Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Table Preparation

Our Father, we thank You for inviting us to this Table to sit with the Lord Jesus and be fed by His Spirit. Your promises to us in Him are yea and amen. As we eat and drink, fill us with Your Spirit, empower us with faith, heal our infirmities, grant us abundant life and make us an exceedingly grateful people, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Thanks

Our Father, from whom all blessings flow, we thank You for sending gifts to men: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And for supplying Your Church with all that is needful to advance the kingdom of Christ to the very ends of the Earth. Use our gifts and use us, we pray, to glorify Your name through Your beloved Son, Jesus, as we preach, teach and live out His enthronement and rule over all things. Amen.


Our Lord God in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. For us, the Lord Jesus submitted Himself to all the humiliations of manhood, even to the death of the cross as sin on our behalf. The Lord Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, doing that which our first father, Adam, failed to do. He was even baptized by a sinner and for sinners. The one who needed no sins washed away was washed for us that we might be forgiven and cleansed by Him. We rejoice in Your good gift to us in Jesus Christ, that we can repent and be forgiven our sins. We thank You in Jesus’s holy name. Amen.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Who Is Jesus?

         There are really only two important questions to answer in this life. Who is God? And, Who am I?
         The first one, Who is God has to do with the nature, person and work of God.
         The second has to do with how you relate to Him. What does He require of me? Will I submit to His rule or not?
         If you answer these questions in the right way, then you are in the right way. If not, then you are lost.
         The question, Who is God?, cannot be answered without God’s help. He has to reveal the answer. He hints at the answer through nature and it is such a big hint that men are guilty if they do not serve Him. However, nature does not fully reveal God. That takes special revelation.
         Jesus tells us that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. Furthermore, we are told that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. In order to know who God is, we must know who Jesus is.
         And the Word has much to say about the nature, person and work of Jesus.
         Just in the first few chapters of Matthew, even at the very beginning of the work of Jesus, we know much about His person and therefore know much about God. We are very culpable if we do not know and heed Him.
         In just the first 4 chapters of Matthew, we have already learned at least 24 character traits of Jesus.  These all answer the questions, “Who is Jesus? What is Jesus like?” That helps you answer the questions, “Who am I in Jesus?, What should I be like?”
         We know some of these truths about Jesus. But some of them catch us off guard, make us reevaluate Jesus and thus make adjustments to who we are. Start reading your Bibles more carefully!

1. Savior- Jesus 1:21- This is a primary characteristic. He likes to save people.
2. Emmanuel 1:23- God is with us in Jesus. Jesus is with people.
3. King- Son of David 1:1- He is a man but a great one, a royal king.
4. Woodsman who lays an axe- 3:10- He is not afraid of work and hard and damning work at that. Jesus will cut down those who despise and reject Him.
5. Husbandman who winnows and divides 3:12- He winnows the wheat from the chaff. The chaff is burned in the fire.
6. Identifies with sinners at baptism for sinners 3:15- He is not afraid to be reckoned with sinners.
7. Beloved Son 3:17- He does His Father’s will and the Father is pleased with Him.
8. Residing place of Holy Spirit 3:16- The Holy Spirit resides on and in Him and therefore Jesus always walks according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
9. Knows solitude, loneliness, suffering, aloneness 4:1- He is driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to a lonely place.
10. Disciplined, He fasts 40 days 3:2
11. Good listener, He heard the devil clearly- IF thou be…3:3- Jesus pays attention when people talk to Him, even in the midst of temptations, even in the midst of crowds.
12. Bible literate, quotes to devil 3:4- Jesus is not easily taken in by the teaching and traditions of devils or men. He knows what the Bible really teaches.
13. Authoritative, get thee hence Satan 3:10- Jesus is not afraid of the devil or the men that devils motivate. He speaks to them directly and they depart.
14. From questionable heritage, Rachab, Tamar, Bathsheba, 1:1-17- Jesus was from a kingly line but the line was tainted. He was not afraid to claim prostitutes and Gentiles in His heritage. His pride was in God’s work not man’s perfections.
15. Attracted to darkness, Capernaum, Naphtali, Zabulon 4:16- Jesus went to dark places because He was the light.
16. Preacher 4:17- Jesus did not have a soft and easy message of a minister, or a bible teacher, or speaker or one who shares a message. He preached.
17. Preacher of Repentance 4:17- Jesus not only preached, His message was far different than what goes for preaching in many quarters. He didn’t share to make people feel good. Most of the time, His sermons made people feel bad, or even mad. But to those who responded by repenting, He healed them.
18. Walker 4:18- He walked around and with people and sometimes alone. He was an outdoor person.
19. Authoratative, even commanding, Follow Me 4:18- Jesus didn’t do much suggesting or challenging. He just said it with a “Thus sayeth the Lord authority.” The authorities hated this and the common people loved it.
20. Didn’t mind causing problems in families, He called Peter and Andrew and James and John away from their work. 4:18- Jesus didn’t consult these men about whether His demands would cause problems with his parents, their business or friends. He just said it and let the consequences work themselves out in the will of God.
21. Teacher 4:23- Teaching seems to be distinct from preaching. It has a more patient and careful aspect. He sometimes preaches, then takes aside His disciples and explains the difficult preaching.
22. Healer of lunatics, demon possessed, palsy 4:23- Jesus loves messed up people. He desires them to be delivered and made whole. Sometimes they come to Him. Sometimes He goes to them.
23. Preacher of the gospel of the Kingdom 4:23- He not only preached repentance but the gospel of the Kingdom. That message is bigger than repentance and salvation or healing. It includes the Christ, the Messiah, the one who would fill the shoes of David and rule on David’s throne forever.

24. Leader, great multitudes followed Him 4:25- Jesus led but He was an interesting leader. He was so direct about things and said such difficult things that He often lost lots of followers. But He was so charismatic in His teaching and His ministry that people were drawn to Him and followed Him.

And He Healed Them

When Jesus began His ministry all sorts of people came to Him. They were all messed up people. Some had various sicknesses. Maybe those sicknesses were not their fault but they were healed by and for the glory of God. Others sins went before them. Those who had dabbled in the dark arts and paid the price with demon possession in themselves or their children. There were many who came to Him who had worshipped false gods in one form or another.

But even right at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, pretty much all His disciples were the weak, the lame, the blind, the infirm, the demon possessed. People who needed a Savior. His was a simple message, Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And they repented and He healed them. Thanks be to God. In Jesus, we are healed. After that, He sets them down in a green pasture and He feeds them. Oh, what great riches in Jesus!

The Father's Children

Dear Saints, who are the children of God? Those called by Him, washed in the blood of Jesus and baptized according to His Word. It is those who commit sins, feel convicted by God’s Holy Spirit, confess, repent and put right that which is broken. It is those who walk by faith and not by sight. It is those who believe Jesus even when they don’t quite understand why.
God’s children are those who are disciplined by a good and kind Father through trials, sickness, struggles, difficulties, temptations, stress, and trouble. God’s children overcome because they stand on the rock that is Jesus Christ.

         You are standing on the Rock now, the Rock of forgiveness, restoration and healing. On Christ, the solid Rock you stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.