Tag Archives: sacrifice

Why Did Jesus Die?

Why did Jesus Die?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

The stage was set.  The actors were each in their places.  The script was ready to be followed.  And yet, there were no special effects.  No unique and moving soundtracks playing in the background.

The scenes leading to the Cross on Golgotha included, a last supper, the singing of an hymn, prayer, and betrayal.  A man’s ear was cut off.  Jesus re-attached and healed the ear. Armed men came to arrest the innocent and submissive Lamb of God.   Jesus willingly went with them

After the mock trials, false witnesses, and and shuffling between leaders, Jesus was led to be slaughtered.   The people were cheering.  There was applause, laughter, and mocking.

After being beat, the bloodied Jesus carried His cross uphill to the place of the skull.  Jesus was going to the Cross as any common criminal. Sinner. Man.

Except Jesus did not deserve to die.  With

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Missions, Buildings, and Growth

Missions, Buildings, and Growth

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Does our giving money to missions have a direct impact on the blessings of God on a local church?  Does our involvement in missions have a impression on our own church growth?  I would suggest they are probably very much connected.

As the Apostle Paul was commending the Philippian Christians for their faithful financial support the Lord tells him to add this truth: “I will supply your need.”  The church had support Paul for a long time and have given sacrificially.  In some instances, they were the only ones who were helping Paul on his mission trips.  Paul is thankful and says that “fruit has been added to their account.”  Because they gave to missions – God promised to supply all the needs they had.

God met the needs of the individuals, the families, and the church – because they trusted God and used their resources to propagate the Gospel into all the world through their missionary – Paul.

I recently read about one pastor who had challenged his church in missions giving and the promises made on the faith promise cards were the most ever received in that church.  The church was in a life stage of growth and was needing new land and was hoping to build a new building on the land.  But the pastor knew they could not stop going with the Gospel or stop sending missionaries.  It would be understandable to focus only on your church and the needs that you have.  He understood the church needed to remain committed to gospel missions.

The week after the promises came in, a deacon came to him and said, “I found the land.” After months searching for the right piece of land, they found 15 acres.

The pastor said, “I have asked for the people to give so much to missions, I can’t go ask them for more right now.”  Perhaps other preachers reading this have been there too.  I have.

Around Washington DC, the land is expensive.  It is probably expensive where you live too!  $3 million was needed for that land.  The deacon said, “I will buy the land and give it to the church.”  Incredible.

The pastor wrote that he believed that because the church was faithful to support missions that God, in turn, provided them their new place of worship.

We are blessed to partner with several missionaries and have committed to pray for and send finances to help them further the Gospel into their part of the world.

As we make “Faith Promises” to God about missions giving, please remember God’s promise to “Supply your every need.”  It will affect your life, and our church in a positive way.

I look forward to the day the Lord supplies our new building.  He already gave us the land!  Praise the Lord for that.  Let’s keep giving the Gospel here – and abroad thorough our missionaries.  Let’s see our faith increase during mission conference.

 

 

 

Story found in Bud Calvert’s book: “God’s Passion.”

 

 

 

 

Loving God

Loving God

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. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.        Mark 12:30-31

With “love” on the mind of many people each February let’s take a moment to examine “love” in the Bible.  While we are to love others, and have a self-sacrificing, giving type love, for another to demonstrate true love, we must start with loving God first.  True Love for Others Starts with Loving God First…

We all know that people who do not love God are still capable of loving others.  In fact, you may know some lost people who appear to demonstrate love better than some Christians you know.  Everyone is capable of some level of loving others.  To make it deeper and longer lasting, it must have a stronger foundation.  It must begin with loving God, which starts when a person realizes how much God loves them.

To discover what this love for God looks like, we will look at each verse in the Book of First John that includes the word “love.”

“Love” is found 23 times in these five short chapters.  Take a moment to read each verse then make an application in your life for today.  Here they are:

  • 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (“Perfected” means completed or matured.)
  • 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
  • 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
  • 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
  • 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
  • 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  • 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
  • 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
  • 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
  • 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
  • 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
  • 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
  • 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (“Propitiation” means payment or atonement. Romans involved in paganism used the word describing the turning away of wrath from their hateful gods. The True God made the only way for true propitiation with His very own Son, Jesus. Only Jesus can make a relationship to God right.)
  • 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
  • 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
  • 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
  • 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
  • 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
  • 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
  • 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
  • 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
  • 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Did you notice how our love for God involves our heart attitude towards God and His Word?  Did you also note that it also includes the actions of our lives towards others?  We are not to love the world, its ideas and philosophy, but we are to love God’s Word.  To top it off, love does not live in fear of God’s will but in faith that God’s will is best!  Some people are fearful of relationships because relationships are risky.  A person living this way is not really loving God.  Keeping the commands of God are not grievous.  In fact, they are very rewarding.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with God and His commands in the Bible.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with worldly philosophies.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with other believers.

