Category Archives: Theology

How Would You Answer The Question – “Who Is God?”

How Would You Answer The Question –
“Who Is God?

The Story is told of Boxing champion Mu Hammed Ali, he was on a flight when the flight encountered “moderate turbulence”. The Captain came on the intercom system and instructed everyone to immediately fasten their seat belt. All complied except Ali & when the attendant came over … he responded “Superman don’t need no seat belt”. Without missing a beat “Superman don’t need no airplane either.”

We take great comfort in thinking we have Everything under control

There are some today who would not ask the question “Who Is God?” – They do not want to submit to a Higher Power & would rather depend upon their own “wisdom”.
I believe there are many more that will quickly give up trying to answer this question because the question is so challenging. BUT not only do we need to know, our friends & neighbors need to be able to answer this question.
THE 2 Most Ask Questions Are:                                         God, Why?   &   God, Where are you?
Most likely you have ask one or both of those questions at some point in your life.
BUT Those Questions Can Not Be Answered Unless We Know Who God Is.
Your Morality
Your Language – How You Speak
How You Treat Other Human Beings
Your Private Values
How You Handle Money
How You Handle Sexuality
ALL Depend On Who You Believe God To Be


There are BASIC questions of life that have to be answered if you are going to make sense out of daily living.
ORIGIN – Where Did I Come From?
MEANING – Why am I here? Purpose?
MORALITY – What Is Right & Wrong?
DESTINY – What Happens To Me When I Die?
WHO GOD IS & WHO YOU BELIEVE HIM TO BE Must also be answered …
John Paul Sartre, the French philosopher who is still quoted today, did not believe in God & defined man as “a useless passion, an empty bubble floating on the sea of nothingness”.
Popular today is Naturalism which teaches the only thing in the world that is real is the physical –
YET Even a child understands that we are more than nothing floating in a sea of nothingness & despite what some teach:  ALL Of Us Have Experienced
Each of these things are not material in nature yet they do exist – AND Are Amazingly Powerful.
The answer to the questions of who you are & who I am (Origin, Meaning, Morality & Destiny) are based on – “Who Is God”
How You Answer That Question Will Influence Your Life & The Lives Of Those You Love More Than Any Other Issue
More consequences for your life flow from that one answer . . .
Your Morality
How You Treat Other Human Beings
The Influence Of Your Life
Results Of Your Life
How You Are Remembered …
EVEN Your Speech
ALL This And More Depend On Who You Believe God To Be
We Need To Find The Truth
To Find The TRUTH Let’s turn to scripture . . .
2 Chronicles 20:1-3 (ESV) (1) After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. (2) Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom . . .                                             (3) Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD . . .
Often it is Fear, NOT fair weather & fun times, that causes most to “seek the LORD”
But notice that Jehoshaphat does not ask God “Where Are You?”  Or  ” Why Are You Allowing This To Happen To Me?”    Instead: He raises three completely different ideas . . .
2 Chronicles 20:6 (ESV) “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven?
2 Chronicles 20:7 (ESV) “O LORD, God … Did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel”
2 Chronicles 20:12 (ESV) “O LORD, God will you not execute judgment on them?”
We Ask Who Is God?
Jehoshaphat Ask
Are you not … God in heaven
Did you not … deliver us in the past
Will you not … take care of us in the future
It Is In This Way – GOD Makes Himself Known POWERFULLY To ALL who seek Him
Jehoshaphat had a correct understanding of God (So Can We)– BECAUSE He Truthfully Considered The Present, Past & Future
I also believe that Paul came to understand WHO GOD IS – Look at what he tells Timothy as he sits in a Roman prison – sentenced to death.
2 Timothy 1:1-3 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.
Paul says he is who he is & where he is “by the will of God” and that according to the resurrected Christ Jesus. He names Jesus as Lord whom he will continue to serve with a clear conscience & to whom he will continue to pray.
That is not what I would expect Paul to say – Paul walked on “mountain tops”. At one time Paul spoke to thousands. He influenced whole cities, Showed them miracles, He freely went where God led him and effectively taught Jesus Christ & Him Crucified. And Now – Paul is imprisoned! Sentenced to Death! – I can not imagine what it was like for Paul … Remember The Two Most Often Ask Questions …
             God, Why?          God, Where Are You?
I would expect Paul to ask those questions … Instead he encourages Timothy who he cares for deeply, to the HOPE & MERCY & PEACE that is in Christ! And he says “I Thank God whom I serve” (in a Roman prison) …
It Does Not Seem To Matter The Situation He Faces Daily.   Paul, remember was a Pharisee among Pharisees MEANING he knew the Old Testament Scriptures. He knew of God’s grace & mercy, protection & provision shown to the Israelites  BUT Paul also knew of the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Jesus – The same Jesus he calls “Lord”
Jehoshaphat ask:
Are you not … God in heaven
Did you not … deliver us in the past
Will you not … take care of us in the future
It seems to me that Paul not only believes but that He Knows –
He Knows God Reins In Heaven –
He Knows God Delivered, Not Just Him In The Past –
Paul Knows God Will Take Care Of Him In The Future
What Do You Know?
Remember Satan wants you to believe his LIE –
We Are Nothing Floating On A Sea Of Nothingness
The Present Is Hopeless – (because there is no God)
The Past Does Not Matter – (because there is no God)
And The Future Will Be Worse – (because there is no God)
What Do You Know? I Hope That You Know That –
IN THE PAST – There was LOVE, A PLAN & A PURPOSE for the Israelites, Jehoshaphat, Paul, YOU (& a host of others)

