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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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The Maker has Made Himself Known

First Sunday of Advent 2018.

Christmas begins on December 25, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord.  In Advent we assume the prophesied ministry of John the Baptist.

  • A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
  • In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”  Matthew 3:1-3

Every year Christians reflect upon what “preparations” they should make for the arrival of Jesus on December 25th.

The word advent comes to us from Greek to Latin to English.  It carries the meaning of arrival and arriving.

In advent we prepare ourselves for the arrival of Jesus, past, present and future.

  • Jesus physically arrived about 2024 years ago.
    • And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7
  • Jesus arrives in our lives in various ways today.
    • And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
  • Jesus will return to earth with a glorious and grand “Second Coming of Jesus.”
    • For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

‘Awaken! Remember that God comes! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now! The one true God, “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, is not a God who is there in Heaven, unconcerned with us and our history, but he is the-God-who-comes.’ Pope Benedict XVI, Celebration of First Vespers of Advent, Vatican Basilica, December 2006

Our Advent celebration is founded in the reality that “The Maker has Made Himself Known.”

The Maker made Himself known to John the Apostle through personal encounter, friendship and demonstration.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.  John 1:14-18

The Maker made Himself known to the Apostle Paul by revelation.

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Ephesians 3:1-6

God loves to make Himself known:

  • In material things, natural provision and finances.
  • In physical strength, health and healing.
  • In peace, joy and love.
  • In relationships.
  • In removing sin, guilt and condemnation and replacing with righteousness and a pure conscience.

A most interesting story of “preparing the way of the Lord” is found in Judges 7:2-7

The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water.And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

Gideon and Midian by the Numbers

  • 32,000 warriors at the beginning
  • 22,00 warriors sent home due to fearfulness and trembling.
  • Of the 10,000 warriors remaining, 9,700 are sent back to their homes.
  • God made Himself known to all the world in and through 300 warriors.

Is there something in your life that God is reducing to prepare the way of the Lord?

Welcome God’s work in you because He has promised to make Himself known to you.

I (Kent) felt the Lord say to me, “I will make myself known and I will leave no doubt.”

  • I left no doubt to Abraham on the Mountains of Moriah.
  • I left no doubt at the Red Sea.
  • I left no doubt to Daniel in the lion’s den.
  • I left no doubt to the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace.
  • I left no doubt to Mary, Martha and Lazarus at Lazarus’ tomb.
  • I left no doubt following the death of Jesus on the cross.

If you reduce with God, He will make Himself known and leave no doubt!

When you seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

Posted on 2nd December 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Maker has made Himself Known: Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant

Insight into God’s Self-revelation from the Ark of the Covenant.

having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.  Hebrews 9:4

We are pursuing the ways of God in matters related to Him making Himself Known.

In a previous message we investigated the role personal longing in God’s self-revelation.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

God makes Himself known to people with core level longing for God.

It is fair to say the Ark of the Covenant is the most holy item to ever grace the earth.  The Ark of the Covenant is the centerpiece of God’s self-revelation.

From the perspective of the Ark of the Covenant, to whom does God make Himself known?

The items in the Ark of the Covenant are hugely instructive on the ways God determines to self-reveal.  There are three things inside the Ark of the Covenant.

  1. The tablets of the Ten Commandments.
  2. An omer of manna.
  3. Aaron’s staff.

First, God makes Himself known in relationship to His revealed will.

Second, God makes Himself known upon and through His provision.

Third, God makes Himself known upon and through His selected, appointed and anointed leadership.

However, we learn the antithesis is equally important in God’s decisions to self-reveal.

Above the Ark of the Covenant or the Ark’s lid and cover, is the Mercy Seat.  The High Priest applied an animal’s blood to the mercy seat as a sacrifice covering the sins of Israel.

What are the three most important sins to be covered?

First, as Moses returned down the mountain with the Law (revealed will of God), he found the people in great violation and in anger, he broke the two tablets.

We learn that God’s self-revelation is not given upon violation of His revealed will.  The broken law must be covered with a mercy seat and the blood of the sacrifice.  Then God is willing to manifest His glory.

Second, God provided for Israel’s food needs by the giving of manna.  The giving of manna is one of the most remarkable provisions of God in history.  However, the people began to complain and begrudge God’s provision.

