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5:15 But the free gift is
not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much
more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus
Christ, abounded to many.
one man or one woman make a difference?
Yes they do! They can
make a big difference for good or for evil.
wise woman saved a city
Samuel 20:22 Then the woman
in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba
the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew a trumpet, and
they withdrew from the city, every man to his tent. So Joab returned to
the king at Jerusalem.
woman in her wisdom saved a city.
saved a nation
4:16 “Go, gather all the
Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink
for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so
I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I
guardian Mordecai said that all the events leading up to this point was
so that she could be the deliverer of the Jews who were in captivity
under the Medes and the Persians. She
was willing to risk dying in order to save her people.
And of course, because of her they were saved.
saved a nation
Samuel 17:45 Then David said
to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and
with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the
God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
a shepherd, was willing to use the ability God had given him in caring
for sheep to resist a very big giant in the valley of Elah.
He did what Saul a man of war would not or perhaps could not do.
one man’s disobedience has also made a difference
Adam sinned, he affected all mankind.
By one man’s offense many (or all) died.
We could mention others who had great influence in leading others
into sin. Achan who took
what belonged to the Lord in the battle of Jericho comes to mind.
In Joshua 7, there were 36 men of war plus Achan’s family who
lost their lives because of his covetousness.
Achan’s family may very well have known that treasure had been
hidden in Achan’s tent, but the soldiers who died surely did not know
why they were being defeated. Another
person who comes to mind is Korah who wanted a position in Israel that
belonged to Moses. He and
his family and those who supported his rebellion died in the events
recorded in Numbers 16.
grace of one man
really enjoy the stories of those who stood against family and friends
and popular opinion to be a blessing to those around them.
And of course the best story ends on a cross where the grace of
One Man (the Lord Jesus) has been offered to the many so that sin
doesn’t have to win. In
this life, the majority is usually wrong.
The popular way is generally not God’s way.
What seems right is generally not what is right.
The Lord stood against the mob. The
mob was led by religious people.
All his disciples forsook Him and fled. When
He suffered on that cross, He suffered alone.
Even His Father forsook Him.
But it was all that He might defeat the power of darkness and sin
and offer grace to sinners. Grace
is a gift that we don’t deserve. The
Lord died so that sinners might live.
Lord was a real man and that one man made a difference. In a practical
way, are we going to be that “one man” or “one woman” who makes
a difference in a world that has by and large rejected the true Messiah?
If we are going to make a difference, it won’t be by forcing an
unbelieving world to live like Christians.
It will be by showing unbelievers in this world how to become
Christians. It will be by
proclaiming the grace of God so that sinners can receive the grace that
God offers through His Son. And
that grace is eternal life. Individuals
can be changed and freed from the bondage of sin, but the world is under
the dominion of Satan and will not be changed until the Lord Himself
comes to rule in righteousness.
for the week of November 2, 2014
6:33 But seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you.
we were all busy today. We
were all busy this week. We
have been busy all year. But
did we give the highest priority to being busy with the Lord’s work
and with His desires or did we give the highest priority to “getting
the things done that need to be done?”
have been raised in a competitive capitalistic society that says that if
you want to “get ahead” you need to set goals and work hard and
never give up. If you do
that you are supposed to be successful.
Now I am all for hard work and I am for “success” (whatever
that is), but God’s ways are not our ways according to Isaiah 55:8.
God tells us that if we put Him first, He will put us first.
Maybe we wouldn’t have to work so hard if we tried the formula
that has been given to us.
Worship a Priority
I looked around at our meetings of the church.
I am one who believes that the Lord appreciates it when we put
Him first in the week. We
usually do that in our assembly meetings by “remembering the Lord.”
This is a time when we don’t preach the Gospel (though you
can’t remember the Lord without being reminded of the value of the
cross and of the love of God). We
don’t feed the poor at the meeting.
We don’t usually get a doctrinal understanding of the deep
things of Scripture at this meeting.
We just pause for a while to say thank you.
Is that putting the Lord first?