Remember you are so significant in His eyes that
FOR You, God Sent His Son & Raised Him On The 3rd Day


If we come to fully understand Prayer then we will grow in our relationship with God. We will see change – We will see something happen. GROWTH that can not happen any other way.


Let us go to the Bible & answer these 2 questions:

What Is Meant By Prayer?


What Is Meant By Help?


Prayer is not about stuff & God is not the cosmic ATM where you walk up, pull out your I Am A Follower Of Christ Card & say “Give me stuff”.

God wants to give you things … scripture teaches that God gives awesome gifts, but the FUNDAMENTAL Element of Prayer is Communion – It is about Learning –

Its About Learning:

  • Who God Is

  • Who You Are

  • What God Wants For You &

  • What God Wants From You In Order To Benefit Others

We should not hesitate to ask God – If we are sick, We Should ask – If someone has needs, We Should ask – If we need a job, We Should ask …

Jesus says Ask For These Things – Ask for them in my name & if it is according to God’s will it will be given to you. Mt. 7:11

There is an important key – God’s Will

If you mean by PRAYER … An arrogant attempt to change God’s will & plan to conform to MY schedule, MY desires & MY wants.  That is not True PrayerThe Bible teaches Prayer is something totally different.


Jesus begins with himself, or does he? Vs. 1 “Glorify your Son”  but Vs. 3 tells us why, “that they know you the only true God, and (know) Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

Vs. 5 John 17:5 (ESV) “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Again, He is talking about Himself but notice He is praying about God’s will. God, these are the things I understand you want & I am expressing my submission to your will.

He then begins to pray about the disciples,

John 17:8-19 (ESV) 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you …

Vs. 11 “… but they are in the world” & Jesus prays, keep them safe (vs. 11b , 12) …

Vs. 14 “the world has hated them …” vs. 15 Keep them safe.

Vs. 17 Sanctify them in the TRUTH – Your word is TRUTH

Vs. 19 “I consecrate myself that they also may be sanctified in TRUTH.”

(Truth Is A Very Big Word & Very Important Word)

Then He then begins to pray for (vs. 20) You & Me “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

  • that they all be one (in the same way Jesus & the Father are one)

  • that they may be in us (so that the world may believe)

  • that they may become perfectly one (so that the world may know …)

  • that they may be with me where I am to see … Glory

  • that the love with which you have loved me may be in them & I in them


What Does The Bible Mean By PRAYER?

It Is Communication,

It Is The Way By Which We Know Things

Not Get Things But Know Things

It is easy to understand why people get confused about this –

In the process of knowing things We actually Get Things along the way.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.




THAT KNOWLEDGE IS ABOUT GOD And Along The Way Other Things Happen.

Am I Teaching the TRUTH?

How Do We Know This Is The Case?

Not just from Jesus’ prayer – He is the Son of God – so maybe His prayer is not the kind of prayer we should pray –

The disciples ask Him . . .

