Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s message from J and L Ministries. We have been studying the importance of sharing the Gospel with others for the past couple weeks and there is much more for us to learn, but I felt led to go another direction this morning. I am in hopes that we can pick up where we left off next Sunday, God willing.
Throughout the week, I have had many discussions with believers and non-believers and we will leave it at that, about their relationships with Christ. One of the sites I am blessed to be with called me on something that I added in a prayer that has been heavy on my heart. Friends, anyone can say that they are a believer of Jesus Christ. We can wear t-Shirts with scriptures on them. We can sing songs praising God. We can read and know the Bible from cover to cover, and that will not save you. Satan knows scripture. We can even be deacons or pastors of a church. That does not make us saved. I have had conversations with some who don’t even know why they are saved. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? There are so many out there, and when you have the compassion to lead others to salvation and you hear testimonies of some who claim to be saved, you will be amazed.
Most of you know that I am on many Christian sites, posting prayers each morning and share the sermons I write. There are some of these sites that post stuff that is more of the world than Facebook. That should not be. When we are saved, we are a new creation. The old man or woman is gone. The things that we did that were sin should not be what we desire any more. Jesus living in us should be what others see. The love and compassion for others should be at the top of our list each day. The filthy talk should be gone. The actions that hurt others should be gone. The garbage of some of the soap operas that people are so addicted to should be a thing of the past. Our whole way of thinking, talking and our actions should be totally new.
Please turn to the book of Colossians, chapter 1. For those who have been with us for a while know that the book of Colossians is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Apostle Paul wrote the church of Colosse. I don’t have time to go through the whole book, but I want us to look at some of the issues Paul addresses to them. I think we can find many of these same things hindering the churches here in America today. Amen? Let’s start in verse 9.
Colossians 1:9-10 MKJV For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, (10) that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God,
Church, I find this to be very satisfying and as a guide for all of us. Apostle Paul said that He prayed without ceasing for this church and… that they be filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding. To me that speaks of a heart cry that Paul had. Do we pray for the church? Do we pray for other brothers and sisters? I hope so. I know that Leanna and I have many praying for us and I am so thankful to God to have those kinds of friends.
Paul prayed that they be filled with God’s will in ALL, not some of His Wisdom and Spiritual understanding. Notice he didn’t say man’s understanding. God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. They are so much better, but we need to come to the place in our life where we can understand that and believe in faith on these things. Praise God!!!
Verse 10, we see that Paul prayed that the church would be walking worthy of the Lord to all - pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God. My friends, as I go about my daily routine, I don’t see the fruit in many claiming to be Christ like. I hear many of those who claim to be Christ-like using His name in vain. I see them involved in games on-line that I would never dream of being part of. I see them saying hateful things to others, including their children. How is that being Christ-like? How is that staying away from worldly things? Now, I am not faultless, I have my issues, but I try to correct those things when I smarten up to realize that Jesus is watching me at every moment and I do want to please Him. The back-stabbing and back biting? You see and hear it all over the place.
I mention every week that believers need to be in God’s Word every day and in prayer. All human beings who have accepted that there is a God, and that the Bible is His revelation to man, need to seriously apply themselves to finding out its basic message. Many of those calling themselves Christians seem to do a poor job at this. For many, a few verses they may hear on Sundays, a Bible somewhere in the home that is never opened. They may remember a handful of Bible stories. I want you to all think about this. It’s no wonder that with such a laid back attitude to God's mighty Word of truth, there’s so much confusion and uncertainty in the lives and minds of so many. I have witnessed ones that, because they go to church rarely, and own a pew or two, think that they are mighty Christians. Those things are works. Works will not save any of us. We cannot earn our way to Heaven. We cannot buy our way into Heaven. What does the Bible say that one must do to be saved? You don’t have to turn to all these verses, but please, please write them down and when the enemy tries to tell you otherwise, rebuke him with God’s Word. Amen?
John 10:1-18 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. (4) And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (5) And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (6) This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. (7) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (12) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (13) The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Oh my friends, when we can get a full understanding of what Jesus was saying here, it will change your lives forever. I also would like to mention, and some of you have heard me tell this before....I have raised sheep with my parents. We had in excess of 200 breeding ewes. For those who are not familiar with sheep, ewes are female sheep. Rams are males. Because of the two breeds we raised, we could have two lamb crops a year. In other words, each ewe could give birth twice a year and we would hope for twins or triplets each time. So, when I say 200 breeding ewes, that meant that there were many more sheep on the farm of many different age groups. What I am trying to say is that I know what sheep are like and I know how to be a shepherd, so I can relate to what Jesus was saying here, even if I didn’t have an understanding of the Bible. The ones that were there when Jesus said these things didn’t understand. Let’s look what He said next.
John 10:25-38 KJV Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (30) I and my Father are one. (31) Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (33) The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (34) Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (35) If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; (36) Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (37) If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. (38) But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Praise the Lord!!
I hear so many who when asked if they are saved say, “Well yes Brother Jim, I was baptized when I was 3.” Oh, really? So you gave your heart to the Lord when you were 3 knowing who Jesus was and put your faith in Him? I repeated a prayer after someone when I was 16 or 17 and I went about life like I always did. I know I wasn’t saved; there was no fruit at that time in my life.
Please turn to Mathew chapter 3. A 3-year old knew how to repent?
