“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”–‘ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Mark 7:6-13 (NKJV)
Archive for April, 2014
“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.'” Luke 24:45-46 (NASB)
Jesus emphasized that His death and resurrection were a part of a plan; this was something that had to happen. A suffering messiah had not been easy for the disciples to accept (Matthew 16:21-22). This is why so many failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and why many saw the cross as a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Jesus specifically mentioned the prophecies of the resurrection on “the third day.” This has troubled some students of the Bible, because they cannot account for three full days in the Scriptural record. But in the normal speech of that time, a span of “three days” could cover any portion of those days. Jesus was crucified on…
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“Two men went to the temple to pray.”
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” Luke 18:10-11
One wonders how the disciple Matthew, a former tax collector, must have felt upon hearing this parable.
Jesus most certainly told the story to convey a message to the Pharisees: those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humble will be exalted.
He also wanted to communicate to those in this honor and shame culture that those who were traditionally the subject of finger-pointing, shaming and humiliating were those who Jesus himself invited to the table to eat the Bread of Life and drink his Living Water. It…
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“And He said, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.’ With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.” Mark 4:30-34 (NASB)
The mustard seed to which Jesus referred is not the plant from which the familiar seasoning comes. The plant Jesus mentioned grew wild and its leaves were used as “greens.” While the seed may not have been the smallest seed in the world, it was the smallest of which Jesus’ audience would have been aware. This tiny seed, when carefully cultivated, could grow to heights of twelve to fifteen feet–taller than any other garden plants. It grew so large that birds could nest under its shade.
The point that Jesus was making in this parable is that the kingdom of God would have a small, even insignificant, beginning, but would then grow mightily. So it was that the church began on Pentecost with only a few of Jesus’ followers. These devout followers pitted against the might of the Roman Empire whose population numbered into millions seemed like insurmountable odds. Yet today Christ’s Church numbers hundreds of millions around the world, while the Roman Empire lies buried in the musty pages of history.
According to Ephesians 1:1-14, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. One has to be in Christ to recieve these spiritual blessings. What are these Spiritual blessings?
1. Holiness ( Eph 1:4) – Isn’t it wonderful that before the creation of this world God chose us in him? Do you realise he knew you before you were even formed in your mother’s womb(Jeremiah 1:5) and set you apart from sin so you could be sanctified by the Holy Spirit in preparation for your election or calling in Christ.
2. Adoption as sons (Eph 1:5) – by Jesus Christ. Those who recieve him become the children of God (John1:12). Being sons we become co-heirs to the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:17). How blessed are you?
3. Acceptance in the beloved (Jesus) – the grace which is the undeserved favor we…
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Lord, let me live my every day
As if it were my last
And strive to make amends for all
The sins that fill my past
Let me be kind to everyone
In thought and word and deed
And share what worldly goods I have
With those who are in need
Help me, O Lord, with strength of heart
And with Your holy grace
To walk in calm and patience and
To keep my humble place
I want to be Your servant, Lord
And always do Your will
Until my eyes are closed in sleep
Until my heart is still
Be merciful to me, O Lord
For my imperfect past
And let me live my every day
As if it were my last
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death unto life.” John 5:24 (NASB)
What is “My word?” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18 (NASB)
There is enough Gospel in those three verses to save the whole wide world if the world would hear and believe. Jesus left the bosom of the Father and came to man’s abode. He took upon Himself a body, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death–even the death of the cross; but before He died He finished the work the Father sent Him to do. He announced God’s love, He made plain the way of salvation. He taught in the streets, in the synagogues, from the mountains–and proved His ministry by the things He did. Nicodemus said, “No one can do these signs You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). Even the officers who were sent to arrest Him declared, “Never has a man spoken the way this Man speaks” (John 7:46).
Why? Jesus gave the answer in John 6:33: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
“In whatever place you enter a house,, stay there until you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”
Mark 6:10-11 (NKJV)
The spiritual nature of the believer needs prayer as well as does the physical. How often the spiritual is neglected while all the attention is given to the physical side. Power is needed to live the Christian life, to grow in grace, and to develop into full maturity–which is the work of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can supply power, living, and growth for the full maturity of the believer.
J. Vernon McGee