We wish to extend our warm welcome to all friends and family willing to attend worship with the members of the church which belongs to Jesus Christ, here in Spencer. You are our honored guests. And we pray that what you see and hear this day will challenge your curiosity to know more, and return again one day soon. For there is a reason you have been invited, being one of eternal wealth. And it goes far deeper than the wonderful fellowship we shall experience. There is a call to authority taking place, necessary for all who seek freedom in Christ, authority which calls us to obedience, proper worship and behavior.
None can judge a man’s soul into torment, or paradise.
I once had a co-worker at the factory. And he would fall asleep on the job when the boss was not around. I would have to yell at him (“wake up!”), at times shack him, less he lose his job (i.e. pay cheque, benefits, the ability to provide for the family). Not once did he ever say to me, “how dare you judge me.” More often he would thank me for saving his job. You see, we may not have the authority to fire anyone, but yet still we have the authority to warn of the coming danger and consequence. And to remind each other of the benefits if we indeed remain employed and not fall asleep.
The sermon this morning is titled: A WINDOW INTO THE AFTERLIFE
So many walking this earth wish to have insight into the afterlife, yet they go seeking instruction from the wrong sources (i.e. the entertainment industry, perhaps TV evangelists, etc). Either out of ignorance or because they simply rather believe a lie, than the truth. And therefore sadly come away with a false sense of spiritual security. A false hope in a heaven they will never see.
Text: Luke 16:19-31
The historically recorded account of a moment captured in the afterlife between two men. One man sent to torment, and the other to paradise. It can be trusted as true, and we can most certainly learn a great deal about our lives in this lesson. A lesson that will unite friends and family or divide them.
Thesis: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for *Jesus Christ sake shall find it.” – Jesus Christ (Mt. 16:25).
Theme: “verily I say unto you, there is no man that has left house (security and material belongings), or parents, or brothers and sisters, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 18:29-30).
In this recorded account delivered to us through inspired literature, the tale of two men who once lived on this earth reflected their eternal existence.
READ: LUKE 16:19-31
Luke 16:19 - A rich man who lives a comfortable life. Nothing wrong with riches, we had a sister in Christ written about in the Bible who was also wealthy, remember Lydia? (Acts 16:14). But this man in question, trusted in his riches instead of God. And that’s the problem. His riches made him disobedient, never benevolent, never humble and willing to learn.
Verse 20-21 the account of a different man than the first - Lazarus, a man in need of love and care, scrounging for scraps the rich man would accidently drop from his table. This Lazarus, was laid at the rich man’s gate (they would typically beg for alms), to add to the shame he was covered in sores, on top of that, he’s starving for nourishment, so much so he’ll eat the scraps. Even the dogs have more mercy on him than his fellow man, his neighbor, the rich man.
Verse 22 -This verse is interesting because it tells us that Lazarus, the poor man, was cared for after his moment of death. But the rich man was left in the grave. It’s interesting because on earth the rich man was the one being served and cared for, but Lazarus was neglected.
Verse 23 - And while in the grave he found himself in the land of the dead, in the area in which eternal torment is found and experienced. And to add to his agony, he could see Lazarus now living in paradise, the realm, reality and location of peace, and care. Again, a reversal of circumstance has taken place.
Verse 24 - And this rich man now soberly awakened to his eternal demise, begs for mercy from God, and refreshment from Lazarus. He describes his punishment as agony, extreme pain. - Interesting to note, that this rich man who was used to having everything he wanted from his slaves, still now thinks Lazarus should be put to service. He’s still confused on this reality. He has no authority here. Lazarus is not his servant over here. He doesn’t get to have what he wants here.
Verse 25 - and so the patriarch of God answers his request in a negative form, to teach him this new reality he finds himself living in. During his physical life he could order anyone around, he had all the money and power. Living the good life, not worried about some sick bum begging alms outside the gate. - You see, the roles have been reversed. The rich man gave up eternal wealth for momentary riches. And Lazarus was now the wealthy one, the kind of wealth which never leaves his account dry.
Verse 26 - To add to his punishment, the patriarch Abraham reveals to him the seriousness of his situation. There is a chasm/a wall designed to separate those in torment from those in paradise. Interesting how even in the afterlife we see a wall separating the good from the bad. - Interesting to note that Abraham says “between us and you.” In torment you are alone. Yet in paradise you are among friends. And it would not be paradise if we could see our loved ones in torment, would it? Lazarus needed not be reminded of the rich man’s treatment on earth, nor punishment in the afterlife.
Verse 27-28 - Now the rich man tries to find a way to reach his relatives before they continue to choose the same path which led him to everlasting torment. And interestingly enough he still wants to use Lazarus as a means to this end. He knows his family members knew the poor man at the gate.
Verse 29 - the patriarch Abraham further describes the rich man’s inability to perceive the spiritual reality he now finds himself in. - Abraham tells this rich man that his brothers have the BIBLE, if they’d simply read it, study it, believe it, and obey it, they’d have more than what they need in order to stay away from torment.
Verse 30 - The rich man knows his brothers don’t care much for the Bible, Moses and the prophets therein. And so he further gives his last attempt in saying that if Lazarus appears in-front of them, a man risen from the dead, a man his brothers would recognize as having passed away. Then surely they’d repent.
Verse31 - But Abraham, wise in all spiritual truth, says to him that if his brothers don’t care to believe the Bible (Moses and the prophets therein, which speak of Jesus), then they wouldn’t care to see a man risen from dead either. How many people during the age Jesus walked this earth, saw Him heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and yet still never believed in Him.
How many today, during the age in which we have the finished, completed, fulfilled Word of God, the BIBLE, which can be read, investigate, proven, trusted, and obeyed,... will reject the information therein, for the reason, to remain in sinful practices and false religious beliefs.
