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Saturday, September 29, 2018

“Absence!” - # 5 “The Absence Of Love!”

The Pharisee and the Harlot: True Love Revealed!

Text: Luke 7:36-50

Luke 7:36-50 King James Version (KJV)

36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

-        With our marriage conference in mind and the family unit we recognize that the necessity to a relationship whether spousal, familial, or friendly requires real, true, unconditional, agape love! -

-        With that said I can’t help but think of this lady here in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus says “loved much!” -

-        We’re going to continue partly with the absence theme but the format will be a little different today -

1.)                   What does the absence of love create?

It Creates………

A.)                   An Arrogant Attitude -

-        This was Simon’s house, Christ his visitor, his guest yet by his actions he felt Christ’s equal! -

b.) A Spirit of Inhospitality -

-        As Christ was his guest yet didn’t reverence him as such! -

c. ) An Attitude of Self-Righteousness -

-        Humility cannot live in an environment absent of love! -

d.) An Unaffectionate Heart -

-        Without love we will always praise ourselves, love only when we’re loved, and never risk for relationship! -

e.) A Selfish Nature -

-        How can we give and give correctly without love? We can’t! -

Her actions proved her intention!

2.)                   What does a life absent of love prove?

It Proves……

a.)  Grace is absent!

b.)  You don’t understand the cross!

c.)  You don’t know God because God is love!

BUT!!!!!!! Let’s look past the pharisee unto the HARLOT! We now know what a life absent love looks like lived our but what does a life drowning, exuding, shining bright in love look like? It looks like a harlot weeping at the feet of Jesus Christ risking all, all social norms, all her prized possessions, her glory, her dignity, her life IN ACTION, worshipping the savior who by true love would sacrifice himself for her very sins, the sins she lived with and recounted everyday were washed away in the crimson flow of the cross of Calvary, that erases all condemnation, all judgment, all fear because perfect love casts out ALL fear because when we are blinded by love we can see nothing, live nothing, and be nothing else!

3.)                   What Does “Loving Much” Look Like? What Does It Create?

It Creates……

a.)  Sacrifice!

-        She was willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! Just to prove her love to the savior! -

-        She was willing to risk EVERYTHING! -

b.) Humility!

-        Her social status no longer mattered. The stares and judgment of others was irrelevant. No longer did it matter what anyone thought her, only what the Christ thought! -

c.)  Emotion and Emotional Connection!

-        She couldn’t stop the tears from flowing! The thought of Christ and his grace welled up inside of her and had to flow out! -

-        Emotion is not the basis of love but it is an outworking of true love, it will always be expressed in action and emotion. -

d.)  Abasement!

-        Many are willing to be humble but few are will to be the absolute least! -

-        In first century Judea and in Jewish culture a woman’s hair was her glory and only her husband should ever see the length of her hair, it must be up and hidden in the presence of other men but this woman was willing to lay down everything that she was and even use it as a rag for our glory is but a filthy rag according to Isaiah anyway! We won’t even risk our comfort but true love demands that you give it all! -

e.)  Affection!

-        When we truly love the object of that love becomes a focus of our being! -

f.)   Reverence, Respect, Sacrifice, A Giving Spirit, and a Realization that everything of worth loses all value in the act of love!

-        In one act of love she poured out a years salary, her livelihood, her security! She broke it, poured it all out, every drop! She didn’t love halfway, conditionally, or partly but in whole! –

-        She Loved Much! -

4.)                   What Does “Loving Much” Prove?

It Proves………

a.)  She was forgiven, saved, born-again, blood bought!

-The outworking of her relationship with Christ was revealed in her action that Christ said was “loving much!” -

b.) She Understood Who She Was!

-        Sinner! Unjust! Unholy! She understood that she was above no other and thus had no reserve, she could, with abandon, love much! -

c.)  She Understood Who God is, What Christ did, and What grace is!

-        When we experience the grace and love of Jesus we can’t help but express that in love for our brethren! -

In Closing:

-        Love Much! With Complete Abandon! -

-        Risk It ALL On Love! -

John 15:12-13 King James Version (KJV)

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

“Absence!” - # 4 “The Absence Of Prayer!”

“Absence!” - # 4

“The Absence Of Prayer!”

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 King James Version (KJV)

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

-        Prayer has been the only individual communion with God as it encompasses praises, worship, supplications, intercessions, and pleadings! -

-        From Adam and Eve in the Garden in the cool of the day to the prayers of Moses, Hannah, David, Jesus Christ, and us, prayer is one if not THE essential lifeblood of the Christian faith! We are saved by repentance in faith through prayer, we plead with God through prayer, we survive with prayer, the Word says that “these things” come about only by prayer and supplication! -

-        Without prayer we will spiritually suffocate! –

-        In acts chapter 2 the disciples were in constant prayer awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit! We have trouble praying for fifteen minutes! -

** I want us to look at important aspects of the Christian life and what it looks like and means when these things are absent! **

-        Let’s be clear, the lack of prayer is a dangerous thing for a confessing, believing Christian! -

1)                   What It Creates -

a.)  Separation, distance from almighty God! Spiritual loneliness!