Luke 11:1 (ESV) Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

We find this both in Luke 11 & Mathew 6. This is often called “The Lord’s Prayer” but this is a prayer to be prayed by His followers. The disciples said “Teach US to pray” & Jesus said “When YOU pray say …

Matthew 6:7-13 (ESV) 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Read this SLOWLY and it becomes easy to see what prayer actually is in this model.

  1. Our Father in heaven …” Prayer is actually worship. Who God is & Who you are. He is your Father, a family relationship built upon LOVE & Authority. You are an adopted CHILD of the King. That is a WONDERFUL thing.

  2. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Jesus adds to that thought, “hallowed”, the idea of being HOLY – The very name of God is Holy. So in proper prayer we recognize His place. Him being the Father, you are the child – He is Holy – you & I … not so much.

  3. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Recognizing He is the Ruler – He is the King. Everything that we ask for, everything we do, everything we ask, we ask as His servant to His will. He is King every hour of every day. Through PRAYER we recognize His Place & our place.

  4. Now – What are we to ask for? “Give us this day our daily bread”. Jesus never taught to ask for tons of stuff. Give us fancy cars & a boat & A lot of money, Give me a promotion at work … “Give us this day our daily bread” Give Us Our Daily Needs – Provide For Us Our Needs. That is the idea the “daily bread” represents. It Is Your Father’s Will That You Have Your Needs Fulfilled.  And our experience often is that we find we have more than we need, we have enough to share. I have come to believe that the FUNDAMENTAL Will of the Father is to give you what you need. Jesus actually told the disciples, told us, that our Heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask Him. A Holy Prayer, A Non-Selfish Prayer Simply Ask For What You Need.

Think with me for just a moment – What is it that YOU need? Do you need more channels, Do you need your phone? I think I do. I am looking at a computer screen right now. We are using electronics & PowerPoint projectors and lighting & a sound system. Do I need all that to preach from God’s word this morning.  Even this building. The 1st century church grew & flourished & exploded by meeting in small mud brick homes. Think about what it is that you need & how much more you have than you will ever need. We are to pray for our needs to be met.


  1. The very next verse in this prayer, vs. 12 “Forgive us our debts” That is God’s will, that our sins will be forgiven. It is His will that you be forgiven – That you obtain salvation. How do I know that it is His will you be forgiven, He sent His Son who lived the example, who had no Sin of His own yet went to the Cross, paid the debt for your sin on the Cross so that you & I could obtain forgiveness & then rose from the dead on the 3rd day to PROVE that He did what He said He came to do. When we pray “Forgive us of our debts” we should be reminded that the most fundamental need we have is for forgiveness & That He Provided The Way

  2. This model prayer not only serves to remind & teach us who God is & who we are & that we are to be in submission to the Lord & King – It not only reminds us that we have a fundamental need of forgiveness but it also teaches us we are to mold our character into being a people of forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The debts we owe are many & varied & serious & we are to be ready & willing to forgive those who have done the same to us. This is a petition, God make me like your Son, make me like You. Make me a person of forgiveness, mold my character.

The pattern we see throughout this prayer:

We see Who God Is – HOLY

We see God’s Will is the important part. We Are To Pray “Your Will Be Done . . .”

God’s Will for me is that:

  • My Needs are met –

  • My sins are forgiven –

  • My character is shaped in such a way that I can forgive others.

Does Prayer Really Help – Depends Upon What You Mean By PRAYER

If You Mean By Prayer … An Arrogant Attempt To Change God’s Will & Plan To Conform To MY Schedule, MY Desires & MY Wants.                   Then No.

BUT If you mean by PRAYER … That we are to conform our will to His & not His will to ours, then YES, PRAYER does Help – IT ALWAYS HELPS – 

What I mean by HELP is that you become more like God, Not you getting more stuff.

Paul Says Something Amazing About Prayer In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (ESV) 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

I wonder how welcoming that was to Paul. I also wonder, would that be a welcome thing for you to hear? If you had Terminal Cancer, MS, chronic illness, something you considered to be “a messenger of Satan” – something you pleaded with the Lord about & God says to you . . . “My Power Is Made Perfect In Your Weakness And My Grace Is Sufficient For You.”

