Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: John 14:10-14
What is the will of God? God’s will is for you and I to hear His voice and obey it. …
Preacher: Pastor Ray
We may easily dismiss Jonah as a runaway, disobedient prophet and fail to appreciate his prior life of obedience and intimacy with the Lord throughout. Listen as we consider his life in the backdrop of Nineveh’s stunning repentance.
Preacher: Pastor Ray
Are you troubled in your soul, in your mind, emotions, or will? Jesus also finds Himself troubled in His soul shortly after the triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Learn from Jesus as He demonstrates how to respond to trouble properly.…
Instead of binding you with religion, Paul said, you were not bound under my leadership. Actually, as an apostle, I will allow myself to be bound for your sake. For the sake of church planting and missions, I will endure whatever hardships come my way because Satan doesn’t want God’s work to advance. If you are living sold out for God, suffering will come. Persecution will come. The world will hate you because of your love for Jesus. It’s guaranteed.
2 Cor 11
28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.
There will be suffering because of Satan’s hostility to the advancing of God’s kingdom in the world. But for Paul, the pastor, his greatest suffering came from attacks from within the church. He could handle the beatings and the starving and the imprisonment and being shipwrecked. What he had a hard time handling was spiritual attacks from Christians or from false teachers who turned Christians against him.
We have to recognize that when Christians fight and slander and mistrust, Satan is at work. 2 Cor 10:3-5–
2 Cor 10
3 For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.
Underlying Judas’ betrayal, the motivation behind why Judas said, why wasn’t this money given to the poor was his love of money. Let’s call it what it is. Money was his idol. Judas didn’t love the poor. He didn’t love Jesus. He was ready to betray Jesus for $1,000. That’s how much Jesus was worth to him. Jesus was so cheap in his eyes.
We look at this despicable, treacherous act of betrayal and we think, we’d never do that. We would never sell a human being, much less the Son of God, for a measly $1,000. If you are thinking this way, then you don’t know yourself. You don’t know the power of money to grip your heart. You don’t Scripture, which is filled with plenty of warnings about the deceitfulness of wealth.
Take for example 1 Tim 6:6-10.
1 Timothy 6
6 But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
These verses apply directly to Judas. Judas loved money more than Jesus. It was his love for money which ultimately caused him to betray Jesus and lose his faith.…
How does Jesus respond to this kind of spiritual leadership?
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
There are no masters and disciples among us. We’re all brothers and sisters. There is only one Master and his name is Jesus Christ.
Same logic in v9-10.
9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
One Father in heaven and one Master/Teacher, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the head of the church and he is the only person to whom we submit ourselves to wholeheartedly. Christian leaders, we should never demand blind loyalty and unquestioning submission from our sheep. Only Jesus can demand this level of obedience from anyone.
Why is Jesus worthy of our absolute and total obedience?
11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus is worthy to be obeyed because he humbled himself to the lowest point. He was the humblest man who ever lived because He was God and yet he allowed himself to be crucified. He was obedient to death, even death on a cross. He humbled himself. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.…
If the story ended here, it would be a glorious ending. But it doesn’t. Chapter 19 just doesn’t fit in with the rest of Elijah’s life and ministry.
Elijah’s life up until this point is exemplary. His life is one that all Christians would hope to emulate. He displayed uncompromising obedience to God. He did whatever God asked him to do in the face of intense opposition. He went to the king of Israel and told him to repent. That’s bold. He knocked on the door of a widow’s house and asked to share her final meal. That takes courage. He had a showdown with 450 prophets of Baal. That takes guts.
And he showed an intimacy with God in his prayers. He prayed and there was a drought. He prayed and a widow’s final meal was multiplied miraculously. Elijah was fed by ravens who dropped off bread and meat twice a day. He prayed and fire came down from heaven and burnt up the altar. He prayed and the first drops of rain started coming down after a three and a half year drought.
No wonder Elijah is referenced in James 5 as a man of prayer.
16 …The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Read Matt 7:24-27.
One of the keywords in this text is practice. To get good at anything takes practice. Playing sports or playing an instrument, or learning a new subject takes practice. When it comes to school, you have to practice what you heard in the classroom at night when you’re alone and it’s time to do your homework. You might be a genius with photographic memory so this doesn’t apply to you. But the vast majority of us need more than a one hour lecture before we grasp a concept. We need practice. It’s easy to nod your head during a lecture and think, yeah, I got this. But many times, our understanding is fuzzy. And we never know for sure how much we understand until the final exam.
In the same way, we might have a vague and fuzzy notion about faith in God–I got this, I know this stuff, I’ve been going to church all my life, the stories are familiar to me. But Jesus doesn’t allow us to remain fuzzy about our faith. Why? Because you can spend your whole life thinking you know Jesus and discover to your horror in the end, that HE never knew you. Jesus is asking us to put these words into practice. For our sake, that we may be able to move from a fuzzy–yeah I think I know Jesus–to a confident, convicted, confession of firsthand faith–Jesus is my personal Savior and Lord and He knows me by name.
Jesus is asking us to put these words into practice.…