Sunday, January 30, 2005

Family Sunday

Family Sunday


Key Thought: Faith works by love. Galatians 5:6b

Love is faith in action.

Today we are going to look at

The Story Of Jesus Feeding The Five Thousand

The Harmony Of The Gospels

Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6

This being Family Sunday our children who would normally be in Children’s Church are sitting with us in the main sanctuary this morning. Now remember, this is Father’s House and He loves and has patience with His children. He knows that they can get a bit restless from sitting too long. Don’t let that bother you this morning.

These Family Sundays give us an opportunity to worship as a family and to be directly involved in encouraging our children in big church. We help them to listen as much as their age group can tolerate and we aren’t too concerned if they take all they can stand and then get distracted and move around a little. They are children and this is their Father’s House.

Now if they do become a great distraction to those around you, or pull the visitor’s hair … please help them to curb that sort of thing. But by and large, this is a time to monitor and encourage your young children as you divide your attention to the Word of God.

This morning I will be telling a story and those of you who wish may follow along with me, reading the scripture references from the projection screen.

Now for the story of Jesus Feeding The 5000

The story begins with Jesus and His disciples near the Sea of Galilee.

Matthew 14:12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

This particular morning, Jesus received some bad news. His cousin and friend, John the Baptist, had just been executed by Herod.

Mark 6:31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

Gathering His twelve disciples, Jesus gets on a boat and departs to a grassy mountain side, just a short walk north of the sea of Galilee. Jesus sits there with His disciples hoping to be alone for a while.

Luke 9:11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them …

However, when the people living in the cities around Bethsaida learned where Jesus was, they came out of all of the nearby cities and followed Jesus into the countryside.

Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Forgetting His own need and tiredness, Jesus welcomes the multitude coming to Him and He has compassion on their need and ministers to them, healing those who were sick among them.

Matthew 14:21 The number of those … was about five thousand men, besides women and children

It is estimated that there were about 5000 men gathered there, besides the women and children.

Luke 9:12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."

Now it was getting late in the evening and the disciples became concerned about food and provision for the multitude.

Mark 6:37 But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"

Jesus told His disciples to take care of feeding the people themselves. They answered that it would be too costly and therefore could not be done.

John 6:6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Jesus was only testing them. He already had in His mind what He was going to do.

John 6:9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

About then one of the disciples spoke up and said: “There is a boy here who has two small fish and five small loaves of bread … but that could never be enough to feed this many people.”

Matthew 14:

18 "Bring them here to me," he said.

19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass.

Jesus asked for the fish and loaves and had the people prepare for a miracle. He got them in order and sat them down on the grass in groups.

Luke 9:16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people.

Jesus took the bread and fish, blessed them, broke them and then gave them to His disciples who followed His example and began distributing the food to people in each group who broke off a piece and passed it to the next person who did the same until every person had eaten and was filled.

John 6:12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

When they had all eaten and were full Jesus told the disciples to gather up the remains so that none of the miracle would be wasted.

Mark 6:43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

The disciples gathered up twelve baskets full of bread and fish that were left over.


What do you think they did with all that food?


Today I want us to look at the different people involved in this story and see if we can imagine what was going on from their perspective.

You know, different people sometimes see the same things in different ways depending on what part they are playing in the story.

Four people can see the same football game and not always see the same thing. Especially if they are involved in different aspects of the game. If one of them is a football player, one a coach, one a referee and one a fan. They all see the game differently …

This is called perspective.

Imagine with me if you will what these people in this story were seeing from their individual perspectives. First:

I. From the multitude’s perspective

They were excited

They were following Jesus

They were getting taught and seeing people healed

They were having a great time but were headed toward hunger.

They were excited about their moment but unprepared for their future.

II. From the disciples’ perspective

They were Jesus’ servants

They were tired and hungry themselves

They were concerned for the multitudes

They no doubt felt responsible to do something

But what could they do?

Conscious of the need but not able to meet it.

III. From the little boy’s perspective

He was just following the crowd

Enjoying the excitement

Was a part of them but not completely like them in that:

He was prepared for his future

His mother prepared him without even knowing

He was prepared alright,

But didn’t have a clue what he was prepared for

Fully prepared and not fully aware of the future.

He thought he was prepared to eat, and eat he did, but think about the left overs he brought back home to Mama.

He sowed -- He reaped -- more than 100 fold I imagine.

It’s often not what you see but what you may not see that’s most important.

IV. From Jesus’ own personal perspective --- He was:

Tired - Mentally; Physically; Spiritually; Emotionally - but:

Jesus viewed life from heaven’s perspective.