We learn that God’s self-revelation is not given upon grumbling, complaining and begrudging people.  Grumbling, complaining and begrudging against God must be covered by the blood of the sacrifice placed upon the seat of God’s mercy.

Third, God makes Himself known through His selected, appointed and anointed leadershipRebelling against, resisting and undervaluing God’s selected, appointed and anointed leadership must be placed under God’s Mercy Seat and covered by the blood of the sacrifice.

Posted on 2nd December 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Jesus, Legalism and Liberalism

Jesus, Legalism and Liberalism, part 2

Matthew 5:19 includes a key for understanding Jesus’ upcoming conversation about six different Old Testament commandments as interpreted by the scribes and Pharisees.

  1. A commandment about murder. 21-26
  2. A commandment about adultery. Vs. 27-30
  3. A commandment about divorce. 31-32
  4. A commandment about taking oaths. 33-37
  5. A commandment about retaliation. 38-42
  6. A commandment about loving one’s neighbor and hating enemies. 43-48

Jesus is, in essence, rebuking the scribes and Pharisees’ (Vs. 20) treatment of the Law given to Moses by God (He that hath seen me hath seen the Father) Himself.

In all six of Jesus’ examples we see a very powerful statement:

  • You have heard it said….
  • But I say unto you…
  • 21-22; 27-28; 31-32; 33-34; 38-39; 43-44

The “You have heard it said” statements require the hearer to consider, “From whom have we heard it said?”

  • Who said, “Thou shalt not murder?” God.
  • Who said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemies?” Don’t know.

The “But I say unto you” statements are exceedingly powerful and corrective.

  1. Jesus, who John reveals as the “Word became flesh,” lets everyone know, “I am the God who gave the word (commandments) in the first place and I am the God who properly interprets the word (commandments) now.
  2. Jesus points out that “what you have heard said” has hundreds of years and layers of human interpretation that totally miss the spirit and intent of the word (commandment) given by God.

Since “you have heard it said” came without the spirit and intent of the Giver, Jesus reveals the spirit and intent with which He gave the word to Moses and then further explains some of the ways in which duty and obedience to God’s word was being “loosened, released, dissolved, broken, and relaxed.”

“Jesus, legalism and liberalism: An illustration with three lines.”

 

 

Thou shalt not murder, as relaxed by the scribes and Pharisees, meant:

  • You can be angry (unrighteous anger) with your brother
  • You can insult your brother
  • You can call your brother an idiot/fool

AND STILL CONSIDER YOURSELF A COMMANDMENT KEEPER!

Jesus strongly corrects this relaxation of the commandment and tightens it’s meaning to His original intent.

  • Angry with your brother? You are liable to judgement.
  • Insult your brother? You are liable to the council.
  • Call your brother a fool? You are liable to the hell of fire.

Thou shalt not commit adultery, as relaxed by the scribes and Pharisees, meant:

  • You can lust after your sister…

AND STILL CONSIDER YOURSELF A COMMANDMENT KEEPER!

Jesus strongly corrects this relaxation of the commandment and tightens its meaning to His original intent.

  • Lust (sinful desires) is adultery.
  • Heart adultery and physical adultery are so repugnant to God that one should do anything necessary to eliminate it.
  • Heart adultery and physical adultery are deserving of a sentence to hell.

Not murdering is a measure of keeping the sixth commandment.  Not committing adultery is a measure of keeping the seventh commandment.

Jesus, however, requires a deeper obedience.

Our Lord intertwines this deeper obedience with love.  John 15:1-11

  • I can’t bear the fruit of deeper obedience, but the Holy Spirit can. 4, 5
  • This deeper, fruit bearing obedience glorifies God and proves that I am Jesus’ disciple. 8
  • As God loves Jesus, Jesus loves me. I am to abide in His love.  9
  • In keeping Jesus’ commandments, I abide in His love. 10

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

The Greatest Commandment has always been (and always will be), “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.”  Deuteronomy 6:4

This kind of love moves me into a deeper obedience of the spirit and intent of God, the loving and gracious Law-giver.

In what ways do I relax the words of Jesus who is inviting me into the joy of deeper obedience and love?

