Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The fruit of the heart

Have you ever gotten a lime off of a pear tree? Each fruit tree bears the fruit that it’s supposed to. An apple tree bears apples, a lemon tree bears lemon. Each person’s life bears fruit. And the fruit is the words we say as a result of the condition of our heart. The Pharisees words concerning Jesus showed the condition of their heart. His lesson is simple and true, each tree is known by its fruit. Keep this in mind as you read Matthew 12:33-37. Jesus' simply say’s make a tree good and its fruit will be good or a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit. In teaching this he taught the people to be aware of false prophets that they would be recognize by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). The fruit of a sinful heart is sin. Their problem and our problem is that we are born with a sinful heart and the fruit that we bear is sin. No matter what we do we cannot make our sinful heart bear good fruit for God. Only God can take a sinful human heart and make it right before him. The good news for all humanity is that God is willing to make any persons heart new if they ask him in faith. This is made possible because of Jesus’ sinless sacrifice on the cross and of his bodily resurrection from the dead. Here is what God did in Jesus: he made him who knew no sin to become sin for us so that we can become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21) This is God’s love for you that through Jesus Christ, God is able to make your heart new, righteous before him so that the fruit of your heart is good fruit of the Spirit and not the bad fruit the flesh Galatians 5:19-23. Proverbs 6:16-19 teach us just how sinful a human heart can be. Jesus Christ alone has the power to make a person heart new and in right standing with God the Father. When God make a person’s heart new and righteous the good fruit of the Spirit will be produced through that person’s life. This will be evident because there will be a change that others will notice. God the Father knows exactly what changes need to take place in your life. If your life is in a mess and you want to have a changed life then call upon the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to save you from your sins and to give you a new heart. You will experience a relationship with God that is real and personal. He will give you the gift of the Holy Spirit that will teach and guide you in the way that you should go. You get to know him as you spend time with him in his Word (the Holy Bible), prayer as he reveals his plans and promises to you.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Jesus response to the Pharisee's accusations

With Jesus authenticating himself as the great “I Am” of the Old Testament we now get to watch how the Pharisees respond once again when a demon-oppressed man is brought to him. Please read Matthew 12:22-32. Notice the crowds response- they were amazed! They were continuously amazed and beside themselves as Jesus continued to heal all that was brought to him. The crowds began to ask the question “Can this the Son of David?” Jesus’ answer to this question is yes if you have ears to hear and eyes to see with. The Pharisees ministry and influence as decreasing and they became jealous of Jesus. They reveal to us just how wicked a person’s heart can be. The Pharisees respond this way because they don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of David. They accuse Jesus of doing these miracles by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. God’s word is right with these words: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10) No matter what religion you may or may not practice, one truth is for sure: we do not know just how wicked and sinful our hearts are! As I reflect on my life I do not know the depravity of my own heart. God does! Our sinful wicked heart is a divided heart. Jesus reveals this truth as he responds to the Pharisees accusations with this truth: A house divided against itself will fall (vs. 25). The same truth applies today. The same is truth applies in a marriage, in a business and yes even in a local church body! The only way any person, or group can have a united heart for one purpose is to take Jesus up on his invitation: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus has the authority and power to set you free from Satan’s control and transform your life. Jesus received the authority from the Father to bind Satan and plunder his house. Jesus paid for your sin debt in full on the cross when he shed his blood for your soul. Let’s get one truth perfectly clear: Jesus satisfied the wrath of God because we as sinful humans were not and are not able to do so. Jesus under the authority of God the Father bound Satan up and plundered his house. Every person who has ever been plundered from the house of Satan has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. The classic hymn has it right: What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the only reason my life is different today. I invite you to give your life to him!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jesus' Authentication as the real Messiah

Have you ever seen Vaseline glass? Normally you would find this in an antique store and it will be a green colored dish that was made during the early nineteen hundreds. If you are not careful you can mistakenly buy a piece of green Depression glass from the same time period. So before you buy how would this glass as the real deal? First you must remember that Vaseline glass is also known as uranium glass. This uranium glass will glow a bright green under ultraviolet light. What make it glow is the uranium oxide that is added to it during the process of making it. So you would want to carry an ultraviolet light around with you or down load the application on to your cell phone. Turn it on and it should glow and you know that you are holding the real deal in your hands before you purchase it. As we continue through the book of Matthew how do we know that Jesus is the great “I Am” of the Old Testament? There would have to be a way to authenticate what Jesus is doing and saying so that a person could make the adjustment of their lives to him. In Matthew 11:28-30 he gave an invitation to come to him and find rest for your souls. The Pharisees ask him a question concerning his disciples breaking the laws of the Sabbath in which he replied that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. As Lord of the Sabbath he responded with an answer that gave interpretation of the Law that differed from the one they were teaching people. Let’s read how Jesus authenticated that he is the Lord of the Sabbath before the Pharisees and their response in Matthew 12:9-14. I hope that you have taken the time to read this passage because in it we read how Jesus authenticated himself as the great “I Am” the one who is the Lord of the Sabbath. Notice that they are now asking “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” They are looking for a way to accuse him so that they could get rid of him. His response to them is that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath because a person is more valuable than an animal. If you’re struggling with your self-value you need to know that you are loved by God with an everlasting love. He sent his Son to die in your place and pay a sin debt that you could not pay. Jesus Christ laid down his life voluntarily because he loves you. Jesus authenticated that he is the Lord of the Sabbath when he healed with man with just a spoken word. The LORD performed a similar miracle with Moses at the burning bush. The Pharisees responded by plotting against Jesus so that they could destroy him. How will you respond to Jesus? Respond to him with repentance and submission calling upon him to save you from your sins.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jesus responds to the Phrsiees

