7 days ago
Two Legs to Stand On
7 days ago
7 days ago
Monday May 15, 2023
The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2: For His Disciples
Monday May 15, 2023
Monday May 15, 2023
This morning, we return to John 17 and pick up we were left off last week. Remember, we are looking at the Lord’s prayer, but it’s not the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 where Jesus taught us to pray. It is the Lord’s prayer in John 17 where Jesus prayed.
In John 17, Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and for us. It was very late on Thursday night or maybe even early Friday morning. Jesus and His disciples were on their way if not already in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Before we get to Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, Jesus was talking to His Father in verses 6-8. By the way, that is all that prayer is…talking to your heavenly Father.
In verse 6, Jesus portrayed His Father to His disciples. In turn, His disciples obeyed God’s word.
Finally, because Jesus portrayed His Father to His disciples, they knew that God the Son had come from God the Father. In other words, Jesus was God!
- Jesus prayed for His disciples’ security for eternity, 17:9-14.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
This word “security” or secure is wrapped up in the word “keep” and “kept” in verses 11-12. Jesus prayed for the Father to keep or secure His disciples.
Notice why they were kept. They were kept because they belonged to God the Father and God the Son. God the Father gave them to God the Son in verses 9-10.
They were also kept because of the Father’s name. That means according to His character. In this instance, His character was that of faithfulness.
Because they were secure for eternity, that should mean the joy of Jesus in them according to verse 13. The world hated them. However, God the Father and God the Son loved them and would secure them for eternity.
- Jesus prayed for His disciples’ safety from the evil one, 17:15-16.
15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
God’s word never says that He will take you out of a trial or tribulation. However, Jesus does pray that God will protect His disciples from the evil one or in other words, the devil.
By the way, why did God not take Jesus’ disciples out of the world? He left them to do a job. We’ll come back to that in a minute.
- Jesus prayed for His disciples’ sanctification on earth, 17:17-19.
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
In verses 17-19, Jesus prayed for His disciples to be sanctified by God’s truth. To be sanctified means to be set apart for a specific purpose. It means to be dedicated or devoted.
Multiple times in verses 6-19, Jesus said that even though His disciples were in the world, they were not of the world. In other words, they were supposed to be distinctly different and set apart from the world.
Even though this is Jesus’ prayer for the 11 disciples, there is much application for us as well. By the way, I didn’t address Jesus’ comments about the son of perdition at the end of verse 12, but I will on Wednesday Night at Digging Deeper. We’ll meet at 6:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall and look at a proverbial fly in the ointment.
First, as Jesus prayed for His disciples’ security, we too are secure for eternity if we have decided to follow Jesus. However, our security is not because of anything about us.
I am secure for eternity because of God’s faithfulness. Again, you aren’t secure because you walked an aisle in a Sunday morning alter call. You aren’t secure because your church believes in “once saved, always saved.” You are secure because you have been baptized. You certainly aren’t secure because of your own personal morality or righteousness.
If you are saved, you have been saved by God’s grace. You are secured by God’s faithfulness.
Second, as Jesus prayed for His disciples’ safety from the devil, we too are safe from the devil. However, I am not talking about physical safety from the devil but spiritual safety.
Remember, all of the disciples except John died a martyr’s death. If Jesus meant physical safety, God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer, and that would be somewhat troubling.
The devil will do whatever he can on this earth to harm you. He will inflict you with sickness. He will destroy your family. He will take away your money. He will do anything and everything to destroy your witness.
By the way, your witness is why God left you here right now. He left Jesus’ disciples to do a job. That was to lead the first church.
When He saved you, He could have taken you to heaven immediately, and He can do that at any point. However, He left you to minister.
He left you to witness. He left you to point others to Jesus and for no other reason, but the devil will be working against you even though your soul is safe from him.
Third, as Jesus prayed for His disciples’ sanctification, we too are called to live in the world but not of the world. Our speech and ethics and spending and recreating and morality should be distinctly different than lost people.
I would submit to you this morning that one reason why churches have lost influence in the community today is because we have become too much like the world. There isn’t a lot of discernable difference.
Today, we have pastors with no integrity who have a love for money and a love for sex, and they are caught regularly with their hand in the offering plate and caught with their pants down.