Is That OK With You???

Is That OK With You???

Paul, after hearing that from his LORD, is able to continue to grow in his life in Christ … “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Did Paul’s prayer Fail or did it HELP?

2 Cor. 2:7b Paul prays, he pleads with the Lord & the answer is NO (If Paul prayed & the answer was NO then you & I are going to get some No(s) from God). Our question is, “Does It Help?”

The answer to Paul’s prayer was NO – I am not taking this away from you.

I want you to be able to see that NO from God is not a failure & more that that – NO actually helps Paul. His thorn in the flesh remained with Paul but it showed Paul – It taught something to Paul that was far greater.

Paul gains an insight that lasts . . .

Physical healing is great but temporary. Those of us that have infirmities, can be rescued, – but only temporarily. Jesus “rescued” Lazarus in an amazing way John 11:43 & we may desire that, but at some point Lazarus was carried back to the grave. TEMPORARY!

By God’s plan, Through God’s Love, Paul learns something that lasts beyond his own lifetime.

My Grace Is Sufficient For You”

That is an incredible TRUTH that transcends, outlast, goes far beyond physical healing of ANY kind.

It is tremendous! I wonder – could Paul have learned this any other way?

Could Paul have come to understand the Power of God’s Grace Being Sufficient For Him, Had That Thorn In The Flesh Not Been Given To Him? His suffering produced something great in Paul. The denial of his request to God – the NO – produced something even greater. 

Deliverance From Pain – Deliverance From Difficulty – Deliverance From Hardship

All Of It Is Temporary – GRACE IS FOREVER!


SO, did Prayer help? Absolutely Prayer Helped. I believe Paul would not have learned about this Powerful Grace – This Amazing Grace had it not been for the Power Of Prayer.

Make No Mistake – Prayer Is Powerful

1 John 5:14, 15 (ESV) And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

CONFIDENCE that if we ask “according to His will . . .”

CONFIDENCE – Not Just Hope – Confidence & Knowledge, those are the words John uses to tell us that God helps us through prayer.

So Does Prayer Really Help?

If by Prayer you mean communication with God to find out His will & If by Help you mean conforming our will to His will so that we can serve the Kingdom of God then:

YES Prayer Helps – It Helps In A Very REAL Way b/c prayer is not about getting Stuff.

If your FAITH is such that you know God’s will for you is simply what is BEST for you.




HE NEVER FAILS in KNOWING, GIVING & DOING what is BEST – If you are seeking is to be conformed into God’s will then Prayer Never Fails

Let’s Pray – Father, we are so thankful for this gift of prayer. Remind us to pray often, Teach us to seek, listen & learn your will. Strengthen our faith in You so that we can trust you for our needs & seek you so that we may grow & become more like you, more like Jesus. Grant us the wisdom to understand what we need is Forgiveness – Not More Stuff. In Christ’s name & through Him we pray.


Forceful Men Matthew 11:7-15/ Ephesians 6:12

From The Pilgrim’s Progress

“(The man) fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely.  So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace, at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying, Come in, come in; Eternal glory thou shalt win.”

Luke 13:24, Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest.” Hebrews 4:11

Acts 14:22 “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Read Matthew 11:7-11

To think that even though John was greater than anyone born of a woman, any Christian is even greater.  The reason is that a Christian is not just born of a woman; he is also born again by the power of God.  While John the Baptist spent his life preaching that the kingdom of God was at hand, those of us who are Christians have the privilege of being a part of that kingdom.

The Effort of Forceful Men

Read Matthew 11:12-15

There seem to be two different groups of men who are being discussed here by Jesus.  First of all, there are forceful men who seize hold of the kingdom of God.  And secondly, there are others who reject it even though they have seen the evidence.  Jesus commends the one group and he condemns the other.

Some are willing to do whatever it takes, make whatever sacrifices are necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Set down my name Sir!


It has been said that our favorite hypocrisy is to make a choice and then to refuse to pay for it.

The price for the Christian life is high, and Jesus wants us to count that cost as part of our decision to follow him.

Read Matthew 10:34-39

The Cost of Accepting “free” Grace

We must be willing to face broken earthly relationships in order to have our relationship with God restored.