-        We can’t know God without scripture and personal communion with him in prayer!

b.) Lack of holiness!

If we’re not praying then we aren’t repenting!

c.)  An environment of self sufficiency!

If we aren’t depending on God to supply our need then the only one left to depend on is ourselves or the government!

d.) Contempt for the sacrifice of Christ which bought our opportunity to enter the holy of holies in the presence of God through prayer!

We hold the sacrifice of Christ as worthless when we live a prayerless life!

We are saying we don’t need it!

2.) What It Proves -

a.)  We don’t understand the place, purpose, and necessity of prayer!

Prayer is both requests, petitions, thankfulness, praises, worship, reverence, utterings from our hearts as well as contently listening as the spirit makes intercession.

Prayer has both temporal and eternal effects! Prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, it changes us! Prayer DOES change things in this world! When we pray with faith we CAN move mountains! It also creates in us a desire for God and molds us into the very will of God!

b.) We don’t understand the cost of having the ability to pray!

For a sinful, disgusting, unholy creature to enter the presence of all mighty God cost the son of God the cross of Calvary and all it’s evil!

c.)  We don’t believe that prayer is effective, that God is listening, and if he is, that He’ll do anything we ask!

How can we believe in God and not pray?

How can we believe in Christ and not pray as he did?

How can we say that we are desiring revival, growth, holiness and not pray?

WE CAN’T!!!!

In Closing:

** Pray without ceasing! Prayer does change things! **

James 5:15-18 King James Version (KJV)

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

“Absence!” - #3 “The Absence Of Repentance & Confession!”

“Absence!” - #3

“The Absence Of Repentance & Confession!”

Text: Proverbs 28:13

Proverbs 28:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.


2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Acts 3:19 King James Version (KJV)

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Matthew 4:17 King James Version (KJV)

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

James 4:8 King James Version (KJV)

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Revelation 3:19 King James Version (KJV)

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Acts 17:30 King James Version (KJV)

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Luke 13:3 King James Version (KJV)

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Ezekiel 18:21-23 King James Version (KJV)

21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

** I want us to look at important aspects of the Christian life and what it looks like and means when these things are absent! **

-        Let’s be clear, the lack of initial repentance in faith confessing Christ as savior and Lord means that you are lost and without hope on your way to Hell to be eternally separated from God, everything good! -

-        But, this is mainly to those who call themselves Christians yet live in sin, unrepentant of your wickedness! -

1)                   What It Creates -

a.)  Self-righteousness

You’re right in your own eyes!

Proverbs 16:25 King James Version (KJV)

25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

b.) Blinds us to our sinful reality

We cannot know God if we do not know ourselves!

c.)  A hardening of our heart and a searing of our conscience!

Without repentance it WILL become easier to sin and waver!

The slope gets more slippery the further down we go!

d.) Contempt for the sacrifice of Christ!

We hold the sacrifice of Christ for our sins as worthless when we live in unrepentance!

We are saying we don’t need it!

John says to not be blind! We’re lying if we say we have no sin! We’re sinning when we say we’re not sinning!

John Piper says this….

So here is 1 John 1:17. If we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. Now notice. That is huge. If we walk in the light the blood of Jesus his Son is cleansing us from all sin. Well, what does walking in the light mean? Verse eight. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. So walking in the light can’t mean sinlessness. Walking in the light must mean that you are aware when you do sin you are not blind and dark to it. You see it. Verse nine. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins. And he has just said if we walk in the light you get a cleansed from your sin. and now he is saying if you confess your sins he is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

So confessing sins must be a part of walking in the light. So the blood of Jesus continually is cleansing us from sin while we are walking in the light and walking in the light means being aware when we do sin. Confessing it and confessing it means I admit it. I did it. I hate it. I don’t want it. That is telling the truth about our sin and if we do that, we are walking with God in the light. We are not dropping in and out of our relationship with God or light. We are walking in the light. We see our sin as sin. We hate our sin. We confess our sin. And, thus, we are enjoying the promise of verse seven that when we walk in the light we are being cleansed of our sin.

2.) What It Proves -

a.)  We don’t understand the severity of our sins!

Our sin is cosmic treason against a most holy God!

It’s wage is DEATH! Eternally, physically, spiritual, decay for eternity!

Our sins are fired artillery at war with God!

b.) We don’t understand the cost of atoning for our sins!

Every sin, no matter how slight or vast was placed on Christ at Calvary!

Every whip, every nail, every spear, every pain, every ache, every gasp, every thorn, every ridicule, every rip, every tear, every shock was your sin after sin after sin after sin pain after pain after pain after pain upon the shoulders of the righteous, perfect, loving son of the most high God!

c.)  We don’t understand or believe the Gospel, the love of Christ, the penalty, grievance, and wage of sin, nor the reality of hell and the wrath of God Almighty!