Matthew 3:1-3 KJV In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, (2) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (3) For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
For those taking notes, here are a few scriptures.
Jesus said in Luke 13:3 I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. The apostles listening to Jesus in Mark 6:12 And they went out and proclaimed that men should repent. Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Peter said in the temple Act 3:19 Therefore repent and convert so that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
I find there are those with little Christian background who decide to try to figure out the Bible's message, but find that everyone they approach tries to offer them a package deal of doctrines and human philosophies which do not fundamentally reflect the words of the Bible. Dear friends, it is all about an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The basic message of Scripture has a beauty and strength that only increases after being viewed and proven from many different angles. Grasping the real truth of the Gospel as taught in the Bible's pages will affect every part of our lives, leading men and women the world over to properly give glory to God as He intended, both now and for eternity. Glory to God.
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
To achieve this, be sure to pray for God's help in understanding the Word before you read the Bible. Catch and understand this next verse.
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Praise Jesus!!
My wife and I are so determined to feed the inner man that dwells within, and also to learn mentally, that we play CD's every night when we go to bed.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
I believe that even when our minds are at rest, or we are asleep, that the Word of God, which is Spirit, feeds the Spirit within. I know for me, because of playing these CD's, scripture seems to come to me much faster. I can speak God’s Word out against the attacks the enemy throws my way. I have scripture memorized when I feel led to pray for those who are hurting.
Acts 17:30, "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
All people everywhere, and that includes you and me, are commanded by God to repent. Repent of what? Repent of our sins. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves; and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Repent of not fully serving and following all that God says. All people everywhere, and that includes you and me, are commanded by God to repent. God is pleading with us to repent. He greatly desires that we turn to him. He tells us in 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God wants us to repent so we can be saved. He is patiently waiting on us. But eventually our time will run out. The longer we put off repentance, the harder our heart gets.
Friends, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. This world gets crazier every day. I don’t wish this, but look at the bombing in Boston, Newtown and Colorado shootings, there are drunk and drugged up drivers running our streets. What about earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and our health? Anything could happen from now till the next 12 hours. Look at what happened in California with that young man who could not find a girlfriend. We are in a very trying time in the world.
Repentance is not just being sorry. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "For Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." If one is only sorry he got caught, then this will not lead to repentance. Godly sorrow helps bring on repentance. Repentance is not sorrow for sin, but one cannot repent without being sorry he has sinned. “Let the wicked forsake his way…let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). In repentance, one must first understand he has sinned, feel sorrow for the sin, and then stop and turn away from that sin. Repentance is a change of heart and a change of mind. We must make up our mind to stop living life our way and start living it God’s way. It is making up our mind that henceforth we are going to serve God with all our might and do everything He says.
Matthew 22:37, Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
In other words, we must do it with all of our being. Paul says, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1-2). To show our repentance we are to “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Why should we repent of sins? “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Spiritual death is separation from God in eternity. Unless one repents he cannot go to Heaven, but will eternally suffer the torments of Hell. We must give up our sin and “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12). “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Repentance is a change of heart, which results in a change of actions for the better. Without repentance we cannot receive forgiveness and be saved. Where we spend eternity, in Heaven or Hell, is determined by our repentance. I love this verse. All of Heaven is anxious for us to repent. Jesus says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing the goodness of God leads you to repentance." God has been so good to us, and this should cause us to want to please Him in every way. God, because of His love for us, has done so much for us, and because of this we read in 1 John 4:19, "We love Him, because He first loved us." This should cause us to want to repent and do all the things that He has asked us to do, otherwise we do not love God. Jesus said in John 14:24, He who does not love Me, does not keep my words." 1 John 2:4 says, "He who says 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Do you know and love Christ? If you do, you will want to do everything that He says. In John 14:15 Jesus says, If you love Me keep My commandments.
My heart is breaking because friends, you know there are ones close to us who have wicked hearts. Let's not be hypocrites, you know them. They are good people, but they haven't turned from their sin. For those who may be reading this online, they maybe ones that sit next to you in church. Again, there are so many churches right here in our community not teaching the whole Bible. I am not trying to badmouth these churches, but isn't it our responsibility to share the gospel? To share the truth? I am not saying that a genuine Christian isn't going to sin. I sin. You sin. 1John 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
2John 1:8 Look to yourselves, so that we may not lose those things which we worked out, but that we may receive a full reward.
2John 1:9 Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.
I love Mathew chapter 7. To me it says it all, but in this verse Jesus tells how to get to Heaven. Matthew 7:14 KJV Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Does everyone truly understand what Jesus is saying here? If you are a genuine Christian, a child of God, you will walk in the way of righteousness as a style of life. And if you step off that path of righteousness, the Father will come for you, discipline you and put you back on the path. Living like the world on some of these sites is not the path that God has chosen for you. There are many who have professed to have gone through the narrow gate and yet they live in the broad way like everyone else of this world.
Matthew 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Look at your life, how you talk, walk, dress, treat others, passions, desires.
What kind of fruits are showing in your life? Is Jesus in there somewhere, or is He something you do on Sundays and Bible study nights? He should be the center of each of our lives. What is the fruit in your life? Do you walk like the world, talk like the world, watch the things on TV of the world, dress like the world? Do you experience the same joy of the world? Is God someone that you think of periodically? Here is one that runs wild in this area. The dirty ugly spirit of religion. The Pharisees in this area are terrible. And yes, I know all about that spirit, because I was like that. I would have been one of the ones that Jesus continually rebuked.
