Archives
Tag Cloud
: Mothers Abandonment Abomination of Desolation Abortion Abraham’s Bosom Abuse Accounting Activism Adoption Adultery Affection Affliction Afterlife Allegory Alliances Altar America Analogy Angels Anger Anointing Apologetics Apostasy Apostles Armor of God Ascension Ashamed Atonement Authority Baal Babylon Bad Baptism Belief Betrayal Bible Bitterness Blasphemy Blessing Blessings Blindness Boasting Body of Christ Bondage Book of Life Borders Born Again Bottomless Pit Bride Bride of Christ Bridegroom Calling Capital Punishment Carnal Celebration Character Childbirth Children Children of God Chosen Christ Christian Life Christians Christmas Church Circumstances Civil Disobedience Clay Cleansing Comfort Commands Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Complaining Conception Condemnation Conduct Confidence Conflict Conformity Confrontation Confusion Connection Conscience Consequences Contentment Conviction Cornerstone Correction Cost Counsel Courage Covenant Coveting Creation Creator Crisis Cross Crowns Crucifixion Culture Curse Darkness David Day of the Lord Death Deceit Deception Decisions Defense Delegation Demon Demon Possession Demons Denial Dependency Design Desolation Desperation Destruction Devil Direction Disaster Discernment Disciple Disciples Discipleship Discipline Discontentment Discouragement Disease Disgrace Disputes Distraction Diversity Divine Division Doctrine Double Fulfillment Doubt Drought Drugs Duties Duty Earth Earthly Earthquakes Easter Edom Education Elders Elect Emmaus Emotions Employment Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enemy Environment Environmentalism Equality Equipped Eternal Eternal Life Eternity Evangelism Everlasting Life Evil Evolution Exaltation Exalted Exclusion Excuses Exorcism Expectations Eyes Failure Fairness Faith Faithful Faithful Servant Faithfulness False Christs False Doctrine False Gods False Prophet False Religion False Religions Family Famine Fasting Father Father’s Day Fathers Favoritism Fear Fear of the Lord Feasts Feasts of the Lord Fellowship Fig Tree Finances Fire First Coming First Resurrection Firstborn Flesh Flock Folly Foolishness Foreigner Foreknown Forgiveness Fornication Forsaken Foundation Freedom Friends Friendship Fruit Fruit of the Spirit Fruitfulness Future Gentiles Gentle George Wood Giving Glorified Body Glory God God’s Word Godliness Godly God's Will Good Good Shepherd Good Works Gospel Gospels Government Grace Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guilt Hades Hardship Harvest Hate Hatred Healing Heart Heaven Heavenly Hedonism Hell Help Herod Hidden Holiness Holy Holy Spirit Home Homosexuality Honor Hope Hopelessness Humility Husband Hypocrisy Idolatry Ignorance Image Immanuel Immigration Impossibility Incarnation Individuals Indulgences Inheritance Injustice Inner Battle Instructions Insults Integrity Intercession Intermediate State Interpretation Israel Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Temple John the Baptist Joy Judas Judgment Judgment Day Judgments Justice Justification Justify Key Keys Kids Kindness King Kingdom Kingdom of God Kingdom of Heaven Knowledge Lake of Fire Lamp Law Law of the Lord Lawlessness Leader Leaders Leadership Leftism Legalism Leprosy Lies Life Life-Span Light Like-minded Lord Lost Love Lowly Loyalty Lust Lusts Luxury Malachi Manipulation Marriage Martyrdom Martyrs Mary Master Materialism Maturity Meditation Men Mentoring Mercy Messiah Metaphor Millennium Mind Mind of Christ Minister Ministry Miracle Miracles Mission Mocking Money Mothers Murder Mystery Nations Natural Natural Gifts Naturalism Nature Nazareth Near-Far Fulfillment Necessities New Covenant New Earth New Jerusalem New Man New Testament Obedience Obstacles Obstructions Offense Old Covenant Old Man Old Nature Old Testament Omnipresence Omniscience One Mind Outcast Pagan Pain Palm Sunday Parable Parables Paradise Paranormal Parenting Passion Passover Path Patience Patriotism Peace Peer Pressure Pentecost People of God Perception Perfect Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personal Testimonies Perspective Perversion Pestilence Peter Pharisees Philosophy Piety Pilate Politics Poor Position Possession Possessions Posture Power Praise Prayer Preach Preaching Preparation Pride Priority Privilege Prodigal Promise Proof Prophecy Prophet Prophets Prosperity Protection Protestant Reformation Proverbs Providence Provision Punishment Purgatory Purity Purpose Questions Racism Rapture Reason Rebellion Rebuke Reconciliation Redeemer Redemption Refuge Regeneration Rejection Rejoicing Relationship Relationships Reliability Religion Remember Remnant Renewal Repentance Reputation Resolve Rest Restoration Resurrection Revelation Revenge Revival Reward Rich Riches Ridicule Righteous Righteousness Rights Riot Risk Rivalry Robbery Roman Catholic Church Rule Sabbath Sacred Sacrifice Saint Salvation Sanctification Sarcasm Satan Savior Schemes Science Scoffers Scripture Seasons Second Coming Secret Seed Seek Self Self Control Self-centered Self-Control Selfish Ambition Self-Righteous Servant Servant-Leadership Servants Serve Service Serving Sexual Immorality Sexual Sin Sexuality Shame Share Sharing She’ol Shepherd Sickness Signs Signs and Wonders Simplicity Sin Sincerity Singing Singleness Sinners Slavery Sober Society Sojourner Sojourners Son Son of God Son of Man Sons of God Sorrow Soul Source Sovereignty Speech Spirit Spirit Realm Spirits Spiritual Spiritual Battle Spiritual Birth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Growth Spiritual Rulers Spiritual Warfare Stewardship Storms Strength Stress Strife Stumbling Block Submission Suffering Supernatural Supper Surrender Syncretism Tags: Patience Taxes Teacher Teaching Teachings Tears Technology Temple Temptation Temptations Terminal Illness Test Testimony Testing Tests Thankfulness Thanksgiving The Curse The Day of The Lord The End The Fall The Grave The Holy Spirit The Law The Way The Word The World Theology Throne Time of Visitation Times of the Gentiles Tithing Tongues Tradition Tragedy Transfiguration Transformation Traps Treachery Treasure Tree Tree of Life Trial Trials Tribulation Trifles Trinity Triumphal Triumphal Entry Trouble Trust Truth Unbelievers Uncertainty Unity Unpardonable Sin Utopia Value Victory Vigilance Vindication Virtue Virtues Visiting Ministries Voice of God Volunteer War Warning Warnings Wars Watching Water Baptism Water of Life Weary Wicked Wickedness Widows Wife Wineskins Wisdom Witness Witnesses Witnessing Women Word of God Word of the Lord Works World World View Worry Worship Worth Wrath Yahweh Yeast YHWH Yoke Zion