Posted on 19th November 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Jesus, Legalism and Liberalism

Jesus, Legalism and Liberalism

Matthew 5:17-20

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

We know, from the words of Jesus:

  • He did not come to abolish the Law or Prophets, but to fulfill them. Vs. 17
  • Not the smallest letter or least stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (It is finished) Vs. 19

Jesus always honors and loves God as seen in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament God is His Father, whom He loves.  Our Lord quotes the Old Testament twenty-four times.

Jesus holds the Old Testament, including the Law given to Moses, with the highest regard and respect.

“A God of wisdom was behind the Mosaic Law.  There has never been a more perfect standard of righteousness, neither could God’s plan of redemption have been implied more beautifully than in the ceremonial law.”  R.T. Kendall

God, the Law-giver, requires laws, commands, statutes, and precepts to be met with the duty of obedience.

Jesus forbids any and all ‘relaxing’ or ‘teaching others to relax the Law’ and thus miss the duty of obedience rightly required by God.

In fact, Jesus concludes His great Sermon on the Mount with a call to obedience.  Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

We know Jesus fulfilled the Law.  Matthew 5:17

  • Some of the Law He fulfilled ceased (Ceremonial Law).
  • Some of the Law He fulfilled continues (Moral Law).

The audience Jesus is addressing has much experience with and knowledge of the Law and experts in the Law.

  • Jesus highlights the scribes whose hero was Ezra (7:6, 10).
    • The scribes were the teachers of the Law.
    • The scribes were the doctors of the Law.
    • They were the professional interpreters of the Law.
    • They were the copyists who wrote out the Old Testament.
  • Jesus highlights the Pharisees.
    • The Pharisees were almost like a political party.
    • They too were teachers/doctors of the Law.
    • They were separatists from the priestly interpretation of the Law and from the common people.
    • They regarded themselves as superior interpreters of the Law.
    • They were well known for being legalistic and rigorous.

Contrary to the scribes and Pharisee’s teaching, a person NEVER earns God’s love, grace or salvation.  NEVER!

  • God’s love. 1 John 4:8 – for God is love.
  • God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8, 9 – “For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God so that no one may boast.”
  • God’s salvation. Titus 3:4-6 – “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

Are earning and doing the same?  NO!

Do I have a duty to God’s love, grace and salvation?  YES.  The Bible couldn’t be clearer; my duty is to believe.

  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10: 9, 10
  • 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God… John 1:12
  • 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35
  • To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43
  • And they said, “Believein the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:31

Believing isn’t earning.  Believing isn’t “works based salvation.”  Believing isn’t legalism.

Believing God is a human capacity, placed by God in every human being, and is connected to righteousness as far back as Abraham.

“And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”  Genesis 15:6

Let’s consider the scribes and Pharisees and the greatest commandment in both the Old and New Testament.

Deuteronomy 6:4, 5

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Matthew 22:36-38

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

“Jesus, legalism and liberalism: An illustration with three lines.”

Concluding Questions

  1. Have you placed your belief in Jesus for salvation?
  2. Do you tend to add things above the line of God’s truth and practice a form of legalism?
  3. Do you tend to subtract things below the line of God’s truth and practice a form of liberalism?

Listen – My Story

  • Do you ever practice the externals of your faith without the corresponding internals of faith? (Do you ever fake your faith?)
  • Why? What happens inside of our hearts that prompts us to be ingenuine?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. God’s love, grace and salvation are always the gift of God and never earned. What feelings and thoughts do you have about such magnificent gifts from your Heavenly Father?  (Include any Bible verses that come to mind, for example, 1 John 3:1)

 

  1. Read Luke 18:9-14. What are some strategies for dealing with the recovering Pharisee of legalism in our hearts?

 

  1. Read Isaiah 58:1-4. Do you see ways the people had liberalized fasting (required less of themselves than God does?  Notice especially verses 3 and 4.

 

  1. Are you more prone to legalism or liberalism (as demonstrated in the three-line illustration)?

 

Life – Taking it Home

  • What is the Holy Spirit asking you to personally adjust this week?
  • If you have experienced legalism or liberalism, what can you do to successfully move on?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • Please thank God for His gifts of love, grace and salvation.
  • Please pray for those in your LIFE Group who are recovering from legalism or liberalism.
  • Invite everyone in your Life Group to place their belief in Jesus for salvation.