Matthew 7:17-21 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Church, I so appreciate you being here today, or reading this online. I want to offer prayer for anyone that needs it today. I pray that when you get home, or have some alone time that you can look at the scriptures used in this message and then pray that the Holy Spirit shows you things that need to be changed so that the light of Jesus shines through you. There were so many things I would have liked to share.
Good morning friends and family. What a glorious day the Lord has made. Amen? I am excited today to start part two of sharing the Gospel, because that's where my compassion is. For some time, my prayer has been that God would lead me to those who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Any of you had that same prayer? It should be each and every one of our prayers, and I hope by the time we are done, all of you might have the same compassion. Amen?
Timothy 2:1-5 KJV I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
2 Peter 3:1-12 KJV This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: (2) That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: (3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (8) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
One thing I could never understand is why those who have experienced the saving grace of our Lord Jesus, why they wouldn’t want to share what He has done for them with everyone they know. Now I know the enemy (Satan) will put doubt in our minds. Satan will put fear in your minds and his voice will tell you these things: “Your brother or sister isn’t going to listen to what you have to say about Jesus”, “Your parents will disown you if you bring up God”, “Your friends will laugh at you if you even mention anything about Christ”. Hmmm, sound familiar? It should, because that's how that slimy devil works.
Ask almost any Christian, and they will share the same story. I've been there. Until the past couple of years, I've had many times that I felt an urgency to pray with people and that fear would set in. Sometimes after much prodding, I would ask if that person would mind if I could pray for them and the answer was always yes. As I said, that crooked legged devil will throw distractions. What finally helped me with this is, If God put someone on your heart to pray for, why then should we have fear? Make sense? God did not give us fear. "Well Brother Jim, if God created me, where did all the fear that I have bottled up come from?" Glad you thought to ask that. Let’s let the Bible tell us.
Please turn to 2nd Corinthians 11:2-4 . Apostle Paul talks about the deceptive power of the enemy. One thing I'd like to mention before we read these verses is this. For those who have been following J and L Ministries for a while have heard me say this and have done this with us. Hold your Bible up. Do we all believe that every word of this Bible is from God? Do we all believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever? He does not change? He's not a respecter of persons? So, if what He said during the time Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church of Corinth, it goes for us today? Praise God.
2 Corinthians 11:2-4 KJV (2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Friends, these verses need to be taken to heart. Because I am on so many Christian sites and also post daily prayers on some secular sites, I see much of what people post about the Bible and what their thoughts are. I tell you there are some deranged beliefs. One that I just saw as I was writing this is that there's proof that Jesus wasn't crucified on a cross. Come on, the proof is in the Bible. He was raised from the dead on the third day. That’s proof enough for me. How about you? All these new religions and beliefs. The sad thing is that many are going to perish because they can’t decipher the truth, because they don’t know what God’s word says, because their Bible sits on a shelf collecting dust.
What Paul says in these verses is about the deceptive power of the enemy. Satan is the father of lies and will do whatever he can to keep us from walking in the powerful life of Christ. Amen? One of the weapons he uses against us is fear. When we're driven by a spirit of fear, we don’t act out with power, love and a sound mind.
Please turn to 2nd Timothy 1 7-10 Here we will see fear is not of God.
2 Timothy 1:7-10 KJV For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Oops, stop. Pause. Hit the brakes. Church, read verse 7 again? Soooooo, if fear didn’t come from God, where did it come from? That’s right, Satan. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. When you or I are about to witness to someone, there he will be. Your heart might start to race. Doubt will set in. Distractions will come. Boyz will the distractions come. The enemy doesn’t want you to share the Gospel with a lost soul. Church, you can get through this. I say you can get through this. Praise God. We can rebuke that crooked legged, slime ball with God’s word. Let’s continue with verse 8.
(8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Wow church, as one of my favorite pastors says, “That speaks volumes”.
Brothers and Sisters, fear causes us to trade power for an overwhelming, pervasive feeling of powerlessness. When we start thinking that we’re at the mercy of our past and our circumstances, we discount the power that is ours through the Holy Spirit. Fear can talk us into trading love for lust because fear makes us decide that we're not going to risk our hearts again. Love which enables us to hear, believe, hope and endure all things, is the incentive to all obedience. Where fear keeps us from loving, love is the driving force behind everything else in life.
Some of you may have dealt with fear all of your lives. It may have been a major stronghold as a child. The enemy will try to use that fear to convince you that you will never be anything different. That slimy devil will put thoughts in your head that you will never amount to nothing. Maybe that's what you heard from others all your life. The enemy will try to convince you that God can’t change you. That He isn’t real. Am I speaking to anyone today? Is the Holy Ghost tugging at your heart? I want to tell you that scripture says differently. God’s Word says just the opposite of what the enemy has lied about to any of you here or reading this later.
Friends, listen up. Jesus came to save the world. God created you and knew you before you were in your mama’s womb. He has a perfect plan for you.
God’s Word says that Jesus came to heal the sick. He came for those who desperately need him. He came to set the captives free. Is there anyone here with burdens today, any sick, any who have not been set free? I tell you that when you can really see that this is what the Bible says, you will begin to believe it.
