Sep 2010

7661 - Prayer

Let’s talk about prayer. Jesus had some words for his disciples on this subject in Luke 11, verses 1-4.

Listen to these verses:

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

He said to them, "When you pray, say: "`Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. '"

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7660 - Martha and Mary

We pray God will give us discernment that we may understand how His Word applies to our lives.

As we continue our study through the book of Luke we come to Luke 10:38-42. In this passage Jesus visits in the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, although he is not mentioned.

Listen to these verses as I read:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

This scene in the life of Jesus occurs less than six months before the crucifixion. Many scholars of the Word point to the familiarity described and conclude that this could not be the first encounter between Jesus and this family. Likely they knew each other from some previous contact.

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Titus 1:9-16

In verses 5-9 of Titus chapter 1 we found the list of qualifications for elders/overseers, and in verses 10-16 we see how Paul is tying those qualifications into the issues in the churches of Crete.

We can read about the issues with certain Jewish members of the church that seemed to be emphasizing an incorrect belief that Jewish customs (like food customs) needed to be adhered to in order to be clean/pure on the inside.

“They tried to persuade them that the simple story of Jesus and the Cross was not sufficient, but that, to be really wise, they needed all the subtle stories and the long genealogies and the elaborate allegories of the Rabbis. Further, they tried to teach them that grace was not enough, but that, to be really good, they needed to take upon themselves all the rules and regulations about foods and washings which were so characteristic of Judaism.” (Barclay)

Paul writes some very strong responses to this teaching, and gives us many good insight to important subjects that are even still present and relevant.

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7659 - Christine Johnson - Ministering to the Middle Class


7658 - My Neighbor

Jesus told us quite clearly that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, even those that we might least expect.

Today we want to look at the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.' " "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.

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7657 - A Reason to Rejoice

It can often be encouraging and challenging to listen to a report from a missionary.

In our last Bible study we looked at the record of Jesus sending seventy-two of his disciples on a ministry mission. The pattern of authority established earlier by Jesus as he sent out the twelve Apostles in Galilee was applied with the seventy-two, as they were sent out in Judea.

Today we read about the return of these seventy-two. In Luke 10:17-24.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

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Titus 1:5-9

In verses 5-9 of Titus chapter 1 we find the list of qualifications for elders/overseers. These are the two terms generally used in the New Testament to refer to the position in evangelical churches that is usually known as pastor.

Join us as we discuss the cultural and historical context of elders and the qualifications that Paul gives Titus in appointing them on Crete. And how those qualifications have not diminished over time, and are a good guideline for believers of all roles and callings.

I finish up with a quote from John Chrysostom, one of the great early church fathers well know for his eloquence.

He wrote strong words for fathers wishing to be in church leadership:

We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others? If he cannot keep in order those whom he has had with him from the beginning, whom he has brought up, and over whom he had power both by the laws, and by nature, how will he be able to benefit those without?...

But if, occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care on them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the Episcopal throne, and so great rule? For if he was unable to restrain them it is a great proof of his weakness; and if he was unconcerned, his want of affection is much to be blamed. He then that neglects his own children, how shall he take care of other men’s?

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7656 - Christine Johnson - Embracing a Different Culture


7655 - The Seventy-Two

Let’s consider the first large sending out of what were essentially missionaries.

Luke chapter 10 opens with Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples to prepare the villages ahead of them for the ministry of Jesus.

This is a similar directive to Luke 9 when Jesus sent the twelve apostles out on a similar mission in Galilee.

Luke 10:1-16:

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

"When you enter a house, first say, `Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, `The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, `Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. These seventy-two were being sent into the homes of Judea, whereas, the twelve went into homes in Galilee.

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7654 - Follow Me

We all must let go of our own desires to follow Jesus.

As we have read and studied the Gospel of Luke, we should remember that Luke was not Jewish. God graciously used this doctor to research and record the facts and incidents of the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts. Being trained in science and medicine, Luke was well suited to gather, organize, and save his many notes so that what he recorded is orderly and accurate. Furthermore, we often see the perspective of a Gentile mind instead of a Hebrew one. As we read his writings it really seems that Luke was in the crowd observing the events firsthand, even though the first few verses of Luke prove otherwise.