We must be willing to pay the price whatever that price may be in our lives.

No one will stroll into the Celestial City with his hands in his pockets.

That place is reserved for forceful men who in their desperation will do whatever it takes.


We can’t just sit back, relax and take it easy.  Rather, we as Christians must continue to struggle toward heaven.  We must be diligent to enter that place of rest.  We must strive to enter the narrow gate. We must constantly struggle with whatever forces within or without us that try to keep us out of heaven. We must shout to the recorder, “Set my name down, sir,” and then we must fight our way into the Celestial city of God.

Who Is My Neighbor? Luke 10:30-37

(Unhurried enough to Care)

Love Doesn’t Rush

In I Corinthians 13, when Paul describes the nature of love and loving, the first trait he lists is patience. Consider that the God of the Scriptures is in no hurry to become angry with us. If, as Paul said in I Corinthians 13 that love is patient (God is Love) then God is patient, and He is patient with me. Take Time to Care Read again Luke 10:30-37

We are on the road. We have somewhere to go. We have a full schedule. The needy person along the way is an inconvenience, an interruption. I may complain that loving everyone in the world is impossible, but that’s not what Jesus commanded. Our Lord directs us to care for the person who is actually crossing our path. Proximity provided an opportunity to love.

The Unexpected Hero

The Samaritan saw the wounded man. Love looks long enough to be affected by what it sees. Love doesn’t look away from what is hard to see. Too often we want wounded people to hurry up and get better because they are inconveniencing me; I want to get on with my life. But what is God’s invitation for a given season of my life? To Follow or Not to Follow? God is love. Period. Are we love? Do we love? Love is the primary measure God uses to determine what is valuable and what is worthless. Love lasts. And love requires us a more unhurried approach to life.

To Follow or Not to Follow?

God is love. Period. 

Are we love?  Do we love?  Love is the primary measure God uses to determine what is valuable and what is worthless.  Love lasts.  And love requires us a more unhurried approach to life.

Walking With Forgiveness Luke 7:36-40

A Weeping Woman
We can imagine the effect this was having on Simon’s banquet. Keep in mind that Pharisees had nothing to do with women in public Remember the reputation that this woman had in the public eye.
Read Luke 7:39 again
As far as Simon was concerned, the facts only permitted two possible conclusions: Either Jesus did not know what kind of woman she was, or else He knew who she was and did not care.
A Simple Story Verses 40-43 This Simple story gets to the heart of the matter. Who has been forgiven little? Who in the story has been forgiven much?
Read Luke 7:44-50
How did Jesus’ host respond to His accusations? The Pharisee was perhaps speechless as Jesus explains the simple story and surely Simon understands that the story is about him.
This woman was now walking with forgiveness (verse 48). And like us today, forgiveness (grace) is a strong motivator to sin no more.
Personal Application:
Am I aware of the enormity of my sin?
Am I aware of the wonder of being forgiven of my sins?
Having been forgiven much, do I love much?
Has my love found expression?


Launch Out Into the Deep Luke 5:1-11

5 things, significant things from this passage is our focus.


Read Luke 5:5 again.

Maybe you have experienced the same thing, disappointment.

Just like those fishermen in this passage, sometimes we fish all night long, trying and trying only to pull up empty nets.  We suffer disappointments and we get depressed.  All because what we expected to happen didn’t happen.  And now we are at a loss as to what we should do.


Read Luke 5:4-5 again.

Peter set aside his own feelings, set aside his own disappointment, and he obeyed God  he did what Jesus Christ told him to do.

Read I Corinthians 15:58 “Labor, not in vain”

Analogy: Jesus was going to take Peter from his superficial, half-hearted attention to Him and turn that into a deeper, more personal and real commitment to Jesus.


Read Luke 5:6 again

Just as Jesus met the need of those fishermen, God will meet our needs as well.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”

What I am trying to say is that God has promised to meet our deepest needs.  Not our deepest wants, but our deepest needs.  He not only has the ability to do it, but He has the desire to do it.

A Change of Focus

Jesus provided for the needs of the fishermen in Luke 5, but He also let them know that His focus was not on physical things, but on spiritual.  He wants us to focus on the spiritual.

Read Luke 5:10 again.