Oh friends, please get what this scripture is saying. Please turn to 1st Corinthians 2: 9-16.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 LITV (9) according as it has been written, "Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard," nor has it risen up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him. Isa. 64:4 (10) But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (11) For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. (12) But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. (13) Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. (14) But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. (16) For "who has known the mind of the Lord?" "Who will teach Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. Isa. 40:13
Friends, I can see a couple of reasons why the lost don’t want to hear the Gospel. First, we know that the Bible says that to those who perish the Gospel to them is like foolishness. I also think because of what so many churches here in America have been doing, there is a bad taste in many people’s mouths. I don’t think I need to point any fingers, as the true believer knows what is scriptural and what is not. People are looking for something that feels good. People want a message that doesn’t put them down. Many are after rituals and tradition, because that's what they know. What happened to a relationship with Christ? As the late David Wilkerson cried out, “Where is the anguish? Where are the Sunday school teachers that weep over the kids that are dying and going to hell?” Think about that quote for a minute. I mean, really let it sink in. This is why I praise God that our grandson is here almost every Sunday. I know that he, even at a tender age, is hearing the truth. From there, he has to make the right choices from the seeds sown. Praise God!!
What about your loved ones and best friends? Are you concerned for their eternal well-being? Do you care whether they spend eternity in heaven or hell? Do you pray for them daily? I want us to see what Apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy chapter 2. Again we're going to see the heart of God wanting all men to be saved, but notice what He said about praying for all people, and that means even for the elected officials.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 KJV I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Church, I want to look at some verses that shows that God listens to our prayers. Please turn to Psalms 116: 1. I've mentioned in many messages that what we pray for should line up with God’s Word. Amen? We know because we've read that He wishes no man or woman perishes, yes? So is it His will that we pray and He will hear our prayers for salvation for our parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters and friends? Even those people we don’t know that we might have just met this very second and pray for their lost souls? Let’s read King David’s prayer.
Psalms 116:1-4 KJV I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. (2) Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. (3) The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. (4) Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Praise God!! Now let’s go to Mark, chapter 2. I could do a whole study on this passage we're about to read, and we may at some point.
Mark 2:2-12 KJV 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.
There is much to say about this passage, but the one thing I want you to notice, maybe 2 things, is this. Nothing was said about the man with Palsy’s faith. Verse 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." I'm sure this sick man was believing in faith too, but we don’t read that. Praise Jesus for being so compassionate.
I want to close with one last passage and we will continue this next week, God willing. Next week, I want to go into more detail about how we can see our loved ones saved. Anyone have loved ones that need Jesus that don’t know Him? I'm sure that everyone here, listening, or reading this can name at least one.
Please turn to Mark 9:17 and we will read through to 29. I want everyone to take notice of what Jesus says to His disciples on this issue.
Mark 9:17-29 KJV And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; (18) And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. (19) He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. (20) And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. (21) And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. (22) And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. (23) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (25) When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. (26) And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. (27) But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. (28) And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? (29) And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
We see that Jesus, after hearing from this son’s dad that he had this spirit from when he was a child. One of the first things that I want you to notice is this. (19) He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me. I find that first, we need to have faith in what we ask. The dad said that he brought the boy to the disciples and the boy wasn’t delivered. Even though the 12 disciples and many others walked with Jesus and saw all He did, they still lacked in faith. I also want you to notice what Jesus said in verse (29) And he said unto them, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
We've seen the importance of prayer and some of you who have followed our ministry know that I've been fasting at times and have seen the results. Friends, there's so much more to discuss and I hope that you all join in next week.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters. Happy Mother Day to all the mothers hearing or reading this message.
Are we excited this morning to hear what God has for us today? Oh my friends, it is so good to know that God loves us. Amen? Everyone hold on to your Bibles. These verses come from Psalms 139:14- 18 and I would like for Leanna to read them from the New King James version after I read from the KJV.
Psalms 139:14-18 KJV I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (17) How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (18) If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Praise be to the One true living God. Thank You God for creating us, Lord, and knowing us, even before we were in our mother’s womb. Thank You Lord for knowing what we ask even before our words are spoken. In Jesus’ name. Church, say with me, "Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life from the dead." Again. "Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life from the dead." Make it more personal. "Praise Jesus who paid my debt in full and raised this life from the dead." Praise You Jesus.
What an awesome God we serve. Amen?
This is something that has been put on my heart a while ago for this area, but will fit in whatever town, state or nation, if we apply these principles. I pray that someone would grab hold of this and run with it, all for God's Glory. Praise the Lord!! Amen?
I have a question for everyone. How much love do you have for people? For those who have been with Leanna and me from the beginning, you might remember the series we did called “Having the Compassion Of Christ.” Anyone remember? Do you love all people? Do you love all your family members? Mother-in-laws? What about your neighbors? All of them? Even the one that bad mouthed you a couple weeks ago? What about those who might be in high school? Do you have love for the one that bullied you yesterday in school? What about those who spend many hours on-line? You might have posted a picture on facebook that had a verse from the Bible on it and a so-called friend insulted you because they thought that was dumb. Can you honestly say you love them?
Let’s turn to Romans 13: 8-11. In these verses, Paul mentions many things that we need to pay attention to. We will look at where true believer’s attitudes should be toward civil government. We will also look at the law of love toward others. Jesus told us in Mark 12:29-31 this.
