In Mathew 15:1-20 we find Jesus being confronted by the Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem. They question His allowing His disciples to " Eat before washing their hands". That seems like a pretty small issue in the scope of all the other big issues of life they were faced with in leading the Jews. But that was their main concern and important question they wanted an answer from Jesus about. But in reality they did not want an answer, they were only challenging Him and attempting to reveal that He was breaking the law. Yet Jesus answered their question with a question of His own. He asks them, WHY do you break God's laws with your on traditions? Then he proceeds to point out one of their traditions which allowed them to keep their money or possessions even when their parents were in need. They could escape the honoring and caring for their parents by saying their assets were dedicated to the Lord and thus they could not give it for the help of meeting the needs of their mother or father.
Jesus knew their hearts. He also knew that the washing of hands before eating was also a tradition of the Elders not a law of God's Word. Yet the Pharisees had added more an more traditional laws to the original laws of God and in reality they were defending the opinions of man much more than the opinions and laws of God.
Now that is very serious indeed. It is an age old problem with man. We tend to listen to our own opinions or the opinions of others more than we do God's Word. Even today we see this over and over again. And many of today' spiritual leaders are as guilty of this as was the Pharisees in the days of Christ. Opinions and thoughts that are not found in God's Word's. We need to be so careful in whose opinions we are listening to. Because WHAT WE BELIEVE AFFECTS HOW WE BEHAVE !
Let me attempt to illustrate how this is playing out in our present time.
MANS OPINION ! GOD'S WORD!
Marriage can include the same sex! Marriage is with the opposite sex !
( Genesis 2:22-24 )
Life begins at birth! Life begins at conception!
( Psalm 139:13-16 )
Church can be attended less & less ! Church is to be attended more & more!
( Hebrews 10:25 )
Wine, beer & hard liquor is accepted! Wine, beer, & liquor is to be avoided!
( Proverbs 20: 1 )
Cheap grace denies sanctification! God's grace leads to sanctification!
( John 17 )
Hell is not real! Hell is real !
( Rev 21:8, Matthew 25: 4-6)
Don't share the gospel personally! Share the gospel personally! (don't disturb others) ( Matthew 28:12-20, 16:18-19)
We should care for those who can We should not care for those who can
work and will not! work and will not care for themselves.
( 2nd Thess 3:12, Eph 4:28)
A lax attitude toward sin! A serious attitude toward sin!
( 1st Peter 4:17 )
Nakedness and immodesty are OK ! Nakedness and immodesty are not OK !
( 1st timothy 2:9-10 )
Mercy killing or taking your own life is Life is given and taken by the Lord !
acceptable! It is your life , do as you please! He alone is to decide when !
( Psalm 100:3, Acts 17:25, 1st Cor 6:19-20)
These are just a few areas where we see the opinions of humans attempting to set the standards. Also I have chosen just a few Bible verses to defend the Biblical view where I could have presented dozens. God's Word should always be the standard for God's redeemed children. May we beware of traditions and adhere to the clear WORD of GOD!
How are we treating our mates?
How are we treating our children?
How are we treating our parents?
How are we treating our friends?
How are we treating our pastors?
How are we treating our co workers?
How are we treating our neighbors?
How are we treating teachers?
How are we treating our authorities?
How are we treating or employees & employers?
How are we treating our elders?
How are we treating our care givers?
How are we treating our military servicemen and women?
How are we treating our brothers & sisters in the faith?
How are we treating visitors at church?
HOW ARE WE TREATING JESUS?
Matthew 15: 21-29 records the story of Jesus meeting a Canaanite Women who had GREAT FAITH. A little background to the story will help us to see how refreshing this women's treatment was to Jesus. For for some time Jesus has been healing and teaching in the Galilee area of Israel. He has performed many miracles and has seen a genuine faith placed in Him but for the most part the large crowds have consisted of people who were only seeking the THINGS of the world He could give them not HE Himself. They were focused on the superficial not the supernatural. For them they simply wanted a king who could set them free from Roman and Herodian control and one which would give them all the world had to give. They were only interested in taking care of their bellies and not their souls/
Also the religious crowd dogged Him at every turn. The Galilee Pharisees and Scribes had called Jesus everything in the book. They said He was a drunkard, liar, blasphemer, companion of sinners and that He did what He did by the power of Satan.
