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The Concerns Of God

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. Sunday, August 10, 2014, 7:14 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Praise Be Told!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 16 (NIV).

    In Context

    The Pharisees and Sadducees had just tested Jesus by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He told them that they knew how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but they could not interpret the signs of the times. In other words, they did not recognize that their Messiah had come. He said to them, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” The sign of Jonah, from what I understand, was a prefiguring of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, where he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” said Jesus (See Matt. 12:40). Jesus then left them and went away.

    Then Jesus had a conversation with his disciples where he cautioned them to be on their guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Yeast is a fungus, and a fungus causes fermentation and agitation. Fungi “live by decomposing and absorbing the organic material in which they grow” (dictionary.com). Fungus is mildew; decay; and rot. It is similar to a parasite. The yeast causes fermentation. Ferment is defined as “uproar; tumult; confusion; upheaval; chaos; disorder; and/or anarchy. To agitate is to “disturb; trouble; and/or unrest.” Jesus was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees as that which destroys, takes over what is good and consumes it, multiplies, confuses, corrupts, expands, spreads, influences, impacts its surroundings, and contaminates and pollutes what it touches. They were to guard against such teaching by staying connected to Jesus and by listening to him.

    Following this, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They gave several responses, to which Jesus then replied, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told Peter he was blessed, for this was not revealed to him by human flesh and blood, but by his Father in heaven.

    It Must Be

    From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

    Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

    Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

    I think today that we live in a generation that wants only or primarily what they consider to be upbeat, positive, happy and feel-good messages. No one wants to hear bad news. No one wants to hear about hell and damnation or judgment. I empathize with that. I like happy, too. No one wants to hear that people are dying and going to hell, at least not to my knowledge. We don’t like to hear about pain and suffering. I get that. We like to hear what cheers our hearts and makes us feel good. Yet, we can’t avoid reality by pretending that suffering, pain, heartache, sin, judgment, hell and damnation don’t exist. They do.

    So many people in America avoid Biblical messages that involve teaching on repentance, obedience, conviction of sin, and living holy lives pleasing to God. So many people in America avoid pain and suffering by taking drugs or by escaping into TV, movies, alcohol, work, pornography, novels or whatever other escape mechanisms might be available. The pharmaceutical industry here must be making trillions. The solution to all pain and suffering seems to be to take pills of some kind. I think there must be a pill for just about everything. Pills, though, tend to mask and to treat symptoms only, and few actually bring about true healing. The side effects of the pills, as well, are often more troublesome or deadly than the ailment for which we take the pills, and thus we have to take another pill, and another, etc.

    Yet, God allows us to go through times of trouble, heartache, sickness, pain and suffering. Sometimes it is because we have forgotten about him, and he uses these times to get our attention and to draw us back to himself. Often it is to help us to grow and to mature in Christ and in our walks of faith - to teach us perseverance, and to develop within us godly character. Jesus said that he disciplines those he loves. Sometimes he allows difficulties in our lives so that he can reveal his glory in and through us, and so that other lives may be impacted by what he does in our lives, and by how we respond to our difficult circumstances. So, we should not try to escape all pain and suffering, but we should yield ourselves to our heavenly Father, trusting in him to accomplish his will and purposes in our lives, and to bring about the healing in our lives which he so desires.

    Jesus had to go to the cross. No matter how much Peter protested, it had to be. Peter was thinking from a human standpoint. He did not want his Lord to suffer and to die. He did not want to lose his friend. Yet, God had greater purposes in mind. He intended to use Jesus’ death and resurrection for the salvation of human lives. So, Jesus had to go to the cross. And, sometimes we have to go through times of suffering and pain, too, because Jesus has a purpose greater in mind that what our human minds can fathom. And, we must not resist his will and his purposes for our lives, but we must say with Jesus, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Amen! We need to have the concerns of God in mind, and not our own concerns.