Mark 12:29-31 KJV And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Romans 13:8-11 KJV Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (11) And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Friends, my compassion….and it should be each of yours, too……is to witness to the lost. Satan has a field day distracting believers from accomplishing this. The enemy puts such fear into people’s minds to prevent them from doing what Jesus told us to do. Let’s look at some starting with Matthew 4:19
Jesus told Peter and his brother Andrew in Matthew 4:19 KJV And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Matthew 28:18-20 KJV And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Did you notice all power has been given to our Savior? Also did you notice that it is in Heaven and on earth?
(19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Please turn to Mark 13:1. We are going to start with verse 1, because I want you see that Jesus spoke about things that we are going through, right now.
Mark 13:1-11 KJV And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! (2) And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, (4) Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? (5) And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: (6) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (7) And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. (8) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (9) But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. (10) And the gospel must first be published among all nations. (11) But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Please turn to Mark 16:15. What I want to point out is when we share the Gospel with others, let us not try to do it in our own words. I remember when I was first saved, I was excited and I tried to share the little bit about the Bible with others and they probably thought I was a nut case. I have found that when I pray for God to give me the words to share and I rely on His strength, people understand much better. God knows each and every heart of all men and women.
Mark 16:15 KJV And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
For some time, I have wanted to see this community that I live in to be saved and lovers of Christ. One might say, “Brother Jim, you live in an oppressed, depressed drug, alcohol, porn-infested area. An area that has so many churches and such a religious spirit and claim they are the only true religion." Yes, in the natural realm it would seem like it is a lost cause, but with God all things are possible.
“So how do you plan on pulling this dream off, Brother Jim?” You might be thinking, “How can you start to see your community come to know Christ as their Savior”? Start by just loving our Communities. Start with Prayer. Friends, we can do this. Why? Because it is God’s will for us to succeed in this endeavor. God says in His Word that He wishes no man, or woman perishes. What endeavor? Church, the endeavor I want to talk about today is taking back Brownville, Brownville Junction, I have to include Milo and all the surrounding towns, just for a start for me. The community that those of you who have been so faithful listening on Skype, those who may be listening on the phone and those who read these sermons faithfully on line. Please turn to Colossians 4:2.
I mentioned this a couple years ago during a Bible study….get yourself a notebook that you can add names of those that are neighbors. Start praying every day for them to come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Add those that you might work with or go to school with. Every time you meet someone new, add them to your list and pray each day that God will speak to their hearts.
Colossians 4:2 KJV Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
God has placed you in a sphere of influence for a reason and a purpose. It is not an accident where you live, where you work or might go to school, and the community in which you find yourself living. Begin praying for God to open doors and to use you for His glory where you live.
Do we know our neighbors? Should we get to know them?
James 2:14-20 KJV What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (15) If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, (16) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
How can we love people if we are not willing to know them? We need to listen to their needs.
Galatians 6:9-10 KJV And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
If you are only there for people when it is convenient for you, then it is not love. Friends, we need to be intentional.
1 Peter 3:14-18 KJV But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. (18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
As you and I get to know people and meet needs, we are then able to share Christ. Here are some examples of how you might get to know people in your area. Have a dinner party or barbecue, get involved in the town functions, go to the local coffee shop or general store and sit and have coffee with the gossipers. It may be a good chance to sow seed. Partner with God’s church. I know we are going to see a harvest. I had a friend and sister in Christ tell me a while back, “There is going to be an explosion.” She is right. There is going to be a huge explosion of lost souls coming to Jesus, if we get out of our comfort zones.
Learn to love others. Get rid of all that unforgivness that has kept you from blessings that God has for you.
Ephesians 5:1-2 KJV Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (2) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savior.
The call of God is for us to be people of love…to bring heaven to earth.
Philippians 1:9-11 KJV And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; (11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Brothers and Sisters, God has placed us in our community for a reason and a purpose… to just love. Amen? Jesus was born during a very trying time. Then He taught on things that were biblical, but not what the religious leaders were teaching. We are blessed to live in a beautiful community, but our call is to love. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. And how can we love unless we are willing to know the people around us as well as being willing to step out and meet their needs?
Church, it is not enough to talk about love, but we are called to live a life of love. Imagine the difference we can make together in our community if we just love. The more we love and have that compassion of Christ, the more we will love ourselves. I hear all the time from people, “I don’t know my neighbors.” I remember when I was younger; everyone knew everyone and their business. It was the way of life. Neighbors helped neighbors and money was not the objective. I wish that was still the way. When Leanna and I do things for others now, people’s mouths drop when we don’t ask for anything in return. It is a way of being a blessing to others.
The commandments God gives us are like the banks of a river that controls the ﬂow of the river. When we violate God’s commandments, we cause the river to run over the banks, and thus it loses its power and beauty. If we add commandments not found in the scriptures, we widen the banks of the river so that it becomes slow and stagnant and loses its life and vitality. And within the stream of the river there are numerous decisions that need to be made that cannot be speciﬁed in advance. The Bible does not anticipate every situation we will encounter. We need the Holy Spirit and wisdom to discern what is best to do as different instances arrive in our life. Scripture informs us that love is the guideline. But there is no attempt to calculate in advance what we should do in each circumstance of life. We read the scriptures, pray, seek wisdom, and rely upon the Spirit in attempting to discern God’s will. After saying all this, the lost do not know these things of God. Amen? They know nothing about being saved, lost, blessings and so on.
