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Showing posts from January, 2018

Not Everyone Who Hears The Word of God Will Understand It.

"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart." - Matt. 13:19


I have had the opportunity to be a part of the discussion among pastors as to why people stop pursuing Jesus. Why individuals come to hear the gospel, maybe even attend Church a while, but eventually fall away. For me, Jesus described that best in the parable of the sower in Matt. 13:3-9. He explains that parable a little later in the chapter. 
    As I understand Jesus, one of the reasons people come to hear the word of the kingdom yet never really pursue Christ is a lack of understanding. Now this is not a Jewish problem. Jesus uses the word 'anyone' when he explains this. Meaning this is not isolated to race, gender or geography; this goes for anyone. Anyone can hear, listen to or pay attention to the word of the kingdom and not understand. 
   What is the word of the kingdom? The word of the kingdom refers to …

Abiding In The Word Of Christ Liberates Us From Sin.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31,32

By abiding in the word's of Jesus, I come to know the truth, and the truth I come to understand regarding Jesus, is what sets me free from sin. That is what Jesus teaches. If this is the case, does believing alone establish me being free from the bondage of sin? My answer is no. If it were, Jesus would have said something like this to the believing Jews, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'You are truly my disciples, you know the truth, and that truth has set you free". If Jesus had said that, he would link being set free from sin to believing in him.
   That is not what Jesus said. Those five words, 'If you abide in my word', are so critical. Jesus teaches instead that believing + abiding in his word + knowing the truth about him = being set free from s…

Abiding In The Word of Christ Helps Us To Know Him.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31,32

To be a disciple of Christ, I cannot only believe in Jesus, I must abide in the word of Jesus. And If we remain in the teachings of Jesus we shall come to know, perceive or recognize what is true. That is what Jesus' intention was when he looked at these believing Jews and said, "If you abide in my word...you will know the truth". 
    What truth is Jesus is talking about? The truth Jesus is referring to is not merely an idea but a reality. It is a reality regarding his divinity. Essentially, we have a picture of Jesus looking at these believing Jews and saying, "You believe me but if you want to know me, stay in my teaching". That is just a paraphrase. Jesus is teaching them and us that if we want to know the truth regarding him, we must remain students of his teachin…

Abiding In The Word of Christ Makes You A Disciple.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31,32
     To be a disciple of Christ is more than believing in him. If it were not so, Jesus would have never said what he did here to a group of believing Jews. Understand these words were not said to just anyone. They were directed towards Jews who believed Jesus. They believed that Jesus is the 'light of the world' and anyone who follows him will have the 'light of life' (John 8:12). If this text was directed towards believing Jews, that also means it was not directed to non-believing Jews. What is it that Christ directed towards them?
     Jesus' first five words in this statement are critical. You take these words out and it changes the entire meaning. His first five words to the believing Jews are these, "If you abide in my word". I want to highlight or emphasiz…

Why Should We Give Thanks To The LORD?

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." - Ps. 136:1
   I am not sure about you but when I pray I do not spend enough time thanking God.  But notice the psalmist's opening words, 'Give thanks to the LORD'. To give can mean to present a voluntary gift or place something in someone's care or grant permission, but here it means to impart or communicate. The implication here is to make known; to tell; to disclose something with your mouth. To give your thoughts and your feelings through a form of communication whether that is written or in verbal form.
   What are we to give to the Lord? The Psalmist writes we should give 'thanks'. Thanks is a form of expression. A feeling you put into words. An expression of gratitude, and expression of appreciation or just acknowledging a benefit. So then, we are to communicate to God, make known to God, disclose to God our gratitude and appreciation. When is the last time you j…