 

Posted on 10th November 2018 in LIFE Groups, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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From Hard Copy to Heart Copy: Jesus and the Law and Prophets

Today’s text, Matthew 5:17 is foundational to and included in everything Jesus reveals.

The One True and Living God revealed Himself to Moses.  Exodus 3:1-15

13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

The One True and Living God revealed to Moses the attitudes and actions of right relationship with Him and each other.  (Begins in Exodus 19)

This revelation of right (righteous) attitudes and actions God revealed to Moses is called “The Law (Torah).”

  • The Law (Torah) has 248 commandments.
  • The Law (Torah) has 365 prohibitions.
  • There are then 613 requirements in the Law (Torah).

The revelation of God’s continued guidance and communication with God’s people was (is) given through “The Prophets.”

  • The Old Testament includes various categories for “The Prophets.”
  • There are the “writing prophets” and the “oral prophets.” (Somewhere over 70)
  • Another approach is based primarily upon the length of their writings, “The Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) and “The Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).”

In possibly the most pivotal statement in the Bible, Jesus reveals;

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

Jesus makes several things VERY clear in this passage.

Do not think…             How we think about the Law and the Prophets is extremely important.

I have come…              God becoming human is purposeful and intentional.  Emphasis on Jesus’ action.

To abolish the law…    Working against God’s law is NOT Jesus’ purpose.

Or the prophets…        Working against God’s prophets is NOT Jesus’ purpose.

I have come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

The Law God revealed to Moses (Mosaic Law) contains three primary parts.

  1. The moral
  2. The ceremonial
  3. The civil

The only proper response (for everyone, including Jesus) to God’s law is duty and obedience.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…” Galatians 4:4

Jesus’ proclaimed that he would perfectly and completely fill full the Mosaic Law; moral, ceremonial and civil.

Upon the cross Jesus proclaimed success.  He had now brought to perfect completion all of the Mosaic Law.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:28-30

Finished!  This one word, stated in this moment by our Lord, carries more significance than possibly all other words combined.  Of this word C.H. Spurgeon said, “an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop, for that is all that we can call one word…”

It is finished!  The law given to Moses and written on stone, totally fulfilled in Jesus, is now God’s law within us, written on our hearts.  Jeremiah 31:33

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jesus didn’t abolish the Law and Prophets, he moved them from hard copy (stone) to heart copy (internal).

  • “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” Hebrews 9:22 – Filled full in Jesus.
  • “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.” Exodus 12:21 – Filled full in Jesus
  • “but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.” Hebrews 9:7 – Filled full in Jesus
  • “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24 – Filled full in Jesus.
  • “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18 – Filled full in Jesus

Today, receive him (Jesus) and believe in his name!

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12, 13

MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK

Listen – My Story

  • What is one of your favorite Old Testament stories? Why?
  • Do you find the Old Testament to be as important as the New Testament? Why or why not?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. The weekend lesson included, “The only proper response (for everyone, including Jesus) to God’s law is duty and obedience.
    1. Read Ephesians 2:8, 9. Salvation is by grace.
    2. Read Matthew 7:24-27. Wisdom is putting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount into practice.
    3. Are there matters of duty and obedience in response to God’s grace?
    4. How do you respond to people who claim Christ, but have no sense of duty or obedience?
  1. If you receive and believe Jesus (John 1:12, 13), what are your duties and what are you to obey?
    1. Read John 14:15.
    2. Read Matthew 16:24.
    3. Is there duty and obedience required in these passages?

Life – Taking it Home

In what ways will you respond to Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets on your behalf?

Lift – Prayer

  • Please thank God for Jesus who fulfilled ALL the Law and Prophets for you!
  • Please pray for the MCA Emergency Cold Weather Shelter (Tuesday evenings) and consider serving the Lord in this vital community outreach.
  • Please pray for the United States of America in this election/post-election week.