An atheist once said, “if Jesus wants me to believe in Him He’ll appear before me now.” A Christian replied, “He did, and you crucified Him. Now what?” Many fish deny the existence of water.
For some, like the rich man and his brothers, they will never get it, until it’s too late. For a few, however, they will be carried away into paradise just like Lazarus.
What’s the difference between the two in this current age? Simple, the one who “believes and is baptized shall be saved. The one who doesn’t shall be damned.” – Mark. 16:16.
The one who trust in God enough to know that as a repentant believer he can have his sins washed away by the new birth, being born again, of water and the spirit, will certainly come forward for this spiritual occasion. The un-believer will not trust that Jesus will save Him the way He said He would. So this un-believer will continue to find other ways to satisfy his rebellion. Which one are you? Lazarus, or the other guy?
READ MT. 25:31-40
The rich man should have believed and obeyed this truth. He should have read his Bible, He would have know that the prophets preached this very faith. And now that you’ve had a window into the afterlife. If you are Lazarus this day, you believe in Jesus and want to be carried away by His angels when you pass from this life unto the other, then you need to be born again (Jn. 3:3, 5), immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). Saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8).
If you wish to do that now, please come forward as we stand and sing.
TEXT: Luke 3:1-20
THESIS: The Bible is the Source and System of law and power to make legal decisions and judgments. It reveals to us everything we need to know in order to be made right with God (redeemed, saved, forgiven, sanctified, productive & prepared), and how to worship Him in Spirit (the right mind) & Truth (the right doctrine).
THEME: Through the ministry of John who immersed people (aka “John the Baptist”), we can retrieve practical information to be practiced in our faith this day. Fruits of repentance and how that looks like.
The account of two sons, (Mt. 21:28-32)
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he repented, changed his mind about his rejection of the command given to him by his father, and he went and worked in the vineyard.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
Question, “which of the two did what his father wanted?”
That’s right, “the first.”
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Speaking of John, let’s go find him, shall we? (Luke 3)
The time & Source of John’s ministry (vs. 1-2)
Question, where should our Time & Source of ministry come from? Now & The Bible.
The Location of John’s ministry (vs. 3)
Question, where is our location of ministry? – Spencer, Marshfield, and surrounding. And here in this temple, church, body of believers. We have water for those who wish to repent.
The Prophecy of John’s ministry (vss. 4-6)
We Christians were prophesied of as well, “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” – Isaiah 62:2-3
And we see that prophecy fulfilled in Acts 11:26, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
The Purpose of John’s ministry (vss. 7-14) – [elaborate on each verse]
Question, what is our purpose as Christians?
The Period of Johns ministry (vss. 15-17)
The Prisoning of John’s ministry (vss. 19-20)
We fulfill our ministry, life on this earth, productive for Christ. These earthly vessels we currently have will go back to the dirt. Our souls to the Maker.
Are you a sinner in need of forgiveness? What must you do? Change your mind, stop sinning and start working for Christ and His church.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith” – Eph. 2:8a
Paul the apostle writing to Christians, individuals who had already obeyed the gospel.
Grace is mentioned 156 times in the N.T. It is intelligently created and designed to set us free from the bondage of God’s wrath. And It is a word commonly used by Christians around the world. But do we accurately understand the depth of the word?
What grace is? Where can it be found? Who can receive it? How to obtain it? Can we keep it?
It is most important we comprehend these various categories pertaining to grace, “because certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped into the church. They are ungodly people, who pervert THE GRACE of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” – Jude 1:4
We don’t want to be found guilty of that, using grace as a means to sinful living and division. You see a fire can be used for survival, warmth. And it can also be used to burn the house down. “So, what shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” – Gal. 6:1-2
Grace, according to Scriptural description, within the contextual atmosphere, is a tool God uses in order to allow us favor in His sight. Approval and support. Favor that is not merited. We don’t deserve His forgiveness, and we can’t earn it. But His grace, this redemptive equipment He has freely extended through His Son, suffers it our way. “For even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.” – Eph. 2:5
Grace is presented to us in such a powerful way, that it can conquer any sinful practice and behavior. This instrument of compassion furnishes our ability for faithful endeavors. It is found in Christ, the sole location of our freedom. Whatever sinful thing you’ve done, or are doing, you can receive pardon for it. For “where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rom. 5:20-21
Grace is also personified in Christ, which acts as a teaching device. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (doing what?) TEACHING us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly (thinking right), righteously (doing right) and godly (God approved), in this present world;” – Titus 2:11-12
Unmerited favor found in Christ, for all mankind. Something you don’t deserve is bestowed upon you because someone died on a cross in your stead. This someone purposely being Jesus, the predestined plan in which His blood washes retrospective to all faithful souls of the Old Covenant, and forward to all living under His Messianic stewardship of time.
So that takes care of the “what, where, and who.” But what about the “how?” How do we receive this grace? Since we can’t earn it with meritorious works. Since it is found in a specific God established location? Since all mankind can have access to it? How do I obtain it? How do I gain entrance into this designed and designated location in which His grace is found?
It is of most important knowledge that we honestly receive the understanding of inspired writ when it declares grace being in fellowship with obedience. This is key in our reception of His grace. Nowhere in the Bible will you find grace at odds with obedience. An honest student of the Bible will realize that James 2 is not contradicting Ephesians of the same chapter.
If we are to obtain the location of grace we must have an active faith. A faith that is not based on meritorious works but rather a submission, obedience, and service of love to Him who first loved us.
To know how to obtain His grace we must look into how people of the 1st century where able to receive it. Faith. Trust in Christ.