This motivated Jesus to be:

Caring and committed

Compassionate and determined

Not just in-love, but engaged as well

Jesus was moved with compassion and acted in faith.

V. Conclusion

This bible story reminds us that no matter whether we are:

Excited about our moment but unprepared for our future;

Conscious of a need but unable to meet it;

Perhaps prepared but as yet unaware of our future;

Jesus Is The One Who Sees From Heaven’s Perspective

Loves us

Has a plan for us

May test us

Even use us and our stuff for His purposes

But will always have it in His plans to:

Bless me

Feed me and

Heal me

We also need to view life from heaven’s perspective.

God is a good and compassionate Father Who loves you and wants to bless you, prosper you and make you whole. He will do this through Jesus.

Give Him the Lordship of your life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Introduction - The Book Of James

Introduction - The Book Of James


Did any of you get the chance yet to read the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-32. As you may recall we were going to read it this week in hopes of answering the question I posed Sunday:

* Whose Is The House? Who owns the church?

> Comparing the father’s feelings with those of the elder son;

> Considering who these characters represented in our lives today.

Tonight I want to begin a study of the book of James. This particular book holds valuable keys for the New Testament Christian who is seeking to take the Word of God and make practical application of its truths in everyday situations of life.

One of the many key scriptures we find in James is:

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The whole book of James gives concrete instructions on how to live the Christian life. This book focuses on the works side of the grace message. Although not formally theological but rather practical in its presentation, James nonetheless quotes from 22 books in the Old Testament and makes 15 allusions to the teachings of Christ.

There is no real doubt as to the authorship of this book. Out of the men called James in the bible, only two are authoritative possibilities. One of those, James the son of Zebedee who was the brother of John, was martyred between AD 41 & AD 44 which date is a bit too early for this writing.

This leaves only James the half brother of Jesus, one of the sons of Mary and Joseph who we know became the Senior or Presiding Pastor of the church in Jerusalem.

The manner and demeanor agrees with our glimpse of James in Acts 15 at the Jerusalem council around AD 49, in which James gave authoritative practical instruction to all those who were being converted to Christianity from around the known world.

Many scholars place the writing of James at between AD 45 & AD 50. It seems reasonable that it would have been written somewhere prior to AD 49 since there is no mention of the Jerusalem Council or it’s conclusions on instructions for living a Christian life.

At one point early on, the New Testament was broken down into three distinguishable categories. The first included the Gospels and Acts. The second contained the writings of Paul and the third was a collection of seven books, letters if you will, which were tagged as universal or general epistles.

These seven general epistles, also called by the name Catholic Epistles, (meaning general or universal), were thus designated due to their appeal to the general population of Christianity and not relegated to one single location or people.

It is in this general or universal sense that we see James begin his writing of the book we embrace as the inspired word of Almighty God.

James 1 (NKJV)

1 ¶ James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

Note: Recently while in Israel I was afforded the rare opportunity to interact with very distinguished Jewish authors, scholars and learned professors. I spent a few days in close conversation with one such man named Joseph Ginat. Among other noted things associated with his life, the authorship of near 20 books listed online at Borders Books web site, (which I just found out from a web search last night), the fact that he was an advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel on Israeli-Arab affairs, is a decorated war hero and one of the archeologist who is credited with artifact finds in caves surrounding Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were found, … Professor Ginat is a Levite.

In one conversation he told me that the lost 10 tribes of Israel are actually lost. No one knows where or who they are or what actually happened to them. He further informed me that the tribe of Levi, the tribe of Judah and a portion of the tribe of Benjamin are the only ones known to be collectively existent.

Interesting to me, although I do not know the source nor the process, Joseph told me that recently there had been a DNA test completed to establish the identity of the tribe of Levi, separating, as I understand it, the sons of Aaron from the others. He, supposing to be a member of that tribe, participated as did many others.

The results were astounding. He said that not one mistake had been made in the lineage. He reported to me that the line of priesthood had been established and was without contradiction. This coming from a man who is a stickler for detail and proof brought me to a renewed understanding that God is setting up this world for the rebuilding of the temple, the re-establishing of the priesthood, the close of this age and the return of Messiah.

We are living in the book of Revelation as foretold by the prophets.

At any rate:

James begins his epistle addressing these words to the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad … who are still scattered.