Today, we have adults with no bravery. In elections, they vote for the economy and jobs rather than morality and justice.
Today, we have teenagers with no morality. They are cheating their way through school, sleeping around, and blending in with their lost friends just to stay popular.
Brothers and sisters of all ages, let us be set apart from the world living our lives according to God’s word.
If you are here this morning, and you have never called on Jesus to save you, He will today if you are answer His call to salvation.
If Jesus is leading you to unite formally with EBC, will you obey Him today?
If Jesus is leading you to repent of sin and disobedience in your life, will you obey Him today?
Monday May 15, 2023
The Lord’s Prayer, Part 1: For Himself
Monday May 15, 2023
Monday May 15, 2023
This morning, I want to share a message with you entitled, “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, we aren’t in Matthew 6 but John 17.
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught us how to pray. In John 17, we see and hear Jesus praying. If not called the Lord’s Prayer, this chapter is often called “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” It is unique material that is only found in the gospel of John.
Including today, our next three times in John will be here in John 17. Today, we will hear Jesus praying for Himself. Next week, we will hear Jesus praying for His disciples, those remaining Eleven. Then, we will hear Jesus praying for us.
Please remember, it is still Thursday night or maybe Friday morning. Chuck Swindoll puts John 17 at midnight. Jesus and His disciples seem to be on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Keep in mind that they are distressed as Jesus was leaving them, Judas was going to betray Jesus, and Peter was doing to deny Jesus. They were surely exhausted at this point, and maybe they were hungry.
These first verses are a chiastic structure. What that means is that main point is found not at the beginning or the end but in the middle.
Jesus prayed for God the Father to glorify God the Son. That means to praise Him and honor Him and celebrate Him.
Therefore, this prayer focuses on eternal life. You will find that phrase in verses 2 and 3. Let’s look at the text to see what Jesus prays and what we can learn about eternal life.
- Eternal Life is knowing God the Father.
We see this truth in verse 3. Remember our chiastic structure.
Jesus can hardly be more explicit. Eternal life is knowing God, and Jesus called Him Father in verse 1.
This word “know” is used when talking about close friends and even spouses. Therefore, it means to know intimately.
Jesus then called God the Father the true God. Therefore, He is true and other are false.
Consequently, God the Father is the only true God. There are no others.
By the way, the absolute and best possible way to know God is to know His Word. Read your Bibles, and if you want to hear God speak audibly to you, then read your Bibles out loud.
- Eternal life comes through Jesus Christ, God the Son.
Check out the beginning of Jesus’ prayer in verse 1. Glorify Your Son.
Verse 2 says God the Father gave God the Son authority over all flesh. It also says that Jesus Christ, God the Son, will give eternal life to as many as God the Father has given to Him.
In verse 3, not only is eternal life knowing God the Father, but it is also knowing God the Son. I would be so bold as to say what God’s Word says, and that is that you can’t know God the Father without knowing God the Son.
John 14:6, 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Romans 5:1, 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Corinthians 4:6, 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-3, 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
- Giving Eternal Life is why Jesus came to earth.
In verse 1, Jesus said the hour has come. What was He talking about? He was talking about the time for Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world.
However, this was a very specific time, and we have seen earlier in our study when the time had not come yet.
John 2:4, 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
John 7:6, 6 Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.
John 7:8, 8 You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”
John 7:30, 30 Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.
John 8:20, 20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.
However, by John 12, Jesus knew that His time had come, and this hour and time for Him to die was His express reason in coming to earth with flesh and blood.
John 12:23, 23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.
John 13:1, 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
- Eternal Life in heaven for any individual is an act of God.
In verse 4, Jesus said that He had glorified God the Father on earth by finishing the work that God the Father sent Him to do. He speaks of the cross as an already accomplished act in the past.
However, notice that the work is not something that you or I did or can do. The opportunity for eternal life is an act of God.
Back in verse 2, the individuals who will have eternal life are the ones that God gave to Jesus. In other words, salvation is not about us. It is not about you.
It is not our goodness or morality or merit or righteousness. I would even say it is not our faith, but the faith that God gives us.
Ephesians 2:8-9, 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
In the language of the NT, nouns have gender. Grace and faith are both feminine. Therefore, you would expect “that” and “it” to be feminine too.