Weekly Word

Entries in Resurrection (18)

Tuesday
May242016

He is Risen

Luke 24:1-12.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on May 22, 2016.

Today we are going to look at the resurrection of Jesus recorded by Luke.  As we do this, we will find that God has provided ample evidence for us to believe.  The real problem behind lack of belief is not lack of evidence.  Rather, it is a lack of desire to be like Jesus.  Let's look at the passage.

Jesus is Resurrected

At first the account is about the discovery that Jesus had been resurrected.  While it was still dark in the early morning hours of Sunday a group of women go to the tomb of Jesus.  The end of the previous chapter tells us that these women are those who had come from Galilee with Jesus.  There are also some other women with them, most likely from the Jerusalem area.  Verse 10 gives us the names of three of them: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James.  Their main purpose is to dignify the death of Jesus by putting spices upon the body.  I won't delve into the first century burial proces more than to say that the body would be allowed to decay and thus to allow people to visit during their grief, spices would be employed.  Jesus had died right before the sabbath and thus they were not able to do this before.  So that tells us why they went to the tomb.

When they arrived they notice that the stone has been rolled away.  Of course Jesus did not need the rock moved.  This is not so much to let him out, so much as to let the disciples discover that he is gone.  The body is not there, not to mention that the guards are no where to be found.  The point of confusion and cluelessness is understandable given the circumstances.  I would say that it is better to be a servant of Jesus who is clueless then to be among those who reject him completely, because God will always bring His servants to better understanding.

In verses 4-8 we have that very thing.  An angel announces what has happened.  Now it is important to note that there is a common occurrence in the Biblical accounts when angels appear.  They at first are generally referred to as men (that is what they look like).  However, by the end of the encounter things happen that make it clear these are not mere mortals, but rather heavenly messengers (angels).  In this case the women are perplexed and unsure what to think and suddenly several men appear.  Their garments are shining, which causes the women to bow in fear before them.  They immediately know that these are not just men, but angels from God.  Note that the angel asks a question before it gives the message.  "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"  They should have known that Jesus would not be there.  He had told them several times what would happen.  Yet, this statement also becomes a question from God to all mankind through the ages.  Why do we seek for life among that which is dead?  Our world is like people looking for life among the tombs.  Yet, the grace of God provides one who is Lord over death.

