Posts Tagged ‘Pharisees’

Stair-Master “Faith”

10/12/2011
Church of Christ at Wedderburn, Victoria

Image via Wikipedia

Today is part one of a two-part message, I put together to describe two different kinds of “faith” people like to follow, or tend to, and it is unfortunate that they chose either.

Have you ever been on a stairmaster? Ever gotten off of one, realized how much work you had just done, and acknowledged the fact that you are standing in the exact same place you were, pre-workout?

That is the crummy faith life that many in our modern society have. They show up for church on Sunday, maybe even two or three more times during the week, but as soon as the key is in the ignition and they drive out of the parking lot, followed by unlocking the door and walking into their homes, it’s over until next time.

They built up a spiritual sweat during service and worshipped with all of their hearts while learning with all their minds. But when the lights of the church go off for the day, so do those people’s faith.

The workout in the gym might be great, but living your faith life that way is absolutely counterproductive to what Christ instructed us to do. We are instructed to serve the purpose of Christ in all aspects of our lives, not only at church.

My advice for you today, if any of the above applies to you, as your personal spiritual trainer for the day, get off of the stairmaster, and hit the spiritual cross-country track of the world to share the love and redemption of Christ.

 

Chris

The Green Eyed Monster

05/31/2011

Thursday’s post about David was “coincidentally” a perfect example of what has recently happened to a friend of mine in the workplace. If you missed that post you can view it HERE. For those that did, a quick recap: King Saul becomes jealous of the admiration that his people had for one of his soldiers: David. Saul sends soldiers, formerly David’s comrades, to kill him. David cried out to God for help, and received deliverance, going on to become one of the greatest kings of all time.

This story reminds me of another recent post about Jonah. God gave Jonah instructions on witnessing to the archenemies of the Jews, the people of Nineveh. Jonah however, didn’t want to share his people’s blessings with the gentiles. Calling someone a “hater” is not something I generally do, but it is a modern term for people who dislike you, and take every chance they get to run you down. Being a “hater” is an act of jealousy. Those people don’t hate you, they hate the blessings, the “good stuff” that you have, simply because they don’t have it.

So early in his story, Jonah would have been a hater. Saul, also was a hater. You have haters, everyone does even if they don’t know it. The Bible is an endless tale of haters. Jesus certainly had them, they killed him. The prophets of old had them, they were killed by them. For a more recent example, think about someone like Dr/Rev Martin Luther King Jr. King was assassinated by a man who did not want to share the same freedoms with black people that he and his “people” had. You can read up on “apartheid” in South Africa too.

My friend, at his job, was once a normal employee like 90% of the work force there. Once he earned himself a better position, a couple of his friends, who he had been friends with years, became jealous because he did not necessarily have to “go with the flow” like they do. He was on a different playing field with regards to management. I could list several from what he has told me, and I have seen or heard first hand. God instructs us to “love our neighbors” regardless of the covetous feelings that we have in our hearts. God also instructs us to do whatever it takes to avoid having and allowing those same feelings to influence us.

David cried out to God. He cried out that he had done nothing wrong yet his former brothers were out to harm him. In today’s world, rarely to people put a prize on somebody’s head like they did back then. Instead it turns to gossip, rudeness, ignoring one another, being envious to the point of real hatred even. Have we as a people not learned anything from King Saul, Jonah, and the Pharisees? Jealousy will bury you. It is a cancer that can literally eat you alive. Today I encourage you to think hard about who you are a little jealous of, what relationships you may still be able to salvage over your own feelings or those of others toward you. We are called to be a people of GRACE, not ENVY.

I don’t really see myself as a jealous person. There are a few blessings that others have that, yes, I wish I did. But I know that I serve a mighty God who has me where he wants me, and is making all things work together for my good.

God Bless,

Chris

Jesus Christ (3)

04/14/2011
Jesus at the house of the Pharisean, by Jacopo...

Image via Wikipedia

The topic here is Jesus’ actual human incarnation.

Matthew 1:18 Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

-Through Mary, Jesus received his flesh. However, as we know, Jesus was God before he was “Jesus”. He was impregnated in Mary’s womb via the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit, so therefore Jesus’ very own spirit. If you are one of the many who still tries to think of Jesus, God, and the Spirit as different people, please try to avoid that. Think of a corporation with different divisions yet the same name.

Luke 1:35 The angel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore also the holy thing which is born will be called the Son of God.

-Oh how happy the Demons of Earth would have been to hear this angel’s words first-hand. Calling Jesus the Son of God, embraced his divinity as you can clearly read, it was only when he was called The Son Of Man, did the prophecies (and their demise) begin to come into play. The spirit, if you can envision this with me, totally enveloped Mary in a very supernatural way and when it left, she was pregnant with our Savior.

John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.

-One of the most famous verses in all of Christianity. Pronouncing that the very Word, or breath, of God himself spoke Jesus as a human incarnation of himself, into existence. Much in the same way God spoke the world into existence in the beginning. I get goosebumps reading and writing about the supernatural ways that God has touched mankind! God, in a sense, spoke himself (in the form of a man) into existence! And why? For YOU. For ME, and all of humanity to be able to receive salvation that we could never deserve or even begin to! What a mighty and loving God indeed.

Romans 1:3 3 Concerning His Son, who came out of the seed of David according to the flesh…

-Here we read the words of the apostle Paul, clearly explaining Jesus dual nature to the Romans. And explaining the beginning part of how God became a man for their salvation.

Romans 8:3 For that which the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh…

-While Jesus had the likeness of the “flesh”, he did not have the sinful nature that we do. In case you are wondering how Jesus could be of the flesh, without carrying the sin of the flesh, let me remind you of Numbers chapter 21 when Moses had the bronze serpent, but that serpent did not have the venom of a real snake, only the appearance. Similar to Jesus, that serpent was a supernatural event. We need to also be reminded that the Jews had turned away from God and become all about the law in those days. That same law is what kept power in the hands of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which is a massive, if not the only, reason they refused to admit that Jesus was the Messiah. Their greed and gluttony for power and control over the people is what condemned those of them who did not receive him in the manner that Nicodemus did.

Philippians 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming in the likeness of men; 

-In Jesus’ human incarnation he didn’t change his divine nature. Just his outward appearance and expression. From the highest life form, God the father of all creation to that of a servant. The lowest form of humanity. And not just any servant, but a servant to a divine cause. When he addressed his father in Heaven, it was for the benefit of those around him seeing how they are supposed to interact with HIM. Otherwise he would have just been talking to himself all the time, right? In the servant role, Jesus was showing us how we are supposed to be.

We are supposed to be servants, so those of you who believe that your sole responsibility is to go to church every time the doors are open but do NOTHING more……I pray over you desperately. To sit in a pew every week, and hear uplifting music and words of encouragement is never a bad thing, but to leave it at that, is a far cry from the plan Jesus has put in place. We are in church to serve, not be served. If you are a believer, you have already received more than you could ever deserve in salvation from eternal torment alone! It is your/our duty to serve, and not simply serve God, but to serve God by serving his flock, especially the lost sheep.

Grace and peace,

Chris