Paul the apostle speaking to Christians in Ephesus. Christians who had received the grace of God back in Acts 19:1-7. Had a very specific moment in which that event occurred and was recorded, and that very moment is when they became citizens of the kingdom of God, the church that belongs to Jesus Christ, the location where grace is found. How? When as repentant believers confessing Christ as their Lord and Master, were immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins.
The very moment every single mind in the Bible received grace was through their obedience, their faith in action. Not to meritoriously earn anything, but rather to please God and allow His Son to save their souls.
That is why Paul says there is but one baptism in Eph. 4:5. Because he knows that immersion in water is the very point in which a man is forgiven of sins by the power of Christ, made a Christian, added to the kingdom of God, “saved, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” – Titus 3:5
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
Grace is the unmerited favor found in Christ, for all mankind. Something you don’t deserve is extended to you because someone died on a cross in your stead. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13. This someone purposely being Jesus, the predestined plan in which His blood washes away the sins of all who participate in obedience.
How? “When you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” – Rom. 6:17. The moment you let go self and put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27), born again (John 3:3). When you came up out of that water you were now found in the location of His grace, His kingdom, the Body of His Son Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN CHRIST:” – Eph. 1:3
And now free from the bondage of sin we must remain in His grace and not once again go back to our sinful ways, less we fall from His grace, because “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you go back to your old ways; ye are fallen from grace.” – Gal. 5:4.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Eph. 2:8-9
A repentant believer confessing Christ as his Lord and Master has nothing to boast about when submitting to the waters of baptism in order to be forgiven of his or her sins. Why is that? Because you haven’t “earned salvation through meritorious works.” You simply love Jesus and want the grace of God to give you peace and purpose in this life. Anyone telling you otherwise has been lying to you!
If you want the grace of God, you must be born again of water and the spirit.
Now if you’ve done that already but have wavered off the beaten path and find yourself outside the favor of God, you can come back this morning and renew your spirit.
Either, or. Please come forward and make it known.
IN CHRIST WE BREAK NETS
Text: Luke 5:1-11
Illustration: Two teams.
One has all the major players, top draft pics, trained and ready to destroy their opponent. Giants. Very intimidating. Many cheer them. Most love them. Millions follow. According to the world this team is the bastion of international pride. Breaking all the records.
The other team is the complete opposite, the underdogs. Nothing pretty. Nothing fancy. Certainly, nothing to be intimidated about. Broken. Needy. The world sees them as losers, fools. “Why would they even bother to try?” many would say. They’ve lost every attempt since forever it seems. No confidence. No hope. “We keep trying but nothing ever happens,” they would often express.
These two teams come to ahead and a war takes place on the ground. And would you know it? A tremendous upset and surprise takes place. The former “losers” achieve the goal, they win the prize and every blessing that comes with it. And those who tried to do things their own way, came home empty handed. Fell on the way side and never again were able to take the crown. But this team belonging to this coach, gathered many believers. Broke many records. So much so they needed to build bigger stands to accommodate the amount of people coming in.
WHICH TEAM (CONGREGATION) ARE WE?
Now, regarding Luke 5:1-11, context:
Thesis: The word of God is taught to the people, obedience to His word comes from a submissive heart. The result is productivity and growth for His Majesty.
Theme: Without Jesus, His teachings, and our obedience to Him. We shall never be spiritually successful in anything we do. We will not be provided for, we will lose our nourishment, decay and die. Empty nets for fishermen. Empty pews for our Lord. An embarrassing loss.
READ LUKE 5:1-11
When Christ is in the boat with us, we are successful. When Christ lives in our minds through His Word, we are faithful. When Christ is our head coach, the head of His church, we win souls for Him. When we listen to His words and obey them, we belong to Him. And He teaches us how to gather a people for His kingdom. For His purpose.
This congregation which belongs to Jesus Christ, is going to grow in great numbers. And it will do so because we will listen to His words and obey them. Even when we doubt, even when we are uncertain, in pain, going through health issues, or persecution. We will go out into the field and gather souls for Him. We will become productive and prepared. We will use the talents He has blessed us with, for His glory. We will not burry them. We will use both the digital realm and physical realm. We’ll talk to people in the community. We’ll invite friends & family. We’ll ask those willing, to study the Bible with us. And we will grow. Our faith will grow. And our numbers will grow. Because Christ will be in the boat with us, and His Words will instruct us. This faith heals all mended wounds, and division. It is the cure to a dying world.
And just as Christ was found in the designated area He so chose in order to extend His words and blessings. So, it is for us this day, we must be in the same boat. We must be citizens of His kingdom. Members of His body. Saints in the church (of) belonging to Christ. Jesus says “whoever believes and is immersed shall be saved.” If you are willing to believe in Him, repent of your past sins, confess Him as your Lord and Master, … you now qualify to be immersed in water with His authority in order to be saved. Born again. Washed. Forgiven. Out of that water He will add you to His kingdom, church. And there together, we in Spencer WI, shall be “IN CHRIST BREAKING NETS.”
The Widow & the Warrior
The Widow - (1 Kings 17)
- There was a coming famine in the land during the age of Elijah. No food, no water for several years. And during these times of drought the Lord provided for His prophet. The Lord sent Elijah to go live east of the Jordan, to a brook where water could be found. The Lord also provided Elijah with bread & meat in the morning and evening, through the agency of ravens.
- But there came a day when the brook ran dry. And the Lord commanded Elijah to go live in a place called Zarephath, where a widow (a woman who had lost her husband) would provide for him. Now when Elijah met this widow at the gates of Zarephath he asked her for water & bread. But because of the famine she said to Elijah, swearing on His Lord, that she only had enough nourishment for this one last meal which was to be between her and her son, and then they’d die of hunger and thirst.