Have you ever noticed that there are some people who will always be on the fringe of your life judging you? This happened to Jesus and the group that was judging his teaching and his disciple’s practices was called the Pharisees. The Pharisees in an honest attempt to be holy before God and to be obedient to His commands set in place certain rules and regulations that they would follow so as not to break God’s commandments. This complex system that the Pharisees developed over time turned into a system of legalism. Let’s listen to Jesus as he responds to the Pharisees concerning their judgment concerning his disciples practice on the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-8. Let’s begin by noticing that the Pharisees were judging based on their oral tradition of the law and not what the Law said. Jesus responds to the Pharisees concern with two Old Testament examples and the passage of Scripture from Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” This passage of Scripture teaches the LORD responded on two different occasion when the Law was being broken. Jesus recalls when David and his men were given the bread that was the sacred bread that only the priest could eat as the Lord prescribed to them. God gave King David mercy because he and his men were in need because they were on the run from King Saul. The LORD also made provisions within the Law so that the priest could do their ministry on the Sabbath day and not be guilty. The biblical truth that Jesus taught is still applicable today. Jesus is able to give the right interpretation of Scripture because he is the Son of Man who is the Lord of the Sabbath. The Pharisees struggled with applying Jesus’ interpretation of Scripture to their lives. Some of the Pharisees came to faith in Jesus after his resurrection and found rest for their souls. The same is true for you today when apply Jesus’ interpretation of the Scripture to your life. This wonderful news because God’s peace doesn’t change but our life situations are constantly changing. This why every person who has called upon Jesus to be their Lord and Savior needs to take following him seriously. God has given each person who has been born again a wonderful gift. This gift is the Holy Spirit who is God taking up residence in the life of each believer. He helps each person to know and apply Jesus’ interpretation of Scripture to your life. If you do not learn to study and apply the Bible for yourself you will be a practicing modern day Pharisee. I invite you to learn how to study the Bible using the inductive study method. I would like to recommend three Study Bibles that most people would benefit from: The ESV Study Bible published by Crossway, the NIV Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson and the CSB Study Bible.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Learning from Jesus

Growing up you probably got to learn from someone showing and telling you how they wanted something done. Fishing is one of those show and tell but it requires a lot of patients and practice. I started fishing from the bank with a cane pole and then graduated to learning to fish from the middle of the boat on the river. Learning to fish from the middle of the boat required me to learn a whole new technique in casting a lure. My dad taught me to fish from the middle of a boat by taking a five gallon bucket and setting it up in the yard so that I could practice casting under the dogwood trees. This would keep me from being hung up in the trees. He explained that I had to cast a certain way. The reason why I mention this is because learning is a lifelong process. Learning to follow Jesus is also a lifelong process he gives us an invitation to come and learn from him in Matthew 11:28-30. I am going to ask you to please read the verses and those that surround it. Jesus’ invitation is to everyone and anyone who is weary of trying to keep the Law of God man’s ways. Have you ever noticed how heavy and burdensome it is trying to please God in your own strength? You cannot do it. It is impossible. But when we come to Jesus submitting to him and abiding he enables us to do what we cannot do ourselves. That when we find rest for our souls. When He calls us to himself and gives us a command to follow he enables us to follow through. He commands us to take up his yoke and learn from him. Jesus comes alongside us and helps us to learn how to do life his way. Learning to live life the way that Jesus wants me to requires me to die to my selfish way and follow his ways. Putting to death selfish sinful ways is not easy but through prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit it can be done. I don’t know about you but for me this is difficult sometimes because I want to do life my way and ask God to bless it. As I learn from him and put into practice what he is teaching me I find true rest for my soul. I live for his approval not anyone else. As I learn from Jesus, I discover that he is no harsh task master but someone who wants God best for me. I am inviting you to come to Jesus and learn from him. He wants God’s best for you. Just as my father taught me how to cast a fishing rod so could fish with him on the river, Jesus will teach you how to be a disciple of his so that you can be on mission with him to make disciples of those around you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It is Finsihed!

The other day I received a phone call from my dad and he instructed that they were had caught 32 fish where they had went fishing. He then proceeded to tell me in a polite way as only a dad can that I was to clear my calendar and go fishing with him. I was very happy to do so. It’s not every day that I get to go fishing with my dad. We had fun caught some fish and we when got home the work began. My work wasn’t complete or finished until we cleaned them. When the last one was cleaned we were finished. We were exhausted but filled with joy because our work was complete. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes with that. I am sure that at some point in a project you to where glad to say it is finished. The sense of accomplishment does the soul well. Well on this day over two thousand years ago the words “It is finished” were spoken by Jesus before he died on the cross. I invite you to read with me John 19:28-30 “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (ESV) Have you ever thought about these words “It is finished”? The reason why these words are so powerful is because Jesus paid for our sin debt in full. He completed the work of redemption. He paid our sin debt with his own blood to God the Father so that we could be forgiven and adapted in God’s family. Here is our struggle, we want to add something to the finished work of salvation that Christ completed. The reason why we cannot add anything thing to the finished work of what Jesus did on the cross is because he said “It is finished!” When God raised Jesus Christ from the grave he showed that he approved of his atoning sacrifice that was done on the cross. Paul writes this in his letter to the Ephesians in 2:14-16 “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” God is inviting you to place your faith in the finished work of his son Jesus Christ, your response to this invitation determines the outcome of your eternal destination. No matter what your religious background is God invitation is “Come to Jesus He is Risen!”