As long as Peter was only concerned about fish, he was never going to achieve great things for God.  His focus needed to be on the souls of men.  Like Peter, it is so easy for us to get caught up in physical things; but Jesus is always more concerned about the spiritual.

Response of Worship

Read Luke 5:8-11 again.

Because of the power that Jesus displayed, Peter was willing to accept the call of Jesus, and he followed Jesus. He placed Jesus first in His life and did what Jesus called him to do.

Are we willing to go before the Lord as Peter did, recognizing that we are sinners in need of salvation? Are we willing to forsake all and follow Jesus? Are we willing to place Him FIRST in our lives?


Simeon: Looking For Jesus Luke 2:25-35

The only things we are told about Simeon are those things which matter most to God—things which pertain to his faith and his character, things which tell us about his relationship with God.  We are told that Simeon was just and devout—he was a man who loved God deeply, so much so that God was able to use him in a wonderful way.

Read Luke 2:26, 27

Today, those who look for Jesus will find Him.

Simeon was waiting for something.  In fact, he had waited for a long time for this moment.  As Mary and Joseph came into the temple area, Simeon reached out and he took this baby Jesus in his arms, and he must have experienced that same feeling when grandparents have when they first hold that new grandchild.  There was such joy and excitement.  Then Simeon burst forth in praise to God because this wasn’t just any baby.

Read Luke 2:28-32

Notice: Matthew 13:45, 46 The pearl is so spectacular that the merchant realizes that nothing else really matters as long as he had that pearl and so he sold everything to obtain. It.  For Simeon, seeing Jesus was all that he wanted in life. With his own eyes and with his own arms he held the Messiah, to him, that was the Pearl of Great Price. Nothing else really mattered anymore.

Luke 2:34, 35

Simeon tells Joseph and Mary that Jesus’ life will involve as much pain as it will joy.  The sword that will pierce Mary will inch its way even deeper into her heart as Jesus experienced rejection that eventually ended at the cross.

Simeon’s words seek to prepare Mary for the grief she must suffer.

John 1:10-11

When God came to tell us the truth about our sinfulness and our need for Him, it wasn’t appreciated by everyone.  And so Simeon says that people will stumble over Him.  Many people would turn away from Jesus.

Simeon knew that God wanted to bless us, to save us, but that salvation would come at a great cost.  The salvation that God brought to us through the baby born in Bethlehem was going to cost the life of that child.  And unless the baby dies, there is no Joy for us.


The joy that Simeon experienced and shared with Mary and Joseph wasn’t just an excitement of holding a newborn baby.  It is a joy that is centered on knowing and believing that, in spite of who we are and what we do, there is a God who loves us and has sent His Son Jesus so that He could rescue us from our sins by dying for us on the cross.

That sword that pierced the soul of Mary resulted in the greatest joy that we can ever possibly know.

The Birth Of Jesus Meets The Real World

When the Birth of Jesus Meets the Real World

Jesus’ Birth: Then

The birth day of Jesus was not one of peace and tranquility. Everything about the birth of Jesus was difficult.

Read Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20

Mary: Ordinary Peasant Girl; Young teenager, engaged to Joseph; Her thoughts were on the upcoming wedding; But God chose her to carry His Son; Did she appreciate the news?; Did she feel that some of her dreams were no longer possible?

Joseph: He thought about working hard and making a life for his wife; He knew that he wanted children; But what does he think when he finds his beloved is pregnant?; And what would others think, after all they could count to 9 just as well as we do; Can you imagine Mary telling him, “I’m pregnant, but it’s alright, it’s God’s baby, His Spirit covered me and His angel told me the good news!

Joseph too is visited and told of their situation

Jesus’ Birth: Today

For many, the birth of Jesus is summed up by the announcement of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:14

Christ was born into a world of hardship and pain and suffering in order to bring us to eternal hope. The point of His story is not that everything is going to be alright, but that God is in Christ, and that everything will eventually turn out right.

Image Magazine “God did not come into a perfect world to institute carol-singing, gift-buying and chestnut roasting. He entered a world blighted with suffering and cursed by sin in order to bring hope, salvation and healing…We would miss the point of Christmas altogether if we turned away its anguish.”

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

¨Is it possible we expect too much of the holiday and not enough of Jesus? The Holiday itself cannot take away our problems, but Jesus can!

