WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, November 19, 2017

5 Women - 10/19/2017



Warning Preachy (And again unedited)

In Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, five women are mentioned, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary.  The men listed in this genealogy show the proper lineage of Jesus but the inclusion of the women show just one thing; the shame of Jesus Christ.

Tamar was rejected and she so wanted a child that she dressed like a hooker in order to  entice her father-in-law to do the dirty with her and get her pregnant.  (She bore a child with Judah whom we spoke of last week -Genesis 34)

Rahab made a living as a hooker in Jericho and she manipulated the Israelite into sparing of her life (Joshua 6).  She went on to marry a Jewish man and had a son who is one of Jesus' great-great-grand-daddies.

Ruth was a Moabite woman who was Married to a Jewish man then remarried to a kinsman redeemer.  Although she is shown to be a woman of faith and devotion, she too was not a natural born Jew and she was one of Jesus' great-great-grand-moms (Ruth 1).

Bathsheba was such a hottie that King David saw her nakked one day and decided he had to have sex with her.  Oops, she got knocked up (didn't know that could happen) and tried to push it off as her husband's kid. The plan failed so King David simply had the man killed and took Bathsheba as his wife.  It was one of their son's that sired the line of Jesus (2 Samuel 11 & 12).

And then there was Mary, the engaged girl who got knocked up but claimed that no wrong doing had taken place because God just made her that way, so all was ok (Luke 1).

Matthew's Gospel was written to a Jewish audience to prove Jesus was the Messiah, and pointing out these five women was not a great way to state his case.

("Ahem, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, yes, the accused did stab her husband to death, and yes she did stab him 27 times in the eyeball, and yes she did dedicate on him when she was finished stabbing him, and yes she did yell "glad he's dead" seven times.  But I plan to prove that she really did love him.")

Yeah, Matthew's case was starting out shaky by pointing out the five women in Jesus' lineage.

But isn't this exactly the point?  This Jesus who was executed upon the Roman Cross as a common criminal took the sin and shame of humanity upon himself.  He took our shame and died the death that was rightly our own, in our place, and then rose back from the dead on the third day proving that He was truly innocent and victorious over sins and death; wiping out our shame.

Yes, Matthew's case for Christ starts a little shaky but by the end of his testimony we can clearly see Christ; the Messiah of God.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Skeletons in the Closet – 11/12/2017



WARNING PREACHY… (and unedited)
 
NOTE: This morning I am typing this with my thumbs on my iPod: please forgive and expect typos.

In the discovery of who Jesus is, I am mindful of his humanity.  When The Word Became flesh, when Emmanuel (which means God with us) came to earth and dwelt among us, when the child was born and laid in the manger, God entered into our world in a specific human lineage. 

If I were God coming to earth, I would have inserted myself into the world by becoming a part of a high-born wealthy family.  A family where I was guaranteed the comforts of life and one without any blemishes in the blood line.

When I married into my wife's family I knew I was marrying up.  Seriously, my wife was college educated and both of her parents had Masters Degrees.  At the time, I don't think anyone (even cousins) in my family was college educated, in fact, neither of my parents even had a high school diploma.  Her father had written and published a few books while my father simply read books.  Her family was white collar and mine was desperately blue.  All of this indicates to me that I was marrying into a different class of people.

When my wife's great grandmother died, my father in-law went through her personal effects and found journals, letters, and other family related historical documents.  He laughs as he relates what he's learned but he hasn't been too specific.  He indicated that the family line is not as pure as the driven snow as we have always thought.  That in the lineage of this family that I married up into is a history of some stuff that makes our families seems so very equal.  There's something very comforting in that I think.

Now back to the lineage of Jesus.

A man named Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, had a son who died and left a widow.  Years later Judah came upon a prostitute and lay with her.  A few months later he was told his son's widow was guilty of prostitution so he ordered that she should be burned to death.  However the daughter-in-law proved that it was her father-in-law Judah's baby so she got out of having to burn.  So she had the baby and named the child Perez.

Matthew 1:1-3

The lineage of Jesus Christ...

Abraham the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah,
Judah the father of Perez.

When God inserted himself into humanity, he didn't do so by putting himself into the best and cleanest family tree he could find, he placed himself into one with many spots and wrinkles and at least two prostitutes.

Somehow, this comforts me; it makes our families seem more equal.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Even Creation Knows Him – 11/5/2017



WARNING PREACHY…
 
Matthew 16:15

15 “But what about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”

This is the question of questions and it would appear that even creation knows the answer.

Man?  Not so much. 

We humans not only doubt the existence of God himself, but we question if the world we know was even created.  (Just ask Stephen Hawkings[1])  However, say authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, the creation is completely occupied with Christ[2] and they point out how in some detail.  The following is not an exact quote but it is largely their work that I write here[3].
---

When God spoke existence into being, He wove Jesus Christ into the very fabric of it.

Colossians 1:15-16

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

God created light and He said “Let there be light.”

John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

God created water and He said “Let the water be gathered to one place.”

John 4:10

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

God created life and He said “Let the land produce living creatures”

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus refers to himself in many ways with created things…

He is the “true vine” – John 15:1
He is the “bread of life” – John 6:35
He is the “sun” – Malachi 4:2
He is the “morning star” – 2 Peter 1:19
He is the “true lamb” – John 1:29
He is the “model man” – Romans 5:14
And He is the “real Sabbath” – Colossians 2:16-17

When I first came to faith I remember that it seemed I saw the world with new eyes.  I realized that everything physical that I looked at had significant spiritual implications.  The clouds that floated past had purpose and were not just mere cosmic accident and the hustling-bustling people in our world were no longer just cosmic accidental pieces of advanced star-matter[4], everything had reason and no longer could I shrug off the atrocities to the countless suffering humans around me.

