Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

The Gift of God

December 28, 2016

Many gifts were exchanged during the Christmas season.  Some were appreciated, some were not.

God has offered to us the greatest gift conceivable.

I.  Their Inheritance:  Ezekiel 44:28

 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

Every time that I read this portion of scripture I am impressed with the idea that God Himself, is their possession.  Now, obviously, no one actually possesses God, but the priests under the Law of Moses had a unique relationship with God.

Since Jesus died on the cross and the veil in the temple was torn, those who believe in Jesus are offered a very special relationship with God.  This relationship is more precious than anything this world has to offer and it is God’s gift to us.

II.  With All Our Heart:  Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

I wonder sometimes whether we appreciate the gift that God has offered to us.  Do we seek God with all our heart?  With most of our heart?  Or maybe just a little bit?  I am concerned that for far too many, our relationship with God is mere fire insurance.  We don’t want to go to hell, so we proclaim a faith in God, but our hearts are really set on enjoying all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

That is not how it is supposed to be.

God is meant to be our first love,  the most important thing in our lives.

III.  Draw Near:  James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

On a daily basis we should seek to draw near to God.  As we spend time in the presence of God, we will be made aware of the changes that we should make in our life.  We will want to stop doing those things that are displeasing to God.  We will want more and more to be the people that He has called us to be in thought, word and deed.

IV.  Fullness of Joy:  Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we make God the top priority in out life, God will guide us by His Word and His Spirit.  He will show us the path of life.  The life that God has for us is indeed an abundant life.  (John 10:10)  The greatest joy that we can find this side of eternity is to be found in the presence of the Lord.  That opportunity has been made possible because of Jesus Christ.

So as we celebrate the Christmas season, let us always remember, be thankful for, and appreciate the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ.

 

These are the sermon notes from 12/17/16.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

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The Message in the Christmas Tree

December 27, 2011

Well, Christmas is over, but before you take down the Christmas tree, I wanted to share what we can see in the message of the Christmas tree.

The first thing that I notice is the lights.  They shine brightly and can be seen easily, not only by the people in the house, but by people outside, if the shades are open.

Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness.  He is at the heart of the Christmas message.  There are many lights on a Christmas tree because the light of Jesus shines through the lives of Christian people.  We need to open the shades of our lives, and let the light of Christ shine.

The tinsel that is draped all over the tree hangs in vertical lines.  These lines remind me of the prayers of the people of God as they lift their concerns to Him.  They also remind me of the answers that God gives to His people.    The tinsel ascends and descends, like the angels on Jacob’s ladder.

The garland is draped around the tree and is meant to give an appearance of continuity.  I am reminded of the passage of the faith through the ages.  Generation after generation sharing the message and the love of Jesus.

Ornaments of all kinds hang upon the tree.  These ornaments remind me that all good gifts come from God.  Our lives are filled with many people, objects, and events that add beauty and color to our existence.

As I sit on my couch and look at the tree I notice that not all is light and color.  There are patches of darkness that persist even with all the decorations.  This darkness reminds me that life does indeed have it times of testing, trial and tribulation.  There are times of sorrow and times of heaviness of heart.  We do not deny that these times exist, but we trust that God is with us always, even in the days of darkness.

As we look more closely we see not just the decorations, but the tree itself.  It is an evergreen, symbolic of eternal life.  Even as the leaves of an evergreen do not die, even so there is a part of human life that does not die, but is eternal.

Looking to the heart of the tree, we see the trunk, and are reminded that even though we are celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, we must never forget the purpose for which He came.  He came to earth to die upon the cross for the sins of the world.  The trunk reminds us of the wood of the cross upon which Christ died.

Christmas colors are red and green.  This reminds me that the blood of Christ provides eternal life for those who believe in Him.

So, before you take the tree down, take one last look, and remember the message in the Christmas tree.

What are YOU Looking At?

June 21, 2011

The other day I was feeling a little blue.  There was no particular reason.  I am healthy,  life is going reasonably well, everything is fine, but I was feeling a little down.

Then I turned my thoughts back to the goodness of God.  I thought about His love for me, His plan for me and about the wonders of His grace, power and nature.  As I thought about God, my mood picked up and the rest of the day went well.

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”  Hebrews 12:1-2

What are you looking at?

Show and Tell

November 8, 2010

Remember as children when we would bring some special item from home to show the class and to tell them about why it was special?

As Christians we are called to show others the difference that Christ makes in our lives.  We “show” them by living a life that is made different by the presence of Christ.  We are also called to tell them about Jesus.  They need to be told that Jesus makes the difference.  It is important that our lives not be just “show” or “tell” but a combination of both.