¨The story of Jesus is ultimately not about a cute and cuddly baby in a manger; it is about an old rugged cross and a forever empty tomb.

Where’s the Band?

Ephesians 5:18b, 19, 20 “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,”

Jewish Worship

When the Jews sang in the synagogues, they tended to chant their songs.  They used Psalms and other source material as their “song book.”

When the Hebrew religion ended by the death of Jesus upon the cross, a dramatic change was brought about in the way God wants to be worshiped.

When Jesus came and started His church, the music of worship also changed.  The music of the early church was all vocal.

History: In Chapel Style

The word a-cappella is a very important word when we talk about the idea of history.  Most of us have heard this word in our lives.  Many of us understand it to mean “without instrumental accompaniment.”  What most people don’t know is that a-cappella is an Italian expression that literally means “in chapel style.”

Over time the idea of “in chapel style” came to mean “without instrumental accompaniment.”  That is because throughout most of Christian history the music heard in chapels, was without instrumental accompaniment; it was purely vocal.”

The Music of New Testament Worship

I refuse to worship God with musical instruments because my primary goal as God’s child, His slave and His worshiper is to please Him; and because He has not indicated that he would be pleased with a praise offering from a musical instrument.  I will not make such an offering to Him.

Let’s Read our Bible a Minute

2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Ephesians 5:7-10;Colossians 1:9-10;Hebrews 13:15-16

See also I Thessalonians 4:1-2; I John 3:21-22 and I Timothy 2:1-3

And so we ask, who are we trying to please with our worship?

I want you to see that “pleasing God” must also be our bull’s eye in matters such as coming before God with our offering of praise.

Shouldn’t our first question be: “What can be done in worship to please God?”

God Has Told Us What Pleases Him

Ephesians 5:18-19;  Colossians 3:16

Ephesians 5:19 “addressing one another”

Colossians 3:16 “teaching and admonishing one another”

The instrument of music never fulfills the desires of God and the intention of singing.  It is an addition to the Word as revealed to us through the Holy Spirit.

Singing involves the mind.  And with our mind and our voices we speak to one another, we teach one another and we encourage one another.

The idea of “making melody” or “with thankfulness in your hearts to God” lets us know that we are to engage our minds when we are singing. Singing is not just about notes and pretty singing, but it is worship to God. Our worship partakes of the essence of God.  Worship is making melody in our hearts.

Christians should emphasize music and realize that the worship of God involves spirituality and sincerity from the depths of their hearts.  Music becomes vital as we enter into our worship.  It is our own human response to God Almighty, and we cannot help but become better people when we sing and participate.

The Sound of Praise

Read Hebrews 13:15-16  God wants “the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name.”  And we know, of course, that this phrase means heartfelt words of praise and thanks.

I Corinthians 14:15  Here Paul discusses how worship must come from both our spirit and our understanding.

Read also James 5:13 Also consider Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:18, 19 and Acts 16:25.

As we look at the expression in these  verses we notice something.  Expression like “singing…to God,” “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord,” and “were praying and singing…to God.” Heartfelt singing and heartfelt praying are given “to God.”  That’s an offering.  That’s worship.  And that obviously pleases God.

But Preacher…#1

It hasn’t been specifically forbidden!

We can’t make assumptions about Worship and assume that we are pleasing to God.  Can you read God’s mind?  Are you a mind reader? Are you going to base your soul on what you feel?

But Preacher…#2

We are under the New Covenant now, and under the New Covenant isn’t it true that God is only concerned with the worshiper’s heart?

Although pure motives and sincerity are without a doubt fundamental factors in how God responds to us, the Scriptures make it unambiguously clear that God is also concerned with our actions.

So please, do not try to have a relationship with God based on the false assumption that all God cares about is your heart—your motives and sincerity.  He is also concerned about your actions.

But Preacher…#3

People worshiped God with instruments in the O.T.

2 Chronicles 29:25 “for the command was from the LORD.”

Notice Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Certainly in Tabernacle worship they used a trumpet to call everyone together.  When David was getting people ready for Temple worship, he was commanded to make instruments and add a chorus to the mix.