- But you see, Elijah was there with the power and will of God. And this Source of power has the ability to provide nourishment, even when none seem to be found. And sure enough that widow never ran out of food and drink while a man of God was with them.
- However, later on in this account, the widow’s son falls sick and dying. She begs Elijah to intercede with His God on behalf of her son. Elijah does so, and the Lord responds by healing her son. She then says “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
- Curious how she would not have known that, earlier on. When through Elijah her nourishment never ran dry. We would think she’d have been sold on the power of God during the first miracle. But no, it took another.
- Interesting how we can do the same, living in this Christian testament. We see God answer prayer time and time again, yet lack faith in His provision the following day (i.e. we don’t have the money, we don’t have the time, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the numbers). FRIENDS, WE HAVE GOD! We have enough of everything He so desires of us in His church.
- In all instances, PAY ATTENTION TO THE POINT, God saved the widow. She had been set free from the bondage of thirst and famine (starving to death), and also the bondage of loss for her child. She was saved by God through the agency of obedience, brought to her by a prophet. She received the nourishment (the word of God), and life (her son restored). And though she did not know this, Jesus would use her as an illustration when His time to walk the earth had come.
And now, the Warrior - (2 Kings 5:1-14)
We transition to the account of Naaman, captain of the Army of Aram, a great man, highly respected. A valiant warrior through whom God gave Aram war victory, but there was problem with Naaman. Naaman was a leper, he had leprosy, and so he was very sick and dying.
- And through the agency of a prophet, and providence of God, instruction was given for Naaman to obey specific orders, if he wished to be healed of the leprosy. He had to dip in the Jordan River, 7 times.
Of course, Naaman was initially furious at the conditions, but after a word from the Lord, he repented and did as he was told, and his health was restored. God saved the warrior. And though Naaman was unaware, Christ would speak of his account in the New Covenant.
And now we move forward centuries into the account of Christ, in...
- In this section of recorded witness (vss. 1-13), Luke writes of Jesus’ temptation taking place over on the Westside of things. Of course Christ conquers His adversary’s agenda. The Devil tried to use emotion and his own interpretation of the Bible to deceive and swindle the Anointed One, the Messiah. However the serpent of old failed miserably. And this account transitions to where,
We begin now reading vss. 14-16, And so this platform gives way to our portion of study this day, Christ returns to the North-side of things in the power of the Spirit. Folks have been paying attention to this man, the Nazarene. One who grew up in hard labor, not thought to be some-kind of eloquent and well versed scholar, yet respected as noble. But none the less Jesus persists in consistency with his attendance to religious people, places, and affairs. And so they grant him the opportunity to teach in their religious establishments. So He further journeys to Nazareth (where he grew up and was raised) to do what he purposed to do, reading the Scriptures on the Sabbath in the synagogue.
Vs. 17, In this instance the scroll (the prophet Isaiah therein) was handed to him for public reading. Well, Jesus receives the Bible, and finds His book/chapter/verse (if you will), because He has something to say to them about what the Bible says,
- Small excursion, practical practice in the application of this principle: Where did Jesus find His Source of truth? Both when dealing with Satan, and now these religious people? In the Bible! Question, where do you find your source of religious information? Dreams? Emotional experiences, (aka your “feelings”)? Perhaps Family members? Friends? Pastors and Priests? A man in white robes sitting at the Vatican? A man with nice shiny teeth and wavy hair on TV? Will you trust men with your eternal soul? Or be like Jesus, and trust the Bible? Food for thought, a challenge for your mind (free of charge).
Back to the text...
Vs. 18-19 Jesus here quotes a messianic prophecy about Himself. Speaking of One who would preach the gospel to all who are seeking spiritual freedom, the humble and honest! And just like the day of jubilee was a physical freedom from sin, in the age of Christ the spiritual shackles of iniquity and lawlessness would be broken with the obedience to this good news preached by His Majesty.
- “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” And the conditions to be met for entrance as citizens of this kingdom would be extended to all who love Jesus.
Vs. 20, This was an authoritative position seeking audience for teaching purposes, and those hearing were paying close attention to what He was saying.
Vs. 21, The Word of God transmitted through the agency of man, the prophet Isaiah, had now, that very day, been quoted and fulfilled. Christ Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One on the verge of teaching them the truth.
Vs. 22 now the people didn’t really understand the depth of Christ’ declaration, but they were all speaking well of Him and the accuracy of His words. So much so they even question and doubt Jesus’ upbringing in Nazareth as a simple carpenter’s son. He speaks like a well versed and seasoned scholar, so how on earth can this man be a carpenter, the son of a carpenter, from Nazareth of all places?
- Don’t you know if God can give us a mustard seed from Nazareth, it can surely grow in Spencer. Amen?
- They flatter Him none the less because these Jews think He’s quoting a prophet speaking of a Messiah that was going to come and release them from the physical oppression of the Roman government. That this Messianic prophecy would build an earthly throne in which they would have positions of secular influence and power. Similar in thought with His disciples in Matthew 18, “who then is the greatest in the kingdom?” Sizing their selfish wants according to the world’s standard of judgment.
Vs. 23, And so Jesus recognizes their vain praise and further states the fact that they would indeed wish to hear and see the things He said and done in other districts. The Word had been buzzing around about Jesus and these religious people wanted a piece of the cake. Thinking they had come to the wilderness to find a reed shacking in the wind. Not so!
Vs. 24, Jesus says this because He knows how they are going to act once He tells them gospel truth. “You’re going to hate my preaching, because it’s strong and true, it’s not what you were expecting to see and hear, and in turn you’re going to hate me for it. But I’m not in this ministry to pander my submission upon the rebellious. Rather I’m invested in it for all who will love Me by keeping my commandments.”