Such mistreatment coupled with the physical and spiritual energy's He was exerting in ministry brought Him to a place of great need for rest. As we trace Matthew 11- 15 we find Jesus in an attempt to get to areas where the crowds would be smaller and the pressures less for a season so as to regroup with His disciples and to find rest for His weariness. So we find Him after his Hometown Rejection attempting such. He goes to areas around Capernaum and yet the crowds follow. He moves further south into a less populated area and yet the Pharisee's follow Him and breath out slander and threats. The Pharisees from Jerusalem travel into this area and challenge Him with their traditions and Jesus challenges them back with HIS WORD. Things are getting hotter and hotter. Pressures are mounting up and Jesus must teach His disciples some final lessons before heading to Jerusalem and HIS CROSS!
So we find in Matthew 15:21 that Jesus departs from this area and crosses over into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. Mark 7 adds more information on this as it records that Jesus goes into a home in the area and attempts not to be seen but some did see Him and word spread. We read that a Canaanite women came to Jesus crying that Jesus might heal her demon possessed daughter. In this account we find that Jesus sought rest and a place to teach His disciples in a more quite setting but also he went there to speak with a women in need who has been being drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit because of a hurting and empty heart.
In this account we find Jesus declaring that this women's faith was GREAT! A close study reveals that her faith was great because of 5 qualities it possessed.
* Repentant Faith
* Right Object Faith
* Reverent Faith
* Persistent Faith
Let me encourage you to listen to the message we preached last evening ( April 19 2015) on Kingdom Faith as we looked deeply into this subject. You can check it out at www.libertyfamily.org by going to resources and viewing sermons.
But the main point I want to emphasize is how this Canaanite ( the hated enemies of the Jews) treated Jesus with great respect, reverence, humility, trust, and great honor. She came to Jesus approaching Him as the LORD and Son of David. She bowed down at His feet and worshiped Him. She trusted Him and understood she was undeserving but He was gracious and merciful. She humbled herself before Him. even in Jesus silence toward her she continued to believe and wait on His sovereign rule. She did not demand of Him she pleaded with Him. She understood she was a " DOG" a sinner, a Gentile. She understood she had lived a vile life and worshiped false god's and doing so she had worshiped herself and her own imaginations. Unlike most of His chosen people Israel ( who should have known better because of so much "LIGHT" they had received) who had only brought PROUD and HARD HEARTS to Him.which he could not fill. This dear women brings an OPEN and BROKEN HEART to Him, one which He could fill with His love, hope and healing.
How REFRESHING this must have been to Jesus. How delightful and pleasant the change in His difficult ministry. Her GREAT FAITH ( one with much less "LIGHT" ) was honored by Him. Her daughter was healed and I believe this women's soul would be as well. Jesus always honors genuine faith. Charles Spurgeon comments on this passage " The Lord of glory surrendered to the faith of this women." Amen
I want to be like this women. I want to TREAT JESUS like He desrves to be treated. Not as if He is only one who I demand something that he do or give. Not that I slight him, ignor him and worst that I deny Him. I want to make sure that I don't say things and think things that hurt and offend Him. I want to honor Him, respect Him, trust Him, serve Him, and LOVE HIM! In no way do I want to USE HIM but for HIM to USE ME!
HOW AM I TREATING JESUS?
HOW ARE YOU TREATING JESUS?
Last week my wife Karen had Spring Break at the the school she teaches at. So I did something very rare for me I chose to take four days off to stay at home with her and work on the house we moved into back in early winter. It was non stop work from early morning till just before sundown but we were able to accomplish a great deal. I enjoy being with Karen especially as we work together because she is one of the hardest workers I know. When you work with her you will work efficiently, intensely and I love it. At the end of the four days of work we felt very productive and I think even more healthy physically and mentally because of all the exercise. WORK is GOOD & WORKING TOGETHER is WHOLESOME!