 

Posted on 3rd November 2018 in Sermon on the Mount, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Pastor Mark Burgess’ Notes: That My House Will be Full

That My House Will Be Full and The Great Commission Priorities      

The Parable of the Great Banquet – Luke 14:15-24

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

From Verse 21, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

Poor – Those in spiritual poverty (No adequate witness of the Gospel)

The Crippled – Those whose spiritual life has been crippled (By the events of life, circumstances, or the lack of Biblical teaching)

The Blind – Those who have spiritual blindness (Spiritual yes – but not to the things of God)

The Lame – Those who cannot go forward in their spiritual walk (Spiritual growth has stagnated or stopped)

From Verse 21 again, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

Why do we GO? Because our Savior has given us a Commission to Go!

What is a Commission?

Definition: In the military, a commissioned officer’s official document of appointment.

Definition: An instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people.

Definition: A group of people officially charged with a particular function.

In Matthew 28: 16 – 20 we have our Savior’s commissioning of His disciples:

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Friends, as believers we are called to the same Commission today that Jesus gave His disciples approx. 2000 years ago!  It hasn’t changed.  For some of us we may have neglected this and as one preacher calls it, it has become for us the Great Omission instead.

If you are a believer today, you are in the group of people charged with the greatest message for all humanity.  The greatest privilege – to confess Jesus Christ and proclaim the Gospel Message to others.  To acknowledge and testify to what Jesus Christ has done in your own life to others!  To be on board with the greatest mission on earth! To be engaged in the Great Commission!

Friends, as we consider the privilege of being engaged in His Great Commission we must also consider our Savior’s words regarding those who choose not to proclaim Him. Our Jesus spoke some very strong and sobering words to us regarding if we choose not to recognize, confess and proclaim Him as Savior before others. Matthew 10:33: “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”  Friends, we are really missing out when we choose not to proclaim Christ, when we choose not to confess him, when we choose not to identify as a Christ follower before others, to those who do not believe or have yet to believe.

Speaking of those who proclaim him I so look forward to when people are being water baptized. When they have the opportunity to publicly announce that they are a follower of Jesus Christ. When they proclaim their faith, their testimony, and identify publicly before others as a follower of Jesus Christ! If you’re a Believer and you haven’t been water baptized, I encourage you to do so! A first step in publicly declaring your faith in Jesus Christ to others!

Friends, when we confess our Savior is Jesus Christ and we are willing to identify ourselves with Him before others no matter the outcome, Jesus recognizes us before the Father God: Jesus says in Matthew 10:32: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  Anyone in the house today want to have Jesus confess you before the Father God? Anybody today want Jesus to recognize you as His follower, his disciple before the Father? Anyone today want Jesus to proclaim you as a son or daughter before the Most High God and that you have kinship or inheritance with Him?

In this, the greatest of commissions, our Savior shares 4 steps we are to implement or carry out to engage the Great Commission.  Jesus spells it out for us: Let’s look at these:

  • Go – – Jesus calls us to follow Him. To Go, we must first learn to Follow. The calling of the first disciples in Matthew 4:19:

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” – to fish for men. Jesus says if we follow, He will send us out!

John 12:26 – 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

  • Make Disciples – To Make Disciples means to be “with others.” Let’s talk about that.

Jesus chose to be with people, to be “with them.” With people, with His disciples, with people who were in physical, mental, relational, and spiritual need. Let’s follow His example to do the same. To fulfill the Great Commission calls us to be “with them.” To be aware of those who need Him and “go” to those in need and be “with them.”

3) Baptize – “repent and be baptized” = Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and 3000 people were baptized – Read Acts 2:37-41: 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

  • Teach – Luke 4:18 – 19, Jesus speaks of the priorities of His earthly ministry quoting the Messianic verses of the Prophet Isaiah from Isaiah 61:1 – 2 : We can learn a lot when we draft off our Savior’s priorities for ministry:
  • The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
  • because the Lord has anointed me
  • to proclaim good news to the poor.
  • He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
  • to proclaim freedom for the captives
  • and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
  • 2
  • to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
  • and the day of vengeance of our God,
  • to comfort all who mourn,

Friends, this is our savior’s words quoting from Isaiah. This was His Action Plan. Our Savior’s action plan should be our Action Plan – To Go, Raise up disciples, Baptize, and Teach them.  To take Jesus’ Action Plan to everyone who needs the experience salvation and the power of the Resurrected Christ in their life.