However, “that” and “it” are neuter. What that means is that not only is the grace not of yourselves but the faith is also not of yourselves. In other words, God gives you the faith to believe making it His faith so both grace and faith and salvation are all acts of God.
- Eternal life in any individual was decided before the foundation of the world.
In verse 5, Jesus points back to the glory that He and God the Father shared before the world was. I would suggest glory was about eternal life just like this glory here is about eternal life. Listen to Paul in Ephesians 1:3-4.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
And here is John in Revelation 13:8 talking about who isn’t saved.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Our invitation this morning is for you to receive eternal life. Verse 2 says that Jesus is glorified when He gives eternal life, but will you receive it?
John 1:12-13, 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Sunday Apr 30, 2023
The Power of the Word
Sunday Apr 30, 2023
Sunday Apr 30, 2023
Tuesday Apr 25, 2023
In Difficult Times, Remember Easter!
Tuesday Apr 25, 2023
Tuesday Apr 25, 2023
I want you to take your Bible and turn to John 16:16. I want to share a message with you entitled, “Remember Easter!” Notice that is an imperative.
Last week, Bro. Ronnie took you through the first half of John 16. Let’s go back before Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday.
In our text, it is still Thursday night. The disciples have been with Jesus in the Upper Room. Jesus washed their feet. Jesus served the Passover Meal to them. Then Judas left.
After Judas left, they then followed Jesus to Garden of Gethsemane. That is where they are in John 16, but it is very late, and they haven’t slept, and they haven’t eaten any more, and Jesus has told them that He is going away.
In John 16, Jesus tried to encourage them during difficult times. He told them to remember He knows the future. He also told them that He was going to send His Spirit to them.
When we find ourselves in difficult times, we should remember the same. Jesus or God knows the future and is in complete control. Our trial may not be for testing but to demonstrate how great God is.
Furthermore, we also have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Remember that He is the third person of the Trinity, and 1 John 4:4 says He is greater than the devil in the world.
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” 17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.” 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?
In verse 16, we see the Lord giving a prediction to His disciples. In a little while, He will be gone, but in a little while, He will return. When was He talking about?
You can see from verse 17 that the disciples didn’t understand what He was saying. However, they tried to talk it over for more understanding.
In verse 19, Jesus began to explain further what He meant. It seems that He had His death, burial, and resurrection in mind.
Once He was dead and buried, they would not see Him. However, they would see Him when He was resurrected.
He pointed them to His future resurrection. It would be the ultimate game changer.
After it happened and to remember it, would bring us joy, give us confidence in prayer, and give us peace in difficult times.
- In difficult times, remember Easter, and rejoice, John 16:20-22.
20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
In verse 20, Jesus seems to be pointing toward a specific event. The disciples will be weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.
The disciples will be sorrowful, but their sorrow will be turned to joy. What could Jesus be talking about?
The disciples were certainly grieved to see Him die on the cross. However, the unbelieving world loved it. They rejoiced.
In verse 21, Jesus used an illustration to prove His point. It was about childbirth.
Childbirth is unbelievable pain or so I am told. However, once that mother has birthday that baby, her anguish and pain turns to joy when she holds her newborn.
In verse 22, He will see them again, and they will rejoice, and no one will take that joy from them. What was Jesus talking about?
Some say that He was talking about the Holy Spirit. However, that doesn’t seem to fit the most immediate context.
Again, I would suggest to you that He was talking about His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. After He was crucified, He would go away for a little while. That was three days in the tomb. However, He would return to them after His resurrection, once they experienced the resurrected Christ, no one could take that joy away from them.
Therefore, here is our first big idea. The disciples’ grief turned to joy when they experienced the resurrected Christ. Their grief turned to joy. God brought pleasure from their pain.
If you’re in the middle of difficult days, remember Easter that Jesus was raised, and we can rejoice because Jesus won! He is the winner, and we are too.
Romans 6:8-11, 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:57, 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:12, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
1 John 5:4-5, 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Remember Easter, and rejoice!
- In difficult times, remember Easter, and pray with confidence, John 16:23-30.
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” 29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
Because of the resurrected Jesus, we can pray with confidence during difficult times. See verses 23-24.