Friends, I mention almost every Sunday to be in God’s Word. Here are some reasons why. We increase our faith. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. I feel it is important to start memorizing scripture. Why? So we can use scripture in our prayers. We learn God’s heart. We learn how to witness. And we learn how we should live our lives to mention a very few.
I led a study back a few years ago on witnessing. We spent many weeks with people using a prepared lesson including DVDs, booklets, posters and tracts. It was really a great teaching tool. Toward the end, we were to go out into the public to witness and use the things that we had learned and practiced for these several weeks. This is sad and really frustrated me to wonder if those who attended really are concerned about their loved ones and good friend’s eternal future. Not one of the ones who attended were willing to witness.
I love to share God’s Word and I hope by the end of today’s message, every one of you will understand just how important it is for those who don’t know Christ to get to know Him, and also how important it is for us to share.
Proverbs 14:25 KJV A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Acts 26:18 KJV To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Mark 8:38 KJV Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
And we will end with these verses in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV (3) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
I now look for reasons to pray for people, even in public. I didn’t used to. I was so afraid of rejection. Not what others would think of me because I wanted to pray for them, but that they would just say “no” if I asked if I could pray. I almost always have a t-shirt that has a gospel message on it, and often people will ask me how I dare to wear them. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I am not ashamed of Christ. It also opens the door for those to ask me questions about the Bible.
Friends, it could very well happen where the freedom to share the Gospel here in the US may no longer be. Laws are already in affect where our military can’t share. Rumors have been floating around that it will be a thing of the past for us to share online. There are rumor upon rumor of things that we won’t be able to do to reach this dying world.
Do you have unsaved loved ones? Start praying and sowing seeds. Want to see God open doors for you to be a witness to this world and to see Him bless you? Start your day in prayer, dying to self, reading and meditating on His word. Ask Him what His plan is for you during that day and go with it. Amen. For those who are interested in a copy of Praying Effectively for the Lost, drop me a note and I will mail you a copy.
Good morning friends and family. I was first inspired to do a bible study on what Jesus went through in the garden of Gethsemane about 5 and a half years ago after hearing a sermon on the radio. I started writing words down for a couple of days, but then decided that I probably would never do anything with it, so I stopped. Shortly after a Pastor asked if I would lead a Bible study while he was out of town, I kind of knew what I wanted to do but wanted to pray on it and do what God wanted to teach on. That whole week I had peace on this message. I had prayed that all could let these words soften their hearts and that all could understand what Jesus went through and how we can get through our Gethsemane experiences if we ask.
This week, after seeing how God moved through me and others who heard and read last Sundays message, I felt it was time to revamp this message and let scriptures touch hearts again.
I truly believe that Jesus saw all things that would happen to Him from the betrayal of Judas, the arrest in the garden, the severe scourging, to the cross and every horrible thing in between. Bible scripture that confirms this is John 18:1-4.
John 18:1-4 KJV When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. (2) And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. (3) Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. (4) Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
John 18:1 GNB After Jesus had said this prayer; He left with His disciples and went across Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place, and Jesus and His disciples went in. :2 Judas, the traitor, knew where it was, because many times Jesus had met there with His disciples. :3 So Judas went to the garden, taking with him a group of Roman soldiers, and some Temple guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees; they were armed and carried lanterns and torches. :4 Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward and asked them, "Who is it you are looking for?"
Throughout this message I will reference from commentaries: Gill, Barnes,
Henry and concordances, mostly Strong's.
As if being nailed to the cross was not cruel enough, imagine what Jesus took to the cross with Him. He is accused for us all bearing the weight of abused children, families destroyed by adultery or apathy, civilizations decaying, wars ravaging, yet through it all, deep in the terror of hell, He keeps His eyes wide open. A portrait of the garden of Gethsemane might look a little bit different than we may have expected. It is not a serene pastural scene, this prayer closet of Jesus’, but rather an agonizing picture of struggle, pause and pain. For who? All for us.
I want you all to listen, or for you who may be reading this online to get a picture of this in your mind so that you can understand what Jesus went through, for you and me.
We have entered into the garden. We have entered just as Judas was arriving with 600 armed Roman soldiers, temple police and a mob of others who have come to arrest Him, yet they found Him ready and waiting for them. He was composed. He was submissive, helpful. He was in authority. He had great composure. How could He, although God 100% and also man 100% be so composed and sure? The answer to the question of His composure was a direct result of His perspective. He knew that the cup He would drink was the cup that would come from His Father's hand. My question is, how did He get such perspective? If you look at the summary of what happened in the garden, Hebrews 5:7 and 8 gives it to us.
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of His flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; :8 Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered;
I don't believe for a moment we can appreciate the story of the garden, unless you view Jesus as a man. And you have to reformat your way of thinking as you view Him in the garden as He struggles. And it will be great help to you because He is the model man for you and me with our Gethsemane garden with whatever we may be going through. We will watch Him in this story and we will marvel and we will ultimately worship this Lamb.