Look at the Order Jesus put in the Great Commission: This is important:

Go

Make Disciples

Baptize

Teach

From Verse 21, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

Poor – Those in spiritual poverty

The Crippled – Those whose spiritual life has been crippled

The Blind – Those who have spiritual blindness

The Lame – Those who cannot go forward in their spiritual walk.

Friends, we have been called to GO! – John 3:16

Posted on 21st October 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Business as Mission Life Group Notes

MCA Church LOVED the ministry of Gea Gort and her insights into Business as Mission.

Following are the Life Group Notes for this week (October 7-14, 2018).

 

Listen – My Story

  • What is your favorite work you have done? Why?
  • What is your dream job or place of service? Why?

Learn – Digging Deeper

Our guest, Gea Gort, quoted Ephesians 3:20, 21 with meaningful work and service in mind.

  • How do you bring God’s ability to do “immeasurably more” into your life of work and service?
  • A wage is not what makes something work or service. Everyone, employed, unemployed, retired or volunteer can walk in Him who is “Able to do immeasurably more.”
  • What ideas or scriptures help you experience the immeasurably more of God?

We were also invited into mediation upon Deuteronomy 8:18. Here we learn it is God who gives the ability to produce wealth.

  • How do you feel when you think of producing wealth? Humble?  Proud? Selfish? Pleasing to God?
  • Are you maximizing the ability God has given to you to produce wealth?
  • Is the wealth you are producing useful to our King and His kingdom?
  • Is the wealth you are producing mostly used for self or for others?
  • How might you become more effective with God’s gift of ability to produce wealth.
  • Is your highest priority in your work and service the mission of God in our world of today?

Life – Taking it Home

What action step will you take this week to connect with God’s immeasurably more and ability to produce wealth?

Lift – Prayer

  • Pray for those in your Life Group who identify an area of their life that is longing for God’s “Immeasurably more.”
  • Pray over each member’s work and service whether paid or unpaid.
  • Pray for and plan to attend the “Bridging the Gap” dynamic leadership seminar, Friday evening 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM and Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM (Lunch is provided).
Posted on 7th October 2018 in Business, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Salt and Light are Useful

We are joining the disciples on the Mount of Beatitudes to be taught by Jesus.

I’m loving the conversations throughout our congregations regarding this exceptionally important revelation from Jesus.

  1. Why so much talk about heaven?
  2. What about abundant life here and now?

The Gospel authors show the laser-like focus of Jesus’ ministry regarding heaven.

  • Seventeen times Jesus teaches about heaven in this one sermon.
  • Four additional times, in this sermon, Jesus speaks of our “heavenly Father.”

Jesus wants it to be very clear – citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is the highest priority.

Disciples of Jesus live all of life as subjects to King Jesus and as citizens of His heavenly kingdom.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

But our citizenship is in heaven.”  Philippians 3:20

God’s abundant life is the life of the kingdom of heaven in Jesus’ disciples here and now, and there and then (heaven).

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

The abundant life, full life, and meaningful life is life as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus’ beatitudes are benchmarks for evaluating our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

There is no doubt, citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is by being “born again” by the grace of God through faith in Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8,9

The greatest place on earth is Jesus’ Church living in every way the Sermon on the Mount.

In today’s text, Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus reveals His citizens are useful.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

It is the beatitudinal Christian who is the salt of the earth.  R. T. Kendall says it beautifully, “Just being a church member or professing to be a Christian does not make you the salt of the earth.  It is when you are broken, pure in heart, hungering for righteousness, full of mercy and persecuted because of righteousness that you qualify to be the salt of the earth.”

You, a beatitudinal Christian, are the salt of the earth and the light of the world and…

  • Are useful
  • With purpose
  • Know your why.

By God’s grace and our commitment to live the values of our King and His heavenly kingdom (Righteousness) we avoid the curse of tasteless salt (no longer good for anything) and light that is covered by a bowl.

By God’s grace and our commitment to live the values of our King and His heavenly kingdom (Righteousness) we are useful salt and light for our King and to the world.

Flavorless salt and covered light are useless to our King and His kingdom.

As a beatitudinal Christian you are called by God out of the salt shaker and out from under the bowl “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Everywhere you go and in everything you do you are useful to the King and His kingdom.  You are there with purpose.  You know your why.