    We Must Die

    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

    This teaching is all but lost in most presentations of the gospel today here in America. Again, this goes back to Peter’s protest. We don’t relish the idea of death. It is unpleasant to us. So, we resist it. Yet, if we want to truly live, we must first die, not literally, but we must be crucified with Christ to the sins which once enslaved us, and we must be turned from the darkness of sin to the light of his salvation, and from the power of Satan and sin over our lives to faith in Jesus Christ, so that we can be forgiven of our sins, and so we can be among those who are made holy in Christ Jesus (See Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24).

    We don’t do this in our own flesh. It is the power and working of the Spirit of God within us which produces this transformation, as we cooperate fully with that work of grace by submitting ourselves to the cross of Christ in willingly putting to death our sinful lifestyles, and by now walking in the Spirit of God in Christ’s righteousness and holiness.

    Jesus said that his sheep listen to his voice, he knows them, and they follow him (See Jn. 10). This means that we make it the practice of our lives to spend time daily with our Lord in his word and in prayer; that we are ever aware of and sensitive to his presence with us, and to his voice speaking to us; and that we pay attention, take note of, give regard to, respect and are mindful of what he says to us. We give heed to his words, and we obey them. Jesus said “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (Jn. 14:23). He also said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death” (Jn. 8:51). Added to that, John said, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.” “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” [See: 1 Jn. 2:3; 3:24; and 5:3.]

    God’s grace in salvation is not just an escape clause from the damnation of hell, nor is it merely our ticket into his heaven. He did not die for our sins just so we would escape hell and go to heaven one day when we die. He died so that we would be free from slavery to sin on a day-to-day basis while we still walk the face of this earth. His grace, in fact, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14). Jesus died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). Why is this so rarely being taught in our churches anymore? So many people see salvation merely as an escape from hell and a promise of heaven when they die, but few realize anymore that salvation means a completely new life in Christ, no longer lived for our own selfish and sinful desires, but we now live holy lives pleasing to God. Amen!

    Praise Be Told! / An Original Work / December 28, 2013
    Based off Various Scriptures

    He was pierced for our transgressions.
    He was crushed for all our sin.
    Our chastisement was upon Him.
    By His stripes, we now are healed.

    He has witnessed all our trials,
    And the sins we choose to wear.
    Yet, while we were dead in our sin,
    Jesus died, our sins to bear.

    He himself bore all of our sins
    In His body on a cross,
    So that we might die to our sin,
    And live for His righteousness.

    By faith in the pow’r of Jesus
    And His blood shed for our sins,
    We can be forgiven our sin,
    And have life with God in heav’n.

    He will lead us and He’ll guide us
    In the way that we should go.
    He will comfort and protect us,
    Because Jesus, we do know.

    Though He disciplines for our good,
    He will heal us – Praise be told!
    Do not fear, your Lord is with you.
    Just have faith in Christ your Lord.

    Silk likes this.
  2. Like it or not - it's coming........

    Unfortunately, for most of us... It's the same as usual... We hear the message in church every Sunday.... Think "Wow, what a great message... I like that pastor" - then go home to the life we lead day to day.....

    Ezekiel 33:31-33 is especially relevant....
    "So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
    "Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.

    He is as one who is a lovely singer who plays well on an instrument......
    We love to hear the words.... but do not do any of them....

    Just as true today as the day it was uttered!

    Unfortunately.... We forget the last part.... vs. 33
    "And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."

    It's not as if we haven't been told.... It's not as if we haven't been warned...
    Silk and SueJLove say Amen and like this.
  3. Thank you for sharing that.
  4. Are those who make their living by preaching/teaching the Gospel more or less willing to preach/teach what God wants taught, or are they unwilling to "step" on the feet of the sheep, as they are responsible for his Job?
    I think we need more of those who are not dependant on the sheep for their livelihood, and have no fear in proclaiming what the Lord wants taught without fear of losing some from their mists.
    SueJLove likes this.

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