What we are about to see in the garden is nothing less than Jesus Christ. It is a shocking scenario and I think we can understand it best if we see Him digging His grave. He is looking into an open pit and it crushes His spirit. For the man, Jesus doesn't want to die any more than you or I would want to die. And yet that grave in the garden will signify His willingness. His actions will signify testament. His testament that He was willing to die for you and me.
As we read earlier In John chapter 18, Jesus was entering into the garden. I found that Matthew painted a more detailed picture. Matthew 26:36: Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. And He said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray there."
Now picture in your mind a garden a little different than your garden or even your neighbor's garden. Jerusalem being a crowded city. People pressing on every corner. They had laws that restricted against private gardens in the city proper. They also had an old sacred law of this sacred soil prohibiting the spreading of manure. I'm sure the people of Jerusalem being crowded appreciated that law. Outside the city some wealthy families had gardens especially at the base of the Mount of Olives and the residents would garden there usually on an acre or two. They would raise olive trees and flowers and there were beautiful rock walls around their plot. Evidently Jesus had a very wealthy friend. And this friend let Jesus retreat to this garden for prayer.
Let’s continue reading. Matthew 26:37 And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Now why did He take these three and station them there? Here are few suggestions. One, were they there for His protection? I don't think that was it. With one breath He could have knocked the ones coming to arrest Him on their backsides. Was it companionship? As we will see later they didn't offer that. I think I would believe in this choice. Instruction. He was about to show His three closest friends His agony and before they nodded off to sleep they would see enough and they would hear enough and it would come back to haunt them and most importantly instruct them.
Jesus is going to show them how you prepare to go to the cross. How do you walk in a lonely garden? Jesus is going to show them this. There are two important words that show His emotions. You have to remember He is Man. A God man.
In verse 37 It says He began to grieve. Some versions say He was sorrowful, rendered or troubled. It implied a shrinking back from a horrifying experience. An experience that He cannot get away from, some ancient writers wrote. Remember, Jesus Christ is not an actor. Jesus is not knowing that one day people are going to be studying this and He is drumming it up. Don't think He is play-acting. This is for real. The real deal. He is full of sorrow. Remember we read in John 18:4: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him. The next word is distressed. Other translations use heavy, troubled, sad or anguish.
What a picture. Why such agonies for this God man?
Mat 26:38: Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. Why this distress? Why this surrounding of sorrow? Was it because of the betrayal of Judas? Could that have impacted Him? I would doubt it, although you or I probably would have been. Was it the denial of Peter? The man that Jesus had spent so much time, energy and patience with, and now Peter will curse that he never knew Him. Could it be that the nation of Israel had rejected Him, He the one that would save them, then hear their cry's, "We have no king but Caesar [Crucify Him]." Perhaps. Could it be the injustices of it all? He, the creator of justice, now unjustly treated. Maybe. Maybe it was loss of intimacy and fellowship with the Father. He will cry, "My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?" The word is why have you abandoned me? Could it have been because He would become sin for you and me? A man who had never known the stain of sin? I think it was all of these things and multiplied millions of times and that is why He was crushed with despair.
Mark 14:34 and 35: And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. :35: And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
I have seen paintings showing Jesus in the garden on His knees with His hands clasped looking up in the sky praying. I cannot picture this scene like that at all. Don't throw those pictures away if you have one. I am sure Jesus prayed like that at some point.
What scripture says is that He fell to the ground and prayed. Hebrews says that He prayed with huge tears. Imagine the Son of God, the Savoir of the world staggering around falling to the ground praying and crying. Getting up, stumbling, falling down and praying over and over. The Lamb of God about to be killed.
Here is another scene. Luke 22:44: And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
The medical community would call this Hematedriosis. The capillaries under the skin would burst and clots of blood would mix with sweat of the person under great duress, and said to be like blood and water. Think about that. Jesus shed blood in the garden, too and for those that joined us Easter Sunday heard this in the message, What Satan Didn't Know. For those who missed it and want to hear it, let me know and I can send an MP3 file. A message all should listen to. Praise God!!
Now what did he pray? He, the model for us. The gospel accounts record basically the same thing. In the book of Matthew He says this twice.
Mat 26:39: And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou will." Again, in Mat 26:42: He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." Some versions use Abba Father. In Aramaic terms, Abba Father is the term of dependency. It is a term of possessive endearment. Some have taken that word and translated it to daddy. I personally think daddy falls way short.
Daddy is an American word, not necessarily an intimate term, and may trivialize Him. Some kids call their earthly father daddy. Especially when they want something. I used to, but we grow out of that. In fact, most would be embarrassed now to call their earthly dad, Daddy. Now it would be Dad.
The Aramaic term Abba father is such a precious word because it is possessive. It simply means my Father mine (my father) He is mine. It is so important for us to learn that because here in this garden you would think that in this great distress, it would drive Christ to do what we would be tempted to do, and that would be to say, "Are you really mine? Where are you? Are you really my father?" Yet we come to the false conclusion that pain means the absence of God, and if He really were mine, this wouldn't happen. Jesus models it well when He says with that same kind of Christ like maturity that we should have when we go through our garden we pray "My Father", that is, "I know You're mine and I trust You as mine and I know You haven't left me and I know You will always be there for me." This is a great lesson for all of us.