I think it is because He is the one who has asked us to remember
Him by taking a loaf of bread and a cup of wine and sharing that in a
symbolic meal with other Christians.
The Lord’s dying request was that we do this in remembrance of
Him. So if we love Him
and if this is the desire of His heart, it would seem that we would want
to be involved in something so simple that pleases Him.
However, there seems to be many reasons tor being absent from
this meeting. After all, our
kids need to be playing volleyball, we need to prepare for company, and
we only have Sunday to catch up on the things we let go all week, right?
Urgency of Salvation
know that a proper relationship with the Lord requires us to “repent
and believe the Gospel.” I
don’t believe anyone has ever trusted the Lord casually.
When we find out that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that
the end of the road is eternal destruction without the salvation
provided for us at the cross, most people find that knowing for sure
that they are right with God becomes extremely important.
They begin reading their Bibles and talking to those who can help
them, and they may even go to evangelistic meetings.
They begin to “seek first the kingdom of God.”
Once they put the Lord and their need of salvation first, it
usually isn’t long before they truly trust the Lord who died for them.
I don’t think anyone ever “gets saved” until they put the
Lord and His claims on them first.
Blessing of Right Priorities
know that we who are saved are called to serve in some capacity.
And most of us will, as soon as we get the kids through college,
as soon as we retire, as soon as we take that trip we have been planning
for ages. We really do have
good intentions, but life happens and gets in the way of our good
intentions. I am one of
those people who serve the Lord in what is often called a
“full-time” capacity. And
I find myself letting the Lord’s work get in the way of the Lord’s
work. We get so busy with
our plans that we forget to let the Lord tell us what He wants. Instead
we begin to tell Him what He wants.
the principle is clear. Put
the Lord first in order to be saved.
Put the Lord first once you are saved.
The Lord doesn’t want second place, He wants the preeminent
place. And I intend to make
it my business to do just that—starting tomorrow!
Tonight I have some things to do first.
for the week of November 9, 2014
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which
the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said,
‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
had a choice. She could
believe God who had said she would die if she ate the forbidden fruit or
she could believe Satan when he through the serpent said, “You will
not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes
will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis
3:4).” Satan said that she
could not surely depend on what God said.
God said she could. And
history proves that God was right and that He meant what He said.
are we Going to Believe?
political persuasion will likely determine what news channels and talk
shows seem credible to you. All
of them have some truth, all of them have some lies.
Some of the lies are intentional and some are unintentional but
they still tell their stories from their point of view.
It seems to me that the political system in our country has
proven that most people have no trouble lying when they think it will
benefit them. One of my
friends once described this process by saying, “Half the lies that you
hear aren’t true!:” Yet
many of us choose to believe one set of lies over another because that
set seems to make sense to us. I
think many choose their “Gospel Truth” the same way.
They choose to believe those religious leaders who provide them
gods whose messages they like.
one of the gods that lies to us over and over is a thing called
“science.” I have
watched the way that word has been used in connection with the current
Ebola crisis. The
“science” did not support a 21 day isolation period for one nurse
returning from West Africa. The
“science” may not have supported a 21 day quarantine but common
sense did and so did her supposed “love for her brother.”
But the word science was used as if it was the Gospel truth with
regard to this deadly virus.
is used to convince our university students that there is no God.
Common sense says that there is intelligent design in our
universe. Common sense
forces us to realize that all men have faith, but they do not all have
faith in the Living God who has revealed Himself through creation,
through conscience and through Christ.
But many have faith in the great god called science which changes
its mind about how to treat disease, about how the universe came into
existence and about a multitude of other issues.
But the “intelligent” among us believe science over God.
And they believe science over good old common sense.
am I going to Believe?
the book of Acts, Paul was on a ship that was about to sink.
He had warned the captain not to set sail but he was a preacher.
He was not a sailor. And
what he said was not what the captain and the centurion who was in
charge of Paul the prisoner wanted to hear.
So against Paul’s advice they set sail.
Now in the middle of a terrible storm, the Lord gives Paul a
promise and he is told that lives will not be lost.