How can we believe the Gospel and not repent?

How can we love Christ and not repent?

How can we know the penalty, grievance, and wag of sin yet not repent?

How can we know the price it cost and not repent?

How can we know the God of whom we sin against and not fall to our knees in repentance?

How can we believe in Hell and not repent?

How can we believe in God’s wrath upon sin and live in it without repentance?

WE CAN’T!!!!

In Closing:

** REPENT!!! The Kingdom of God is at hand! **

Luke 13:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

13 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ministry; What Hurts The Most!

Ministry; What Hurts The Most!

This entry will be less informative and more personal. As a minister for over a decade now I have many memories, happy memories, sad memories, memories of elation, pain, joy, turmoil, hurt, gladness, betrayal, defeat, victory, salvations, laughter, celebration, anger, remorse, regret, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, separation, I've felt the pain of lies, I've rejoiced in accomplishment and on and on I could go. 

I've been betrayed by men who were partners in leadership, lied about, talked about, and it HURT! But, I got over it. I can forgive, move on, love unconditionally. The pain lasted for season but it mended.

I've been let down by many, many, many people in ministry who said "preacher, I will do it." Every time someone says they will and they commit with their word and then they don't follow through IT HURTS! It creates loneliness and bitterness for a season but I move on. I forgive,  I forget, and I march on.

I've been disrespected, pushed aside, and treated as a door mat. I am just like every other man but when someone shows me the respect of referring to me as Pastor or preacher it lights a fire in me, it encourages me, it fuels me, it solidifies my purpose and when I'm not respected in that way I say it doesn't matter but my heart says something else. It HURTS. My nature is to bury it, tell myself I'm unworthy of the respect, then I forgive, I forget, and I move on.

I've been held to an unattainable standard and when I reveal the truth that I'm fallible and testify of God's grace in that, I've been ridiculed and I've told that I'm too open, that no one will respect a preacher that's so transparent and IT HURT! You guessed it, I forgave, I forgot, and I moved on.

My wife has been talked about, lied on, and overlooked for the former pastor's wife. I got angry, IT HURT but guess what we did.... We forgave, we forgot, and we moved on.

Ministry has it's share of sacrifices, pains, valleys, disappointments, hurts, and struggles but for me personally there is one thing that hurts the most. I know it's different across the spectrum for each person in ministry but for me the one thing that cuts so deep, creates the most fear, causes the deepest disappointment, is the heaviest burden, and steals and suffocates my sense of purpose in Christ is the feeling of being ineffective! You preach, you study, you serve, you give, you sacrifice, you lead, you teach, you disciple, you push, you encourage, you train, you give everything that you are and when you look around you feel so ineffective! If I'm completely transparent, this is exactly where I am right now. From scripture I find that the avenue to be the most effective is not behind the pulpit but by what people see in your life. Do you live what you preach? As an elder I am called to be an ensample, my children in the faith follow me as I follow Christ, is what the Apostle Paul said. I have tried to model many things to many people yet when you are lost in this feeling of inadequacy you tend to feel like Elijah when he hid in the cave after Mt. Carmel, you feel all alone in the fight, that no one else cares, and you just want to give in and lay it all down. Now, I know the scriptures, I know that's not the case, I know Isaiah preached his whole life with no "success" but he was still effective and successful because he was obedient to God and successfully fulfilled God's plan according to God's will but I'll be the first to say I don't like it! Lol. I know that the Gospel saves those who believe it and condemns those who resist it, it's accomplishing God's will but in my heart, in my soul, all I want is for the people around me to grow, to know God so intimately, to understand their purpose in Christ, to walk completely in the Spirit and when I feel as if what I am saying and living is falling on deaf ears IT HURTS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER MINISTRY HURT, IT HURTS THE MOST! It sucks the zeal, the drive, the passion, and the devotion right out from under you, it suffocates the fire of evangelism and discipleship! This past Sunday morning I preached on the importance of Church and Community to a good size crowd, I gave them the Word of God and I gave them my heart. I passionately laid the warning out for all to hear, just to come back to the night worship with just a hand full of people present. Talk about pain, talk about hurt, talk about loneliness, that's the place. You try to model a positive spirit yet the person is critical, you try to model maturity and humility yet the person remains arrogant and immature, you attempt to model leadership yet the person remains scared and insecure, you attempt to model confidence in Christ and the person remains unsettled, you attempt to model reliance on the scriptures not experience and the person continues to place the latter above the other, you try to model loyalty and commitment yet the person remains nominal, disconnected, uninvolved, and uncommitted. IT HURTS! This is my honest plea, if your Pastor and the vision of your church is leading you by biblical example then follow, follow well and watch your Pastor and his passion grow, watch people get saved, watch the church grow, what the world change! 

I pray this helps someone, I've laid my heart on this screen today and I will forgive, I will forget, and by the Grace of God I will continue on in the fight! God bless!