The angels then give their message.  Jesus is no longer here because He has risen.  The are also told to remember what Jesus had told them back in Galilee.  He would be arrested, crucified, and rise again on the third day.  

This of course amazes the women an dso they go back to tell the disciples what they had observed.  Here we see that the apostles are slow to believe the report of the women.  Somethings are just simply unbelievable.  Even, though Jesus had proven himself to be quite credible, all of them are just like "Doubting Thomas."  They must see for themselves.  Peter goes and sees the empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there, which begs the question, "Who would unwrap a dead body?"  God had done a work that is a marvel to think about, but even more wonderful to experience.  Thus the amazing work of God takes time to be accepted by the minds of men.  Divinity will not be found in the things of this world.  No matter how hard men try to press the sciences into service, they will fall short of finding eternal life among the dead things of this world.  Only Jesus holds life.  We must look at the evidence and put our trust in the risen Jesus just as those first disciples did.  It is Jesus who has conquered death and promises to all who put their trust in Him that they too shall share in His victory over death.

I pray that today, if you find yourself in such an incredulous state, you will stop, take in all the evidence, and receive the word of the Lord that He is risen!  You will not find life in any other than to believe in Jesus with all your heart.

He is Risen Audio

Tuesday
Sep082015

A Trial of Tricks and Traps II

Luke 20:27-40.  This sermon was preached on September 6, 2015 by Pastor Marty Bonner.

Last week we looked at a political trap that was laid for Jesus.  Essentially they wanted to make him look like a threat to Rome.  Today we will look at a different type of trap that is laid for Jesus, a religious or theological one.

It is common in every age to use whatever means possible to manipulate authorities against certain people and to manipulate the people against other people or even certain authorities.  These schemes that wicked people use may be effective in this world, and in such ways, they get what they want.  However, as a follower of Christ, we should be insulated from such manipulations because we do not look to the arguments of man to be foundational in our decision making process.  Rather, we look to the words and example of Jesus for our direction.  Though we do not do this perfectly, we should ever be vigilant to the schemes of manipulation that are being worked on us by wicked people.  We should also be vigilant over the fears and desires in our heart that provide the leverage for such manipulators.

The Theological Trap

The religious leaders were getting desperate in that last week leading up to the crucifixion.  They were not having any success manipulating Jesus.  Some of their attempts might appear quite weak to us, but part of that is because we are removed from the event in time and in culture.  Plus, a person can block 1,000 attacks, but it only takes one fatal blow to overcome such a defense.  So if they couldn’t get Jesus to offend the Romans, perhaps they could stir up trouble between Jesus and his followers.

The passage tells us that this particular attack comes from the group called the Sadducees.  Their name is a reference to a 3rd century BC rabbi named Sadoc.  This rabbi had begun to teach that humans did not have a spirit and there was no such thing as a spirit world (angels etc…).  They rejected any concept of a resurrection and an afterlife.  They only accepted the Books of the Law (The first 5 books of the Old Testament) and rejected the rest.  They tended to treat the Scriptures like life lessons rather than commands to be obeyed.  This is similar to what the Greeks did with their mythologies.  They see the stories as inspiring rather than inspired, something to incorporate into your life rather than something to be obeyed.  In that sense they were the religious liberals of their day (in contrast to the Pharisees who were very much religious conservatives).  In all respects they were moralizing naturalists.

These Sadducees present a hypothetical situation to Jesus and ask a question concerning it.  In this hypothetical situation they are referring to a teaching in the Law of Moses regarding a man who dies without having a son to inherit his property.  Israel was had twelve tribes who had very clear tribal boundaries.  Within these tribes were clans and families who had ancestral properties.  It was important for them to keep their property within the family and thus it was common for someone within the family to marry the widow in order to raise up a son to inherit for the dead man.  In this way, his name and his family property would not be lost to others.  Yes, God could have given them a different way to deal with this situation, but it was a very common practice in the middle east and was not adverse to the purposes of God.  We need to recognize that when God gave His law to Moses for Israel, He could have made it so perfect that no one would have even tried.  Instead, there are areas where God says, “You will not do this thing that your culture does.”  And in other areas He says, “You can still do this, but restrain yourself in these ways.”  Lastly, He sometimes does not make an issue out of things that He could have.  It is easy to judge the law that God gave Israel.  However, I would put before you that we should more humble in such judgments.  What will people 100 years from now think about your moral judgments and life?  Wouldn’t they be shocked at some of the things you did and called good?  How about 2,000 years from now?  I am not saying that God changes the definition of what is good.  But rather, the purpose of the Law was not to make a timeless statement of what a perfect society looks like.  Rather, it was to restrain the sin of Israel long enough so that God could do His work of redemption through them.  Also, it was to show them their guilt before God.  None are righteous, no not one.

