Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:57/Jude 1:25
Let’s face it. There are many so called “pastors” that were never truly called by God, but they have perfected “their act” so well that it is sometimes hard to recognize them.
What should we look for in a pastor? How high or low should we set our expectations? If we are less than satisfied with our pastor, how can we know if the problem is him or if the problem lays within us?
Pastor Tim Conway answer these and other questions about this topic.
This is a video you don’t want to miss!
You don’t want to miss this video. Tim Conway responds to the question, “Can a Christian commit suicide?
This pastor must have spent a lot of time pondering this question, and his answer is not only intelligent, but knowledgeable, and interesting.
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation”. (Luke 22: 39-46)
Jesus was about to be arrested and went to Gethsemane to pray with His disciples. It is interesting that the first thought of our Lord was not Himself, but us! He told His disciples “pray that you won’t be tempted”. He knew their faith might falter, and they would need strength from the Father. Jesus priority was not himself, but His disciples.
Then He tended His own needs. To express better what Jesus might have experienced, I’ll borrow pastor Paul Washer explanation of Jesus’ agony and the reason for Him to pray, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me.” Many have interpreted this passage erroneously, thinking that Jesus was afraid to die, and plead to God to let Him live and find another way to saves us. Pastor Washer explains the absurdity of this explanation in view of the many Christian martyrs who willingly died for the cause of Christ. “Some of them were singing hymns while they burned at the stake! How in the world, he asks, could Jesus be afraid of dying, when His followers were brave enough to offer their lives willingly?” That put things in perspective!
So, if the Lord was not afraid to die, what was the cup He was afraid to take? Washer explains that it was God’s cup of wrath. He says, “According to the Scriptures, the power of God’s anger and fury is beyond all comprehension. The earth itself quakes at His judgments, and not even the combined strength of the nations can endure His indignation. Christ suffered the wrath of Almighty God as a man. Real wrath fell upon a real man and cause Him real suffering of untold magnitude. Although Christ’s deity sustained Him, it in no way provided a buffer against the wrath poured out upon Him. He suffered the exact measure of divine wrath that was necessary to satisfy divine justice and bring peace between God and His people.”
Being the recipient of God’s wrath is not laughing matter. Jesus had every reason to pray. His time had come and He would suffer under the full fury of a righteous God. The Father honored Jesus’ prayer sending an angel to strengthen Him. Nevertheless, Jesus agony was still extremely intense. The Bible tells us that His sweat became like great drops of blood. He experienced a medical condition called hematidrosis, which is associated with a high degree of psychological stress. In his book The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel explains, “Severe anxiety causes the release of chemicals that break down the capillaries in the sweat glands. As a result, there’s a small amount of bleeding into these glands, and the sweat comes out tinged with blood. This sets up the skin to be extremely fragile so, when Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldiers the next day, His skin was very, very sensitive.”
Can you imagine Jesus’ anguish and struggle? Nonetheless, He was willing to die for you and me, suffering an indescribable pain on the cross, and even before. We, that are guilty of breaking God’s Law, have been spared the horrors of being the recipients of God’s wrath. We have been saved by grace and by the love of Christ. We are extremely blessed, because we don’t deserve it!
This passage ends with a note of love from our Lord. When the Lord rose up from prayer, He came to His disciples and found them sound asleep. He woke them up and told them, “Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation”. Again, His love for us took precedence over His imminent suffering. Because He loved His friends so much, He centered His attention on their needs one more time. Does this tell you how much He cares about you?
What you just read is just a glimpse of what Jesus was willing to endure so we could go to heaven. How undeserving we are of such love!
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15: 13)
When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of my betrayer is with me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. (Luke 22: 14-23)
Jesus had a fervent desire to eat Passover with His disciples because that would be the very last time he would do it. Everything would pause, so to speak, until the coming of His kingdom. So, He told them, “Do this in remembrance of me”. In other words, “Do this so you don’t forget what it is important: Me and my kingdom.”
Every Christian’s purpose is God’s kingdom advancement. The purpose of our lives is not our own fulfillment, although a fulfilled life is the byproduct of serving God. Like soldiers who fight to bring glory and honor to His country, and not to ourselves, we are called to live for God’s kingdom.
The cup of wine is a reminder that we have been bought with a price, His own death on the cross and the shedding of His blood. It is because of His sacrifice for us, that we are enabled to live for Him.