  • I am useful by adding the flavor of the kingdom of heaven.
  • I am useful by radiating the light of the kingdom of heaven.

We don’t isolate or hide our citizenship from people.  We take the King’s salt and light everywhere we go and in everything we do.

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  2 Timothy 2:20, 21

Posted on 1st October 2018 in Sermon on the Mount, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Greatest Place on Earth: A church living the Sermon on the Mount

The greatest place on earth is the kingdom of heaven as seen in the local church living out daily Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  This is truly a fulfillment of the nine “blessed are” sayings of Jesus in Matthew 5.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) begins to give greater detail into His primary message.

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Prior to John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus, the emphasis was, “The kingdom of Israel.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6

Jesus proclaims, “It’s different than you have been thinking.  It’s no longer about an earthly kingdom with borders and thrones, but about God’s “every tribe and every tongue” kingdom. Leadership and governance have been shifted to the King eternal, Jesus.  And of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

Jesus reveals citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is by birth.  As in the natural, I am a United States citizen by birth, so in the spiritual I am born a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:3-7

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

 

Citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is by spiritual birth through trust and belief in the person and ministry of Jesus.

Place your trust and belief in Jesus today and you will be born into the kingdom of heaven.

Life in the kingdom of heaven is the topic of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

As previously noted, Jesus is building his eternal kingdom of heaven right here and now.

In Matthew 16 Jesus introduces the church as a parallel concept with the kingdom of heaven.

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

In this way, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is introducing life as it should be in His church.  The Apostle Paul says it this way, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…”  Philippians 3:20

“So, why church? The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death.… Church is the core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that kingdom complete, but it is a witness to that kingdom.…Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines. … The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.” (Peterson, Practice Resurrection, 12)

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus reveals the glorious life of heaven’s kingdom and invites us, the church, to be a heavenly colony filled with the love, joy, peace, faith, and hope of heaven.

As a colony of heaven:

Matthew 5:16             We do so many good works that the world glorifies our Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:17-20        We know and obey God’s law with our hearts filled with love for both.

Matthew 5:21-26        We know the dangers of anger and we reconcile immediately.

Matthew 5:27-30        We know the value of people in the image of God and we do not lust.

Matthew 5:31-32        We know the priority of marriage and we keep our marriages healthy and do not divorce.

Matthew 5:33-37        Healthy relationships are top priority, so we always keep our word.

Matthew 5:38-42        Healthy relationships are top priority, so we never retaliate.

Matthew 5:43-48        Healthy relationships are top priority, so we love our enemies.

Matthew 6:1-4            We know pride is the great destroyer, so we humbly give alms secretly.

Matthew 6:5-15          We know pride is the great destroyer, so we have a private prayer life.

Matthew 6:16-18        We know pride is the great destroyer, so we have a private fasting discipline.

Matthew 6:19-21        We know earth is temporary and passing away, so we lay up treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:22-23        Knowing earth is temporary and passing away, we keep a pure eye, guarding ourselves from longings for the temporary.

Matthew 6:24             Knowing earth is temporary and passing away, we guard ourselves from the call to serve money and serve only God.

Matthew 6:25-34        Jesus, King of the kingdom, perfectly takes care of everything.  We are not anxious, worried, or fearful.  We seek our King and His kingdom, and He takes care of all our needs.

Matthew 7:1-6            Valuing healthy relationships, we do not become judgmental.

Matthew 7:7-11          Our King loves us and responds to our asking, seeking, and knocking.

Matthew 7:12             Valuing healthy relationships, we treat others the way we want to be treated.

Matthew 7:13-14        The kingdom of heaven is so important to us that we stick to the narrow and difficult path that leads to life.

Matthew 7:15-20        The kingdom of heaven is so important to us that we watch out for those wolves who would come in sheep’s clothing to influence us for destruction.

Matthew 7:21-23        More than the language of the kingdom, we want the heart of the King and so we do the will our Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:24-27        With Jesus as our highest priority, we both hear and put into practice His words.

The greatest place on earth is the kingdom of heaven as seen in the church living out daily

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

MCA LIFE GROUP Homework

Listen – My Story

  • Name one of your favorite places to be on the planet.
  • What do you enjoy there?
  • What happens inside you while you are there?