So in this hypothetical situation we have a woman whose husband dies childless.  Thus the husband’s brother marries her to raise up an heir.  Yet, this guy also dies before having a child.  This happens 7 times until at last the woman dies without ever having a child and being married to 7 different men.  Now it seems quite obvious that no such situation existed, or ever had.  It is important to recognize in arguments that many hypothetical situations are so rare that they have little bearing on the issue.  Take time to analyze them and recognize the motives behind shaping the story in that way.  Now this story would be the same problem even if there was only two husbands.   Whose wife will she be after the resurrection?  We will get to the answer in a moment.

Why 7 times?  It is because the Sadducees in no way believe in a resurrection.  It is a ridiculous notion to them.  It is asked in this way to reduce the idea of a resurrection to an absurdity in the minds of those listening to Jesus.  They believe that any answer Jesus could give would make him look ridiculous.  Surely, he wouldn’t say that she will be a wife to all seven.  She could only be the wife of one man.  So who would it be, the first or the last?  And, under what justification would that be made?  In their minds they have given Jesus an impossible situation that will make him look ridiculous in the minds of those watching on.  Now let me remind you that we are being manipulated today.  Whether in politics or in everyday life on the job, things are not always as they seem.  Be careful how you judge things.  Sometimes you are being manipulated to walk away from a good leader.  Leaders can also be manipulated to use their authority against the wrong people.  Be slow to judge and quick to listen.  Be quick to pray for God’s wisdom to see through such manipulations.  We could spend more time on this.  However, simply receive this as a basic caution to quick judgments.

The Truth About The Resurrection

They get more than they bargained for on that day because Jesus doesn’t just answer the question.  He also gives new revelation regarding this resurrection spoken of by the prophets before him, which should be a reminder to us.  We know nothing about the resurrection except what God has revealed to us.  In fact this is also the reason we know anything about God and His purposes.  Thus throughout history God spoke to godly men and confirmed His word with fulfilled prophecy.  Yes, He would reveal the future in advance to substantiate what was being revealed about heavenly purposes.

Yet, there is a tendency within man to try and fill in the gaps between such truth with our own logic.  We create suppositions and hypotheses, prop them up with “biblical logic,” and call them doctrines.  Thus whole systems of theology are created that leave precious little to the humility of ignorance.  We are too proud to remain ignorant.  The truth is that God does not reveal to us most of what is to come.  He gives us enough to understand His intentions and to trust Him.  Why are we not okay with that?  The Sadducees had elevated their opinions to the level of Truth.  “There is no resurrection, period, and anyone who believes in it is a deceived idiot!”  Instead of humility before God’s Word, they were filled with their own wisdom and knowledge.

Jesus simply tells them that there is no marriage in the age following the Resurrection.  Thus the question is moot.  She will be the wife of no one and they will be the husbands of no one.  Why?  There are a couple of reasons given.

First, our bodies after the Resurrection will be immortal (never die).  Part of God’s purpose in marriage is procreation.  We are dying beings and thus we must replicate ourselves on the earth.  If we do not then mankind will cease to be.  After the Resurrection we will not need to replicate ourselves because none of us will die.  This revelation probably caught the questioners by surprise.

Second, marriage is intended to be a symbol of man’s union with God.  Thus Jesus says we will be equal to the angels (in that we don’t die) and will be Sons of God.  Although he doesn’t tie in the marriage analogy, he does insinuate that we will be in direct relationship with God like the angels are.  The work that is done to make a marriage work involves a man “laying his life down” for his wife.  Thus marriage is a picture of the work of salvation and redemption.  We were designed in such a way and given such an institution of marriage in order to remind us of God’s plan and purpose.  Thus we marry now as a prophetic picture of what is to be.  After the resurrection we will be eternally wed to God as a people.  Today we say, “’Till death do us part.”  But the union with God following the Resurrection is to never be separated by death.  We will not “wed” each other because we will be wed to God.  It is clear that Jesus is pointing out that life will be quite different in the age to come.  We are not just living this life over again, like some kind of reincarnation.  Our flesh will be very different from the flesh of today and so the way that we live will be quite different too.