We need to fix our eyes in Christ, press toward the goal and remind ourselves constantly that we have a King and a Kingdom to live and die for.
Every time we eat the bread and drink the wine we are, above all, reminded of who we are – disciples, servants and soldiers of Christ’s Kingdom.
Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” (Luke 20: 45-47)
Always fascinates me how the Lord faces sin. In the hearing of all the people, and that included the target of His words (the Scribes and Pharisees), He denounced their religious hypocrisy. The Pharisees loved to pray out loud, give charity to the poor in front of the crowd, to be recognized, popular and admired. “These”, said the Lord “will receive greater condemnation.”
How do you face sin? A memory comes to mind. In my extended family ran this idea that if any of our children misbehaved it was not because they were too spoiled, or were being disrespectful or disobedient. No, there weren’t unruly children in our families! The problem, most often pointed out by their grandparents, was that the children were tired, sleepy or hungry, but it was never their fault.
Are you familiar with this idea? If someone kills another person, the killer was not wicked; he was mentally disturbed. If someone commits adultery, he is not breaking God’s law, he just happened to have found true love! “We all make mistakes”, we say, when we could rightfully say, “we all are sinners.” The Bible tells us that those who call evil good, and good evil will suffer sorrow and distress, and that should be enough for keeping us away from the views of this world.(Isaiah 5: 20).
Jesus never covered the truth about our nature. Because He was God, He could see right through our good deeds, to the very intentions of our hearts. He can see why you do what you do. He can see the very reason of everything I do as well!
The Bible tells us that “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” So, let’s live every day with a clear conscience before God.
Let’s call sin by what it is – sin, especially when it comes to us, or our children.
Let’s cultivate a vision about wickedness like the vision of our Lord, who denounced sin openly and unapologetic, and since we aren’t gods, let’s do it in a way that edifies and instructs those around us.
Constant exposure to sinful activities tends to numb our consciences, and we stop recognizing sin by what it is, not only in those around us, but in our own lives!
Make a practice to recognize sin in what you watch and hear through the media. You’ll be surprised to find out that before your favorite TV show comes to an end, you have seen each and every one of God’s commandments being broken! You probably won’t enjoy those shows so much after this, but that is okay; it is called sanctification, and it is a good thing.
“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6: 17:18)
Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.” Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” But after that they dared not question Him anymore. (Luke 20: 27-39)
Jesus had been questioned about His own authority, then about Caesar’s authority, now He was presented with a “challenge” by the Sadducees, or so they thought. The formulated a question to which any answer would be unsatisfying, “if a woman was married to 7 brothers, whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Since the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, his question probably implied that they not only denied the possibility of a bodily resurrection, but also the continuation of the soul after physical death. Jesus, who masters all things spiritual, pointed out two faults in them: they were ignorant of the Scriptures and as a result they were ignorant of God’s power as well.
There is no marriage or engagements in heaven
Matthew Henry’s commentary points out the main purpose of marriage in this world: to perpetrate human life. As many die every day, many more are born as to perpetrate the human race. There is no need for this in heaven, because in heaven nobody dies! So, the idea of people marrying in heaven and forming families is utterly absurd, as it is unnecessary. Furthermore, while we live in our physical bodies we are subject to passions that we will no longer possess in the afterlife. We will be like the angels in heaven, whose only purpose is to praise God and serve Him. There is no way that someone in the presence of God and beholding His glory will have passion for anyone or anything else but Him. His beauty will outshine every vestige of human passion in us.
God’s people are alive after physical death
When God talked to Moses in the burning bush, He called Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but these men were long gone, these people were dead! So, when God talked about them as people who were alive it was because they were.
Every believer who has ever died is alive today. We cannot see them, but we can be certain of this, because God has revealed it to us in His Word. Nothing is impossible for Him. He possesses infinite power. This is a fact that the Sadducees ignored, because of their poor knowledge of the Scriptures.
This one passage demolishes the idea of posthumous marriage practiced by the Mormons, and makes completely unnecessary every afterlife-experience book that you may possess. God has spoken, what else is needed?
I will put my trust not in human words or teachings, but in the Word of God, whose wisdom is sufficient and whose knowledge is infinite.
“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.” (Romans 3: 3-4A)
Are you “Starved For Love?” Well, you don’t have to be. God, who put this hunger in you, is also able to satisfy your needs. Learn how to receive the love you long for in this teaching by pastor Charles Stanley,
God bless you!