In order to free my time up to work at the house and to give my mind a rest from my regular routine I asked Pastor Rt Stringer and Pastor Chas Singer to preach on Sunday. My normal study and prep time for Sundays messages involve 16-20 hours a week. This would allow my mind to rest and provide other pastors to share their hearts with the congregation. I know I enjoyed hearing Pastor Rt & Chas peach from Matthew 13 & 14 and am sure that our congregation at Liberty Baptist did as well.
It was really good for me to sit and listen and to worship in a fashion not usually afforded me. As the preacher you are worshiping but always with the fact that you soon will be standing in front of people with the great responsibility of teaching Gods Word! That has a way of adding great heaviness and a sense of responsibility. This past Sunday as I sat and listened I prayed much for these Pastors who had spent hours in preparation that they would be endued with the power of the Holy Ghost to deliver and proclaim this Divine Truth! I also prayed for my own spiritual ears to listen and to obey what I heard. I attempted with a genuine heart to not miss a thought, a word a impression that the Lord had planned for me to receive. You should see my notes as I had the privilege to ponder and express what God was saying even as I expressed that through my finger tips as I wrote out such glorious truths to follow. Since that time I have returned to my notes and meditated on these truths with a desire to practically let them become the fiber of my soul as I live out their profound principle.
Yes, this past Sunday's services at our church had a great impact upon this pastor. It was NOT some New Revelation, NOT some Big Excitement, NOT some Current Cutting Edge Program, NOT some Earth Shattering Experience. No, I was reminded of the call of the Pastor, of the Church and that which we are to do week after week until Jesus comes again. We are to teach God's Word ex-positionally. It is God's Word that has the power to bring lost people to salvation. It is the Word of God that will rebirth the spiritual dead and it is that same Word that will change the lives of those born again. There is no problem with the SEED. Faithful proclamation of the Scripture in the pulpit & classroom, a godly congregation that faithfully worships together and pursues sanctification under leadership- that is what God calls His church to do and be. That is what is normal, that is what works and only that. That is what is needed to see people of all ages becoming true Christ like followers of Jesus. THAT IS ENOUGH.
This past weekend my eyes were once again enlightened to the will and ways of God for our the here at Liberty. We must be aware of of the pressure by the world and some in the church who are either immature believers or insincere non- believers who exert pressure knowingly or unknowingly ( simply because that is all they know and are functioning in the flesh not the Spirit) to have the church change its function and purpose to other pursuits besides Biblical purposes of the church. May THE CHURCH CHANGE THE WORLD AND NOT THE WORLD CHANGE THE CHURCH. I have been reminded to preach and teach God's Word and am certain that the TRUE Church and the Dedicated Church will be in assemblies and study's to avail themselves to learn and obey what they have learned. But to lighten up & lessen up on teaching the WORDS OF GOD is not what will work in the producing of Christlike, dedicated and powerful Christians who make a difference in the world. NO, the opposite happens when we move toward such temptation, the result is a WORLDLY & WEAK CHURCH filled with carnal believers and tares filled with poison desiring to pollute and eventually kill truth in the church.
It is more clear to me that we must avoid and attack the assault upon the hearts of our youth, the hearts of our homes and the heart of our churches. We must stick with and return to LEARNING GOD'S WORD and LIVING IT OUT! So for me and the Church God has posted me at as the overseer I rededicate myself for such. No matter the complaints of the length of Biblical messages, no matter the thoughts of some that we need less times of teaching and preaching of God's Word. No matter the lack of interest and participation of people for assembly and study time. I choose to do the essential thing, Teach people God's Word, expound upon what it means and encourage them to live it and teach it to others. ONE HEART AT A TIME, ONE VERSE AT A TIME, ONE DAY AT A TIME, ONE WEEK AT A TIME, UNTIL DEATH OR RAPTURE!
One last thought! I am so thankful for a congregation that loves God's Word, that study and teach it consistently to their families and to hundreds of others. I am thankful for a staff that study and defend TRUTH. It has made the eternal difference in hundreds and hundreds through the years. It has made an eternal impact in our county and community. Our children are now adults living their lives and leading their children on It's foundations. May it continue to be a reality here at Liberty Baptist Church!