What is his message:

Chapter one begins with the general subject of:

I. Temptations and Trials

James 1

2 ¶ My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

A. Count It All Joy? Yes --- because:

1. There is a process, a procedure and a predictable outcome

2. Evidently Patience is a worthy prize to secure even at the expense of trial.

B. Count it all joy When You Fall Into

1. Not fall out of right standing

2. Not enter into

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

C. Count it all joy when you fall into Various Trials

1. Not fall into sin

2. Not fail to follow God

3. Encounter Temptations To Waiver In Faith

II. Knowing

A. The process, the procedure and the predictable outcome

B. We take a test, we pass the test, we get the prize

C. What is the prize? - Patience

D. Who are these enemies of patience? Alternative Outcomes:

1. Cowardice

2. Despondency

3. Anger

4. Revenge

D. What is the prize for passing the test when tempted to quit believing God, His will or ability to perform His promises?

1. Again, the prize is patience

2. We have such need of patience

Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

3. Jesus said:

Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

E. Evidently patience is a key to faith

Hebrews 6:12 That ye be … followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

F. Patience

This is taken from the Strong’s Concordance

Patience in James 1:3

hupomone hoop-om-on-ay’

AV-patience 29, enduring 1, patient continuance 1, patient waiting 1; 32

1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance

1a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

1b) patiently, and steadfastly

2) a patient, steadfast waiting for

3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

III. James attempts to get believers to give God time and space to be God.

A. Don’t allow trials move you to:

1. Cowardice

2. Despondency

3. Anger

4. Revenge

B. Don’t Worry

C. Be Patient In Trusting God

D. And

Verse 4 let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

IV. The Apostle Paul Agrees

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

There is a process, a procedure and a predictable outcome to faith.

V. Next Time: James 1

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

A. Wisdom in how to be joyful and patient in the midst of trials

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The House Of God

The House Of God


Where a person goes to church often reveals why they go to church.

Why a person goes to church often determines where they go to church.

Where do you go to church?


The bible says:

God sets the solitary in families. Psalms 68:6

God sets us in the body as it pleases Him. 1 Corinthians 12:18

Have you allowed God to set you in a church family as it pleases Him?

This morning as you turn to The Book of Mark, I have two questions about The House Of God. While you find Mark, let me read our:

Key Scriptures: 1 Timothy 3

14 ¶ These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;

15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Paul talked about The House of God, as being the church of the living God.

This morning I will be referring to not just any church, but a particular church. The church you are a part of.

Whether you are a member here or somewhere else, a pastor, deacon, lay minister or church member viewing this live or archived via the internet, let me talk to you for a moment about the church you belong to, the House of God, --- Your Father’s House.

The two questions I have today are simple questions which I hope to answer from the scriptures.

The first question we will not spend much time on. The answer is evident. However, the point it makes is a very important one. The first question is:

Whose Is The House?

The second question which we will look in greater detail is this:

Who’s In The House?

I. Whose Is The House

To answer this question I am going to ask for your help. May I ask you to do some reading this week.

I’m asking you to take some personal time and read the story of the Prodigal Son as found in the book of Luke. Specifically Luke 15:11-32

Reading Assignment: Luke 15:11-32

1. Compare the older brother’s feelings to those of the father.

2. Who do these characters represent in our lives today?

Of course the answer to the question: Whose Is The House is simple: The Church Is ‘The Father’s House’ - Not The Brother’s House

Because it is the Father’s house, all of His children are welcome and He is glad when any child comes home, especially the wayward ones.

Luke 15:7 "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

By far the largest part of the family of God in America cannot be found in the House of God, worshipping with the family on Sundays.

God forbid that we turn one away or make one feel unwelcome, unwanted or unloved.

Now for the second question:

II. Who’s In The House

The story of the prodigal son gives us such enlightenment as to how God feels about His children.

However, it’s not only a question of Whose Is The House, but also a question of Who’s In The House.

Have you found:

Mark 2 KJV

1 ¶ And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

From this passage we can clearly see that things changed when Jesus came into the house.

In fact, there are 12 specific things we see happening as a direct result of Him being in the house.

Lets look at them for a moment:

III. 12 Indications That Jesus Is In The House

A. When Jesus Is In The House

1. The House Gets Full

2. The Word Is Being Proclaimed

3. Believers Are Bringing Friends Who Have Needs

4. People Are Doing Whatever It Takes To Get Close To Jesus

5. There’s Faith In Action

* Faith For Yourself

* Faith For Others

6. Sins Are Forgiven (People Are Getting Right With God)

7. Religious Spirits Get Stirred Up

8. The Prophetic Is In Operation

* Acts 5 Peter with Ananias and Sapphira

9. There’s Healing In The House

10. Believers Are Continually Amazed

11. God Gets All The Credit - Glory & Praise

12. Minds And Lives Are Changed

B. In Other Words

1. There’s people in the house

2. There’s preaching in the house

3. There’s hope in the house

4. There’s help in the house

5. There’s faith in the house

6. There’s forgiveness in the house

7. There’s contention in the house

8. There’s prophecy in the house

9. There’s healing in the house

10. There’s awe in the house

11. There’s praise in the house

12. There’s revelation in the house

IV. Conclusion

A. We must insure that we never allow the church God places us in to be anything less than Our Father’s House

B. We must do whatever it takes to make sure that “Jesus is in the House”

C. How can we do this?

Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

D. Lets make church all about Jesus

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Following On

Following On


Key Scripture: 1 John 2:3 ¶ Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

Life offers each of us so many wonderful opportunities. Few people take real advantage of them.