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Is it possible to become a beatitudinal Christian while isolated from the day to day issues of our brothers and sisters in Christ? 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 4:8;

 

  1. How important is the “body of Christ” in your daily life? Do you live as if you aren’t in a body of believers?  What are the personal benefits you experience by being in the Lord’s church?  1 Corinthians 12

 

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson?
  2. What can you and your life group do THIS WEEK to strengthen, encourage and bless each other.

 

Lift – Prayer

 

  • Pray for “Bridging the Gap” our upcoming training on building bridges to our Muslim neighbors for the cause of Christ. October 19, 20 at MCA Church.
  • Pray for “BAM” our upcoming Business as Mission training. We are asking God to help us launch five businesses in the next five years for the cause of global evangelization.  October 6th, 9 AM to 1 PM.

 

Will you make time in your schedule to attend BAM and Bridging the Gap?  It may help you discover more about your role in the Body of Christ locally and globally.

Posted on 22nd September 2018 in Sermon on the Mount, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Reward in Heaven, Part 2

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is the revelation of the kingdom of heaven and the characteristics of citizens of heaven.

Matthew 4:17             From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, heaven, heavens, and heavenly are mentioned seventy-five times.

Heaven is featured in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount sixteen times and talking about God as “heavenly Father” four times.  This dual emphasis is beautifully seen in the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9,10          “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus goes the extra mile to prepare us for a central theme in life in His heavenly kingdom: reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:12             Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

 

Matthew 5:46             For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

 

Matthew 6:1               For then you will have no reward.

 

Matthew 6:4               And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Matthew 6:6               And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Matthew 6:18             And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Matthew 10:41           The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.

 

Matthew 10:42           And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

 

Luke 6:35                     But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Years later, after Jesus’ resurrection, He appears to the Apostle John and restates the message He launched years before.

Revelation 22:12-13    “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Recompense is the same word Jesus used for reward in His Sermon on the Mount. HELPS Word Studies definition is:

reward (recompense) that appropriately compensates a particular decision (action).

The Apostle Paul took enormous encouragement from Jesus’ promised reward and took his illustration from the early Olympic style Isthmian games.

This word was taken from the Isthmian games where the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed.  https://bible.org/article/doctrine-rewards-judgment-seat-bema-christ

2 Timothy 2:5  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

The victor of a given event who participated according to the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory.  https://bible.org/article/doctrine-rewards-judgment-seat-bema-christ

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Five aspects of the reward in heaven:

Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6:19-21        19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Verbal Appreciation and Approval

1 Corinthians 4:5         Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Extra Special Reward for those who Overcome Significant Trials and Tests

Revelation 2:7             He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Revelation 2:11           11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Revelation 2:17           To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

Significant Responsibilities and Authority

Matthew 24:45-47      45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

Revelation 2:26           26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

Crowns

1 Corinthians 9:25       25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Peter 5:4                  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

James 1:12                  Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

2 Timothy 4:8              Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Revelation 2:10           Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Be mindful and thoughtful to protect your heavenly reward.

Revelation 3:11           I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

Listen – My Story

  • What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
  • What it a favorite recognition, award, or commendation that you have received?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Of the “Five Aspects of the Reward in Heaven,” which is most motivating for you? Talk about the Bible verse listed for that aspect.
  2. Pastor Kent closed with Revelation 3:11. “I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your reward.”
    1. What does Jesus mean, “I am coming soon?”
    2. How do you “hold fast to what you have?”
    3. How might someone seize your reward?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson?
  2. What can you do in your daily life to show your priority is on your reward in heaven?

Lift – Prayer

  • Pray for Bill Burger, Pam, and Michelle as they process life with their beloved Lucy in heaven.
  • Pray for “Bridging the Gap” our upcoming training on building bridges to our Muslim neighbors for the cause of Christ. October 19, 20 at MCA Church.
  • Pray for “BAM” our upcoming Business as Mission training. We are asking God to help us launch five businesses in the next five years for the cause of global evangelization.  October 6th, 9 AM to 1 PM.

How did your invitations to your friends to join your Life Group go?  How may we help you increase friend participation?

Posted on 15th September 2018 in Sermon on the Mount, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post