- Remember, Jesus is speaking to His people, religious people who belong to the household of God. It would be like Jesus standing behind this pulpit and telling you what he’s about to tell them.
Vs. 25-30, what was so offending, what triggered these Jews to violence against Jesus? Can’t you see? Jesus revealed to them that the Messiah they’ve been waiting on was going to be releasing the Gentiles. He’s telling them that God is going to release the Romans and all other heathens and pagans. And He did so with Bible evidence declaring God had saved the widow and the warrior, BOTH GENTILES, HEATHENS AND PAGANS! Very wise of Luke to record this account for the Greeks, don’t you think?
- These religious people the Jews, wanted to hear and see what Jesus was all about? Well, the Messiah provided. He told them the truth and He miraculously slipped from their murderous midst.
- When you preach the truth to Christians, members of the church that belongs to Jesus Christ, who have a misguided idea of the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and His apostles? When you preach to Christians who have a worldly understanding of what a man of God looks like, sounds like, and acts like? When you preach to Christians who have allowed their own emotions and idleness guide them? They’re going hate you. Our own people!
- This kind of approach and preaching of Christ is spiritually beneficial for two reasons, it gets rid of fake Christians in the assembly and it renews and strengthens into repentance those who wish to remain and grow. This kind of preaching is very hostile to idle cowards in the fold, but it is the breath of life and freedom and courage to all who love Jesus. The Widow & the Warrior.
The Jews thought the Messiah was going to come and release them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. And here Jesus says to them “I’m the Messiah, and the ones I’ve also come to free from oppression are the Gentiles, from their bondage in sin. I came to seek and heal the sick (the Gentiles), not those who think themselves already healthy (Jews).”
God saved the widow from Zarephath with water, and the Aramean Warrior with water also. You want to try and convince me this morning that God can’t save us with water? He can save you too this very moment if you so choose to love Jesus. Here are the very simple conditions.
- Change your mind, repent, turn towards God. Let go everything you think is so important. Everything you thought you knew about religion. Trust in Jesus, the God of the Bible, confess Him as your Lord and Master when He says you must be born again of water and the spirit, and live faithfully as a forgiven citizen of His kingdom, His church.
“Whoever believes AND is immersed shall be saved. Whoever does not believe shall be damned.” – Mk. 16:16
When you come out of that water, you are safe with God and His Son. You have His church as your family and system of support, priority, responsibility, fellowship, and comfort.
If you want Jesus to save your soul, He will make you a citizen of His kingdom, a congregation in which you see here this morning in Spencer WI. Not perfect, but serving a perfect Master.
Topic: alcohol & Christianity; milk & honey, or cold water and hot grease?
My approach in this broadcast is more along the lines of one’s inner thoughts and heart because that’s usually the problem when dealing with this topic.
- This session is not going to address the mild and moderate consumption of alcohol for medical reasons. The Bible allows one’s judgment, conscience, and opinion on that matter. Though in this age there are many other alternatives one should consider. Simply saying, if the doctor recommends you consume one small drink of alcohol for your *insert wtv ailment, then it’s totally up to you what you wish to do that. God is your judge. Not I, or any other man.
- This podcast will, however, be dealing with the social consumption of alcohol in moderation, whether in the secrecy of your home or collectively with friends for the purpose of softening your wits and “fitting in” with the world.
- Example, having a glass or two of alcohol at events such as Xmas, birthday parties, hangouts, dinners, etc. For the strict reason of fleshly fulfillment, just because you think "there’s nothing wrong with it and besides Jesus said it was ok, right?" Well, let’s look into that, shall we?
First and foremost, if you are an honest student of the Bible, you need to understand that the word “wine” in the Bible is described by its context. Simply saying that the context in which the word is found will determine if it is speaking of an intoxicant, or non-alcoholic beverage (juice).
Second, you have to erase your current modern definition of wine, and/or being drunk. Why? Well because we’re reading a 2000-year-old literature which had a completely different language, nuance, and environment than we do this day. Though mankind remains the same, some choose to do good and some choose to do bad. There’s no new sinful practice under the sun.
- Now know this, pay close attention, never will you find a contradiction in the Bible regarding what alcoholic wine is, and what non-alcoholic wine is. If you find contradiction we assure you, the fault is on your shoulders. You need to work it out, read some more, study further, ask questions to trusted sources (like myself *wink wink).
Ok, before diving into the text of this episode. We first quote a few inspired writers regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- "Wine is a mocker, Strong drink and/or beer is a brawler, And whoever is led astray (deceived) by it is not wise, hence, is a foolish person."
The Levitical law also gives us insight and principle as to this now spiritual Israel we citizens of the church currently inhabit during the Messianic age, the age of Christianity.
And King James says "the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." – Lev. 10:8-11
- Don’t drink booze because booze is unholy, unclean, and will hinder your ability to teach your children about the law of Christ which extends to us His grace and mercy. Don’t do this because the body is the temple of God.
And what of old Habakkuk who says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” – Hab. 2:15
And what of Ezekiel who says: “No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.” – Ez. 44:21
- And don’t you know that from "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— has made us to be a kingdom (His church), priests therein, to His God and Father.” – Rev. 1:5-6
- Peter, and inspired man, following the instructions of His Master Jesus Christ, told the Christians of the day that they were priests. "And so are all who obey the gospel. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Pt. 2:9
And so, now we peak into the text of Ephesians 5 with some groundwork established.
Context, Paul speaking to Christians in Ephesus, exhorting them (encouraging with command that must be obeyed) to imitate Jesus Christ and not the world, and he will give us insight and accuracy as to how that very thing is possible.
Vs. 1 – imitate God: who is good and righteous
Vs. 2 – imitate Christ: who is love & sacrifice
Vs. 3 – and Christians who do good and righteous things, who love and sacrifice self, will not participate in any immoral activity. For such is not allowed in a faithful child of God. Such things come when we are softened, dulled of wits.