When Jesus was resurrected and ascended, we can pray with Jesus as our go between. He will be our intercessor. We can come to God on His behalf.
In verse 24, we can ask anything in His name or according to His will, and it will be granted. That is not some magical formula but an attempt to help us align our desires with His desires. Because of the resurrected Jesus, we can pray with confidence during difficult times.
You can pray with confidence for God to save your marriage. You can pray with confidence for God to break your addiction with self-control that He gives. You can pray with confidence for G
We also see in this section that because of the resurrection, the disciples knew for certain that Jesus was God’s Son. Look at verse 30. The resurrection didn’t make Jesus God’s Son but rather proved Him to be God’s Son.
It was the crowning moment when we know that we could trust everything that He ever had said because He did what had never been done. Jesus came from the Father because He is God’s Son, and He is returning to the Father because He is God’s Son.
- In difficult times, remember Easter, and experience peace, John 16:31-33.
31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In verse 32, as the disciples acknowledged finally being able to understand Jesus, Jesus predicted their abandoning Him in the coming hours. However, these things that He told them would ultimately turn their grief to joy when He conquered death.
In verse 33, He even spoke of it as an already accomplished fact. Jesus overcame the world. He conquered the grave.
The pleasure of the resurrection was worth the pain in His dying. His suffering was worth our salvation, and now, if we have Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have peace.
How so? He has overcome the world. Regardless of my difficult times, the greater truth is that God raised Jesus, His Son, from the grave never to die again.
Are you grieving today? Does life have you tied up in knots? How about remembering Easter?
Easter won’t necessarily make your difficult times go away, but they might fade into the background. Because of Easter, we can rejoice, we can pray with confidence, and we can experience peace that surpasses all understanding.
If you have never been saved, putting your faith and trust in Christ is the only way to be at peace with God and experience this peace from God. Would you be saved today?
Sunday Apr 02, 2023
My Story of April 2, 2985
Sunday Apr 02, 2023
Sunday Apr 02, 2023
This morning is Palm Sunday, and we are taking a break from John’s Gospel for the next two Sundays, but we will return on April 16. Today, please take your Bibles and turn to 1 Corinthians 15:1. I want to tell you my story of what happened to me 38 years ago today.
Growing Up in Venus
I was born in Cleburne, Texas on March 11, 1975. My dad was from Waldron, Arkansas but had come to Texas to work, and he so working for Vought Aerospace and Defense in Grand Prairie until he took early retirement and moved back to Arkansas.
My mom grew up in a small town in Johnson County called Venus. She came from a large family with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. She went to school there and has now moved back, and she lives there today.
I am the only child of my mom and dad, and we lived in Venus until I was 7 years old, but when I was five, my mom and dad divorced. I lived with my mom but would go and stay with my dad every other weekend and for a week or two in the summer, and we rotated Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays.
My mom and I lived in Venus for two more years after the divorce until I was seven. I attended Kindergarten and First Grade at Venus Elementary School. While having a broken family was hard, my maternal grandparents and multiple aunts and uncles and cousins also lived in Venus, which I liked.
My family attended and were members of First Baptist Church in Venus. My mom was the church pianist, and my dad was a deacon, and like I said previously, a lot of my mom’s family also were members at First Baptist Church Venus.
Moving to Alvarado
After I finished the first grade, my mom remarried, and we moved to Alvarado, just seven miles west, into a house with my stepdad. He had three sons that were all older than me but lived with their mom.
I started the second grade at Alvarado Elementary in 1982, and I continued in school there through the twelfth grade. I graduate from Alvarado High School in 1993.
April 2, 1985
On Tuesday, April 2, 1985, my life was changed forever. I was in the fourth grade at Alvarado Elementary School.
As I mentioned previously, my family and I attended FBC Venus. That remained true for me and my mom even after we moved to Alvarado, but my stepdad rarely attended if ever.
I was ten years old in 1985 and began having questions about life after death. I was somewhat familiar with the subjects of heaven and hell as my mom and I attended Sunday School every Sunday as well as Sunday morning church and Sunday evening church.
I began to wonder what would happen to me if I died? Would I go to heaven or hell?