This leads to some things we should think about.  The reason God hates adultery and divorce is because it causes hurt and pain, but also because it symbolizes a break up and failure of this eternal plan of God.  Part of the reason why God rejects same-sex sexuality and marriage is because of what it says about His eternal purposes.  It symbolizes humanity rejecting God and moving forward only with themselves.  It also symbolizes God rejecting mankind and moving on without us.  This will never happen.  God will not turn back from His plan.  Why does God reject pre-marital sex?  He does so because of what it does to the symbol of His great commitment to us.  When you see the other person only as a means of sex and fun until the next person comes along, then you diminish the powerful commitment that God has made to us and wants us to reciprocate.  Pre-marital sex trivializes the marriage and strengthens the very things that will get in the way of the greater relationship that can be.

In Matthew 22:29 and following, we see that Jesus made another statement before giving this answer.  He said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”  Now in verses 37-38 of Luke 20, Jesus is not pointing out the most powerful passages regarding resurrection in the Old Testament.  The most powerful passages are in Isaiah 26:19-21, Ezekiel 37:12-14, Daniel 12:1-3, and even Job 19:25-27.  But these were books that the Sadducees rejected.  Thus Jesus takes an example from the books that they did accept and mercifully shows them the logic of why there must be a resurrection.  Sometimes we are ignorant of God’s word because we don’t read it.  But other times we are ignorant because we have told ourselves it can’t be trusted.  Don’t make this mistake.  God knows what He is talking about.  We are the ones who have no clue.  Quit being so proud of your own intellect and logic, and rejecting the testimony of The One who created all things.

Jesus reminds them of God’s words in the burning bush passage.  God reveals Himself to Moses by saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Jesus points out that God is not the God of the dead but of the living.  Two things must be said here.  First, God didn’t say I was the God of Abraham.  “I am!”  God was presently still the God of Abraham.  Now in the mindset of that culture it was unthinkable to say that God was the God of the dead.  This was a phrase that the pagan cultures used to speak of their false Gods.  The God of death was synonymous with the devil at this point.  Yet, in other places in the speaking of Jesus we see that he speaks about the living and the dead in a qualitative sense.  What I mean by this can be demonstrated by several simple statements of Jesus.  He spoke of those who though dead would still live and of those who though alive were still dead.  Living and dead are not statements of whether someone is breathing or not.  No matter how much you breath and animate yourself in this life, if you go on into eternity separated from God then you have always been dead, even while you “lived.”  But, if you are in relationship with God then you never really die.  O yes, you give up this flesh, but then the God of life brings you to Himself.  If He created us to be Flesh and Blood, will He not then plan to reunite us with new flesh?  Thus the prophets spoke of the resurrection that God had revealed to them.

Let me close by recognizing that we are most able to be manipulated when we reject that which God has given to us.  In fact we can become a tool of the enemy against the purposes of God when we refuse to hear the words of life.  Listen to His Word today! 

Tricks and Traps II audio

Tuesday
Apr072015

This is His Story

Today is the day that we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  When you think about how much history there is in the world, both that we know about and that which was never recorded, we can forget that all of those things are connected.  Nothing happens in a vacuum.  Thus historians throughout the ages have sought to explain not just the facts of history but also the relationships between them.  Why did the Roman Empire rise to such great power but then fall apart?  Why did Germany fall under the spell of Adolph Hitler?  Of course was WWII a failure or a success?  It all depends upon your view point.  Thus the facts of historical events can all be the same but many different interpretations of the relationships that existed will be promoted today. 

The Bible is a book from history, but it is also a book about history.  In fact it has been stated that the history is really His story (God’s).  You can approach the Bible as the history of mankind from God’s perspective when you think about it in that way.  There are multitudes of viewpoints among mankind, but only one view point of God’s.  Which will you live by?

Thus God gives us a narrative of what is really going on throughout history.  Of course, today, politicians and various groups have learned that you can control people by controlling the narrative that they accept.  So instead of responding to accusations with facts and events, we respond with a “narrative” that the people would rather believe.  We have ceased to be a people who look for truth, but rather a people who believe the story that we like best.  Well, into this pool of narratives, God gives his take.  Many may accuse religions of trying to manipulate the people, but the truth is we manipulate ourselves all the time.  Let’s look at history from God’s perspective

Creation Exists For God’s Purpose

In Genesis 1 we are told, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Then in verse 26 God says, “let us make man in our own image.”  Here we see that God purposefully created all that we can see including ourselves.  Modern man has embraced the idea that there is no purpose to what we see and probably no real beginning.  We are simply an accident of nature.  But that begs the question, “What was nature an accident of?”    Societies cannot function on a foundation of purposelessness and amorality and so we create a hybrid philosophy that keeps the concept of morality that God gives us and makes society itself as the arbiter of what is good and bad.  Yet, this means our definitions of good and bad will shift from generation to generation.  This shifting sand cannot hold up society very long before it will go through cataclysmic social change, over and over again.  Without God the foundation for defining good and evil will become a quagmire that will never sustain anything we build on it.