Back in verse 39, Jesus is struggling. "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me." Shocking word. Verse 42 again "My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." Now remember the cup is a categorical term for all the suffering of Jesus Christ, His betrayal, His crucifixion, His death, His abandonment, that His God, the Father, will turn His back on Him, God the Son. That doesn't mean that the Trinity ceases and now is turned to a duality. It simply means that God the Father ceases to be intimate with God the Son. And the Son ceases to have fellowship with God the Father for these hours. And that is the cup here. Fellowship will be lost while God the Son becomes filthy sin.
Jesus taking on all your sins and my sins and the sins from all of us.
Do you know what it means when He becomes sin? For He that knew no sin? I don't. We can try to understand, but our puny little minds can't come close.
Think about this for a moment. These are words from Mark Mosley, a Christian writer. I tried to find the book online, but I couldn't find it. I share this at times throughout the year during messages and I still get choked up reading it. He wrote, "Jesus will bear the sin of the Assyrians who gloated over their captives they skinned alive. Jesus will bear the sins of SS troops gunning down women and children running from burning synagogues with clothing burning ablaze. Jesus will bear the sins of child molesters making sure their victims never testify. He will bear the sins of Pharos sacrificing thousands of laboring lives to build a deifying tomb. Jesus took on all of this and more. He was tossed about in the endless storm of enraged fathers beating toddlers to their deaths, pimps seducing run-aways into lives of drugs and prostitution, Canaanites burning their children to Moloch. Nice church ladies cannibalizing over other nice church ladies over coffee. Impoverished parents in China selling their children into slavery. He will bear the sins of Bible-believing leaders praying long and loud while their wives sit in the back of many churches hoping their make-up covers their bruises. Jesus will tumble alone. He will bear the sins of embezzlers, gangsters, bullies, rapists, liars, thieves, the indifferent, sadistic, and self-righteous. It's a scene of unbearable horror, and unspeakable magna. He is the accused for us all, bearing the weight of abused children, families destroyed by adultery or apathy, civilizations decaying, and wars ravaging. But through it all, deep in the terror of hell, He keeps His eyes wide open, just a by-stander caught in the accident".
Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and we put a period right there. And He keeps on going, and the fellowship of His suffering. Hebrews already said it, and we read it, that He the Son, being a man, though God would learn obedience through the things He suffered. Praise the name of Jesus.
That is the purpose of what you go through. The garden you may be in or have been in, or will be in is for learning obedience so that the Father will chisel you into the image of that Lamb. Do you know how tragic it is for you and me to go through suffering and not learn obedience? Do you know what that means? That it is wasted. We have sorrowed for nothing. We have experienced pain with no spiritual productivity. What a waste that would be. Remember that intimacy with God does not erase the potential for pain. Fellowship with God does not help us not avoid the gardens. It helps us walk through the gardens like Jesus did.
I heard a story once of a man who lost his eye due to cancer. He went into that operation not knowing if he would come out of that operation with one eye or two eyes. When he came out, the doctor told him he would be wearing a patch because he did lose one of his eyes. That would be the launching pad for his ministry, and he would be known to thousands of children as Patch the Pirate. Here is his testimony. "Know I can see," he says. "Testing comes from above. God strengthens His children and purges in love. My Father knows best and I trust in His care. Through purging, many fruits shall I bear. Oh rejoice in the Lord. He makes no mistake. He knows the end of each path that I take. For when I am tired and purified, I shall come forth as gold."
Friends,recognize that when you're in the garden, close friends can be reassuring, but they can not be replacements for God.
Let's take a look at Jesus' associates and we'll wrap this up. His closest friends on earth. Here they are in verse 40. Mat 26:40 And He came to the disciples, and found them asleep, and said unto Peter, What, could you not watch with me one hour? His, (Jesus), 3 closest friends on earth. Ouch......that hurt!
Mat 26:41-43 Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:42 KJV He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. :43 And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again to pray a third time and went away saying the same thing. Then he came to them again and said, "Are you still sleeping? Taking your rest? Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise. Wake up Peter, James, John, we must be going. Behold, the one that betrays Me is in hand."
As I read these passages in Matthew over and over, it didn't hit me until later. I guess that's why they call it the Living Bible. Jesus specifically asked His 3 closest friends to pray with Him. Two times He said "Men, will you pray too?" And Peter and James and John slept. "Will you watch with Me? Will you share my burden?" And His 3 closest friends on earth dozed off. But what a wonderful lesson here.
Do you know one of the ways you will know you are experiencing a Gethsemane? It's that no one will go through it (your wife, husband, brother, sister, children, best friends). No one except the one that has already gone through it alone will walk and guide you through that experience.
This Lamb of God...The message He can communicate to you and me is this: I understand. I walked through Gethsemane. I know what it's like to be surrounded by sorrow. I can tell you the Father understands as well. Church do we get this?
So in the garden, Jesus looks into this grave and He, being God can take in all of the horror of that moment He will face, and from this moment forward, He will walk to the cross without ever a moment of hesitating, without any more recoil, without any more prayers (Father, could there be any other way?) And that garden stands as a testimonial to His willingness to die for us as He walks from the garden to the cross. He, the Lamb shows us how to walk through our garden, too.
My friends, what are you going through? Is it health issues, or finances? What trial, might it be? There is not one problem or sickness that Jesus didn’t over come. There is not one problem that you might be going through that He won’t hear. Will you share that with Him today? Will you let Jesus walk hand in hand with you through whatever you are going through?