Recently I decided to take advantage of one, and as a result:

Over the past nearly two weeks I have been traveling once again in and around the nation of Israel, meeting with some VIPs.

This was my 5th trip to the Holy Land.

Even though this was not primarily a religiously oriented trip, nonetheless in between other scheduled appointments:

Once again I visited:

* the town of Bethlehem and I saw where Jesus was born.

* the Temple Mount and I saw where Jesus was presented to the priests according to the law, as a first born Son

* the town of Nazareth and I saw where Jesus was raised to manhood by His mother Mary and her husband Joseph

* the city of Cana and I saw where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine

* the Jordan River and I saw where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist

* the Judean desert and I saw where Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights and was tempted of the devil who could not win

* Capernaum and I saw where Jesus called His disciples to be with Him and to send them out to preach

* the Sea of Galilee and I saw where Jesus walked on the waters, calmed the storms and commanded fishes into the nets

* the Mount of Be-Attitudes and I saw where Jesus preached to the multitudes and fed the five thousand

* the towns of Caesarea Philippi and I saw where Jesus told His disciples Who He really was

* the Mount of Transfiguration and I saw where Jesus was glorified as He met and talked with Moses and Elijah

* the ruins of the city of Bethsaida and I saw where Jesus performed many of His miracles and healings

* the coast of Magdala and I saw where Jesus cast seven devils out of one woman named Mary

* the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem and I saw where Jesus healed a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years

* the city of Bethany and I saw where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and later made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem to the sound of children crying Hosanna to the King of Israel

* the upper room and I saw where Jesus ate the last supper with His disciples

* the Garden of Gethsemane and I saw where Jesus prayed in agony until He sweat great drops of blood

* the place of Jesus’ trial in Jerusalem and I saw where He was denied by Peter, beaten by the Roman soldiers and was condemned to die on a wooden cross

* the place called the place of the skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha, Mount Calvary, and I saw where Jesus was crucified for my sins and the sins of the whole world

* the Tomb and I saw where they laid the dead body of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ - but death could not hold Him!

* the Garden and I saw where Jesus spoke with Mary after His resurrection from the dead on the third day

* the Galilee and I saw where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection

* the Mount of Olives and I saw where Jesus ascended into heaven with the promise to come again in like manner

On this trip, no one I saw or spoke to, whether Jew, Christian or Arab contended that these things did not happen just the way they are written in the bible.

Different from so many people I meet in America, all of those who I spoke with who live in the Holy Land of Israel know quite a lot about this man called Jesus.

Many of them, like me, have visited these sites & heard these stories.

However, it is clear that a person can see and hear, even believe and repeat things about Jesus without it ever affecting them personally here on earth or eternally in the afterlife.

In order for Jesus to save our souls, change our lives and secure us eternally, we Christians believe that:

We must know Him and not just know about Him.

I. That I May Know Him (Not Just Know About Him)

A. Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

B. How Did Paul Get To Know Christ? (He became serious in his pursuit and made it a priority of life)

C. Philippians 3

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9 ¶ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Basically the Apostle Paul says that he did this so that “I might know Him” (verse 10)

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

II. Following On To Know

Hosea 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD …

The prophet of old hungered for the people to know the God of their fathers in an intimate and personal way.

Can we know if we know Him or not? Yes, the bible says we can.

III. How Can We Know That We Know Him?

1 John 2

3 ¶ Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

A. What are His commandments? Matthew 22 sums them up:

1. Love God more than we do ourselves.

2. Love others as much as we do ourselves.

B. On these two foundations hang all of the Law and the Prophets.

C. Christianity is a belief that demands action.

IV. Conclusion:

Jesus wants all of us to follow on to know Him

He wants us to make knowing Him a priority in our lives

Not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him

A. There is one of three possible places to stand in this pursuit

1. Investigator

* One who hears or studies to know about Jesus

* to know who He was and what He said and what He did

2. Spectator

* One who is closer to Him, within arms reach or ear shot

* to hear what He says and see what He does

3. Participator

* One who gets involved in what Jesus is doing

* to abide in Him and walk just as He walked

B. Wherever we are, we must Follow On!