Keeps The Door Open For Humanity

Yesterday we looked at the last ten verses of the Gospel of Luke and if one is not careful you can almost miss a very important event in the Disciples’ life and all of humanity’s history. In our modern Bibles we have subtitles to prepare our minds to process passages, but even still things are matter-of-factly stated at times. Look at verse 51:

    “Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51)

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Walking In Joyful Victory

Some Christians do not like the term Easter Sunday; some I know despise it. All of these folks prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday; I do too because that is what happened on that heavenly Sunday morn. Christ rose from the grave. How we came to call it Easter is another occasion of competing with the world, which again, is another whole lesson or course on its own.

But let’s focus on that empty tomb; how did it transform the Disciples of Christ?

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Rejoicing In God My Savior

It may seem strange writing about Christmas in the spring, but I want to look at the birth of Jesus. Some Hebrew scholars believe Jesus was born in the fall around the Feast of the Tabernacle. So why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25? That’s another study all in itself, but suffice it to say the church was competing with the world.

Nevertheless the date is no where near as important as the event itself. The significance of the Christ child was lost on those looking for the Messiah and revealed to those rejected by those very seekers. Notice the Apostle Matthew’s report:

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The Savior’s Joy On Their Return

What can I do to bring joy to Jesus? First, I’ve done so by surrendering my life to Him. By making Him my King, my Lord, I bring Him great joy. And Jesus desires that His joy remains in me.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

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The Joy Of Jesus

The title does not speak of joy in Jesus. That is, although I can rejoice in Christ, and I should, I am speaking of something much more deep and personal. I am speaking of the joy OF Jesus; I mean to say Jesus’ joy. The joy Jesus experiences is the joy of which I am speaking. If joy is a gift of God then we need His joy. Remember our Biblical definition of joy: “a delight in life that runs deeper than pain or pleasure. From a Biblical perspective it is not limited by nor tied solely to external circumstances. Joy is a gift of God, and like all of His other inner gifts it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.”

“…it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.” Such as?

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The Entrenchment Of Stewardship

The level of false teaching under the guise of Christianity is mind-boggling, but it is not unique to our day and age. It was active from Christianity’s beginning (and even before that) and has been an on-going satanic assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So it is incumbent upon we who are blood-bought, born again Christians to protect the gospel and guard our faith diligently.

First Century heresy brought what was then called “knowledge” and these false teachers were known as Gnostics. This term comes from the Greek gnostikos, which means “learned,” and gnosis, which means “knowledge.” Learned Greeks tried to apply their philosophy to Christianity, which became known as the “Hellinization” of Christianity. This subject is much too deep to go into any detail here, but suffice it to say it kept our church fathers busy, chief among the Apostles John and Paul. Paul wrote to his beloved spiritual son Timothy:

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The Effectuation Of Stewardship

I cannot tell you the number of Christians I know who are collecting dust waiting on manna to rain down from heaven. These same people moan and complain about how their loved ones have not come to Christ and how their lives are so messed up. It would be pitiful if it were not so enraging. I don’t know what Bible they’re reading from—not even from the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version)—because Christianity is a belief that requires action.

And this is never more true than when it comes to the stewardship of the gospel. You want to know the secret of why most Christians are poor stewards of the gospel? To put the gospel into effect takes sacrifice and too many American Christians are looking for microwave ministries that allows them to wedge God’s work into their busy workaday lives. I can only imagine what the Apostle Paul would think:

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The Encouragement Of Stewardship

What would you say if I told you there was competition among some pastors? I hope you wouldn’t be surprised because pastors are human too after all. The petty jealousies and rivalries are just as capable of entering the field of ministry as it is in any vocation. It is just less tolerated by the public. And the bellyachings and bickerings that go on dishonor God and His Son Jesus.

The 1st Century Church faced some of this in that initially Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was not well received by many Jewish believers. Even many of the early church leaders were not pleased with Paul preaching to the Gentiles. He writes to the Galatian Church about defending his ministry:

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The Entrustment Of Stewardship

Did you know that as a believer in Jesus Christ God has entrusted you with something so valuable that it is priceless? Its value is beyond measure and it is not for sale. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 3, Paul describes his ministry to the Gentiles as containing “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Paul so loved the gospel that he would not receive money for preaching it. His reward was in knowing that he was faithful in his stewardship to preaching the gospel:

    “But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:15-18)

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The Expectation of Stewardship

This weekend studying for my Sunday School lesson, the Lord put it on my heart to write a series on the Stewardship of the Gospel. In Ephesians 3 we see a mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul of which he shares with the Ephesian church initially and eventually the whole world. The mystery of the church, the body of Christ and its membership being open to all peoples, is the greatest news on earth. It is the greatest story ever told. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. And with this news we have an expectation of stewardship. It is our duty to share it. And this expectation was of Old Testament saints too:

    “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9)

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Not On Human Logic

Today my son Eddie would have been 28 years old. This is his fifth birthday in Heaven. I wrote a couple years back on his birthday wondering if they celebrate birthdays in Heaven. We can only speculate and not know for sure until we get there. For some reason I have been dreading today but now that it is here I am able to rejoice. I hope my wife and girls are able to also; I pray the same for Eddie’s mother and the rest of Eddie’s relatives. The rejoicing comes from knowing Eddie is in Heaven, no longer hurting, scared, killing, scarring, tired, thirsty and hungry.

We rejoice in the knowledge of his salvation. And we rejoice in the knowledge of a heavenly reunion because those of us who have given our lives to Jesus Christ will for sure be with Eddie one day. I can imagine when I get there Eddie will greet me with that big toothy grin asking, “What took you so long Dad?”

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The Pulpit Is Responsible For It

This is not actually a devotional; more of a reminder as we go into the weekend.

I know from the emails I receive from all of you (now 185) that not all of you have a faithful and fearless pastor that many of us who attend Midway Baptist Church in Gulf Breeze, Florida have. Dr. Dennis Brunet is a lover of Jesus, His gospel, and His aletheia truth and Bro Dennis (as he likes to be called) preaches Jesus, the gospel, and aletheia truth without stammer or stutter.

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The Fires of Sorrow

Friedrich Nietzsche, noted philosopher, atheist, and God-hater, is attributed with saying, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” It is actually a paraphrase from “What does not kill him, makes him stronger,” from his work Ecce Homo.

What is considered a deep philosophical thought is actually a silly statement of the obvious. I understand the sentiment behind it, but it is not true. How many people do you know who have faced tough times have become weaker from it? That is because they tried to face it in their own strength and their own sorrow burned them out. King Solomon wisely wrote:

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