As Venus was about a ten-minute drive from Alvarado, I started asking these questions of my mom during our weekly drives. Like many parents, she thought it would be best for me to talk to our pastor so she made an appointment for Bro. Doug Riggs to come by our house.
Because my mom and step-dad both worked in Cleburne when I was a kid, I came home after school each day and stayed by myself. In that day, I was what was called a latch-key kid.
It was Tuesday, April 2, 1985, and I got out of school about 3 PM. Bro. Doug was coming from Venus and was supposed to be at our house about 4 PM.
I came home after school that day and confess that I was nervous about talking with Bro. Doug. My mom had made arrangements to also be there leaving work early that day.
In our living room, we had a large window that you could see out of if you were sitting on the couch. I had the curtains open that afternoon watching for Bro. Doug.
Our house number was 506, but it wasn’t easy to see, especially if our bushes were over grown. I remember seeing what I thought was Bro. Doug’s car pass by once and then again. I didn’t know if I should go out in the front yard and flag him down, but he finally stopped and came to the front door.
My mom wasn’t home yet so Bro. Doug and I waited on her, but it was so awkward! Do you know what I mean? What were we supposed to talk about? Do preachers even know about anything other than the Bible? So I just turned on the TV, and we watched the Dukes of Hazzard. Finally, after what seemed like hours, my mom got there.
Bro. Doug then asked me about my questions regarding heaven and hell. He then very plainly and clearly explained to me the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15.
If you look there in verse 1, you will find the actual word “gospel.” It literally means “good news.” The gospel is good news for you.
In verses three and four, Paul explained the gospel for all to understand. There are essentially two parts to the gospel that cannot be separated. They are like two sides of a coin.
The first part is death. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. He died in our place.
However, there are several conditions implied before His death. First, it is implied that there is a holy God. He is holy. He is without sin. He is completely good.
Second, it is implied that we are sinful. We were born into sin and make choices that are sin, and it is our sin that separates us from a holy God and requires someone paying a penalty for our sin.
We as humans were not capable of paying the penalty because we are sinners. However, Jesus was sinless. Therefore, He was capable and qualified to pay our sin debt by dying on the cross. The sinless Savior died on the cross in the place of sinful humanity.
The second part of the gospel is life. Jesus died on Friday. He was placed into a garden tomb that same evening and was there through early hours of Sunday morning.
Verse 4 says that Jesus was raised on that third day. He was brought back to life by the Holy Spirit never to die again, and because of that reality, you too can have eternal life today.
If you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can immediately have forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven when you die. Bro. Doug asked me if I wanted to be saved, and I said yes.
Bro. Doug then invited me to pray after him. So right then and there in my living room on the couch with the Dukes of Hazzard playing in the background, Bro. Doug prayed, and I repeated after him, and Jesus came into my life and saved me from my sins. That was a Tuesday afternoon, 38 years ago today.
The next Sunday was Palm Sunday, April 7, 1985. After Bro. Doug preached that morning, he gave a public invitation just like I am going to give in just a moment.
As he was standing there at the front of the auditorium and we were all singing, I stepped out into the aisle and met him at the front and told him that I would like to join the church and be baptized since I asked Christ to come into my life and was saved last Tuesday.
He prayed with me again that morning, and then introduced me to the church. He also shared with the church about him coming to my house on Tuesday and explaining the gospel to me, and I was saved.
The reason I am came forward during that Sunday morning invitation is because no one is born saved. That is a personal decision that every individual must make on their own. Mom and dad can’t make it for you, and church membership is also an individual decision.
Like Emory Baptist Church, if you wanted to join FBC Venus, you had to request such. You weren’t considered a member just because you attended.
The next Sunday was Easter Sunday, April 14, 1985. I was baptized that Sunday morning, and I will never forget it.
Today, I want to extend the same invitation that Bro. Doug gave to me. Have you received Jesus into your heart and life as Lord and Savior like I did 38 years ago? If not, would you like to receive Him today along with forgiveness of sin, a home in heaven when you die, and eternal life?
If you would, during this morning’s public invitation, I invite you to walk down one of these aisles and meet me or Bro. Ronnie like I did at FBC Venus. I will pray with you and celebrate with when you come.