Vs. 4 – a faithful Christian who does good and righteous things (benevolence, evangelism, offering), will stay away from sinful activities that come when our minds become softened, dull.
Vs. 5 – you see, Christians who aren’t faithful will participate in sinful endeavors, resulting in an eternal punishment away from the God the Father and His Son the Christ.
Vs. 6 – a faithful Christian will not allow the intoxicating lure of deception, capture his or her mind into the disobedience of the sons of this age.
* Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33)
* Be not deceived by the world and its sinful practices (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
Vs. 7 – faithful Christians walking in the Light will not fellowship, participate, defend, and walk according to the ways of this dying world.
Vs. 8 – For what was once dying, your eternal soul, is now made alive in Christ. Free from sin you no longer walk in wickedness but righteousness.
Vs. 9 – what is good is from God, and so do what is good.
Vs. 10 – a faithful Christian seeks to learn what the Bible says instead of what the world does.
Vs. 11 – Don’t do what the world does, rather point out what the world does and exhort them unto repentance. That they may turn from evil and foolish things so as to return to God who is good.
Vs. 12 – The world is filled with sinful practice and behavior. It wants to lurk in the dark as children of the night, where drinking parties, sensuality, and lasciviousness, fornication, immodesty, and dances are taking place. Christians are not to imitate them, but rather imitate God who is good.
Vs. 13 – God is a God of Light, and when His Light shines in us, of its own nature what is dark will be exposed.
Vs. 14 – and so we were made to awake, arise, and shine. This very moment happens to all repentant believers confessing Christ, being immersed in water with His authority, in order to be washed of sins by the power of the blood and resurrection of our Lord and Master, King and Ruler, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Vs. 15, 16 – Pay attention to the things you think, say, do, listen, watch, assume. Because those who don’t, waste their days in useless and unproductive activities which allow their minds to become foolish.
Vs. 17 – so don’t be a fool, instead be smart, wise, productive, ready, prepared, sober.
Vs. 18 - 21 – don’t drink alcohol, because in alcohol when consumed in any amount for any other reason than medical use, will cause you to lose influence, imitation of God, morality, wisdom, righteousness, melody, thanks, and subjection to one another. It will keep you in the filth and deception of the world.
- You cannot be filled with the Spirit, complete in Christ, if you consume alcoholic beverages for worldly pursuits and pleasures.
No, Christ did not turn water into alcohol.
No, Paul never told Timothy to drink alcohol for worldly reasons.
No, deacons are not to drink wine to be softened.
No, old testament characters were not told to drink alcohol for pleasure.
No, gluttony is not an excuse of drinking alcohol. Two sins don’t make a saint.
No, the word “drunk” is not judged by man’s standards. It is not a word describing the amount in which a person has consumed, but rather the moment, and worldly heart behind it, in which he begins to consume. In other words, the language, grammar, context of the word therein describes one who begins to be softened.
- “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” – 1 Pt. 4:3
No, Christians are not to consume alcoholic beverages in any amount at any time, socially. That belongs to the dying world.
Whispering Wine, Paul warned us not to be deceived. Because deception is what will have you miss-interpreting the Bible in order to remain practicing sinful activities. And it will have you speaking the language of disobedience and doctrinal compromise. It will have you justifying your consumption of alcohol. It masquerades as an angel of light guiding you to eternal punishment. Everything bad in this chapter is related in some way to alcohol consumption at any worldly level.
Be busy doing what the text says, and you won’t be busy socializing with the world and/or its practices.
When we don’t drink alcohol we can worship God properly. I think Nadab and Abihu would attest to that fact.
You may not agree with the Bible, and in turn, point the finger at me. You have the free-will to do so on this earth. Yet remember these words you’ve heard. For on the Day of Judgment you surely will.
Alcohol & Christianity; milk & honey, or cold water and hot grease? Friends, cold water and hot grease. It just doesn’t mix.
Stay positive. Stay focused.
What did you come to see?
If you go seeking the truth about Christianity from faithful men of God who preach Jesus Christ, His kingdom, and immersion. What exactly do you think you’ll find? Denominational speakers? Doesn’t one go to the hospital in search for a physician? Likewise one goes to the church of Christ for the truth.
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John who would immerse people in water for the forgiveness of their sins (Mk. 1:4). This context came about because of the prior verses (18-23).
These religious people had grown dull as to what they expected a man of God to look like, speak like, and behave like. They had adapted the world’s standard of judgment and discernment for what a religious leader was to imitate. And John who immersed, was the furthest thing from what they were willing to accept. The same was said of the prophets, Christ, and His apostles.
And what of those in this age, in the church? They’ve been raised on motivational speeches instead of doctrinal legality. They’ve been to so called, “Christian” colleges and universities, became best friends with hip youth ministers, and now believe themselves eloquent theologians, enlightened virtue signalers. They don’t do anything per say to preach and/or evangelize, but they’ve become experts on criticizing those who do. Do you think the unrighteous judgment and standard of religious people in the day of Jesus was an isolated problem? Of course not! The epidemic remains alive today. We have all these snowflakes who perceive the passion, animation, conviction, courage, strength, knowledge and public display of faithful gospel preaching as a trigger for their meltdown. Their idea of what Christianity should look like is much different than the way the Bible reveals it. They serve a worldly god, and allocate their own emotions as compatible with Holy Writ. Foolishness.
In this account, Jesus teaches the people. Brings to their remembrance, that a man of God is not at all what this current generation of religious people now perceive. A man of God looks like, speaks like, and lives like the Bible says. What they were seeking was to find the same thing they’d been feeding on for decades, fluff and cowards. Progressives, leftists (Mt. 25:33).