“The Lord Jesus is [truly] written in the bloodstream of the universe.”[5]

Take a few moments today and consider how you might answer our Lord’s question yourself.

Matthew 16:15

“What about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”



[2] Sweet, Leaonard & Viola, Frank, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sonvereignty of Jesus Christ (Nashville: Thomas Neslson, 2010) 5
[3] http://amzn.to/2ipCCeB - I highly suggest getting and reading the book, if you this URL I’ll get a couple pennies.
[4] http://bit.ly/1n81Qi2 - Carl Sagan’s explanation of how everything came to be.
[5] Sweet, Leaonard & Viola, Frank, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sonvereignty of Jesus Christ (Nashville: Thomas Neslson, 2010) 6

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Mystery – 10/29/2017



WARNING PREACHY…

There is a mystery of God that people cannot comprehend, in fact, the robot on Lost in Space would say, “It does not compute.”  And because much of God doesn’t make sense to us, we men are prone to boil the sum of God down to a bunch of moral laws and regulations.  So long as we follow the 10 Commandments, go to church each week, give our weekly offering of cash, and jump through all the ritualistic hoops that our doctrines demand, we will go to heaven when we die.

Matthew 7:21-23

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

In doing this, we Christians can often appear to the rest of the world as a stuffy people who don’t have any fun, who want non-Christians to become stuffy and religious like us, and when people do respond to our evangelical efforts we bring them into our churches and teach them a bunch of doctrines, often making them more contemptible to God then ourselves.

Matthew 23:15

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

But where’s the Mystery?

Paul said that there was a Mystery of God, but I have never had a class on it in any fellowship I have attended.  I think this is because I have always been given manuals that explain every detail of God (backed up by many bible passages) and thus not leaving any room for any true mystery.  But God is bigger than the majority of doctrines, creeds, confessions, and commentaries that men can create, and if God has done anything miraculous then we humans should be left in utter awe of the vastness of His doing so. 

1 Corinthians 1:23-25

23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.


And so as I write about the incomprehensibility of God, I do understand the irony of what I am about to do, I want to take a stab of writing about the Mystery of God.  To do this, I take Paul’s words from the letter to the Colossian church.

Colossians 1:27

…to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Christ In You…

   Are you saved?

      When were you saved?

        Are you born again? 

          Have you ever received Jesus?

The questions go on and are often meaningless to people who do not live by faith.  I suspect that what most people hear in these questions is simply “Do you want to give up your partying, your smoking, your drinking, your sexual escapades, and your fun to come to my church and give them your money?”  Maybe not, but that’s what I used to hear.

But then I realized my own mortality and cried out to the creator of our world to show me the truth.  And I didn’t care what the truth was, I just wanted to know what it was.  And within a few weeks I was presented with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:20

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

This was a mystery to me.  A man who was dead actually raised back to life?  Seriously?  Who claims this kind of stuff?  How does a religion even get started with such a ludicrous claim?  In my experience of the world, 1 out of every 1 person who dies stays dead.  But the claim was so preposterous that I had to investigate it.  And over time God revealed to my mind the reality of this human mystery of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

But now, there is a greater mystery that I still have not gotten my head around, and that is the Mystery that the Apostle Paul wrote above in Colossians 1:27: which is Christ in You!

The idea that Christ dwells in me causes me much internal struggle.  I’ve been wrestling with the reality that Jesus literally bonded with my soul and is one with me.  It’s one thing for me to read about the Virgin Mary being overshadowed by the Spirit of God melding with her physical body in order to produce the God/Man Jesus.  I can study it and roll it over in my mind but do I really get it?  Do I really get that just as God melded with the Virgin so also the Holy Spirit melds with me to create a new creation in this world?  The thought is boggling to me and shrouds me in wonder and awe at the very idea…

When I talk with people about the faith, I have gotten some flack from my fellow Christians because I don’t claim to know it all, and I don’t try to make people accept any certain denominational point of view.  I simply invite them to explore the greatness of a mystery that leaves my jaw hanging and seek truth no matter where that truth should lead them.  I am confident that people who seriously seek God will have their eyes and ears opened so that they too will see a terribly awesome Jesus who died for them, and invites them to be in fellowship with Himself and the Father.

A Final Thought…

I don’t particularly like the questions that ask a person if they have been saved, or when were they saved, because it muddles the Gospel in my estimation.  The Gospel message is not a question at all; it’s a statement of fact. 

YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAVED!

The very moment that Jesus died on the cross your sins were paid for.  Every vile thing that is hiding in your closet has been forgiven.  Not because you are anything special but because Jesus is.  And that is the gist of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  A person may not believe it, may not accept it, may not like it, but the reality is that it has been done by Jesus and we men have been once-and-for-all been redeemed from our world of sin and death.

Ephesian 2:1-9

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

And while this is indeed Good News, there is still the reality of the wrath of God to come.  And the wrath is not as much about sin as it is with not accepting the Son whom God sacrificed on the Cross in order to redeem us.  For in Jude 1:5 is a little focused on verse about the Israelites who were all redeemed from their slavery in Egypt, but some would not believe or accept that God did this for them.

Jude 1:5

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

And so I invite you today, if you have never explored the Mysteries of God in Christ, determine to do so for God has shed the blood of His son so that you might have abundant life.

Interested?  Leave a comment and we can talk.