The God of Abraham

September 30, 2010

Jews, Christians and Muslims all look back to the God of Abraham.  Therefore, it can be claimed that they all worship the same God.  However, Jesus said “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God: nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” (John 8:42)  He also said ” I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6)  Since neither Jews, nor Muslims recognize Jesus as the way to God, they no longer have access to the God of Abraham.  Furthermore,  Jesus said that “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30) .  Therefore, if we accept the gospel of John, by rejecting Jesus, they have rejected the God of Abraham.

A Lie Often Repeated…

June 21, 2010

I remember twenty-five years ago in seminary reading an article that made the assertion that Jesus was gay.  The only support offered was that at the last supper, John was referred to as the “disciple Jesus loved” and that when they tried to apprehend John in the garden, they grabbed his garment and “he fled away naked”.

Hardly enough to support the conclusion that Jesus practiced a life-style that carried a death sentence under the Mosaic law.

Now in 2010, we have Elton John describing Jesus as a “compassionate, super-intelligent, gay man”.

In this case two out of three is very bad.

I wonder how many people will assume that since Elton John said Jesus was gay, it must be true?

How many people will believe that erroneous conclusion?

The Mosaic law was perfectly clear in its condemnation of homosexual activity.  (Leviticus 18:23 and 20:13)

It is true that Jesus never addressed the issue.  He was speaking to Jews who understood and accepted the Mosaic law.  There was no need for Jesus to address the matter.

Paul, who worked with the Greeks and Romans, (Both the Greek and Roman culture accepted homosexual activity.)  made it clear that in Christianity,  homosexual activity was still a sin.  (I Corinthians 6:9&10, I Timothy 1:8-11 and Romans 1:18-32)

Christians who accept the Bible as the Word of God must recognize that homosexual behaviour is a sin.  Jesus was without sin.  Jesus was not gay.

A lie that is often repeated may be accepted as the truth… but it is still a lie.

Good Enough for Jesus

May 30, 2009

The Catholic Old Testament and the Protestant Old Testament do not contain the same number of books.   The Catholic version contains the Apocrypha, seven books that were written in the time period after the book of Malachi was written.  The early church adopted the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures that was widely used during the time of Christ, likely the version used by Jesus and the apostle’s.

In the second century Jewish leaders reviewed the collection of scriptures that they accepted as fully inspired by God and decided to cut off the official canon at Malachi.  After sixteen hundred years of use by the Christian church, Protestant reformers decided that they would go with the canon of scripture adopted by Jewish leaders in the second century.  At first, the Apocrypha was included in some printings, but it has slowly faded from most editions used by Protestants. 

I think that is a shame.  The scriptures of the Old Testament, including the Apocrypha, were good enough for Jesus, the apostle’s, and for sixteen hundred years of church history.  The next Bible that I buy will include the Apocrypha.  It was good enough for Jesus, that is good enough for me.

Christmas, the Bible and Truth

December 24, 2008

Christmas, the Bible and truth.

There are several approaches in epistemology for determining truth value. (Epistemology is the section in philosophy that deals with issues of knowledge and truth.)

The correspondence theory states that truth is determined by whether or not empirical facts can verify claims.  Atheists and Christians have argued for a long time over the conclusions of this approach.  Of course, as a Christian I believe that the Bible is true and I have not personally seen anything that satisfactorily contradicts that claim.  The eternal nature of some of the claims of scripture will have to wait for eternity for verification.

The coherence theory evaluates the cohesiveness of a group of claims to determine truth. (kind’ve like how we can catch a person in a lie.)  For me, and for millions of others,  the Bible is a cohesive truth.  It is internally consistent, which is remarkable since it is written by so many different people over such a length of time.  It is also consistent with its application to life.  It fits together with my understanding and my experience very well.

The pragmatic theory states that something is true, if believing it to be true “works”.  Again for myself, and for millions of others the Bible works.  Millions of people live better lives because of their belief in the Bible as the word of God.

The concept of truth as a social construct is yet another approach.   This theory states that truth is determined by ones culture, or society. ( I personally do not accept this basic concept of truth, but if I did, it could apply to the Bible.)  There are millions of people who for thousands of years have believed the Bible to be true, therefore in this approach the Bible is true.

As we celebrate Christmas, we can believe that the biblical story is true.  Jesus  was born of the Virgin Mary.  He is the Son of God.  Immanuel, God with us.

Merry Christmas Everyone!