Monday Mar 27, 2023
Relationships, Part 3: The Truth I’d Rather Forget
Monday Mar 27, 2023
Monday Mar 27, 2023
This morning, I invite you to take your Bibles and turn to John 15:18. We are going to finish John 15 in our verse by verse and chapter by chapter study of John’s gospel. I want to share a message with you entitled, “The Truth We Would Like to Forget.”
Today’s message is not going to be popular. It is not going to be one that gets the most likes on YouTube. It is not going to be one that results in many sermon CD’s requested. It is not going to be one that you say at lunch, “You should have heard my pastor this morning.” It is not going to be one that leaves you feeling like you can conquer the world. Instead, it will be one that we wish we could forget.
To be completely honest, I have bad news. Follow along as I read John 15:18-27 and see if you can figure out what this bad news is.
Here it is. If you are a follower of Christ, the world is going to hate you. That’s it.
In John 15, Jesus has been giving us instructions about relationships. Two weeks ago, we saw how believers are to relate to Christ. They should abide in Him.
Last week, we saw how believers are to relate to one another. We should love one another.
Today, this text is about how believers relate to the world. In short, the world will hate us. That is what this text is about.
In John 15:18-27, the word world (kosmos) is used some 6 times. The word hate is used 8 times. The word you is used 12 times. The world is going to hate you.
Look at verse 18. Jesus said that if (assumed to be true) the world hates you, it hated Me before it hated you.
The one command in this text is to remember fond in verse 20. Now, let’s look at the text and remember 3 reasons why the world will hate us.
- If you are believer, remember that the world will hate us because we are identified with Christ, John 15:19-20.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Again, the world that Jesus is speaking of is the lost world or unbelieving world. If we were like them, they would like us because birds of a feather flock together.
However, we are not like them, but Jesus has chosen us out of the world. Consequently, we are now identified with Him.
The title of “Christian” means little Christ. That is who we are supposed to be…little Christs.
We identify with Christ by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, by being baptized as a believer, by taking the Lord’s Supper, and by living a life with Him in control. Have you identified with Him?
In verse 20, Jesus reminded us that we, as slaves to Christ, are not greater than our master. Therefore, we will be hated because we as believers are identified with Christ.
- If you are a believer, remember that the world will hate us because they are ignorant of God, John 15:21.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
In verse 21, Jesus said that all of the hateful things done to believers because of Jesus’ name will be done out of ignorance about the Father. An unbelieving or lost world does not know God because they don’t accept His Son.
If they really and truly knew God, they would understand that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son and would receive Him as such. The world hates believers because they are ignorant of God.
- If you are a believer, remember that the world will hate us because Jesus was impeccable on earth, John 15:22-25.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
There is a third reason why the world will hate us. It is because of who Jesus was on earth. He was impeccable or perfect or sinless.
Because Jesus lived a sinless life, everyone who fails to do so is now living in their sin and responsible for their sin. In other words, Jesus exposed sin as falling short of the glory of God.
If He had never come, the world could not have been guilty of rejecting Him. However, He did come and proved Himself as God’s Son with His miracles and signs and wonders.
We have seen that again and again in John’s gospel alone with His 7 miracles signs. Do you remember them? He turned water to wine, healed the nobleman’s son, healed the paralytic, fed the multitudes, walked on water and calmed the storm, healed the man born blind, and raised Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus should have been welcomed and worshipped. However, instead, the world hated Him for no reason and fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:4 that is mentioned in verse 25.
Brothers and sisters, this is bad news. The world is going to hate you. Jesus said it, and even Paul knew it. See 2 Timothy 3:12.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
So let me give you some examples of what to believe to ensure the world will hate you.
- The Bible is the authoritative word of God.
- God was the Creator, and Darwinian evolution is a myth.
- Jesus is the only way to heaven.
- People who reject Jesus go to hell.
- Marriage was designed for a lifetime.
- Marriage is between a man and a woman.
- The husband should be the leader of the home.
- Any sex outside of marriage, hetero or homo, is immoral.
- God only assigned two genders.
- Life begins at conception.
If you believe these historic and fundamental Christian truths, the world will hate you.
We have seen this with football coaches that simply pray on the field after a game by themselves. We have seen this photographers and bakers and florists who won’t use their talents and gifts to compromise their convictions. We have seen this with professional athletes who choose not to wear certain uniform or participate in public campaigns.