We really must thank God for this man who was used to give us these two crucial books of the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

As we look at Luke 9:57-62, remember that this gentile doctor, Luke, appears to have left much behind in his dedication to the work of Jesus.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

He said to another man, "Follow me."
But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

These conversations follow closely the response of an inhospitable rejection by a Samaritan village, of the traveling party of Jesus while on their way to Jerusalem.

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Intro to Titus and 1:1-5

Recently I was given the opportunity to fill in teaching Sunday school Wilcrest Baptist Church. The regular Sunday school teacher, Jeff Adams, is helping to fill in preaching and has started up a very difficult semester at seminary.

So to give him a break teaching, and to have more time to focus on his studies, I will be teaching through the book of Titus over the next many weeks. I have filled in teaching numerous times before, but never more than two weeks in a row. So this will be a fun and new experience for me.

I wanted to record all of the lectures in order to share them with anyone who might be interested, and hopes that they might be useful in other ways. So for this first week I will be introducing the book of Titus, giving some background, context, and discussing who Titus is and the audience the book was written to.

To briefly sum up what was talked about:

Titus was written by Paul in about 64 A.D. to Titus and to the Christian population of Crete. it is one of the Pastoral letters, and it comes chronologically after 1 Timothy and before 2 Timothy (Paul’s last letter).

In the first four verses of Titus, the salutation, we have a number of great spiritual truths presented. we will spend some time looking at these first four verses and touching briefly on verse 5 leading into next week where we will discuss the qualifications for elders.

My goal will be to get each of these lectures posted online the Monday or Tuesday after they were delivered at Wilcrest Baptist Church in the Adult 1 Sunday school class.

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7653 - Christine Johnson - Working in South Asia

An interview with Christine Johnson about her work in South Asia. She shares about connecting to women in the culture and other religions as she works as a teacher.

She shares how she is able to interact with these women and engage in their lives through establishing common bonds.

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7652 - Least Is Greatest

Often our pride will get in our way and blind us towards what we should be focusing on.

Even the apostles of Jesus struggled with their pride, and had to be reminded of their loss of focus. From Luke 9:48:

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all - he is the greatest."

At this time in their lives — approximately six months before Calvary, the apostles still did not understand the true mission of Jesus. They continued on occasions to demonstrate they were flesh with human attitudes. Although they were living along side of Jesus, listening to His words, seeing His miracles, they did not yet comprehend the radical and eternal change, which Jesus was going to accomplish through His atoning, sacrificial death; and His miraculous resurrection from the dead which would declare with power that He was truly the Son of God. Along with many others they were looking for Jesus to restore an earthly kingdom for Israel (Acts 1:6).

Perhaps this frame of mind contributed to their prideful argument among themselves regarding who would be the greatest in the heavenly kingdom. They likely guarded against Jesus hearing this argument, but Jesus knew.

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7651 - Demonized Son

The peak of every mountain top experience is followed by a descent back down towards the valley.

Consider what happened to Peter, John and James along with Jesus after the transfiguration.

In Luke 9:37-43 we read:

The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."

"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."

Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil[a] spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

As they descended, a distressed man cried out to Jesus. His only child, a son, was inhabited by a demon spirit. From the parallel accounts we learn that this demon spirit cast this boy into seizures. Sometimes the boy fell into the fire or into the water. It made him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth.

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7650 - Transfiguration

What an amazing sight it must have been to see the transfiguration of Jesus and Him speaking to Moses and Elijah.

In Luke 9:27-36 we observe Jesus, along with three disciples, in a spectacular supernatural event.

I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

Many see this experience as a preview into the glory of the kingdom of God.

Notice this all comes out of a time of prayer by Jesus. His face changed and his clothes became brilliantly radiant. A demonstration of future happenings to occur in the end times.

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7649 - Your Cross

If we are going to follow Jesus, we must take up our cross.

As we consider taking up our crosses, remember that at the time these who were carrying crosses in reality were on the way to their own death. And each of us in following Jesus must be ready to have our desires die so they may be replaced by the Lord’s desires.

In Luke 9:23-26 we see the serious instruction Jesus has for us.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

These words follow closely the first united declaration from the disciples that Jesus was indeed the Christ of God.

After this statement of faith from these disciples, Jesus then lays out the cost of following Him. “If anyone would come after me...” Notice that Jesus does not close the door to anyone. How gracious is the invitation — to ‘anyone.’ Male or female, rich or poor, without regard to nationality or tribal heritage. Jesus invites anyone to come to Him.

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