God not only tells us that He created us, but that he created mankind to be able to relate with Him.  Thus God places Adam and Eve in a Garden and gives them a purpose.  He also converses with them daily.  This picture of a relationship is central to all that follows in human history.

Now in John 1:1-5 we see that God is the giver of light to mankind.  But that is not just natural light.  Just as he gave natural light, so God has given intellectual and spiritual light to mankind.  It is easy to exist merely on a natural level.  And, yes, God did create all the natural beauty we see around us and wants us to enjoy it.  Yet, there is more to life than just nature.  Some people will say, “I don’t believe in the Bible.  I believe in science.”  But doesn’t science mean knowledge?  The Bible is definitely knowledge.  What is really meant by the above statements is that the person only accepts a certain method of obtaining knowledge.  They categorically reject any knowledge that doesn’t come by the scientific method.  Yet, we cannot put the ultimate questions of life into a test tube.  We can only find circumstantial evidence in regards to the origins of the universe, but nothing by which to determine without a doubt what it really was.  Even our attempts to analyze human psychology and social dynamics has found that such thing evade yielding ultimate answers about ourselves.  Without God, man is doomed to a future of making purpose out of the sand of the beach, only to have it either destroyed by the next generation stomping on it, or by the waves of time crashing on the beach.

But Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that God has been there all along.  He has been talking to mankind and helping us to understand what is going on.  He even sent Jesus who was the perfect light and knowledge concerning God’s purpose for this world.  Francis Schaeffer, after talking with many college age students, came to the conclusion that many felt that God was not there because they didn’t hear him or see him.  Yet, he stated that, “God is there and He has not been silent.”  Of all the books and teachers of history only Jesus and the Bible have verified themselves with prophecy and resurrection from the dead.  All of history has been God speaking to mankind about its problems and its destiny.  Will you not give it an honest reading?

Man Has Desecrated It And Himself

In Romans 8:19-22 we have a passage that points to creation groaning.  Today many fear and point out that man has the ability to drastically affect the earth.  They arrive at this without the Bible.  Interestingly enough, this is the Bible’s position.  The actions of the first human couple have affected mankind and the world in a negative way.  Though God and man enjoyed a perfect relationship in a perfect world, man rebelled against God after it was manipulated by Satan.  They were seduced by the idea that God was holding out on them.  If they disobeyed God they could become like Him themselves.  Yet, when you read the whole Bible, you see that it was God’s intention to make us like Him all along.  We are on a path to try and make ourselves God’s and yet we do so having rejected a path in which God has promised to make us like Him.  This choice leads in two very different directions.  The Bible pictures mankind as willfully persisting in accomplishing on its own what God has promised for those who love Him and wait upon Him.  Because God is the creator of nature, we find our rebellion against him bleeding into nature.  We do not like the “nature” he has created and thus try to manipulate it into our desire and will.  Sometimes this is innocent enough.  But think about those who are born a certain gender and yet feel like they want to be another gender.  We can reject the way we are naturally and replace it with the way we are mentally.  But this only causes grief and trouble.  When you fight against nature you always find yourself fighting a losing battle.

This rebellion of mankind has affected not just man, but also the rest of creation.  The creation has been subjected to futility because of man’s sin.  This curse that God placed upon Adam caused something to change in the earth.  It would not grow things like it used to.  Later after the flood we see something else changing to where people did not live as long.  The effects were drastic for us and for the creation.  However, the curse could just as easily be called “The Effects of our Choice.”  We live in a nature in which each choice brings about certain effects.  We don’t always like those effects and try to avoid or counteract them.  But this too has effects.  God does not wish to destroy mankind.  Rather He has promised to fix the problem.  That is why Paul states in Romans 8 that the Creation groans awaiting the revealing of the Sons of God.  God is bringing this broken world to a place where things are going to be fixed.  Yet, mankind persists in trying to fix the problem without Him.  Yet, the problem today is not the perfecting of our forms of governance.  Our founding fathers did their best to create a new and better form of republican governance.  And yet, they testified that it would only work for a godly people.  No matter how much we perfect governance, it will be ran by faulty humans.  Even if we put in their place computers, they will be programmed by faulty humans.  Like the movie “Minority Report” we can build a system to remove all murder and yet someone will learn to game the system. We have a rebellion problem.  Neither can we fix how our society functions because it will always be the interactions of fallen people. 