It is Thursday morning before Easter 2015. The scriptures teach that after Jesus was crucified that His body lay in the grave for three days and nights. During that time I am sure the disciples were filled with sadness, fear, doubts and many other powerful emotions. Emotions that for a few days that would challenge all that they believed about Jesus and the world in which they lived. Each year at this time I attempt to place myself in these early disciples lives. To walk in their shoes and wonder what I would have sensed and more importantly how I would have responded.
This years developments in our nation have made it somewhat easier to imagine. In our own state of Indiana we are witnessing the power of evil fighting the principles an the power of Christ. Our entire nation seems to be bent on casting Christ and His Words aside and replacing them with the ways and principles of man.The Lord's authority is being challenged in every arena and we actually hear the cry's from the religious and secular crowd choosing the Barabbas principles and practices of our generation over the Christ and His authoritative Word and Ways.
The changes in our nation over the last 5-10 years are dizzying to say the least. In the name of love and tolerance God's Holy standards and He Himself are being challenged with great force and those who choose to obey and follow Christ and His Words are being labeled as narrow unloving haters of mankind. Americas freedoms and liberties once given to provide for righteous and Biblical pursuits now seem to be reserved for desires and ways of the depraved hearts. Everywhere we look we see the evidence of a Christian Nation in decline and on its way to death.
Needles to say, I am burdened for my children and grandchildren as they face a more hostile world in their attempt to live holy and propagate the holy gospel. I am burdened for the church to remain faithful to God's Word ( The Holy Bible ), to study it, to interpret it correctly, to live it and to teach it. I am burdened for believers and followers of Christ to make deeper commitments and to be UNASHAMED of our Lord and His Word. Willing to defend the faith in the face of probable criticism, misunderstanding, ridicule, slander, attack, rejection, loss and even death if need be to stand tall and true to our Lord!
Yes, this Passion Week 2015 I think I can identify somewhat more with the early disciples who were being attacked on all sides. Their leader and Lord had been rejected by the hostile crowds secular, religious and non-interested. He was crucified, thrown into a grave and discarded. And for the disciples they found themselves battling their questions as to why, what was happening and was defeat, discouragement and possible death all they would know?
But what they experienced in three days changed everything. Christ arose physically from the dead. HE WAS ALIVE! What I need so desperately today is to know JESUS is ALIVE. What every believer needs to understand as never before is that JESUS IS ALIVE! As I said earlier I am concerned for many reasons about the conditions but perhaps the largest concern I have is that the church retreats and withdraws into her four walls. WE MUST UNITE like never before. Hey, we are God followers and we have always been in the minority, we need each other. WE MUST TEACH & TRAIN! We need to train our children like never before. They need to know the Lord as Savior. They need to be taught God's Word like never before. They need to be trained to live God's Word and to be faithful to their Lord. The church needs to pray more than she is. We MUST PRAY! Our churches need to pray for protection and power for propagating the gospel and proclaiming the truths of God. WE MUST DEDICATE, our churches must be more committed and willing to sacrifice if need be so that the gospel goes forth. Our NATIONS GREATEST NEED is true Born Again people whose hearts and minds have been changed via the new birth of God's Spirit.
Easter 2015 brings incredible obstacles to the followers of Christ yet it also brings incredible possibilities. Our LORD IS ALIVE and he did that by His authority. Matthew 28: 18 records when Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection that one of the first things He made clear to these outnumbered and soon to be persecuted people was that He had all authority. " All power is given unto me in heaven and in the EARTH." In a short time the Lords church was instituted and hundreds of thousands of people were wonderfully saved in a few years. And I remind myself and you that it was in a very wicked world filled with much oppression for the true believer of Christ. In spite of opposition, oppression, and much suffering the church marched on in RESURRECTION POWER AND AUTHORITY! Seems it is our hour to do the same. May we choose FAITH IN CHRIST over FEAR OF MAN!
HE IS ALIVE AND HE GIVES US RESURRECTION POWER TO LIVE LIKE HIM AND FOR HIM!
THERE IS HOPE AND HOPE IS HERE!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.