Paul says, “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that
it will be just as it was told me (Acts 27:25).”
is my position. I believe
God. I realize that we
believe whomever we want to believe and if Satan is offering you God
like characteristics and temporal pleasure, it could be easy to believe
Him. I don’t fault Eve. I
understand her. God
doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear.
But I am convinced that eternal bliss is better than anything
Satan can offer us down here on this corrupt earth.
I choose to believe God. I
have never been able to see a “down-side” to doing that. I like
God’s “surelys”. I
am not so fond of the “surelys” of Satan that raise questions about
the certainties of God’s promises.
on which we can Depend
believer in God can take heart in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and
mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the
house of the LORD forever.”
like the surely of John 5:24, “Most assuredly (Surely, Surely) I say
to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has
everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from
death into life.
whom are we going to believe?
for the week of November 16, 2014
Fruit and Sorrow!
1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which has
been brought on me, which the LORD has inflicted in the day of His
life is a life of contrasts. It
has hills and valleys. It
has joy and sorrow. We have
joy when a healthy child is born even though pain and sorrow are
involved and we have sorrow when years later that child that has grown
up and lived life and done many things and that has loved friends and
is there Sorrow?
Bible says that sorrow is the result of willful disobedience against
God. Eve had it good in the
Garden but she believed Satan and ate forbidden fruit.
The fruit that was to make her wise and like a god and that was
to give her pleasure, ultimately caused her to bear children in pain and
sorrow. Her husband became a
man of toil who worked ground that brought forth thorns and thistles.
When we see sorrow, we are always reminded of the reality of sin.
Sorrow of Jerusalem
passage has to do with Jerusalem and Jeremiah’s lament or cry of
sorrow over her destruction. Jerusalem
had been a city to be envied by all other cities.
God had placed his name there.
Solomon had a prosperous peaceful reign that was the envy of the
kingdoms of the world. There
was a beautiful temple there. The
people had been blessed by the God that they said they worshipped. But
unfortunately, they ate forbidden fruit and thought that the “grass
was greener” on the other side of the street.
So instead of being faithful to the God of creation who had
become their deliverer from the bondage of Egypt, they began to worship
the gods of the land that they had entered.
Instead of realizing that the God is a jealous God and does not
want the things He has created to be worshipped as god, the people
turned to idols that were for the most part the worship of nature.
They sacrificed to the Queen of Heaven and to Baal’s among
other gods. Because the
nation as a whole turned away from the worship of Jehovah, God turned
away from them. Ultimately,
God became so angry that he had Babylon destroy the city and the temple.
And now this once majestic city is sitting naked and destitute.
Jeremiah now laments, “Is it nothing to you, all you that pass
by?” In other words, he is
saying that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple should make
people realize that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who
blesses those who worship Him, and He takes vengeance on those who turn
their back on Him.
Sorrow of the Cross
the sorrow of the city of Jerusalem makes
the traveler sit up and take notice, what should the sorrows of the
cross do to those of us who are traveling through this life?
The only man who never sinned, the one who had compassion on the
multitudes, who healed lepers, who turned water to wine, the one who
knew that each of us needed to turn from our unbelief to a living faith
in Him, is the one who died on an old rugged cross.
The religious bullies of his day decided that they would show Him
who was boss. But now we get
to pass by the cross in a figurative way as we read about the Lord who
was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).
As we pass by, “is it nothing to us?”
Sorrows of Those eating Forbidden Fruit Today
God would destroy His beloved city Jerusalem and if He would send His
son to a cross to save those of us who deserve to be destroyed, what is
going to happen to those who in pride set themselves up as gods who know
good and evil today? What is
going to happen to those who know the story of the Gospel and still
refuse to bow in humility before the One was willing to bear the
punishment that they deserved? The
consequence of rejecting the Lord caused Jerusalem to be destroyed.
What will be the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit by
not being obedient to the truth of the Gospel?
What will happen to those who believe that God will not or cannot
deal with that pride and unbelief?
eat forbidden fruit when we believe the lies of Satan and turn away from
the worship of the One and Only True God.