Our problem is much deeper than DNA, politics, and religion.  As Romans 5:12, 18 says, sin has come into the world and by it death has spread to all men.  We are all sinners and under the judgment of a righteous God, completely condemned.  Our problem is an internal, moral problem.  Some may ridicule looking to an ancient book for wisdom and knowledge in this modern technological age.  However, the moral problem of man has not gotten better with our technology.  We are the same people we were 2,000 years ago.  A people filled with bitterness, hate and anger.  A people still manipulating others in order to get what our flesh wants.   We are still the same actors acting out the same plot lines, only on a different stage with better special effects.  If we could travel 6,000 years into the future and mankind hasn’t destroyed itself by then, we would find people struggling with the same moral issues, in spite of the great technology we will have by then.  Notice that Star Trek and Star Wars still assume people will be morally the same no matter how much we learn about physics.  But God offers a different answer.

God Promises A Re-Creation Of All things

Romans 5 goes on to say in verses 18 and 19 that God has an answer for man’s continual wandering in the wilderness of right and wrong.  God has implemented a plan to fix mankind and the creation and it centers upon Jesus.  All of the Old Testament was God’s attempt to ensure that the world would be able to understand what was going on when Jesus came.  God’s plan starts with a spiritual fix or internal one, and then has a second phase of a physical fix.

Our spiritual problem cannot be fixed through changing our DNA, and any physical problems we are able to fix will only make the spiritual worse.  Thus God promises to transform our spirits and then re-create our bodies.  Notice how the book of Revelation ends with the reality that God will complete His purpose of fixing not only mankind, but all of creation.  We will dwell with God in perfect relationship in a New Heavens and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1-5).  God states unequivocally that this story will have a particular ending.  We will be back in close fellowship with God.  The heavens and the earth will be remade.  This is no reason to abuse the earth, but rather recognition of what God’s desire is.  Will you embrace God’s story today?  There is a place for you within this story.  However, if we reject the Creator of all creation, we not only will find ourselves fighting against nature, but also nature’s God.  The other narrative puts man in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that is careening out of control.

His Story Audio

Tuesday
Mar032015

The Desolate House

Today we will be looking at Luke 13:31-35.

At this point we have demonstrated for us the sad reality of the threats that are made against righteous people.  However, we are also made aware of the desolation that God promises to those who reject His Ways and wickedly go their own way.  When we stiff-arm the attempts of God to draw us to Him, there is nothing left for us but to go on to the ruin and desolation which that path brings.  There is a certain irony in this passage due to the fact that Herod is presented as a threat to Jesus, but in reality it is Jesus and rejecting him that is the greatest threat.

Jesus Is Warned of Herod Antipas

In verse 31 we see that some Pharisees approach Jesus and warn him that Herod Antipas is seeking to kill him.  This is the son of Herod the Great who ruled when Jesus was born.  When Herod the Great died, his kingdom was split up between Herod Antipas (West Galilee and the Eastern side of the Jordan River), Herod Philip (East Galilee) and Herod Archelaus (Judea).  Archelaus did not reign very long before Rome deposed him and put a governor or prefect over Judea and Jerusalem.  Thus Jesus is currently somewhere in the territory of Herod Antipas. 

So why are these Pharisees warning Jesus?  We are not told of their motives.  Possibly they are just trying to get Jesus to leave, or maybe they are secretly followers of him.  Either way, the danger is real undoubtedly.    In Matthew 14:2 we are told that Herod was afraid of Jesus because he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist come back from the dead.  He would have been determined to remove such a threat without thought about its reality.  In fact, politically it would be in his favor.

Jesus is not intimidated by the threat.  He tells them to go back to Herod with a message from Jesus.  First, Jesus calls Herod a fox.  He is a fox as opposed to a lion.  Though Herod has power, he is relatively weak and owes most of his power to the backing of Rome.  Yet, as a fox, Jesus recognizes the cunning nature of Herod.  Some will bring up this reference in light of the Scripture, “do not speak evil of the ruler of your people.”  This verse is intended to protect us from our own sinful nature rather than to shut off all criticism of the ruler.  In fact, most of the prophets that spoke to Israel had to say hard things to the kings that ruled. 

