Oct 2010

7674 - Be Ready

In Luke 12:35-40 we are studying words which Jesus speaks to his followers. Listen to these verses:

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

In these verses Jesus is talking to those who are disciples committed to Him. They are to be ready and diligent for the unfolding of future events.
It adds to the urgency of the words Jesus speaks to his disciples and other receptive people when we remember that in about four months or so He will be crucified in Jerusalem.

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7673 - You Are Valuable

We are now in chapter 12 of the book of Luke. In this chapter Jesus clearly sets before us the priority for life.

Listen to Luke 12:22-31:

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

These verses are addressed to the disciples of Jesus — those who trust and follow Him. They focus upon those supplies we often call necessities of life — food, clothes and such things. And the emphasis has to do with our attitude toward them. The command is not to worry about these things. That means we are not to be uneasy or troubled regarding securing these in our life.

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7672 - Rich Fool

Today we focus upon Luke 12:13-21 in which the Lord reveals the life of a rich fool.


Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, `This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ' "But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Oh friend, let us burn into our minds the principle Jesus conveys: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

That word ‘consist’ expresses the thought of gluing together. The desire is to gain strength and usefulness.

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7671 - Fear Eternal Judgment

May God open our eyes and our hearts to the wonders of His Word.

In Luke 12 we hear Jesus giving grave warnings to those who refuse to accept the truth that He is sharing about judgment and the Kingdom. Such rejection results in indescribable, eternal agony.

Listen to Luke 12:1-10.

1Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

4"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies[a]? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

8"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

Hungry people flocked to hear Jesus teach & preach. This passage opens with a description of thousands who came to hear, and so many that they trampled upon one another. These were not the religious leaders, these were common people who had heard about Jesus and came to see and hear. They had spiritual needs in their hearts and Jesus gave them hope.

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7670 - Six Woes

We rejoice when you join us to study a portion of God’s Word.

One day Jesus was invited the home of a Pharisee. Pharisees are declared to be hypocrites in the Bible. This is a word used in the Greek theatre. It literally meant one of the actors who wore a mask and played a part. The part they portrayed on the stage was not related to their lifestyle. These religious leaders taught one thing and lived a different way.

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7669 - Lamp of the Body

As Jesus taught the crowd one day he talked about the eye being the lamp of our body. Let’s explore this truth today.

First, let me read Luke 11: 33-36:

Luke 11:33 "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.

Luke 11:34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.

Luke 11:35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

Luke 11:36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."
Jesus emphasizes more than once that no thinking person would light a lamp and then hide it away under a bucket, or in a closet, because the purpose of light is to enhance sight. Light helps people to see more clearly, and often prevents people from falling and breaking bones or causing pain.

One truth involved in this passage is that Jesus is the light of the world.

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7667 - Sign of Jonah

Today let’s consider a portion of God’s word together. In Luke 11:29-32 Jesus warns again about the evil of unbelief.

These verses say:

Luke 11:29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.

Luke 11:30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.

Luke 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

In this chapter Jesus is teaching about God’s truth, but among the Jewish people he was experiencing hostile attitudes. Jewish tradition was all-consuming in the minds of many Jewish people. It wasn’t that they obeyed the traditions, but they subscribed to them. Therefore, when they heard truth that contradicted their established traditional religious customs, then they rejected what they heard.

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7666 - Blessed Are The Obedient

In Luke 11 Jesus is confronted by several of the antagonistic religious rulers. In belligerence, they were seeking to turn the people away from Jesus. Other passages share how the Jewish Counsel were seeking to devise some way in which they could destroy Jesus, get Him out of the way. John, chapter 11 (v48) tells us that they were afraid that everyone would believe in Jesus, and then the Romans would come and take away the leadership positions of these men, and then put an end to the Jewish nation.

In less than six-months they would succeed in killing Jesus, but they did not wipe out the work of God in giving spiritual hope and life to the people of the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Listen to Luke 11:21-28.

"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, `I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."

He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

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Titus 2:4-10

“Let the luster of thy life be a common school of instruction, a pattern of virtue to all” (Chrysostom)

In this lesson we look at Paul’s instructions to Titus for the teaching of older women and younger women, as well as for slaves/bondservants.

Considering the references to slaves, Charles Spurgeon speaks very strongly on what he felt Paul’s beliefs on slavery were:

“I do not think for a moment Paul believed that the practice of slavery ought to exist. He believed to the fullest extent that the great principles of Christianity would overthrow slavery anywhere, and the sooner they did so the better pleased would he be; but, for the time being, as it was the custom to have slaves, they must adorn the doctrine of God their Savior in the position in which they were.”

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7664 - A Divided Kingdom

I’m so glad you’re with us today. In our Bible passage for this study we again see Jesus refer to contemporary events to bring spiritual enlightenment.
Let me read Luke 11:14-20; then we can discuss it.

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.

But some of them said, "By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons."

Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

There was a group of people, especially the political leaders among the Hebrews, who sought to discredit Jesus by any and every means they could devise.

Beelzebub was a heathen deity, believed to be the prince of evil spirits. Some thought this evil one was the prince of all moral impurity, so he was despised and abhorred by good people.

Perhaps these accusers agreed with the school of thought that if a statement was made in a factual manner and repeated often enough that people will believe it to be true.

In their minds they felt if they could convince the people that the mighty work of Jesus in exercising authority over demons and casting them from people in whom they were bringing pain and brokenness, was indeed a work of Beelzebub, then they would turn the people against Jesus.

Thus they were accusing Jesus of using evil powers to overcome the demon spirits.

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7663 - Persistence

God’s Word is spiritual food for the soul. Let’s feast together on a portion today.

After Jesus gave instructions to His disciples regarding prayer, He expanded their grasp of the nature of Father God a bit by talking about persistence.

Let me read Luke 11:5-13, then we can discuss it.

Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' "Then the one inside answers, `Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

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Titus 2:1-4

“FEW portions of the New Testament excel this chapter. It may well form the creed, system of ethics, and text book of every Christian preacher. Does any man inquire what is the duty of a Gospel minister? Send him to the second chapter of the Epistle to Titus for a complete answer.” (Adam Clarke)

In this lesson, we look at the first few verses of Titus chapter 2 as Paul begins to lay out what types of things Titus (and overseers/pastors in general) should teach to 5 different groups of people. The first couple of groups, or roles, are the older men and older women within the church.

Now bear in mind that older does not necessarily refer to those of a specific age, but has more of a meaning of playing a role in contrast to the younger groups. It might actually be possible to fall into one or the other group depending on the make up of each of those groups. (I myself play fall into the younger category within the deacons at church, but in service at AWANAs I play an older role.)

We also begin to look at the roles of older women, and will touch on them in more detail next week.

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HICF - Suffering

A. W, Tozer said, “To use a man greatly, God must break him deeply.”

I was asked a couple of months ago to lead a monthly Bible study through the end of the year.

For the first evening study with the Houston International Christian Fellowship (HICF), I felt led to teach a study on suffering. Particularly the ways in which we should expect it and receive it, as well as how God tends to use it in our lives.

But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. --C.S. Lewis

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