Purpose to love God with all of your life and being… Then love for others will become more evident.

All In

All In

“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Acts 20:20-21

I enjoyed watching the National Basketball Association games this year, in particular the drive of the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. As the season came to a close and the postseason began, The Cavs adopted a slogan “All In.” It was printed on banners and t-shirts. The idea was that this struggling team, with the return of Lebron James for a new season, would buy into the coaches leadership and the team would fully commit to working together to achieve the status of “world champions.” They sure did come close. Congratulations to Golden State for the win. MVP Andre Iguodala and Coach Steve Kerr performed with excellence. The Warriors played with greater teamwork. Andre had even given up his career “starter” position to come off the bench for the entire regular season. Many players on both teams made personal sacrifices for their teams to arrive at the final game.

As Paul is traveling to go to Jerusalem. While stopping for a while in Miletus, he asks for the leaders of the church at Ephesus to come and visit with him. These leaders travel south almost 50 miles and meet with Paul. Then he gives them the message of Acts 20. He says things like: “I kept back nothing. I testified that anyone can be saved by Jesus. I want to finish my course with joy. You will never see me again. Feed the flock of God. Watch out for false teachers.”

Paul had lived in Ephesus for 3 years. He gave them the best teaching, preaching, and ministry that he could give. The church had witnessed real sacrifice and dedication in the life of Paul. He was “All In” the ministry at Ephesus. Pastors, church leaders, and church members should have the same commitment. Even the departing speech he gave is like what a father would give his son; final words of advice, words of wisdom, and words to live by. Paul was totally committed to the success of the church at Ephesus.  Are you as committed to the success of your local church?  Are you “All In” as a team player?

Remembering His Life

Remembering His Life

“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” Mark 16:1

Another day of remembrance is here.  Every September 11, we will remember the shameful attacks on our country, the sacrifice of men and women responding to help, and the call for international action against terrorists.  It is a day our generation will never forget.

Many who lost loved ones in the attack or subsequent wars that followed will never forget.  Today we pause to remember their lives.  We remember the sacrifice, dedication, and spirit of those who gave so much.  We remember the husbands and fathers, the wives and mothers, the sons and daughters.  We remember their lives.  Some will bring flowers, others will light candles.

Despite the difficult times we have experienced as a nation, we are blessed to live in this great land of freedom.  The Lord has prospered and provided time and again for this nation.  The Christian foundation continues to guide the land, even as many are veering from the Biblical principles that the Lord has providentially blessed.  We have the opportunity to freely remember and reflect on days such as this.

Another day that we should never forget is the scene at the Garden Tomb.  The ladies who witnessed the Crucifixion never forgot the day they saw the empty tomb.

It was Sunday morning, the first day of the week when Mary, supernaturally the mother of Jesus and naturally the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, also known as Mary the sister of Martha, along with a few others according to Luke 24:1, came to the tomb with items with which they were going to anoint the body of Christ.  He had been dead three days now.  They brought sweet spices that had a perfuming essence and quality fit for a King.  It was a gift that they brought to remember the life and death of Jesus.

Just days earlier, Jesus had been unceremoniously beaten in a courtroom, had his clothes stripped off Him, had a large cross to carry up a hill, was met with ridicule and mocking, had a crown of thorns thrust onto His head, had nails driven in His feet and hands, and was hoisted up vertically on that cross for all to see.  On that day, man attacked God in the Flesh.  Jesus willingly endured the shame and disgrace of the cross.

These ladies had watched and listened as Christ forgave his tormentors, as He cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  They saw His blood dripping as they watched Him die.  He was taken off the cross, and Joseph of Arimathea begged for His body so it could properly be buried.

Now these ladies were reflecting on the life of Christ that had touched and changed so many people.  They brought these special items to honor His life and death.  When they got to the tomb however, the door was rolled away.  Christ was not in the tomb!  The angel told them in Matthew 28:5-6: “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  Look, He is not where they laid Him for He is risen from the dead!  They came to remember His life and death, but now He was alive!  Jesus is alive today!  Hundreds of eyewitnesses saw Him following His resurrection. The gifts they brought to remember the life and death of Christ were no longer needed!

Every day is a day to always remember.  Jesus at Calvary and the amazing truth of His empty tomb are events we should remember as well.   Remember the life of Christ.  He is alive today!

If you have not done so, trust Christ for your eternal salvation.  The God of eternity, Jesus, offers to you the free gift of salvation.  He gave His life so you could believe in Him and have eternal life.  Would you trust Christ today?

If you pray to Jesus in faith, He will answer your prayer for eternal life.

Pray to Him:  “Lord, I know that I am a sinner.  I believe that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died in my place on the Cross.  He had no sin, yet He paid the price for my sin.  I believe He rose again from the dead.  Please forgive me of my sin and save my soul.”

Did you ask Christ for His forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation?  You may enjoy reading the New Testament book of First John.  This book will help you grow in your new faith in Jesus.