Consider this: If the O.T. was binding on us today, then why don’t we have an alter of acacia wood to burn incense to the Lord as commanded in Exodus 30:1?  Why didn’t you bring your grain offering today made of unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil an a griddle to the Lord as commanded in Leviticus 2:4-9?  Why didn’t you bring a bull or a sheep or a goat today to fulfill the required sacrifices as described in Leviticus 1:1ff.

Shouldn’t we be consistent with our arguments?


Because my ultimate desire in worship is to please God, I’ll keep opting for singing.  The potential of displeasing God in worship is enough to keep me right where I am.  As long as I continue to offer to God only those sacrifices of praise that He has specifically indicated are pleasing and acceptable to Him, I know that He will be pleased and that I will be pleasing.

Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name.”


In Remembrance of Me I Corinthians 15:1-4

The death, burial and resurrection of Christ form the central theme of the gospel message.

Old Testament Roots

God commanded them to observe the Passover feast every year, to commemorate their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. (Exodus 12:1-13:10)

Read Matthew 26:26-28

Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of Messianic deliverance.  He gave His own body and blood as payment for our sin debt to deliver us from the bondage of sin and death.  The simple elements He chose appropriately represent His sacrifice.

A Feast for a King

Jesus said that He would eat and drink a new feast with them when the kingdom came.

Jesus had promised that the kingdom would come in their lifetime (Mark 9:1).  He had promised Peter the privilege of opening the doors of the kingdom, which He also called His church (Matthew 16:18, 19).  Peter used the keys of the kingdom on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection.  He preached the first gospel sermon, which resulted in the first converts to Christianity (Acts 2:14-40).

The Lord’s Supper is a feast fit for a Messianic King and His subjects. This feast binds us together as one with each other and with the King.  The feast around the Table of the Lord is “sharing in the blood of Christ” and “sharing in the body of Christ” (I Cor. 10:16).

We are invited (Christians) to this banquet for one purpose—to participate with Him and with each other in the event that brought about our victory over sin.

A Lord’s Day Supper

From their earliest beginnings, Christians assembled on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 2:42, 20:7).   “Break bread” was a term often used for the practice of taking the Lord’s Supper.  When Paul spoke of “the bread which we break” in I Corinthians 10:16, he was referring to part of the Lord’s Supper.

No evidence exists, in either Scripture or early church history, challenging the practice of Christians meeting together on the first day of the week to observe this sacred meal.

When are we to Eat and Drink?

The only Bible reference to the day that the Lord’s Supper was kept indicates that it was observed on Sunday—the first day of the week.

The church’s universal practice, following the period immediately after the apostles, was to observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, the first day of the week. This would indicate that Sunday was a day established by the apostles, whom the Spirit guided into all truth.  Being helped by the Spirit, they were able to instruct the converts to observe all things Jesus had commanded them to teach.

When are we to Eat and Drink?

Christians met on Sunday each week.  The purpose for their gatherings was to take the Lord’s Supper.  Weekly observance must have been a pattern established by the apostles.  Those today who want to continue in the apostles’ teaching should meet each Sunday in order to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus.

Yes they met at other times, but the day they partook of the Lord’s Supper was Sunday, for on that day Jesus conquered death on behalf of mankind.

A Remembrance

At the table, Christians experience both sorrow and joy.

Jesus wants us to remember not only what He has already done for us on the cross, but also what He is doing for us now as our King, High Priest, and Mediator.  He also wants us to remember what He has promised in the future.  2 Timothy 2:11b, 12 “if we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.”

We are somber and reflective, we are joyful. Jesus paid our sin debt to set us free!

The bread and the fruit of the vine remind us of His sacrificed body and blood.  He is our sacrificial Lamb.  We participate together by giving thanks, as He gave thanks for the bread and the wine.  We celebrate our deliverance.  As we commune with Him and with each other, as members of one body, we reaffirm our unity and our support of one another.

Celebrate—but recognize that God is holy and pure, while we are sinful and frail.  He is not like us, but He wants us to be like Him.  The Lord’s Supper provides a perfect setting for us to exercise both reverence and joy.

The Lord’s Supper is Important

This is what binds us together and holds us together as one body.  The Lord’s Supper is not just a ritual to be performed, but a meal to bring us together and enable us to commune with God and with each other.