consider: 

III. DO YOU CARE LIKE JESUS CARED? - Our verse tells us why Jesus cared It's: because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

In order for us to grasp the importance of this statement we should understand a few things about sheep.

1) Sheep are not very smart animals - they are constantly getting into terrible situations. They do not have much knowledge or ability. They need a shepherd to help guide them! 

2) Sheep have no sense of direction - If a sheep wanders off from the rest of the herd, it will have a hard time finding its way back. 

3) Sheep have no means of defense - Lions have teeth and claws, bears have the same. Snakes have fangs, Sheep have nothing they are simply helpless! By their very nature, sheep need a shepherd to guide them, help them & protect them! 

Do you realize that Jesus knew that the very people He was with were the reason that He had to die? He realized that many of them would reject Him, yet He had compassion on them! If Jesus could care like that, then we have no excuse not to have compassion on the lost and forgiveness for our enemies! 

We must ask the Lord: Let Us See What You Saw, Let Us Feel What You Felt, Let Us Care Like You Cared & finally we must ask:

IV. DO YOU DO WHAT JESUS DID? “ The last part of our verse says: So he began teaching them many things.

I find it interesting that Jesus took this occasion to teach! Notice the progression: 
1) He saw them
2) felt compassion on them 
3) immediately began to teach them many things

They needed answers & He had the answers they needed. Friends, you and I have the answer that others need today, The answer is JESUS!!

Not only do we have the answer, we have the obligation to share that answer - Acts 1:8 Tells us that we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

Do you share the answer with others?
Do you have a burden for lost people? 
Do you care?

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34

 

 

 

 Numbers 1:3 (KJV)
From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
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