What is going to happen to those who know the Truth but who turn
away from it because they think they are themselves gods who know good
and evil? Their sorrows are
going to be eternal and indescribable.
But their sorrows will not change any one’s mind because by
then it will be too late.
for the week of November 22, 2014
the Main Thing, the Main Thing
Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
heard a good sermon this weekend. One
of the seven points had to do with Timothy fulfilling his ministry and
keeping the main thing, the main thing.
I got to thinking, “Just what should the main thing be in our
preaching?” Now as I
remember the answer that this preacher gave, he basically said that the
preaching of the Gospel was the main thing.
With that I agree. He
said sin was the problem and Christ was the solution.
message was designed to get Christians to spread the word and that was
good. But the “how to be
sure you are saved” part of the Gospel was missing.
He preached about the Gospel but he did not preach the Gospel to
his audience. Anyone
who thought that they had a general belief in God could have gone away
satisfied without really realizing that each individual must have a time
in their lives when they trust the Lord in a personal way in order to be
ready to die.
is the Main Thing?
am convinced that the musicians on the stage thought that the main thing
was the music. They had
obviously practiced hard to move the audience in a very emotional way.
But could a person have come to faith through their music?
I don’t think so. But
often music and the kind of music that we present at our preaching
services becomes the main thing. It
preaching on certain sins the main thing?
We certainly need to preach on certain sins which are prevalent
in our society today. But if
we get everyone to agree that those sins are wrong, people will still go
to hell if they don’t turn to the Savior and trust Him to put away the
penalty that their sin deserves. We
can reform the people without providing them the freedom that comes with
being made a new creature in Christ through the regenerating work of the
Holy Spirit. The
Gospel message doesn’t just address some sins, it addresses all the
sins of us all. Without
the whole message of the Gospel which involves the need to be saved from
all of our sins, we have not kept the main thing the main thing.
was the Main thing as far as Paul was concerned?
knew that the time of his departure was at hand or near. He
had said in 2 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed and am
persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until
that Day.” I am convinced
that the day he was referring to was the day of his execution.
can argue that the main thing is to “equip Christians” for the
ministry and we certainly need to do that.
Some think that the main thing is expository preaching.
Others think the main thing is topical teaching that meets
the current day to day needs of Christians.
While all these things are good and while they are all needed,
the main thing to remember is that in any church of any size we have
with us those who have never been brought to a saving faith in the Lord
Jesus. We need to remember
that today is the day of salvation.
We preach these things from time to time to the unsaved but do we
understand as Christians that the main thing is to be concerned with
whether those in our audience are ready to meet God?
Do we love our neighbors enough to put aside what we want to hear
on a Sunday morning so that we can be faithful to those who are not
ready to die, and who may not know that they are not ready?
We need to remember that the unsaved may not have another chance
to accept the Lord as their savior.
It would be a shame to have people come to our meetings and to
send them away without making it clear that we all need to be saved and
we all can be saved by believing in the Lord. Would
they believe that we believe what we say we believe?
How would the Lord evaluate our preaching if people came to
our meetings who needed to be saved and we didn’t tell them that we
knew how to get to heaven?
Main thing became the Main thing at Thanksgiving time for me
remember struggling with these issues before I came to trust the Lord
personally. I thought I
believed but I didn’t know that I was saved (which meant that I had
not believed in or trusted the Lord).
When President Kennedy was assassinated, the main thing became
the main thing for me. I
wanted to know I was ready to meet God if there was any way to know
that. After struggling with
these issues that solemn weekend, I found out that God says that Christ
died for sinners. He says in
John 3:36 that he who believes in the Son (that is he who trusts in the
truth that Christ died for sinners) has everlasting life.
I realized that if God says it, I could depend on it.
thanksgiving weekend the main thing had become the main thing.
When Paul tells Timothy to preach the word in this last epistle
penned just before he was martyred, I cannot help but believe that the
main thing on his mind was how he was saved.
Now he wants Timothy to faithfully preach that word to others. Being
prepared to die is the main thing and knowing that one is going to die
would obviously keep the main thing the main thing.
for the week of November 30, 2014