Verse 24: “What did you go out to see?” A coward, a weakling, a leftist, a pacifist, a socialist?
Verse 25: “But what did you go out to see?” A wealthy and famous religious speaker? One who is loved by everyone and never offends anyone with that “pesky” truth?
Verse 26: Now if you came to see a prophet, yes even one more important. A man of God who looks like, speaks like, and behaves like, a man of God. Than yes, you’ll find one!
Verse 27: This man of God came looking, speaking, and behaving according to what the Scripture describes, and not what this current generation of narcissistic virtue-signalers perceive.
Verse 28: And though this man of God came according to the standard of the Bible, those coming with great power from on high on the day of Pentecost will be stronger than he.
Verse 29: Some people were able to recognize the law of God through the preaching of John, because again, John wasn’t the snowflake they were looking for.
To the world, John was not “humble.” He was “arrogant, dismissive, offending, unloving, pushing people away, alienating them.”
And speaking of such people, verse 30 reveals the ilk in which Christ rebukes. Christ goes on to say that it would not matter how John came, if he would have come as a snowflake, a weakling, a coward, just like them, they’d still criticized him. John could have done nothing right in their eyes. So instead of encouraging John and listening to the substance of the msg he was publicly sharing, they ridiculed him and slandered him.
Verse 33, John was not like they wanted him to be and so they had to create fault in him to the public eye.
Verse 34, and not only John, but they did the same to Jesus. Christ was loud and public, strong and courageous, nothing like they wanted Him to be. And so, they create fault in Him.
Friends, be those who recognize a man of God. Identify those who preach the truth with boldness and courage. Proclaim the purpose for mankind through the Word of God.
A Kingdom of Bread & Fish: Luke 9:1-27
Citizens of the Kingdom are to receive teaching from His Majesty Christ Jesus. And the King not only delivers the conditions of citizenship, but He has plenty of nourishment to provide for all who are hungry. ARE WE HUNGRY?
The Kingdom of God is a Spiritual Estate. And this Kingdom is visible through the inner eye focused in Christ. ON WHAT ARE WE FOCUSED ON THIS MORNING?
The kingdom of God, of His heavens, is like a merchant (a trader) on a journey seeking fine pearls, and upon finding ONE pearl of great value (unique, prestigious, paramount, supreme), he (this merchant) went and sold all that he had (materialistic things, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community, self, “all”) and he proceeded to purchase this most worthy pearl. And the reason this merchant did such a thing is simply because he sought first the kingdom that belongs to Jesus Christ. And by doing so he knew all things would be added unto him. He asked, and it was given to him; he sought, and he found; he knocked, and it was opened to him.
In this recorded and inspired account, Luke 9, we read of Jesus giving miraculous power to His twelve, and sending His Apostles on a campaign journey (1-2). God breathed authority and instruction is administered to these sojourners therein (3-5). And in verse 6 “departing, they go on throughout the villages, PREACHING THE GOSPEL.” Following this narrative the Holy Spirit reveals to us of Herod’s perplexity regarding the things he’d been hearing about Jesus Christ (7-9). The text continues and transitions with the return of the Apostles, and the given report (10). With a history of signs and wonders experienced in the chapters prior, Christ, in light of the crowds following Him at this time, begins to speak to them about THE KINGDOM OF GOD (11).
And into our Majesty’s visual sermon we escapade this morning, titled: “A Kingdom of Bread & Fish.” “Now the day was ending (verse 12), and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.”
We can’t provide for these people? Why? Because there’s simply no market in this deserted location?
Friends, the apostles were looking outwardly, and not only outwardly, but selfishly. How so? Not only were they seeking another source of nourishment outside the Great Provider in their midst (Jesus Christ). They also wanted to pass the responsibility of benevolence to the needy in need of their hospitality. Just like fish swimming in fresh rivers of life, instructing their mates to gather buckets of water from a heathens empty and dying well.
Remember. The twelve had been following Jesus, witnessed time and again to miraculous power and provision. And yet at this junction, display dead faith, and believe it wiser to send the needy off with a prayer (“depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” yet they do not give the people the things which are needed for the body). Why not simply turn to the Great Provider who gives abundantly to all who love Him? Why not take responsibility and give them the Master’s provision?
Jesus said to them, “You, give them to eat.” (13a) - A Kingdom of Bread & Fish. A visual and prophetic look into the citizenship of God, and still the apostles miss the mark. And so proceed to insert excuse #2, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” (13b)
I wonder if this was Peter speaking in such ignorance. A fisherman would know the cost of this bounty needed to feed this large crowd, the amount of labor necessary to provide for such an extravagant meal. And through a worldly perception, foolish of Jesus to even suggest such a thing! You see, they were once again looking at the wrong source for answers. This is more than geographical location. This is more than what money can buy. This is something costly, unique, prestigious, and most worthy. Are there no merchants to be found?
Jesus said to them (in His wisdom and patience dealing with finite man). “Have them sit in groups of about fifty each.” (14)
Jesus is teaching them a visual concept of a coming kingdom. And the source of nourishment which is provided for this kingdom comes from God. And what is from God is united in doctrine, autonomous in groups. All across the world there need be no seeker of truth which should find provision in any other location than within one of the congregations belonging to Christ, for He is the King, and we are His “called out ones.” HIS SERMON CONTINUES, THE GOSPEL, THE KINGDOM.