Application and Conclusion
So what should we do? Should we just go underground? Should we just shut up? Should we just retire?
No, find encouragement in today’s text knowing that the Holy Spirit was sent for the very purpose of witnessing about Jesus through us.
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
CS Lewis, “As Christians, we are tempted to make the unnecessary concessions to those outside the Faith. We give in too much. Now, I don’t mean that we should run the risk of making a nuisance of ourselves by witnessing at improper times, but there comes a time when we must show that we disagree. We must show our Christian colours, if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent or we’ll concede everything away.”
Monday Mar 20, 2023
Relationships, Part 2: With Others
Monday Mar 20, 2023
Monday Mar 20, 2023
Last week, we started John 15, and I reminded you that this is still Thursday night. However, it seems that Jesus and His eleven disciples were making their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.
In verses 1-8, Jesus began His instructions on relationships. Last week, we looked at our relationship with Him. Today, we are going to talk about relationship with others. Next week, we will look our relationship with the world, and when I say our, I’m talking about followers of Christ.
There was one key word from last week as it pertains to the believers’ relationship with Christ, and that key word is abide or remain. It John 15, it means to believe in Jesus, continue in Jesus, and obey Jesus.
After Jesus is gone, we will have the Holy Spirit. However, we are also to abide in Christ. That is the command regarding our relationship to Christ.
If abide is the key word regarding our relationship with Christ, love is the key word regarding our relationship with others.
In the same way that abide was commanded by Christ last week, love is commanded by Christ this week. See verses 12 and 17.
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
The word for love here is not the sexual eros love or the brotherly philo love. This is the unconditional and sacrificial agape love, and again, it is commanded by Christ to be demonstrated to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- When we love others, we must love like Jesus loved us.
See verses 9 and 16.
In verse 9, Jesus said that His Father loved Him, and in turn, He loved us. In verse 16, He said He chose us rather than us choosing Him.
And in this command in verse 12, our love for others should be based on Jesus’ love for us. How did Jesus love us unconditionally? What does that mean?
To love unconditionally means that you love without condition. You don’t love based on someone loving you. You love first, and this hard because we make ourselves vulnerable, and yet this exactly what Jesus did for us.
Jesus didn’t love you and choose you because He knew you would be a faithful Christian. He loved you and choose you unconditionally because that is the nature of agape love.
Jesus even said that we ought to love our enemies with this unconditional agape love. See Matthew 5:43-48.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
So think about someone that is hard for you to love here at EBC. Jesus said it wasn’t an option, and we need to remember to love them as He first loved us.
- When we love others, we are abiding in His love, and our love is demonstrated in our obedience and our answered prayers.
Here is a word that first saw last week. It is the word abide or remain.
Jesus told us in verse 9 to abide in His love. Remain in His love. Continue in His love. Obey His love.
How will our abiding be proven? It will be proven with our obedience.
Our love for Christ and our love for others will be proven by our obedience to Christ.
Jesus said these words in the previous chapter in John 14:15 and 14:23.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.
We touched on this last week too, but look at the end of verse 16. Our obedience can be demonstrated in answered prayer.
Verse 16 says that Jesus choose us to bear fruit, and our fruit should be lasting, and whatever we ask in Jesus’ name, the Father will give to us.
I don’t mean to sound like prayer is easy and answered prayer is easy. I am simply trying to preach what the word says, and the word says that our answered prayers can be a sign of our obedience and our abiding in Christ’s love.
- When we love others, it is a great joy for us and a sacrifice to them.
After the instruction to abide in Jesus’ love, we find verse 11. Jesus said these things which He said to us lead to our fullest joy.
In other words, our fullest joy in live will come when we love others as Christ has loved us, and this is very ironic. You would think our fullest joy would come when we are loved, but Jesus said it comes when we love.
However, not only will loving others be our greatest joy, but it will be a great sacrifice to them. Verse 13 speaks of the greatest love, and that is to lay down your life for a friend.
Verse 14 says that we are Jesus’ friends, and this is what He has done for us. See Romans 5:6-8.
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ’s death for us is a perfect picture of unconditional and sacrificial agape love.
