Archive | January 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen:

From the Pastor’s Pen:

Final thoughts on Mark 12:38-40

Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.  These will receive greater condemnation.”         NKJV

In this passage, Jesus stresses the importance of making sure your motives are right.  You can do the right thing for the wrong reason and end up being punished, instead of blessed.

For example, we can perform Christian duties and services, or give monetary offerings, or take a position of service in the church to please people, instead of pleasing God.  We can marry someone for money or looks, instead of because we believe it to be God’s will, based on the person’s spiritual qualities.  Let us be sure in our choices and actions that our motives are right.

Let us be certain that our choice of clothing or the use of our honorable titles such as Reverend, Doctor, etc. are not being used from a heart filled with pride to promote ourselves.  The Bible warns us against being men-pleasers, rather than God-pleasers ((Eph. 6:6-7, Gal. 1:10, Col. 3:22-23).

Sadly some church members like to pray long public prayers, filled with flowery religious phrases, because they like to be admired by others, not because of the part the prayer plays in the worship service.   Long prayers have no place in public worship.  Public prayer should be specific for the occasion and to the point.  Long prayers belong in the private prayer arena where we get alone with God, being honest with Him, confessing our specific sins to Him, and sharing whatever is on our hearts with Him for as long as we need or want to.

When you hear someone praying a long public prayer, it usually has to do with wanting to be seen or heard and is unruly, not being done decently and in order I Cor. 14:40).

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 12:35-37

Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:‘The Lord said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand,Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”  And the common people heard Him gladly.

NKJV

As He was teaching in the temple, the Lord Jesus Christ had a question for the Scribes. The Scribes taught that, as the Son of David, the Christ would just be a mere man.  Jesus’ question was designed to reveal the truth about Himself as the Christ.  He was no mere man but God Himself in human flesh (John 1:1-3,10,14).  By the declaration of the Holy Scriptures, He is “the Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6), Immanuel, God with us (Mat. 1:23), the great “I Am” who spoke to Abraham and Moses (John 8:58), equal in all ways with God the Father (Phil. 2:6), addressed by the Father as God (Heb. 1:8).

Because Jesus humbled Himself in becoming a man and obeying His Heavenly Father perfectly, even unto the death of the cross, God the Father has exalted Him through the ascension to His own right hand in Heaven and has given Him the absolute rule over all creation (Phil. 2:6-11, Eph. 1:20-22).  One day Jesus will come again in power and great glory and reign over His enemies (Psa. 110:2).  He will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 12:5, 19:15), His dominion shall extend across the entire world, all kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him (Psa. 72:8,11), and every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

Unlike the Jewish religious leaders who were puffed up with pride and jealous of Jesus’ authority, the common people listened to His message with delight.  What about you?  It’s not a question of whether or not you will bow the knee to Jesus and confess Him as Lord, it is just a question of when you will do it.  You can do it now, willingly, in this life, and reap the eternal benefits of salvation, or you can put it off until the next life and suffer the eternal sufferings of the Lake of Fire.  Which will you chose?

 

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 12:28-31

 

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”         NKJV

On this occasion a scribe came to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus essentially tells him that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your being, and the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus’ answer must have been startling to this scribe.  Of all the commandments (613 which are found in the first five books of the Bible), there are none as great as these two commandments?  But in reality, all the commandments of scripture are summed up in these two (Mat. 22:40).
If you really love God with all your being, then you will not want to break the His commandments.  If you really love God totally and completely, then you will not have other gods before Him, or make images that you bow down before, or take His name in vain.  And if you really love your neighbor as yourself, you will not kill him, or steal from him, or lie to him, or covet what belongs to him.  So if we get this principle down of loving God and loving others as ourselves, then obeying the Ten Commandments will come naturally.

Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please.” It is a provocative statement, but it makes sense. If you really love God as you ought to—with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength—then you will naturally do the things the commandments teach.             Greg Laurie

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 12:24

 

Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?                        NKJV

The religious leaders continued to mount their assaults against Jesus. This time the attack came from the Sadducees. Unlike the Pharisees, who believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, including its record of divine miracles, the Sadducees, were the liberal theologians of Jesus’ day, denying the Scriptures’ accounts of divine miracles, including the resurrection.

The Sadducees invented a story about a woman who loses husband after husband in an attempt to stump Jesus with the question, “Whose wife will she be when they all rise in the resurrection?” Jesus answered with a simple but direct question of his own: “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?”

Jesus then explained that people will not be married to one another after the resurrection, and He quoted from Scripture to demonstrate the reality of resurrection. But the more serious issue was that these liberal Jewish leaders had put God in a box, believing that there were some things that He could not do.  They tried to limit the omnipotent God by means of their own limited thinking.

In our world today the spirit of the Sadducees is still alive and well. Liberal scholars continue to deny both the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures, denying the Bible’s record of divine miracles.  Like the Sadducees, they are still in error, knowing neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.  Thankfully, God has given us his inerrant, infallible Word and his Spirit to guide us into truth, and the omnipotent God of the Scriptures proved his love and his power toward us when he raised his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, from the dead.