At this point the apostles repent and follow His instructions. They congregate the kingdom into groups of 50. And the apostles proceed to receive from God and give to the people. And the people were satisfied, filled. And after this miraculous display of kingdom things, there still remained more nourishment (15-17)
A discussion follows between the apostles and Jesus which reveals the power behind this coming Kingdom. To which now they are made privy, Jesus Christ. And so the Messiah, the Anointed One, proceeds to prophecy of His fulfillment in the purchase and foundation of this coming Kingdom. (18-22). “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be murdered and be raised up on the third day.” (22)
And so now we will venture forward to see Jesus and His perfect sermon, extend an invitation to all who may seek freedom from the bondage of sin (Jn. 8:32) by the Word of God (Jn. 8:31). An invitation to obey the conditions of sacrifice each individual accountable to God must practice if he or she wishes citizenship into this kingdom.
READ VERSES 22-26:
One must deny himself: let go all he has, practices, and beliefs.
One must pick up his cross daily: be put to shame in persecution, daily.
One must follow Christ: lovingly receive nourishment from Christ, His Words.
One must reject his former life: stop investing in things of the past.
One must invest in being productive for the kingdom: benevolence, evangelize, teach.
One must not be ashamed of his Master and His Bible: Stand up for Christ and defend Him when the world tries to get you to submit to their way of thinking, walking, and speaking.
The gospel preached. The kingdom of God proclaimed, both one with the other, together, united, wed in divine matrimony. And the power, that will purchase and build this kingdom? The blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the living Son of God! And now Jesus gives them a time period in which His Kingdom, church would come. “I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not die before they see this Kingdom of God.” (27)
And would you know it, not too long after, on the day of Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts, with great power from on high, in Jerusalem, during the Roman Empire, once Christ had died, been buried, and raised from the dead, to walk among 500+ witnesses, and ascend once again into the right hand of the Father. The Kingdom of God was established and its gate was opened to all faithful and active qualifiers willing to obey the conditions of forgiveness and citizenship.
A Kingdom of Bread & Fish, a church that belongs to Christ and receives nourishment from His Words. And here are the conditions extended to all of us this morning as it was for our brethren of 1st century Palestine.
Change your mind about sin. Sin separates you from God and His purpose for you in His kingdom. Change your mind about fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, drug & alcohol dependency, gossip, jealousy, lying, stealing, cheating, violating, swindling, unauthorized divorce, and all other sorts of worldly activities. Change your mind about all the religious filth and charm you’ve allowed your mind to cherish in tradition for decades. Turn away from all these false teaching denominations and the vipers who preach for them. Turn away from everything the world has offered you. Deny yourself and confess Christ as your Lord and Master. What He says from now on you will do.
This narrow path, if you so choose to qualify, takes faith to be immersed in water with the authority of Jesus Christ in order to have Him wash your sins away, and add you to His kingdom, the church that belongs to Jesus Christ. If you have counted the cost of this pearl, and are a seeking merchant ready to sell everything to obtain it, A Kingdom of Bread & Fish, please come forward and meet us as we stand and sing.
MDR – ABR
Marriage, divorce, remarriage. A Bible response.
There is much confusion, doubt, and false teachings regarding this eternal topic. Please allow me to give you the Scriptural interpretation in simple format.
The law of creation and its function/nature was set and determined from the very beginning. Birth from the mind of God. These genesis laws found within the first few chapters are immovable. they are solid and trustworthy. the only way any of these laws can be altered is by God giving us an exception to the rule.
The law of creation and its function/nature, came prior to the patriarchs. prior to Moses and the commandments. These laws are to be set and settled for all time. And the only way one can break them is with a God ordered exception.
The law of creation and its function/nature is what God made in the beginning and intended to be forever more time while earth existed.
And within this impenetrable truth, fact, we find the law of man and woman becoming husband and wife, one flesh. Genesis 2:18 (compatible, suitable, complimentary), 21-24 (two leave four, and become one – husband and wife).
The supernatural source of pattern has designed an intelligent union which no man should separate. And from this recorded account we find a foundation in which we can always go to in order to know what God intended for mankind from the beginning.
Now mankind made a mess of this law throughout the ages. And you can read about that in the pages of the Old Testament regarding divorce and polygamy. Things that God never wanted for mankind but yet suffered it in a regulatory fashion because of the wickedness of mankind.
And so, we ask the Bible, “God, when did this new age begin which is now declared by Paul your servant in Acts 17:30? And He replies “go look at the Words of My Spirit found in Mt. 4:17, and 23, also chapter 28:20, and you shall gain insight and accuracy to the question.”
Three recorded accounts in which Christ reiterates the Law of creation and function His Father patterned from the very beginning. The law which must be respected and obeyed between man & woman, male & female, husband and wife. All other connections are perverted, corrupted.
1st location, Matthew 5:31-32
2nd Scriptural location is found in Matthew 19
We begin with the first section of this account, Mt. 19:3-6
3rd Scriptural location found in Luke 16:16-18
And so, pay attention. Nothing, absolute nothing that Paul or the other apostles have written in their letters, epistles, contradict what God and His Son have set forth regarding this matter. Which means you must revisit their accounts with the mind of Christ.
This law, once again, is for all mankind. And no amount of water can wash away an unrepentant adulterous sin (key word, “unrepentant”). If repentance does not take place, separation of the adulterous union (no longer living together, no longer fornicating), then the only thing water will be doing is getting you wet.
And God is well aware of the consequences that come when an adulterous union must be dissolved. We see such an account in Ezra chapter 10 regarding unions which had children. And though very difficult and challenging, Christians are to be there for each other when one of our own repents of an adulterous marriage which involved children. We must be courageous and strong in these times. This life is but a vapor, and nothing in it is worth losing our soul over.
And so, we can rest assured that what God teaches and commands regarding the union made between a man and woman is to be respected and obeyed. Or eternal consequences will be administered.
We pray this podcast session will help you in your faith. We cannot deny the truth, and I refuse to soften the eternal consequence in order to please men. God is good always. His mercy and judgment are paramount.