This morning, my invitation is twofold. I have an invitation for the non-Christian and for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
First, if you have never put your faith and trust in Christ, I invite you to be saved this morning. Admit that you are a sinner. Believe that Jesus did the most loving thing imaginable in dying for you. Call on Jesus to save you by confessing Him as Lord and Savior.
Second, if you are saved, who is has God brought to your mind this morning that you need to love unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ has loved you? Is it a coworker or a neighbor or classmate or a family member or church member?
Today’s message and invitation can be summarized in 1 John 3:16.
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Monday Mar 13, 2023
Relationships, Part 1: To Christ
Monday Mar 13, 2023
Monday Mar 13, 2023
It is still Thursday night, and it seems that Jesus and the 11 have left the upper room and are on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane according to 14:31. If so, they would have left the upper room in Jerusalem, gone down into the Kidron Valley, and across to the Mount of Olives.
As they walked, they would have seen the great golden vine on the front of the temple as they passed. As a result, it would have been very appropriate for Jesus to tell them a parable or analogy of the vine and its branches. That is John 15.
Remember, in John 14, Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving them for a while. Of course, they were troubled, but He foreshadowed the coming of the Holy Spirit for them, and we will come back to the Holy Spirit in chapter 16.
However, in John 15, Jesus spoke to His disciples about relationships. In verse 1-8, He spoke about our relationship with Him. In verses 9-17, He spoke about our relationships with others. In verses 18-27, He spoke about our relationship with the world. Therefore, that will be our pattern for the next three Sundays beginning today.
Beginning in verse 1, Jesus made His 7th I AM statement. He has already said that He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door or gate for His sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and life, and the way, the truth, and the life.
Also, in verses 1 and 2, I need to identify some parts of this analogy for us. In verse 1, Jesus is the true vine. God the Father is the vinedresser or gardener or the husbandman.
In verse 2, the branches are both authentic believers and apparent believers. God the Father takes away the apparent believers such as Judas, and He prunes the authentic believers such as Peter.
BTW, brothers and sisters, don’t waste your trial. When God prunes you, it is for your good and His glory. His desire is for you is to produce more fruit. His desire is for you to look and act more like Jesus.
In verse 3, those present are authentic believers. Again, Judas had already left, and these brothers were clean or saved or authentic in their following of Christ.
Now here in verse 4, we have the only imperative for today. The only command that Jesus gives to His disciples and to us is to abide or remain.
The command is in verse 4, but you will see this word 7 times in today’s text and 3 more times in verses 9-10.
What does it mean to abide? It means to believe in Jesus. It means to continue in Jesus. It means to obey Jesus, and we will see all of those meanings as we talk the next three weeks about relationships.
What happens when a believer abides in Christ?
First, abiding in Christ means that you will bear fruit. Remember, the command is not to bear fruit. The command is to abide. Look at verses 4-5.
However, when you abide, you will bear fruit. That word is used some 8 times in verses 1-17.
What is fruit? In the OT, we see fruit mentioned in Isaiah 5:1-7.
1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard
On a very fruitful hill.
2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes.
3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
4 What more could have been done to My vineyard
That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,
Did it bring forth wild grapes?
5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will lay it waste;
It shall not be pruned or dug,
But there shall come up briers and thorns.
I will also command the clouds
That they rain no rain on it.”
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
Therefore, fruit from Isaiah 5 was justice and righteousness.
In the NT, we see fruit in Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Are you bearing fruit? Ask your spouse. Ask a friend.
Second, abiding in Christ demonstrates that you are saved. Jesus said it negatively in verse 6. If you aren’t abiding, you aren’t saved.
Third, abiding in Christ accomplishes answered prayer. Do you want God to answer your prayers? Abide in Christ. Continue in Christ. Obey Christ. Look at verse 7.
What happens if I don’t abide in Christ?
You are an apparent believer not an authentic believer. You look like a believer but you aren’t producing any fruit.
Listen to this warning in verse 2. If you don’t bear fruit, the vinedresser or God the Father takes you away. In verse 6, the fruitless branches are gathered, throne into the fire, and burned.
Make no mistake. This is an allusion to hell, and eternal judgement.
So what about you? Are you abiding in Christ? If not, what about today?
If you think you are abiding in Christ, where is your fruit? If you aren’t sure, ask a friend.