As a fox Herod has his schemes and yet, Jesus has his own schemes.  Jesus relays to Herod the work that he is doing: healing the people and casting out demons.  A clear contrast to Herod’s selfish schemes is clear.  Also, Jesus says that on the third day his work will be completed.  Then he will move on and only then.   Another way to say this is, “I will leave when I am finished with what I am doing.”  It is a direct challenge to the intentions of Herod.

There is also a masked reference, for his disciples’ sake, of the coming resurrection.  Jesus had come to earth to do a specific work.  He would not have his life taken from him.  Rather, he would lay down his life at the time that the Father determines.  On the third day he will be resurrected in a glorified, heavenly body.  He is perfected in the sense that he will then be the perfect, human judge for all creation.

Jesus Reveals His True Fate.

Jesus then goes on to point out that it will not be Herod who puts him to death.  He must die in Jerusalem at the hand of the leaders there.  In verse 33 it literally says that it is unacceptable for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.  Clearly there is some biting sarcasm involved here because prophets have died elsewhere.  Yet, Jesus is bringing front and center the blood of righteous prophets that has been shed in the city that is supposed to be the City of God on earth.  This historical resistance and persecution of God and His people is charged against Jerusalem and her leaders.

Jesus then begins a type of lament in verse 34.  He cries out to Jerusalem and declares that he has often tried to draw her under his wings like a hen with her chicks.  This imagery is particularly fitting in light of the “fox” reference to Herod and the obvious “Eagle” reference to Rome (we could add the “wolves” of false teachers).  As the Son of God, Jesus has come as a last attempt to gather the people of Israel and protect them from the dangers that existed at that time.  All the prophets who had come in the past were representatives of Jesus.  They came attempting to bring the people under the protective influence of the Truth of Jesus.  This was continually rejected by the leaders and people, “you were not willing.”  It would not be any different now that the Son had come.

Thus, so be it.  Their house is going to be left to them desolate.  “House” here represents the physical buildings and institutions that comprised of the national governance both politically and religiously.  It also represents the cohesive place of living for the nation as a whole.  Jesus says that it is going to be made into a desert or wilderness literally.  There is some irony here.  The prophets, like John the Baptist, often came out of the wilderness and warned God’s people that they were in danger of being made into a wilderness.  The danger of Israel’s day was that Rome was poised to dismantle the nation, slaughter countless thousands, and disperse the remaining people among the nations.

All this was coming because Israel was rejecting the Son of God, the Truth.  To reject Truth is to embrace lies and the devastation that they bring.  Yet, Jesus gives hope of an end to this desolation.  He says that Israel will become desolate and that they will not see him again until…  The word until is critical.  It always supplies the end of something.  Jesus would leave Israel to its own devices and choice, and they would not see him again.  Until, they say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Clearly this phrase is functioning as a statement of repentance.  Israel is going to reject Jesus as a true representative of God.  They will suffer the effects of such a choice until they change their mind and repent of that rejection.  Is it possible that Israel en masse will one day recognize Christ for who he truly is?  Is it possible that they may repent of crucifying him and cry out for help?  Zechariah 12:10 prophesies just such a scenario.  In fact, in Romans 11:25 and following we see the same “until” connected with Israel’s blindness and hardness to who Jesus is.  There is says that Israel will continue to be blind and hard “until” the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in.  Whether this fullness is an amount of time allotted or a certain quota of people saved, the time of salvation going out to the Gentiles will come to an end.  At that time God will pour out a Spirit of repentant prayer upon Israel.  In the first century Israel was judged by God and the Gentile nations were blessed with the Truth.  But the day is coming when God will judge the nations of the world and bless Israel with salvation.  On that day the “house” of the Gentiles will be left to them desolate.

Let me close this with recognizing that there has always been a remnant who have believed and received the blessing of the Lord in the midst of His judgment and wrath.  Thus though the nation as a whole refused to come under the wings of protection provided by Jesus, a remnant did believe on him and were spared.  Instead of clinging to Jerusalem and its temple, they embraced Jesus and followed him to the nations.  The Church was built upon the foundation of Jesus and a remnant of Jews.  Can we not see that at the end of the age it will only be a remnant of the Gentile nations who have believed?  So too the necessary rhyme of time and action must come full circle as God draws the remnant of the Gentiles into his protection and pours out His judgment and wrath upon the earth.  O friend, save yourself today by putting your faith in Jesus.  Turn to the instructions of His Word to those who want to follow him.  Remember his challenge that it is not easy to follow Him, but to those who do they will find Life.  Don’t put off any longer the need to turn your heart to Christ, and then focus on growing to become more like the True Jesus and not the figment of people’s imagination that often arises.  Get into the Bible and find out who Jesus really is.  

Desolate House Audio